Xpan, Two Month Later Review

Jan 2, 2017
3 min read

It’s not every day that one turns 30 and because if you want something done right, you should do it yourself, I’ve decided to gift myself with an Hasselblad Xpan with a 45mm lens !!!

I’ve been playing around with it for two months now and wanted to share some thoughts about this camera.

The first impression with the titanium body was that it feels really solid and durable but it comes with a price: weight. It’s not a camera that you’ll slide in your pocket or hang around your neck all day.

There is a bit of learning curve when shooting for the first time with this camera. It takes a bit of practice to tame the panoramic frame and if you aren’t familiar with range-finder cameras yet, it will take time to get used to seeing so much information inside and outside your frame but it you are used to range finders like the Leica M series, you’ll feel like home in no time!

In terms of composition, same rules apply except for the rule of third: you can’t really apply it horizontally. Here the frame height is so short compare to its width that it doesn’t have the same impact than it would on a 24×36 image.

You also have to be extra careful with the edges of the frame because you often see, too late, distracting elements on the borders. The images contain a lot of information so it’s important to remove any unnecessary elements to avoid distraction. I also think (but yet to be confirmed) that the frame inside the rangefinder captures more that you see. I’ve had a couple of pictures showing elements that I thought were outside my frame so I’ll have to look into this further to determine how to frame properly.

My main struggle with this camera is to make sure that everything is leveled. 50% of my images are tilted and you can notice instantly if an image is not leveled correctly on such a wide frame. I’m used to have a shutter release button on my Leica M6 but you can’t use one here as there is not thread on the button so I’m suspecting that it has something to do with how I press the shutter.

Overall my experience has been very positive with this Xpan and I’m already starting to see everything in panoramic. I’ve always had a taste for wide angle/panoramic images but what I love about this camera is that there is almost no distortion on the edges so everything looks more realistic than a picture shot at 16mm for instance.

For now, I only have the 45mm lens but I’m planning to add the 90mm to the shelf too. The 30mm will have to wait for my 40th birthday I guess!

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