What could a Fujifilm Digital XPan Camera look like and should they make it?

In my Will there be a new Fujifilm X camera announced in September? article I mentioned that Fujifilm should include an XPan 65:24 aspect ratio as an option on the X-Pro4, whenever that camera comes out. GFX models already have this, but Fuji hasn’t given the XPan ratio to any X-series cameras. The X-Pro4 seems like a logical place to start, especially if it is given the 40-megapixel sensor, which has plenty of resolution to support the crop. But, should Fujifilm make a “real” XPan camera, and what would that look like?

XPan was a collaboration between Fujifilm and Hasselblad in the late-1990’s and early-2000’s. XPan cameras were 35mm interchangeable-lens rangefinders that produced panoramic pictures across two film frames—the pictures were twice as wide as normal 35mm images. The cameras were also capable of capturing regular 35mm frames, should the photographer not wish to create panoramic pictures. Two XPan cameras were made; Hasselblad called them XPan and XPan II while Fujifilm named them TX-1 and TX-2. The X100-series models have a striking resemblance to XPan cameras.

XPan crop — Fujifilm X-T5 — CineStill 400D v1 Recipe

I don’t think it would be all that difficult for Fujifilm to make a true XPan camera. It would require two APS-C sensors placed side-by-side, or—probably more preferably—one chip cut to the same size as two. The lens would be the big issue, since X-Series lenses wouldn’t offer enough coverage. Either Fujifilm would make it a fixed-lens camera (like the X100V, but with a different lens that has coverage), or they’d need lenses that would cover the wide frame. If they decided on the interchangeable-lens concept, GF-mount lenses from the GFX series would have enough coverage, so it would make sense to use them. In other words, the XPan camera would technically be GFX, but in an X-series body and with an X-Trans sensor.

Even though the TX-1 and TX-2 looked more similar to the X100V, I think using an X-Pro body would be a good option to build it on. Call it the TX-Pro4 or X-Pan1 or something like that. The hybrid viewfinder would need to be modified to accommodate the wider frame, but otherwise the camera wouldn’t need a whole lot of changes.

XPan crop — Fujifilm X-T5 — Kodak Ektachrome E100VS v1 Recipe

There are three different sensors that Fujifilm is currently using in the X-Trans V generation of cameras: 40-megapixel (X-H2, X-T5), 26-megapixel stacked (X-H2s), and 26-megapixel X-Trans IV (X-S20). Which would they put into the XPan camera?

If they chose the 40-megapixel option, which would actually be 80-megapixel, that would be the most marketable, since megapixels sell. On the 100-megapixel GFX cameras, the XPan aspect ratio reduces the resolution to 50mp, while the 50-megapixel models reduces the resolution to 25mp; 80mp would be much more than either! The disadvantage would be the processing power required and heat dispersion necessary, which would be a huge challenge for Fujifilm, so I don’t think this is a likely option.

XPan crop — Fujifilm X-T5 — Fujicolor Superia 100 Recipe

The other two are both 26-megapixel sensors, which would equal 52mp on an XPan model. This would be the same resolution as using the XPan aspect ratio on the 100mp GFX cameras. The new stacked sensor is great for speed but is much more expensive, while the older X-Trans IV sensor is still good yet affordable. Of the two, the stacked sensor is the most intriguing; however, it would likely raise the price of the camera by around $800-$1,000 over using the X-Trans IV option. As the X-S20 demonstrates, pairing the X-Trans IV sensor with the X-Trans V processor is a viable option, and probably what Fujifilm should choose.

Basically, I’m suggesting that Fujifilm modify the (eventual) upcoming X-Pro4 with two 26mp X-Trans IV sensors (instead of the presumably 40mp X-Trans V sensor that the regular X-Pro4 will have), utilizing X-Processor 5. This would give the camera 52mp of resolution when shooting the XPan aspect ratio, or 26mp when shooting in 3:2. The XPan camera would have over 2.5-times more resolution than shooting a 40mp sensor cropped to the XPan aspect ratio.

XPan crop — Fujifilm X-T5 — Classic Slide Recipe

Who would buy this camera? Wouldn’t it be super niche? It would indeed be niche, but it would also be a “wow” product that a lot of people would talk about. Where I think it would get a lot of unexpected attention is with cinematographers, since some of the ultra-wide aspect ratios (think Ultra Panavision) could be shot in 4K, 6K, and possibly even 8K. Also, it would provide a bridge between the X-series and GFX, since those with GFX models could use their existing lenses on this camera, and those not in the GFX system could eventually jump in after buying a couple lenses for their XPan model.

Will Fujifilm make this camera? Probably not. I’d be pretty shocked. Should they? I think so. I believe it would sell well enough that it would be worthwhile for Fujifilm. I’d definitely buy one! Would you?


  1. Randy Pollock · August 19

    From your lips to FujiFilm Managers….

    • Ritchie Roesch · August 19

      I wish! I’m not certain that any Fujifilm managers read this website….

  2. David Aspinall · August 19

    When the EU announced legislation which meant the Pentax 6×7 and Xpan would dissapaer I spoke to Hasselblad about the possibility of a digital Xpan and they said it was being disscussed.
    Obviously it never happened and Fuji/Hasselblad went their own ways.
    I for one who regularly crop to Xpan format would welcome it.
    Lets keep wishing and dreaming.

    • Ritchie Roesch · August 19

      It would be wonderful to see them revise the idea and actually do it. Thanks for the input!

  3. Nick Blackburn · August 19

    It’s a brilliant idea, Ritchie. I’d buy one, but cropping a regular sensor image to XPan is sufficient for most purposes, all but large prints which many aspire to but few actually get around to.

