According to this post on photo.net, Hasselblad have discontinued the XPan II and have limited stock on hand. I will call Hasselblad on Monday, 16 January 2006 and attempt to confirm with them directly.
While I think it’s a damn shame, I’m not surprised, either. While I haven’t used the XPan II, I have and love the original. It’s built like a brick shithouse, the controls are perfectly laid out for me (except the panoramic/normal 24×36 selecter, which is a pain, but it should be considering what it does), has modern film loading, winds the entire roll out when it loads and rewinds exposed film into the cartridge (why the hell doesn’t every camera do this? If the back opens, I’d much rather lose blank film rather than frames I’ve already shot!), and has the best in-camera meter I’ve ever used.
But! The lenses, the lenses! Only three, slow, expensive lenses (the 30mm weighs in at a hefty US $3000). (30mm f/5.6 (slower with the required center filter), 45mm f/4, and 90mm f/4.) By Leica (yes, I’m going there) standards, the 45 and 90 are reasonably priced at $594 and $730, respectively (pricing from B&H). It seems that Hasselblad missed an opportunity to take a bite out of Leica’s ass with this system. I’m its perfect target market: I shoot film, dig manual focus rangefinders, want aperture priority AE, and belive that if I’m going to spend that kind of money, I should get post stone-age film loading and a shutter with accuracy of greater than 1/3 stop and would have happily bought faster lenses were they available. I think there are more of us out there.
And while I’m perfectly willing to push film to 128000, f/4 is still slow. Even putting aside the obscene price of the 30mm, the required center filter brings it down to almost f/11. I don’t think Hasselblad considered the possibility that anyone would want to use the camera indoors, which is a shame. Until I got into the Contax G2 system (which I love but wouldn’t have done had I had faster lenses to choose from!), it was my take-everywhere, joined-at-the-hip, disappeared-in-my-hands camera, and I loved it. Except the low light thing. (Well then why the hell did I get into the system in the first place? I inherited it.)
Anyway, I’m sad to see it go. It’s a great camera. Almost everyone I know who’s actually spent some time with one loves it. Bye bye, XPan!
Hasselblad XPan panoramic rangefinder officially discontinued…
Well, the rumour that I’ve written about previously is true: Hasselblad are discontinuing the XPan panoramic rangefinder camera.
According to this article in the British Journal of Photography,
The decision follows new EU regulations—know…