Hasselblad XPAN

The Hasselblad XPAN was only built from 1998 to 2007 is a rangefinder camera. The film transport is motor driven and the camera is able to expose  1 1/2 frames/s.

There is a Tv mode. There is, as with most rangefinder cameras, no aperture priority mode.
Of course is this camera to be focussed manually.

Only two models were manufactured: in 1998 the XPAN got released and in 2002 a slightly enhanced version, the XPAN II, got available.

The only differences between these two versions are:

XPAN XPAN II
Exposure infor ONLY on the LCD on the back of the camera
–> if shooting in Tv mode someone had always to check on the back LCD
Exposure info in the finder and on the LCD on the back of the camera
ISO changed on the front dial (see pictures on this page) ISO changed in the menu
Meter display in the finder with “-“, “0”, “+” Meter display in the finder with arrows
Bulb time increased

The XPAN’s uses 35mm film. The camera is able to use the normal 24mm x 36mm format, or, even in the middle of a film role, it’s possible to switch the format to 24mm x 65mm – the XPAN panaorama format.

One of the most fascinating thing with this camera is, that it is possible to shoot panoramas with just one click!
There might be other approaches to panorama photography like the Noblex cameras but the XPAN is one of the view cameras which takes a panorama with just one shot.

Noblex – Kamera Werk Dresden

Sure, with a modern digital camera I even can stitch together a panorama in the camera. But for floating moments where there is only a very short time to get a panorama the XPAN is unbeatable.
With the 5.6/30 Aspherical lens most people are not even aware that they will be a part of the photograph. The 5.6/30 Aspherical lens has in panorama mode an horizontal angle of approx. 94° with only little distortion.

There are some disadvantages:
First, it is still analog. Nowadays most peoples photographs end up in the internet. It might be even in the developing process easier to use a digital files. So the films have to be scannede first. The XPAN format 24mm x 65mm is somthing in between 35mm an middle format. At least it is not possible to scan it with a simple 35mm film scanner. Someone needs a scanner like a Nikon ED8000 or ED9000.
Printing is expensive: Usually someone has to pay for the bigger format. If I let print a panorama 70cm wide (which would be only 25cm high) I most often would have to pay for a 70cm x 50cm poster.

If I would like to use slides then a 35mm slide projector is not sufficient and I would need for a slide show some medium format slide projectors.
–> Finally, at least for me, the digital way of usage seems to be more flexible.

Another drawback of the XPAN and its lenses is, that they are comperatively slow. The 5.6/30mm Aspherical has a maximum aperture of just f/5.6 and on this someone has to screw a center filter which takes another 1.5 EV.
The other two lenses in the line are not much faster with a maximum aperture of f/4. And here again the 4/45mm Aspherical should be fitted with a center filter which takes an EV.

By the way, the camera is robust. Mine did experience serveral days below -25° C and was up to more then 7000m above sealevel. Ok, it looks not really mint anymore :-).

Technical data Hasselblad XPAN

Camera XPAN (1998 to 2002) XPAN II (2002 to 2007)
Film speed range ISO 25 to ISO 3200 ISO 25 to ISO 3200
Film 24mm x 36mm (36 Exp.)
24mm x 36mm (20 Exp.)
24mm x 36mm (36 Exp.)
24mm x 65mm (20 Exp.)
Automation Tv, DX, auto bracketing, film transport Tv, DX, auto bracketing, film transport
Frames / s 1.5 1.5
Flash synchronisation speed 1/125s 1/125s
Shutter speeds 1/1000s to ??? 1/1000s to 540s
Dimensions (W x H x D) 166mm x 82mm x 51mm 166mm x 82mm x 51mm
Weight 735g 735g
Differences ISO setting on the front dial Longer maximum bulb time
ISO setting in the menue
Exposure display in the finder

Hasselblad XPAN front view
pfaeffikersee

Hasselblad XPAN top view
XPAN top view

Hasselblad XPAN with 5.6/30 Aspherical lens and external viewfinder
XPAN with external viewfinder

Leave a Reply