5 frames with...

5 Frames with a Hasselblad XPan – By Simon King

January 23, 2018

It wasn’t long after deciding to take film photography a little more seriously with my CL that I decided to finally adopt an XPan into my lineup. I know for many people the XPan is a divisive camera, and it is an odd choice to go for as a second film option – however my style for a while has called for manipulating the frame into odd aspect ratios, which are often cinematic.

Cinema and videography composition has always been influential over my work, storytelling approach, and the way I frame scenes since I started photography, and this specialist camera seemed ideal for capturing images with those elements. The XPan exposes across two frames of 35mm film (making this a “10 Frames With” write-up) and offers very a unique panoramic aesthetic.

I am used to rangefinder cameras from my digital Leica M’s, and film CL, so there was no learning curve there; however I did have an issue framing through the letterbox viewfinder. There is so much more context than I am used to, especially considering that the majority of my work is shot in portrait.

Having such a vast horizontal field of view to work with was quite tricky to navigate, and I lost many images due to elements entering or exiting my frame when I did not notice, or was not ready for them.

I think this will be the hardest thing to master about the XPan, truly owning my frames and paying special attention to the edges where things most often go amiss.

Although I like my black and white work I think that colour film really looks great when shot in a cinematic ratio, and I will be using some CineStill 800 in future projects with this camera.

Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts, and look at my photographs. If you’d like to see more of my work, please follow me on Instagram, where I have links in my Bio for my personal blog and portfolio.


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  • Reply
    Gregoire Huret
    January 23, 2018 at 3:39 pm

    #4 is powerful ! I’d love to try this format.

    • Reply
      January 23, 2018 at 4:01 pm

      Glad you like them, definitely worth a try if you get the opportunity!

  • Reply
    January 23, 2018 at 3:49 pm

    Huge fan of these mate, just stoking the fire that burns for an Xpan. Really nice work.

    • Reply
      January 23, 2018 at 4:01 pm

      Thank you!

  • Reply
    George Appletree
    January 24, 2018 at 10:59 am

    I got it in 2001 (second hand) and never got rid of it (not even when selling most of my gear to get an M8 in 2007). It was like watching the future with that back screen. Hasselblad repaired the viewfinder after dropping, and also the problem which made it sucking battery. It works like new.
    There’s much to learn from that camera.

  • Reply
    Luc O
    January 24, 2018 at 8:58 pm

    Very nice pictures and interesting comments ! thanks
    One question: how do you enlarge/scan the film and or make print ?

    • Reply
      January 26, 2018 at 12:17 am

      Thank you Luc! Glad you like them! I scan using a regular Epson flatbed scanner, with a transparent plastic sheet to allow light to pass through. Once I have the digital file I clean up any dust and they are more or less ready to publish, post, or print!

  • Reply
    Andy Karlson
    March 6, 2018 at 8:20 pm

    I enjoyed the write-up, but the photos are not visible either on my computer or on my phone!

  • Reply
    A Few Frames More, with the Hasselblad XPan – by Simon King - 35mmc
    March 12, 2018 at 1:07 pm

    […] previously wrote about my early thoughts with the XPan in my “5 Frames With” article. This post is a follow up, and contains images based on a much longer period of shooting (and […]

  • Reply
    Gandhi Cabanas
    April 16, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    Great pictures! Number 3 it`s my favorite. Good work!

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