    • Ritchie Roesch · August 19

      I think it depends. For example, my RitchieCam App has the XPan aspect ratio, which produces a 6mp picture. It’s definitely plenty good enough for internet viewing, but iffy for printing—6″x18″ is the upper limit, and probably only ok if viewed from a distance. XPan cropping from 26mp is 13mp, which is more than enough for printing 8″x24″, but maybe not enough for much larger… 16″x48″ would be out of the question, I think, unless it’s only viewed from a distance, but 12″x36″ should be ok and is probably the upper limit. XPan cropping from 40mp is 20mp, and that’s enough for 16″x48″, but 20″x60″ is definitely pushing it. So it depends on what you’re going to do with the files. For the majority of people, simply cropping to XPan is sufficient, especially if it’s from the 40mp X-Trans V sensor, so it makes a lot of sense for Fujifilm to offer that aspect ratio on the 40mp cameras.

  4. Josh · August 19

    I love this idea and agree with your suggestions! But doesn’t Fuji still source their sensors from Sony? Meaning they can’t get a custom sized sensor easily, right?

    • Ritchie Roesch · August 19

      They do. Not sure if Sony is willing to cut an XPan-shaped sensor, and, if so, how much more it would cost (I’m sure it would be more expensive). There are cameras right now that have multiple sensors (mostly security cameras and 360 cameras), but it would be the first in a mirrorless (as far as I’m aware) if Fujifilm decided to use two sensors side-by-side. There are probably challenges with that arrangement, so a single sensor would be the “easier” solution if Sony is willing to manufacture them.

  5. Chris Webb · August 19

    Fujifilm also made one of the very few 6×17 120 rollfilm cameras. I believe the only other company to make one was Linhof. I’ve got a book of 6×17 photographs taken in the Scottish Highlands and they are amazing.

    I can’t see any company making a panoramic digital camera. The development costs for such a niche and risky product would be too much.

    I played with the panoramic mode on my X-T2 a while ago and while it’s an interesting feature it isn’t easy to use, although if I had a tripod with a pan head instead of B&S it would probably be easier. I used it hand-held and if I practised more I’d probably develop the knack.

    • David · August 19

      I had a fuji 6×17 a beast but what great images

    • Ritchie Roesch · August 19

      I never found the panoramic mode to be any good on Fujifilm cameras, but maybe it was my skills and not so much the camera’s ability (or inability). I’ve tried many times, but am always disappointed.

  6. Paul Rohde · August 20

    This would be a job for GFX higher res camera. 100 MP is already twice the resolution of 40 MP. No need for a new niche camera, just get GFX. Perhaps what is needed is a specialised lens, or better, a mount converter to squish ~double the scene width to the sensor width, whilst using the full sensor height. GFX-TCXPAN, with firmware upgrade to stretch a JPG/HEIF output, or later on the PC for RAW output. An optional pixel shift mode could exist, for a quick X axis shift only to rescue X axis resolution after compilation.

    • Jeroen · August 20

      I would love to have the Xpan ratio on my xh2. A new xpro4 with just the xpan ratio would be an instant buy for me.

      Lets see what happens.

    • Ritchie Roesch · August 22

      “Just get a GFX” 🤣

      I would hope for something smaller, lighter, more affordable, and with the retro dials. That’s what I’m kind of getting at, I suppose.

      I do agree that the 100MP GFX models are probably the best bet of what’s currently available. However, it’s like telling someone who’d like a nice car to “just get a Lamborghini”…. 🤣

      The other idea is called anamorphic format, and has been done in cinematography for awhile. It’s something that could be done, and even done in-camera, with the right lenses and programming. That would be an interesting solution.

      • Paul Rohde · August 22

        Sure, a 100 MP is like a $$$ Lamborghini in comparison, but if a specialised camera was wanted as written in the article with a unique double-width sensor (new mount?, new lenses?) that would be $$$ too, thus just get a GFX, it’s already there and would likely be cheaper – and real now with other options. But if people are happy for XPAN out of their X mount, sure, Fuji should just put those options in. I’m surprised at the enthusiasm. If that enthusiasm is large, maybe an XF-XPAN anamorphic converter, if optically feasible with some current lenses, would be energy better spent canvassing for that.

      • Ritchie Roesch · August 22

        I would hope that $3,000-$4,000 would be the price range. The GFX100 and GFX100S are outside the reach for many. Aside from that, they’re big, heavy, and don’t have the retro controls—even if I could afford one I probably wouldn’t buy it for those reasons. I’d definitely take simply an XPan aspect ratio from my X-T5 (if Fujifilm made that available via a firmware update), as 20mp is still plenty of resolution for most purposes.

  7. David · August 20

    Hi maybea low cost solution could be xpan frame lines in optical viewfinder or an xpan framing choice in digital viewfinder.
    I wrote this some time ago…
    The enduring attraction of panoramics

    • Ritchie Roesch · August 22

      Oh, nice! Never thought to do that. Great pictures, BTW! Thanks for sharing 😀

      • Randy Pollock · August 22

        Enjoyed the article as well and for now guidelines seems like a band aid fix that I will enjoy using

  8. Larry Adams · August 21

    When you can’t keep up with a sure winner like the X100V, it would be difficult to launch something so truly niche. I would love to have one. One of the first cameras I ever used was a Zeiss 9x!8 inch wide-angle aerial camera, and it was a hoot to shoot! 9×18 contact prints are very cool.

    • Ritchie Roesch · August 22

      Yeah, I suppose they need to fix the issues they already have, right?! 🤣

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