#1241. All that time, I owned an X-Pan?

By pascaljappy | Art & Creativity

Nov 17

And there I was torturing my ming, trying to find my new camera of choice …


So, I don’t actually own one. Not … really.

But all the video watching and article reading devoted to finding my next camera taught me two things:

(1) I really must learn to read manuals, because (2) the X1D has an X-Pan 24:65 crop mode 😀😀😀


Before you ask, this matters because that crop mode is a cheat code for good photograhy.

Some photographers go through college, years of training, apprenticeship with a master, intense practice, when all you need to do to get a good shot is point you camera at anything with your eyes closed, in X-Pan mode.

This is more or less what I did here, with all the photos on this page being made within minutes of each other, just after discovering this prodigious news. Of course, it’ll probably get old. But for now, this is the honeymoon period and I’m no longer in a hurry to change gear ๐Ÿ˜‰


In reality, this is not truly a crop mode. It basically adds crop information to the file, so that it appears cropped once opened in PP software such as Phocus and Lightroom. This is both good and bad.

It allows me to retouch the framing slightly if necessary, which is occasionally useful.

But it doesn’t make me commit to a decision, or save space on the card. Both of which negatively outweigh the above positive.


Still, I’m not going to complain. The wonderful side of having the IQ of a vole is that you discover little surprises like this after several years of ownership. Quick ‘n’ dirty PP and I couldn’t resist sharing a first tally with you guys 😃

Oh, and there’s 1:1 and 6:7 too!!! Oscar Mike Golf, how is this not the camera of the century? I’m trembling in excitement over here ๐Ÿ˜† …


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  • Steve Mallett says:

    Fancy, torturing your Ming! Is it a clone?

  • jean pierre guaron says:

    LOL – well I have a camera that I love AND hate, use a lot, but not for everything, and will probably never part with.

    My Canon PowerShot. It’s both extremely useful and a complete pain. The manual is indecipherable – even ignoring the fact the print is so small it’s illegible, and trying to enlarge it really doesn’t work well, the text seems to be a literal translation from japanese, and as often as not, doesn’t work in english. And the menu system is of little use, because I usually can’t find the functions I’d want to change anyway.

    But on auto nearly everything, it’s my perfect substitute for a cellphone camera – small enough to be reasonably portable, fast, easy to use, and takes surprisingly good photos. Most of its life I’ve just used it as a “point and shoot”.

    The idea of changing the format, in camera, is not new of course. Quite a few digi cams offer that facility. And it’s a good thing to try – all too often, we shoot to “fill the frame”, when a bit more thought would make us realise that a bog standard 4×6 format is inappropriate to the subject of the shot. And if ONLY we’d chosen one of the other format options before pressing the shutter, we could have – and likely would have – composed the image much better.

    Glad to learn the Hassy is still in the land of the living. It’s an addiction that I expected you’d find much harder than giving up smoking cigarettes! Bulky, perhaps – but really not all that bad. Surely it’s easier to handle than a Z9 ? On the other hand, it takes stunning photos Famously, far better detail in shadows & highlights than anything in full frame or smaller.

    • pascaljappy says:

      The Hassy is very much alive. It’s just quite buggy, and its owner needs new toys regularly, like a toddler. People are weird ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Shadow detail is wonderful. Of course, I absolutely crushed it in PP, here, but it’s there when needed. Even more important to me, it’s highlights are fairly well behaved. Not RED Raptor or positive film level, but much better than average. I love it dearly, but am planning trps for which I want confidence that it will work flawlessly.

      Can say anything about the Z9, other than it looked impressive. But I will be watching the Z8 with great interest.

      • PaulB says:

        A need for toys! You too!?!?

        When ever Iโ€™m within 5 miles of a camera store, itโ€™s like gravity is pulling me into the store straight to the used cases. I have to see if there is anything there I canโ€™t live without.

        Sometimes there is, and it is too hard to resist. Heaven help me if there is a wonder lens I have lusted for. I have purchased camera bodies in order to get/use a lust worthy lens. Even if it is for I system I have never used before.

        Fortunately not very many X-Pan cameras have crossed my path. It has been on my watch list for a while. I have come a cross an X-Pan lens, but no body to go with it. So I was safe. But, I am probably doomed if I find a body and lens together. ๐Ÿ˜‰


        • pascaljappy says:

          Given how the prices for those lovely toys have shot up in the past couple of years, it seems that we are not the only victims of that permanent need for toys ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜†
          Ow well, YOLO, as the kids are saying.

        • jean pierre guaron says:

          Stay away from any shop trying to sell the new Nikon Z 600m! By the time you buy one of those, and a camera to match, and the accessories you’ll need, you’ll find all your belongings have been taken outside and left on the sidewalk, for you!

  • PaulB says:

    Oh Joy!

    Congratulations on the recent option discovery. Or should I say your free upgrade.

    Working in a stretched format can be a lot of fun. And having enough data after the crop means you still have a meaningful image to display.

    Even though you merely took these images in a โ€œshort amount of timeโ€, I do like the images that include your pool.

    Does your processing software give you the same crop in the raw file, or will you need to follow up by cropping yourself?

    In the Leica SL2 the camera does a couple of things when you select a crop format for the JPG images. First, it only shows you the crop in the view finder. But, when you review the image on the rear screen, it shows you the full sensor area with the cropped section outlined by red lines. Before sending my SL2 back to Leica for service, I experimented with using the 1:1 format. It was interesting and worthy of a longer trial when I get the camera back.

