Portrait orientation with Hasselblad X-Pan


I think most of us are quite familiar in seeing Xpan being shoot in landscape orientation, but not often it was done in portrait orientation. For those who don’t know, Xpan is a camera that shoot panoramic frame with 35mm film, each frame is about the size of 2 frames of standard 35mm frame.

Composing this panoramic frame in landscape orientation is already challenging due to the abnormal width of the frame, but it’s still possible for one to think and frame it, you just need to switch your mind to think of cinematic frame all the time.

However, things get a little quirky when you flip your camera to the side and shoot in portrait orientation. Suddenly everything looks odd to you again and there isn’t much of similar framing in real world that can be used as reference. The closest I can think of is probably advertising banner, but those are rarely associated with photography.

When you look into it, the fundamental of shooting the Xpan remains the same, regardless of you shooting it in portrait or landscape orientation – try to fill up the frame with stuffs. It’s easier to do it in landscape orientation because we are used to seeing it this way, but when it comes to portrait orientation, we can feel kinda lost, especially when you are using wide angle lenses like the 45mm f4 (35mm equivalent of around 24mm).

I had tried to shoot my Xpan in portrait orientation, the results were a little of mix bag, some picture works while some doesn’t. Anyway, it’s a fun way to explore for new composition and idea. As much as I struggled, I do enjoy the process of searching. If you have an Xpan with you, how often do you shoot it in portrait orientation? Feel free to share your experience and pictures. Till then.

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