Hasselblad X-Pan in Budapest

In Today’s Post

  • A Weekend in Budapest. All 21 frames of Cinestill 800T from my X-Pan.
  • Video of the Week.

Read Time: 5 mins if you glance, 20 mins if you view each image.

To see larger versions click on the images and if you’re reading this on your phone, rotate it for the images.

All 21 Frames

This is it, this is why I bought the Hasselblad X-Pan; a beat up, old, over priced film camera. Not to shoot landscapes, but to take with me on my travels and capture the day to day. 

This has to be one of the coolest cameras out there and throw in a roll of Cinestill 800T and it supercharges the X-Pan from cool to sub-zero.

What is the X-Pan?

It is a film camera that shoots 2 x 35mm frames side by side, giving you a cinematic panoramic image.

What is Cinestill 800T?

This is a tungsten balanced ISO 800 film. This makes it a great choice for low light street photography where the main light source is artificial. But what makes this film special is the halation around bright areas such as street lights. This is very noticeable on my images.

One of my favourite YouTube videos is where I shot this combination in Hamburg, Germany. You can watch the video below. I highly recommend adding it to your watch list.

Unfortunately, my Hamburg shoot didn’t go too well as most of the images were under exposed, so this time I added in +1 stop of compensation. 

My first frame. An empty underground station with a lone figure. This gritty, dark image is exactly the style I was hoping to achieve on this trip.

Here you can see a great example of those halations. I was waiting in line to board an evening sightseeing cruise down the Danube. I looked up and was drawn to the lone figure standing on the bridge. It was a quick snapshot, but it came out much better than I thought it would.

My first of many photographic encounters with the yellow trams of Budapest.

Entering the subway. The escalators feel impossibly steep in Budapest and seem to go on for miles. I quite like this image, but it lacks any mystery. It’s too busy.

I was disappointed not to catch one of the speeding cyclists who came whizzing through this underpass. Fortunately, my wife was happy to walk ahead so I could get a shot.

A poor attempt to get another version of my first image. I should have had more patience, but I felt very self-conscious lurking with a camera. To add insult to injury, the film is damaged. It’s very old stock.

A less than average shot of a tram between the iron girders of the Liberty Bridge. The white bus and silver car ruin what is already a weak composition.

I crossed over the road for a much more successful 2nd attempt, but another silver car just creeps in to frame.

Another poor attempt. The problem is timing the trams with the traffic, and of course choosing whether or not to press the shutter. I should have waited for the traffic to clear.

I really do like this shot and almost lost an elbow when taking it, however on reflection, I really should have had my wife seated on that bench. This would have completed the scene.

This is ok, I suppose. I like the graffiti and the motion blur of the tram. 6/10.

You can clearly see we are deep into my Yellow Tram Phase. This is similar to the previous shot, but feels cleaner and has a little more mystery to it.

Back to the Liberty Bridge for dusk. This film really does come to life at night time.

This version of a tram rushing over the Liberty Bridge is better than the previous one. I pressed the shutter much sooner to fill the left side with the tram and the exposure is brighter. I’m pleased with this.

When I shot this, I was furious at the cyclist on the left-hand side who photobombed my frame just as I pressed the shutter. I vividly remember a loud snort of laughter coming from my wife as I had been waiting for about 15 minutes.

But, the more I look at this image, the more I begin to like it. The dog is cute too.

I quite like this image of ‘Man Waiting for Tram’. The composition works well with the tree, the people, the lamp, the passing boat and the parliament building.

This is a shocker. It looked beautiful in real life. It’s under exposed, muddy and does not suit the X-Pan Cinestill combo. Fail.

By this point, I’d had enough of yellow trams and wanted to finish off my roll of film as I started, on the creepy subway.

One thing I am learning is that people are vital when it comes to good street photography. A lone figure can change the entire dynamic of an image. For example, this frame feels incomplete.

This is a much better version of the previous 2 images. The girl waiting for the train adds so much to the image, creating context and intrigue. 

I really am learning a lot, it’s just a shame I feel like such a creep when loitering in a dark underground looking for lone females. 

This is a much better version of the previous 2 images. The girl waiting for the train adds so much to the image, creating context and intrigue. 

I really am learning a lot, it’s just a shame I feel like such a creep when loitering in a dark underground looking for lone females. 

To Summarise

I’m seriously considering dedicating the X-Pan to only shooting blue hour & creepy underground scenes on Cinestill. I effing love it & would like to make a project out of it. 

The X-Pan-Cine combination works so incredibly well with this genre and I am itching to go and do it again. 

The images are far from perfect, but that’s why I like them. There are light leaks, grain and grit. Some of the halations are excessive, but all of this adds the character which compliments the genre so well. This type of photography is all about feeling, and the film certainly gives the images a feel.  

Budapest is a wonderful city and I highly recommend it for a short break, especially with your camera. 

Watch this space for more creepy grit. (Maybe that’s what I could name my project).

Video of the Week

shooting with X-Pan + CineStill film by EduardoPavezGoye

I feel like it’s very appropriate to share this video. Here is a fine example of the X-Pan-Cine combo, shot by a pro. I envy this guy’s confidence around people.

I have 2 landscape photography books available. Learn, get inspired and indulge in landscape photography.

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