From France but currently residing in China, it’s Ben Felten
When did you find out about the Xpan?
The video that DigitalRev broadcast on Youtube last year. “Larger than Full Frame” I think it was called. I had vaguely heard about the Xpan before that, but that video really hit home how cool panoramic photo was.
When did you get your Xpan?
I got it for Christmas 2014. Actually I got it at the end of January, and as soon as I’d shot that first roll I was hooked.
What attracted you to the Xpan?
I had bought a second hand Horizon 202 and played around with panoramas, and I knew I liked the breadth of them, but I didn’t like the oblique shots, the lack of settings, etc. I knew if I wanted to do proper panoramas, I had to get something professional.
What lenses do you have?
I have the 45 and the 90. I use the 40 mostly, but occasionally the 90 will shine. I haven’t tried portraits with the 90 yet.
Which is your favourite lens?
The 45 undoubtedly.
You get the benefit of wide angle but you don’t need to be too close to your subjects, it’s a great compromise. Of course you’re somewhat limited in the vertical axis (when shooting horizontal) but I found I could like with it.
What do you like to take photos of with your Xpan?
So far it’s been mostly street photography and some travel. There’s a couple of reasons: the first one is that the breadth of film real-estate you get means you can really shoot a scene as opposed to a subject. On many of the shots I got in my first rolls, there’s more than one thing going on, and I love that. Also, people don’t realise you’re shooting them when they’re off-center, which makes for more natural expressions.
What would you like to take photos of with your Xpan?
I need to try landscape, but I haven’t had the opportunity yet. I also need to try group portraits with the 90.
What is your favourite film to use in the Xpan?
Fuji Pro 400H, no questions asked. I love the colors on that film and I hope it never goes away.
What are your three favourite shots that you have taken with your Xpan?
#1: I love watching the street life in Shanghai, especially the games. Everybody joins around when people are playing Mah-Jong or Chess.
#2: Food markets are a fantastic target for street and the xpan. Here you see the whole width of the stall and the sellers on one side. I couldn’t have shot that without the xpan.
#3: You can do architecture as well. This is my favourite film and a very beautiful temple in Shanghai.
What is your favourite shot that someone else took with an Xpan?
This shot, “Hairdresser, Wan Chai” by Renaud A. is exactly the kind of shot I aspire to make. Not only does it capture a life moment, but the reflection in the mirror makes it all the more interesting.
Which photographers inspire you?
My culture of classical photo is sorely lacking. I have taken great inspiration from the recently rediscovered photos of Viviane Maier but apart from her I don’t know many “big names”. There’s one photo magazine I read religiously though, it’s a French book that’s published every six months called “6 Mois”. It features a lot of very inspiring photography.
What other cameras do you like to use?
My Fuji x100s, truly a fantastic beast that I can always carry with me. I have a Canon DSLR as well and a variety of lenses, but I intend to sell them all and switch to a Fuji x-pro2 when it finally comes out.
If Hasselblad made a digital Xpan, would you buy it?
I’m not sure that I would. Shooting panorama with digital is just a matter of a higher res and cropping. There’s something organic about shooting the xpan that I don’t think I would enjoy as much with digital. Plus it would cost a bomb and a half 😉
Where can we see your work?
I also upload photos more extensively on my Flickr account: https://www.flickr.com/photos/10043599@N04/