The Hasselblad XPan Camera
Hasselblad announced development of a new dual-format camera concept in co-operation with Fuji Photo Film Co. Ltd. The Hasselblad XPan is a new 35 mm film based dual-format camera concept (24 x 65 mm & 24 x 36 mm) that has been developed and produced by Hasselblad in close co-operation with Fuji Photo Film Co. Ltd.
It provides some convenience and advantages of the 35 mm format, but with the additional option to rapidly switch to a full panorama format without changing film. Unlike the "panorama effect" produced with some cameras by horizontally masking a 35 mm frame, the Hasselblad XPan provides a full frame panorama format, the width of the panorarma images being 65 mm, similar to medium format.
The new marriage between Hasselblad and Fuji was generally seen as a surprise to many observers especially the XPan will be using Fuji made lenses instead of traditional Zeiss or the dual new partners in Rodenstock or Schneider for the development of lenses for 6x6 format. Perhaps Fuji experience in the marketing and development of the Fuji 617 was the main reason. But I thought if another half was Linhof, that would be a not-so-surprise all German affairs partnership.
No details was given whether the XPan will be marketed under two brand names just like the Nikon/Fuji development of the Fujix/E3 digital SLR camera system.
The Hasselblad XPan incorporates a dual-format facility providing a full panorama 24 x 65 mm format as well as a conventional 24 x 36 mm format on the same film. This innovative camera offers all the convenience and advantages of the 35 mm format, but provides the option to rapidly switch to the full panorama format, without changing film. It becomes, therefore, the first and only dual-format camera on the market that expands the format instead of masking it, ensuring that every exposure utilises the full area of the film. In addition, the 65 mm width of the full panorama images is similar to the medium format.
The Hasselblad XPan is a feature-packed and professional grade rangefinder type camera that combines the user-friendliness of modern technology with traditional Hasselblad quality feel. The camera body is compact and ergonomically designed. It is a robust aluminium and titanium construction partly clad with synthetic rubber and built to withstand possible many years of hard workout.
The full panorama format is made possible by the large image circles of the two interchangeable 4/45 mm and 4/90 mm lenses, which have been specially designed for the Hasselblad XPan bu Fuji Film.
Viewing and focusing are by way of a bright-frame viewfinder and coupled rangefinder. Viewfinder information is adjusted automatically according to the focal length of lens as well as an automatic parallax adjustment for close shots. No accessories or manual adjustments are necessary, so changing lenses could be more swift and rapidly handled.
Film loading is automatic and convenient. After being inserted, the film is automatically withdrawn from the cassette. The camera has a DX code sensor with manual override for maximum control. As the film is exposed, it is transported back into the cassette, frame-by-frame. This valuable feature cleverly protects the exposed section of the film, even if the camera is opened by accident.
The TTL exposure meter supplies a centre-weighted average reading to provide an automatic aperture-priority facility with manual override.The camera can be used in single or continuous exposure mode. In continuous mode the frame rate is 3 frames/s with 24x36 format and 2 frames/s with 24x65 format. Using the camera in its auto-bracketing mode provides three consecutive exposures in + 0.5 or +1- step differences.
The main LCD display, located on the camera back, presents all necessary information including film speed, shutter speed and battery status. Another LCD provides exposure counter information, with further information being shown in the viewfinder.
The Hasselblad XPan camera was introduced at a Press Conference in Frankfurt, Germany on 20th July 1998, and deliveries although was announced will commence in September 1998, but still yet to hit the street as at 15th January 1999.
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