Film Experiments: Xpan Alternatives • Ayziak
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Film Experiments: Xpan Alternatives

photo via 35mmc

I’ve always loved the cinematic feel of the images from the Hasselblad X-Pan, Though without $5000+ to spare on one, I’ve been working to recreate the look.

The Concept:

The main other option for a camera that would offer ~65mm of exposure horizontally is 6×7 Medium Format. I picked up a Mamiya RB67 setup (which I was considering getting already) for a steal of CA$350.

The Methods:

35mm Sprocket Panorama

The film back and custom pieces to load 35mm film.
3D-printed adapters to fit a 35mm canister.
The adapter pieces on a canister.
Using a string pinned under the focusing screen to show the 35mm pano crop for composition.

6×7 Horizontal Half-Frame

A mockup of a cutout in a darkslide to be flipped for half-frame double exposures.
The adapted 35mm film loaded into the back.
The adapted 35mm film loaded into the back.
Using a string pinned under the focusing screen to divide the two half frames for composition.

The Results:

The system in use at NXNE Toronto 2019.

Well… That happened. Both HP5, both developed together. I’m honestly not sure what happened here.

In Conclusion…

Between the two methods above, the 6×7 split image is easily the best choice for future use. While the 35mm offers the sprockets and easy scanning with my setup, it only gives you 12 images in a 24 roll. The fact that 120 film is cheaper per roll and that the method would provide 20 images (with the option of using the camera normally as well) makes it the easy winner. I just hope I can actually see images from it next time.

The bigger takeaway here is that final image quality isn’t everything about a camera. My main issue and reluctance to shoot more run-and-gun event/street photography like this is the size and weight of the RB67. While an Xpan you can just have with you, I need a distinct purpose to set out with the RB. Regardless, at less than 10% the price, I’m sticking with this method.