Death of my xPan

I’m currently on a cross Europe adventure, visiting 8 countries and hoping to take many great photographs. Then as I walk out onto Piazza San Marco in Venice, raise my xPan to my eye, press the shutter and….. Nothing. The mighty xPan was dead. I had a feeling something was wrong as on the last roll it started to make some horrible squeaking noises, but I convinced myself it was the new kind of film I was trying, or maybe the cold weather. Anyways, I’ve been mourning the loss ever since. I’ll send it in to Hasselblad for servicing when I get home, hopefully it is repairable.

In tribute to my xPan, here are some of my shots on Flickr

And here is my all time favorite shot taken last summer in Paris…


Photo Friday

This week’s photo courtesy of Amsterdam….  Taken with my xpan on fuji pro 400H film, then converted to BW in Aperture.  Speaking of Aperture, why does it take it about 5 minutes to convert 5 photos into web sized jpegs? In fact it takes forever to do just about anything that any of my older photo editing programs can do almost instantly… Apparently you get what you pay for as it is one of the cheaper ones out there… Sorry for the rant.


Photo of the Week

Taken in Berlin, Germany from the cafeteria of the KaDeWe department store.  The enormous windows giving a panoramic view over the city were just begging me to pull out the 15mm and take a few pics.  I liked this one the best, it looks great huge with the curving window on the left hand side.


Photo taken with my Voigtlander Bessa R, 15mm Heliar, Tri-X, developed in D-76.

Photo of the Week

Photo of the week, from a while back…  Haven’t taken many pictures since moving back, I live in a bit of a cultural wasteland…  But I digress.  This picture was from Berlin, one of my favourite cities of Europe.  Everything fell into place for me on this one, I saw the accordion player, the light turned red so he couldn’t cross and everyone lined up and waited while (unknowingly) I took their picture.


Taken with my Hasselblad xPan, 45mm lens, and likely Fuji Neopan 400, but I could be wrong on this one…

Photo of the Week

This week’s photo is from Potsdammer Platz in Berlin, Germany.  It’s a truly amazing place with an incredible history.  It used to be a sort of no man’s land between the old East and West Germany’s, but has since experienced some renewal.  There are now many buildings, restaurants, etc, and it’s a very busy place during the day as well as at night.

This shot was taken with my Hasselblad Xpan using the 45mm lens and Fuji Pro 400H film.  I had a bunch of shots from the same night and I really love how they all turned out so great.

Sprocket Rocket – Panoramics on the sort of cheap

I own a holga, I admit it.  I didn’t buy it though.  A friend had bought it, used it for almost a full roll, and decided it wasn’t for him.  I’m never one to refuse a free camera, so home it came with me.  I’ll also admit that I have enjoyed it from time to time, but it certainly hasn’t become my one and only camera.  Mine has no light leaks and simply gives a soft shot with vignette, I don’t think I would like the ones that leak.


From the makers of holga comes the Sprocket Rocket, a new camera that takes panoramic film images and can even expose the entire film (hence the sprocket part of the name).  I can’t help but think if this camera had been available during my xpan search, I might have bought it first to try and satisfy my panoramic urges without spending too much money.  I guess in a way I’m glad I didn’t as I would have still bought the xpan and then had also wasted money on the above camera…

It shoots 35mm film, has a 30mm lens (zone focus), and has one shutter speed (as I said, same people who make the holga…).  It does have two wind knobs which allows you to move the film forwards and backwards while shooting, enabling you to do cool overlap effects.  I like the design and I think it’s a great way to get into panoramics, but I’m not sure if I’d spend the money on this one.

Plastic Panoramic

I’ve always been a great fan of panoramic photography, and over the past year I have absolutely LOVED my hasselblad xpan panoramic camera.  It is my take everywhere camera, nothing else I own can match the quality of this camera.  Before I bit the bullet and bought my used xpan, I tried some less expensive alternatives such as the Horizon 202, the Pan-o-gull and the Vivitar Pn2011.  In the end I was always frustrated by the limitations of these cameras, and in some cases the quality was horrible.

While browsing the web today on Four Corners Dark, I came across Deon Reynolds blog.  The site has some truly wonderful photographs.  I was most interested in the Plastic Panorama Photography post.  Deon takes old Kodak disposable panoramic cameras (discontinued since 1999), reloads them with Kodak Tri-X, adds a yellow filter, and voila, an inexpensive, reusable panoramic camera that produces some truly outstanding images.

I highly recommend heading over to Deon’s blog to check out his DIY and wonderful pictures.

Ebay As-Is Camera, Why did I fall for it?

As you may have gathered, I have a bit of a problem with buying cameras on Ebay.  Sometimes I just can’t help myself and before you know it, there’s a parcel at the door with a new bundle of joy inside…

I often see cameras with too good to be true prices, upon reading the descriptions, the seller states “I don’t have a battery so I can’t test it, so I’m selling it AS-IS, but it looks like it’s in mint shape”.  I always laugh at this and think, “who can’t find a battery?” Obviously the camera doesn’t work and they are just using this to cover.

