2.70:1 — Dakar
It's been years that I travel with the Hasselblad X-Pan, surely one of my all-time favorite cameras. A unique 35mm film camera manufactured between 1998 and 2002, only 16 800 were produced and handmade in the brand's headquarters in Gothenburg, Sweden. Exploring the world with this panoramic camera is quite special because it offers two image ratios, 2:3 and 2.70:1, meaning you can shoot 24x36mm and 24x65mm on the same roll.
Growing up, I witnessed friends from our skateboarding crew using Xpan to shoot landscapes, moods, or even action shots, mostly on black and white film — Seeing the result, I was instantly convinced by its power, so It became a life goal to acquire one! As somebody who grew up being really influenced by architecture and landscape photography, this camera allowed me to transform every photo into a movie scene; that's the beauty of shooting panoramic.
Everything in front of your eyes turns into a Sergio Leone movie; it's like being a film director searching for his frame — so I naturally started shooting empty basketball courts with it. The same way I would do it with my medium format or digital cameras... but without the struggle to fit the full court on one frame!
Panoramic photography is sadly underexploited; it is obviously easy with today's tool to shoot something digitally and crop crop crop - but it's another thing to compose a photo with a 24x65mm camera. Once you place your eye in this magic viewfinder, the world looks way different, and your perception as a photographer evolves.
While in Dakar to shoot the second edition of Asphalt Chronicles, I had the chance to shoot a few courts with this camera to shoot beautiful landscapes and courts in West Africa! The Hasselblad Xpan is not perfect. Obviously, the light metering is not accurate because of the width it has to cover. It's less of a problem when shooting white and black. But for this sequence of photos, I used the classic Kodak Portra 400, mostly because I wanted to match the medium format rolls I was using for the magazine.
Shooting with the Xpan is a great experience and let's not forget that it's also a regular 24x36mm camera - something to keep in mind for those hesitating between this camera and a Leica M6 - which we all do at some point.
More info about the Xpan, on Hasselblad dedicated page.