    I havenโ€™t really taken the time to look at the cropped images Iโ€™ve made in Capture One (C1) yet, so I canโ€™t comment about how the JPG images are displayed. Working with the raw files in C1 is a crop yourself process. I have set up cropping guides in C1 for 6×12 and 6×17 panoramic formats.

    Have fun with your new format.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚ The photos open already cropped in Lightroom. But it is just a crop mask that can be undone. It’s not a file with fewer pixels.
      On the X1D, both the EVF and rear screen show the image cropped. So cooool. I felt like a kid in a toy shop using that mode. Good job no one was around ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Yes, 1:1 will be interesting as well. Have fun with the SL-2 when you get it back ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Michael Fleischer says:

    The pictures simply look fantastic in that format; those blacks don’t look crushed but…deep & Japanese ink velvet black on my Imac! Lovely tones – X-Pan format rocks, also in colour!
    Best thing is you don’t have to wait for the development of film and you can do your PP
    according to what fits.
    Enjoy your crush, we won’t tell anyone inappropriate ;-)!

    PS, have you ever looked through the lens glass at the aperture blades on the X-Pan, like the 45mm?
    They look so cool and raw, like welded together.
    Highly recommended, (but seductive).

    • pascaljappy says:

      Thanks, I love those blacks as well. Inky is exactly the term that entered my mind when seeing them.

      I’ve not used a real X-Pan or peeped through the lenses, but very much would love to!! I love that camera, but never got the opportunity to buy one; Now, they are so expensive !!

  • John Wilson says:

    Dear Me! You forgot to unwrap one of your toys? Consider it a belated Birthday/early Christmas present from you to you.

  • Ian Varkevisser says:

    Hi Pascal, where on earth does a 24:65 crop come from ?? what is the history of such an obscure crop ??

    • pascaljappy says:

      Well, the X-Pan uses 35mm film, so the width is 24mm.
      As for the 65, that’s a good question ๐Ÿ˜‰ I was told it was 2 36mm frames side by side, but the guy who said that needs maths lessons.

      Maybe 24×65 has the same image circle as 6×6 (56mm x 56mm) ???
      I’ll try to find out.

      • PaulB says:


        I think the ratio 24:65 came about because Hassy was trying to use 35mm film to duplicate the 6:17 proportion that was popular at the time.

        24:65 is a little short (1:2.7) but very close to the 6:17 (1:2.8) proportion.

        It also probably has to do with lenses. For a 65mm wide image you can use a lens optimized for medium format. Where a 170mm (6.7 in) wide image needs a big large format lens.

        Finally, the smaller film and lenses together makes for a more portable (hand holdable) package. Which give Hassy a camera that can compete with the Fuji/Linhof dedicated cameras, and an option to compete with the Mamyia 35mm panoramic backs for the RB/RZ 6×7 cameras. The adapter for the Mamyia 7 camera came later (I think).


        • pascaljappy says:

          Yes, I think that’s the idea. Trying to fit the wide panoramic format within the current lens image circle gave us the X-Pan. It’s a lovely format and, as you say, a lot more convenient than 6×17. And what a camera! As much as I loved my Mamiya 7 cameras, fitting the adapter was no fun, and left you with a large camera for a cropped negative”. The X-Pan made more sense, for that format. Cheers, Pascal

    • Kristian Wannebo says:

      Here’s my guess…
      Hasselblad XPan’s 24×65 mm (2.7×1) has the same diagonal as 42×56 mm – as in e.g. Pentax 645 and others.
      Maybe Hasselblad planned to use (technology from) available 645 lenses?
      Maybe they were inspired from wide cinema formats like 2.5×1 to 2.8×1?

      Their own SuperWide 6×6 from 1954 and onwards had a Biogon 38mm/4.5 for an image circle of 79mm – a similar lens for 24×65 mm would have f=34mm.
      The XPan’s (1998 and onwards) shortest lens was 30mm/5.6 – it was often used with a center weighed grey filter and needed an external viewfinder.
      [ https://sv.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hasselblad_(kamera) ]

      35mm film has 8 holes per 36mm frame (+ ~2mm space), so 65mm (+ ~1.5mm space) occupies 14 holes.
      38/8 = 4.75mm per hole gives a choice of ~60/65/70 mm etc. for simple film transport as 24×36 was also available in the camera.

      Just my 10c…

      • PaulB says:


        I remember thinking at the time that the X-Panโ€™s transport was a really cool feature. You could switch between 35mm and panoramic on the fly on the same roll of film and the images would not over lap.

        Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, for me, I was already seduced by Leica and large format. So I never tried an X-Pan.


  • Sean says:

    Hi Pascal,
    So you’ve discovered something the X1D has a useful function, a faux XPan one at that. Sounds like you discover it as a lucky accident. I’ll let you onto some sage advice from my wife, my sunshine: “Did you read the manual before you turned the camera on? How many times have I told you, always read the manual first!” ๐Ÿ™‚ I tell you, sometimes my sunshine makes my ears bleed :), but in reality my sunshine is correct :). Anyway, it looks like you’ve discovered and utilised a useful bit hidden within the X1D. Enjoy, Pascal.
    Cheers Sean

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