Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/07/22

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Subject: [Leica] [OFF TOPIC] Hasselblad XPAN
From: "Andre Jean Quintal" <>
Date: Wed, 22 Jul 1998 14:31:36 -0400

About the Hasselblad XPAN:

    1/ I'd rather be HAPPY that a serious manufacturer come
        out with such a well thought out model, even in spite
        of the serious competition in the field.

    2/ I'm happy it is not some plastic thing...

    3/ the possibility of a 1: 2.7 aspect ratio, at 24 mm x 65 mm,
        is a wonderful PLUS.
        The Hasselblad "wide" mask gives a 1:2 aspect ratio at 27 mm x 55
        If the definition is good enough for the Hasselblad market
        and trademark, it could be a wonderful option for
        consumers and pros everywhere.

    4/ integrated auto-bracketing at HALF and FULL f/stops
        is just wonderful. That's one important item for my shopping.

    5/ the 3 fps function can't be a negative.

    6/ the speed of the initial lenses, though they seem "slow",
        is exactly in line with the traditional Hasselblad
        market and probably allowed the designers to "pack in" some
        quite good optical parameters ; we'll see, sooner or later.

    7/ the fact that it's a rangefinder design can't be but a plus
        in support of the Leica M concept. It simply puts pressure on
        Leica to adopt a more evolutive product design philosophy
        for it's own future ragefinder models.
        I foster no fear whatsoever for any "dilution" of the Leica
        market or long-term profitability from the introduction
        of a product that remains, by design, a specialty item,
        a niche market relative to cheapo plastic SLRs and such.

    8/ it's not impossible, at all, that future lenses for this
        Hasselblad XPAN provide serious options as to focal lengths
        and maximum aperture.

    9/ Fuji made products aren't that bad, if magazine reviews
        make any sense. A Fuji 617 Pro sure would be welcome here.

    10/ Some of the technologies integrated into that "XPAN"
        may bring interesting developments to "creative tool"
        grade photo equipment.

    11/ The below 1000 UKP initial price makes it a very sellable item.
        I truly hope everybody involved makes a profit with that new line.

    12/ I don't expect Leica customers to run and sell their cherished
        stuff, now that it's finally paid for... but Leica dealers'
        sales personnel are going to have to learn their stuff, get deeper
        product knowledge.

    13/ Just to aggravate the itch: i wonder how their 90 mm will
        compare with the "cult" Leica models...   ;=)

        But no 25mm, 28mm or 35mm lens is a frustration.
        One of these three is a MUST for me.

    14/ My overall first impression: BRAVO !
        A serious brand comes out with a serious line, 
        manufactured by another quality capable responsible firm,
        into a much broader market than Medium Format photography.
        People, i hope, won't ever argue that Hasselblad does not have a
        photo oriented product and overall business philosophy.
        Some people wail at Hasselblad prices but those who ACTUALLY buy
        know what they're buying into, much like Leica,
        and THAT is a blessing in these days of "cheaper than thou"
        products in too many fields...

        The CONTAX G3 is the one I'm really expecting a lot from;
        i just can't wait till it comes out. THAT would be a much
        more sensitive model competing against the Leica M6 range.
        I personally tend to prefer SLR designs, with their limitations,
        but i just love the Contax G2: that takes NOTHING away from the
Leica M.
        It's just that the Contax G2 appeals to me on it's own merits.

        And, indeed, as the other gentleman wrote, it will be quite
        interesting to watch how Hasselblad markets this 35mm XPAN line
        and makes it a success. At least, i hope they'll use better
        designs and photography than for their medium format models.
        Finally, I don't expect a Leica M7. I rather expect a Leica M8 !
        Who knows what Photokina will be like this year ?

    Make Yours a Great Day,

    Andre Jean Quintal