The Hasselblad XPan continues to be a cult favorite. I love my Fuji TX-2 (XPan II) since gotten it in late 2000s. With its wide aspect ratio (a negative size of 24mmx64mm), one issue is that it’s not easy to make darkroom prints or make digital scans of the images. In fact, one might say that my scanner purchases had been to get the best out of this ridiculously good film format and camera.
After settling on the Pakon F335 fast 35mm scanner and the Flextight 848 high quality scanner for the bulk of my work, plus an Epson V700 flatbed to take care of everything else, film photography is almost as easy as digital. The scanners complement each other really well: I use the Pakon to scan an entire roll quickly and make a contact sheet, edit the good ones for web display, and then scan the ones I really want with the Flextight for a 6300DPI 500+ Megabytes scan – good enough for 5 feet+ prints. I have previously post a quick quality comparison between the two scanners here.
Today, I hit a major milestone: I have Pakon-scanned all the 35mm film from the 2010s – most of which are XPan photos. They totaled just under 8000 files, or 400 rolls of 35mm film. I still have quite a bit of negatives from the 2000s, but much less than 2010s.
Setting up the Pakon F335 is not easy. First of all, they rarely came up for sale. Second, you need a dedicated Windows XP machine. There are premade XP virtual machine images with all the drivers and software installed that are available on the web, but they do not always work, and as far as I know, no one has gotten them to work with the high end F235 and F335, only the low end F135 scanners. Lastly, at $1200-$1600 and more, they are not cheap, and not guaranteed to work. For my own machine, soon after I purchased it, I had to purchase a replacement motor controller board from Russia (!) and have it installed and tuned up for an additional cost of over $1000.
Overall though, I love the ability to use the XPan camera and the workflow that gives me fast scans, and high quality scans. Look at the expressions of the people on the right edge of the following image. The XPan images give you an immersive experience like no other.
If you have XPan or other film scanning needs, I offer my services at very reasonable cost. Click here.