Now that I’ve run a couple of rolls through my Xpan, I thought I’d write up a little review. I bought it from West Yorkshire Cameras, whose customer service is always fantastic, and they included a free roll of their b/w C41 film, which was nice. The Cam-in strap was very kindly sent to me by Dan K, and has been really useful – it’s a weighty beast at just under 1kg with lens.
The body is titanium, and on my example it’s in a bit of a scruffy state! Someone has painted over the rubbed areas with black paint – I’d rather they’d have left the rubbed bits alone! The usual dials for a manual camera (ISO, shutter speed and exposure comp) as well as an LCD on the back to tell you how many shots you have left. These tick down quite quickly when using the panoramic mode, but it’s worth it! The ISO and exp. comp. dials are easy to nudge by accident, and I had to re-take a couple of shots after realising I’d fudged the settings here by accident. I’ll get used to checking before taking the shot in future.
The body is solidly-made, with a flash hotshoe on top if you need it. All movements sound solid and smooth, no horrid noises (thanks, WY Cameras).
The rangefinder is much easier to use than the Zorki 4K (unsurprisingly). It’s bright and easy to use – I got the hang of it all rather quickly. Exposure indicators in the viewfinder also help.
I have the 45mm lens for my Xpan, and it’s good for street work and general out-and-about shooting. It’s pin-sharp, and doesn’t suffer from any vignetting. Aperture blades close up smoothly, and the focus ring isn’t too stiff. I’m going to look out for a reasonably-priced 30mm lens, for landscape shots – after all, with a panoramic camera, you need to be able to take advantage of the wide angle.
Overall, a fantastic camera, and I’m glad I snagged one at a good price! I’ll be looking into restoring the body to a better condition in future, but for the moment I’m happy to keep putting rolls through it and using it as-is. See my portfolio and flickr for some examples of shots taken with it on my recent road trip to Berlin!