Well, the honeymoon didn’t end.
I’m still feeling like the schoolboy who discovers the evil joke he had planned for a buddy turned out better than he ever expected. Shooting the X1D in 24:65 mode is proving even more fun than early tests suggested.
Being a newbie at this, I only just discovered what more experienced users of the format already know: it isn’t limited to flat scenes such as horizons. Using it on scenes that could warrant a more traditional composition gives them a very different dynamic, focusing the attention on a more limited set of elements and, therefore changing the feel.
Of course, at times, I also felt like the todler trying to push a wooden cylinder through a triangular opening. Not everything fits in this letterbox format as neatly as would have hoped. The number of fails was slightly … embarassing 😉
But this systematic experimentation made some happy (freeing) accidents happen that I would not have attempted in a different mindset.
Granted, vertical panos aren’t the easiest to use, print, or publish 😉 I’ve decided to use them as bookmarks.
Here’s the interesting part. Shooting in panoramic format is a process.
Film photographers have a process. It hinges around visualisation and delayed confirmation/gratification. Most photographers laugh at that concept. They want to chimp, they want immediate confirmation and gratification. Bot processes are what bring joy and the fulfilling sensation of progress, never gear.
All of us have the possibility of croping in PP. We could all sift through our libraries and apply a crop to the photographs it suits most. But we don’t. Because possibility isn’t a process. Whereas having a crop in our viewfinder is. Processes lead to results. Unlimited possibility doesn’t.
Just as I could go through all my photographs and apply a film preset to them all (to see which work and which don’t), I could also shoot directly with that filmstock and learn to see the world in its colours and to previsualize.
The process teaches me something. I can anticipate and previsualise. Applying crops and presets in post doesn’t. But I’m too much of a wimp to go full analog 😉
As it happens, I was having so much fun with my X-Pan format EVF crop that I also created a profile to (roughly) emulate Portra. Because, hey, the X-Pan is a film camera, right? See before and after, below.
I’m actually pretty happy with myself 🙂 Considering this is my first shot at this, it doesn’t look half bad 🙂
However, the difference between the crop and the emulation is that I’ll get better at framing, thanks to my EVF being locked in cropped mode. But I probably won’t learn to “see in Portra”, because I’m applying the preset randomly to photographs after the shoot without any sort of feedback loop or learning process.
Still looks cool. One step closer to a real X-Pan 🙂 I particularly like the second, below.
This is probably as close as I’ll get to owning an X-Pan. Ever since influencers in search of an edge for a late show interview introduced film cameras back to the public consciousness, prices have rocketed through the roof. It’s not uncommon to pay more for a 30 year old film camera that can’t be fixed if it breaks, than for a brand new mirrorless. A mint Mamiya 7 with a couple of extra lenses will give a Hassy X2D a run for its money. It’s a more fun camera, that’s for sure, but c’mon. Same thing for an X-Pan. Ain’t gonna happen.
But slapping a crop and a profile on a now vintage X1D kind of brings back a large part of the flavour. To the point of making me want to print a few of the “emulated” panos to see what they feel like in the flesh 🙂 And, who knows, I might soon discover there’s a way to store film profiles on the X1D! 😉
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