FauX-Pan Follies

FauX-Pan Follies

For years I read about the Hasselblad X-Pan camera and the Fujifilm TX-1 – in reality the same camera from the Fujifilm stable but wiht different body treatments – and did not crave one. I owned a Hasselblad and a studio and combined the 6 x 6 format with indoor shots. There was very little call on my part for any sort of panorama work.

Indeed, I had decided that I could not see panoramas anyway – I have been wearing glasses for 64 years and they formed the tunnel of my vision. Yet I have a book of Kodak Colorama panos from Grand Central Station and they are some of the most charming advertising shots I’ve seen…

Well a recent posting in the Fuji Rumors site by a chap who converted his Fujifilm X-Pro1 to a quasi-panorama camera set me thinking again. He had 3D printed a panorama mask that fit inside the throat of his X-Pro-1 and restricted the image on the sensor to the aspect ratio of the X-pan. I didn’t fancy sticking anything in the open maw of the camera, but as he pointed out – the central part of the 24-grid overlay in the electronic viewfinder corresponds roughly to a 1:3 panorama shape.

The X-Pan/TX-1 format was 1:2.7 so this is about right. A little air around the edges is fine and if I am just using the centre of the image it’ll be good results. Plus there’s a massive amount of up/down spare to play with when you crop it in the editing program – because make no mistake about this – it is the sort of thing you must do with post processing as well as in-camera shooting.

But what lens to use? The X-Pan lenses were 30mm, 45mm, and 90mm Fujinon glass. And lovely, too. The 30 was very rare, the 45 the common lens, and the 90 a portrait choice. But who takes panoramic portraits?

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I spent an hour doing the Pythagorean mathematics of the thing and concluded that the closest equivalent for the portion of the APS-C sensor to be used would be a 16mm focal length. I cheered at this, as I had purchased one of these just prior to lockdown earlier in the year and was wondering whether I had made a rash decision at the time.

Next post: the FauX-Pan camera body of choice…

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