At the end of May 2017 I took a leap of faith and purchased a second hand Hasselblad Xpan on eBay. The Hasselblad Xpan is a rangefinder 35mm film camera that can shoot in standard format but also in 3:1 (actually 2.7:1) panoramic format.


Actually, there are many reasons: Firstly, every photographer should own or have owned a Hasselblad at some stage of their life, those are the rules! Secondly, I wanted to do something ‘non-standard’ and have a different perspective on my photography especially for street and travel photography. Thirdly, it gives me an excuse to shoot film.

Since having the camera I have purchased and fitted a wooden grip to the body which gives it some character. (video here). The main challenges have been getting used to the focusing square in the viewfinder and the shutter display being on the back panel lcd. Those aside, my first few films also showed that the camera is sensitive to how you hold it and over 75% did not have levels horizons (dipping to the right). These were correct in post production without any major issues but this is not ideal. The problem is mainly due to my technique and possibly dipping when I press the shutter button. More care is needed and I have also fitted a small spirit level permanently into the hot shoe.

I created ‘Project Xpan’ which is basically to go forth and capture the world, its people and places with the Xpan. One camera, one lens and one perspective 3:1.

This may be using black and white film or colour negative and then processing the scanned negatives digitally. I have provided a Project Xpan gallery and will try and provide some updates on the Xpan and its use as I go along.

I have started going back through some of my older images, digital and analogue, and cropped some into a 2.7:1 format. These do not qualify for Project Xpan but it has still been an interesting exercise to undertake with some good images produced.

There is a wide community on social media of Xpan users and it is worth having a look at their work and images. The Xpan is a great camera to use and panoramic images seem to come to life with their wide creative look. I would encourage anybody wanting to do something different to try shooting with a panoramic camera. Below are some action shots of the Xpan!

Project XPan has also featured on the Ilford Website, link to the page is here.

The Xpan at the Point of Ayr lighthouse, River Dee, UK

XPan at Swallow Falls in North Wales, UK

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