Its not every day you get your hands on a Hasselblad XPan II. A friend of mine wanted to meet up and just shoot. No agenda or goals. Just get out and take some photographs.
Ollee (my talented photographer friend @olleeolleeollee ) gave me a list of all the cameras I could shoot with (he owns a few) Leicm M3, Pentax 6x7 , Yashica t4 but one stood out. The Xpan. I couldn’t decide which i wanted to shoot so Ollee just said “I’m bringing the Xpan”.
The XPan is an extremely unique camera, providing the advantages of the 35mm format but also the ability to swiftly change to full panorama format without having to change the film. It was the first dual-format 35mm camera on the market that expanded the format instead of masking it, making sure that every exposure utilized the full area of the film.
What struck me is the ease of use with this camera. It is definitely one of the easiest film cameras i’ve ever used. You just pop the film in the back of the camera, pull it over slightly and then camera rolls it on for you. The lens is gloriously sharp and the metering is AMAZING. Ollee said in all the years he’s never had a bad shot and I can see why. I think the hardest part about using it is shooting with the panoramic frame in mind. Composing images in this way to make them dynamic and interesting is definitely a challenge, Especially when you are so used to the standard format. I think the best way i can describe how i felt shooting with it is to imagine you’re capturing a frame from a film. It has a cinematic feel to it that no other camera I’ve used comes close to replicating.
The fact you don’t have to worry about this camera when you’re shooting just makes it such a pleasure to use, if you ever get a chance to shoot one (you probably won’t be able to buy one after the insane inflation in price) so knick one from someone and enjoy.
Hasselblad Xpan II + Agfa Vista 200 and Kentmere 400