So if I’m so wise, why did I buy a Ricoh R1 in “AS-IS” condition (and yes the seller couldn’t find a battery).  It’s actually worse than this, I lost the auction, and then on a second chance offer I bought the camera.  To top it all off, the seller charge $30 to ship when the postage came to just over $4…

So did the camera work? Of course not. Am I happy that I was right when being skeptical about those ads? NO, I wanted the camera to work!!!

I was really hoping for a nice pocketable point and shoot camera to take with me everywhere. The R1 seemed like a nice combination of quality and portability, while not the price of it’s GR1 siblings.  So now what? Not sure what to do. I took the camera apart to see if anything was obviously wrong, but no luck.  I could look for another R1, or I  could spend a little more and find myself a Yashica T4, not sure what to do as I’m running out of time.

Amazing Xpan Pics!

While browsing flickr the other day, more specifically the Xpan group I saw some amazing pictures from a user named Kari Bou.  Anyone who loves panoramic photography, or who owns an Xpan and has been needing some inspiration, owes it to themselves to go check out these wonderful pictures from around the globe.


While checking out his flickr page, I found his blog which is an incredible blend of photos and words.  The blog is in french, however those who don’t speak it will still be able to absorb all the pictures!  Unfortunately I’ve only had the time to really look at the first 3 pages as there are so many images that deserve your attention. Hopefully I’ll find time this week to peruse through many more pages and gain some more inspiration for my own xpan images!

Home Photo Printing


I’ve wondered for a while if it is “worth it” to print my photos at home with an ink-jet printer.  After lots of debate, I have realized that “worth it” depends on your interpretation of the words.  “Worth it” can relate to finances, quality, convenience, personal satisfaction, and as you’ll see, it will depend on you more than anything if you will find home printing a worth while endeavour.  Before answering the question, I will explain what my setup is.

The other day I was in an electronics shop and a very cheap price on a discontinued printer caught my eye.  I had been researching printers for a while, and I knew that $80 for an Epson R280 (R285 in Europe) was a good price so I took the plunge.  This printer can printer borderless 8.5×11 prints and smaller, and can even print on DVD’s with the included attachment.  My only regret is that it cannot take roll paper so I am not able to print some big xpan prints.  While a larger  wide format printer would have been nice, the price was too high, and I simply don’t have the room on my new desk.  A new set of inks for this printer is $80 (same as the cost of the printer), and I’m not sure how many photos I will get from the included ink, however I have read that the supplied cartridges are only half full.

Next, I went to my local photo shop and bought some Inkpress Glossy paper for $25 (50 sheets). Then of course, you don’t always want to print an 8.5×11 photo, so I bought a Kaiser Hobby Cut 2 paper cutter for $100.  Unfortunately, the inexpensive paper cutters can easily cut up to 10 sheets of computer paper, but are not able to get through a single page of glossy photo paper.  I had a USB cable lying around, so I didn’t need to purchase this.  I do wonder about the $2000 wide format printers and whether they come with a cable or not….

Let me just say that I was truly impressed by the quality of this printer.  Once I figured out the settings for printing, I found the results to be stunning.  Only a few years ago, a printer of this quality would have cost well over $500.  I was also amazed at how quickly it prints, and while printer companies always tout their printer’s speeds, it isn’t really a feature I worry about. In fact I even worried after printing the first page, thinking that if it prints that fast, it can’t be very good output…  Glad I was wrong.

Worth it – Finances

Compared to having prints done at the local photo-lab or drugstore, hands down this is not worth it.  At $0.50/page, plus $80 ink cartridges, not to mention the cost of the printer, paper cutter, etc. it’s hardly worth it to print your own photos.  In my town, 4×6 photos can be had for as low as $0.10/print, and the quality will be just as good as what I can provide.

Worth it – Quality

As said earlier, quality is stunning.  For my needs it is as good as a photo-lab.  People often talk about prints and how well they look under a magnifying glass, however I don’t own a magnifying glass, and if you are using one to look at a picture, you are missing the point.

Worth it – Convenience

Obviously the convenience factor is huge with this printer. While I can’t print cheaper than a photo-lab, the photo-lab is not located in my living room.  With a recent baby in the family, being able to print photos for grandma to put in her purse so she can show everyone she meets on the plane ride home is priceless.

Worth it – Self Satisfaction

This is what really tipped the scales for me.  My photographer Uncle had told me it wasn’t “worth it” to print at home.  I think this is similar to saying it’s not “worth it” to make your own furniture as Ikea can do it cheaper.  While this is true, it’s not very satisfying to go to a store and buy something.  It is satisfying (at least for me) to take all the components and construct it myself based on my ideas.  Seeing your vision turning into a useable piece of furniture is priceless and something you will be proud of for the life of the piece.  I think this is similar to printing your own photo.  For me it is a fun hobby, I love seeing the prints come out of the printer, being able to make adjustments, and trying new things.  You can’t do things in life only to save money, sometimes you need to have some fun.

So overall I have been thrilled with this printer and thouroughly enjoy using and seeing what it is capable of.