I have lusted after a Hasselblad XPan for a while, but the prices have gone through the roof to the point where I simply can’t justify one. What I do have though is a Mamiya 7, which one night led me to eBay and the purchase of a panoramic kit which allows me to use 35mm film in the Mamiya 7 with my 65mm f/4 lens.
Installing the kit wasn’t that hard, but still unsure whether this would work or not I opted for a cheap roll of Kodak ColorPlus 200 to test it out.
Once the panoramic kit has been installed correctly you get some additional frame lines in the rangefinder to help you compose. This takes a little getting used to! I spent a couple of hours blasting through the roll locally then headed home to develop and scan. The weather and light was really variable across the day from sunlight at the seaside in Morecambe to overcast nearer to home in Lancaster.
I love the cinematic feeling this aspect ratio gives. It also suits the streets and back alleys of the north of England. I can see myself using this for sedate street photography and urban landscapes, the only drawback being I can’t use the Mamiya 7 with medium format film while the kit is in.
With a wider lens, the effect would be even more dramatic I think. Although the XPan used to come with a 45mm lens, which is in theory not as wide as the lens I used on the Mamiya – a 65mm lens on 6×7 is equivalent to a 32mm lens on 35mm film – for the £80 this cost me, it’s added a unique variable to my photographic armoury.
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This series is being produced in conjunction with Hamish Gill's excellent 35mmc.com. Head on over to read the other half of these stories there.
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