At this point in my film career, I own my fair share of cameras. I’ve bought a Mamiya RB67 and some lenses. I splurged on a Plaubel Makina 67. I even found a Mamiya 7 II for half street value courtesy of a kind old man on craigslist. And I’ve shot with all of these cameras fairly extensively. But I don’t think any camera has brought me raw joy like that of my Fujifilm TX-1.
A couple of years ago, I stumbled upon a blog post from one of my favorite photographers, Jonas Rask. He’d done a full review of the TX-1 – something that I had no idea existed. I’d heard of the Hasselblad X-Pan, but didn’t realize the extent of Fuji and Hasselblad’s relationship surrounding the camera. From that point on, I realized I needed to own one.
About a year later, I happened to be in Tokyo for work. I stumbled over to one of my favorite districts, Harajuku, and by some stroke of luck, found a TX-1 in perfect condition, alongside the 45mm f/4 and 90mm f/4 lenses.
Since then, I’ve brought the TX-1 pretty much everywhere with me. Of course, I shot a lot in Japan while I was there, where I made one of my favorite images of all time in the mountains of Nikko. I even have it hung on my wall! But the TX-1 is so unique and portable, I have no excuse not to keep it on me at all times.
If you didn’t know, the Fuji TX-1 and Hasselblad XPan are 35mm panoramic rangefinders. This means they can shoot standard 35mm images, but flip a switch, and the curtain opens twice as wide to create an image with 35mm height, but medium format width. The technical aspect ratio is 65×24, which is quite wide, and by god is it cinematic.
I’ve shot my fair share of bad images on the TX-1. All three lenses are at least f/4, so you have to have the right conditions to get the shutter speed right. But when an image hits, it’s unlike any other camera I’ve used.
This first photo set I shot completely in Japan. I mostly used Fuji Superia 400 while I was there, and the colors came out fantastically. There’s this beige and red color scheme you can find all throughout Japan, and so many of the images have the same “vibe”. Recently, I realized that I could make these panoramic trifectas to represent a place, feeling, or time. So I started with Japan and moved on.
The next photo set is a set of beaches I’ve visited over the last year. The first is in Montauk, New York, the second is in Santa Cruz, California, and the third is in Pacifica, California. These three images were shot on Portra 400 and Portra 800.
I absolutely love taking photos of the beach, as they have some of the most amazing colors of any location in my opinion. Sand can take on multiple hues, and sunsets and sunrises on the beach are almost impossible to beat. The TX-1 really helps capture the vastness of the beach and horizon.
The third set is a set of photos I took last February in New York City. There was one day where it snowed in the morning, and I happened to be out with a friend when it happened. We had just finished getting breakfast and the snow fell hard and fast.
The first image is from inside the Oculus in Manhattan, and the second two images are in Dumbo in Brooklyn. The second is at the Ferris wheel there while the third is overlooking the Brooklyn bridge. The lenses for the TX-1 are incredibly sharp and managed to catch the show falling. I love that. These three images were shot on Fuji Pro 400H.
While I love other cameras and formats, I just can’t leave my TX-1 at home. I think it’s the most beautiful camera ever made, and I’d fight tooth and nail to keep one in my possession until I die.
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This series is 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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