Still don’t have the camera of your dreams? Saving up for it is the usual route, but definitely not the only route. You might want to follow the example of photographer and cinematographer Casey Cavanaugh, who took matters into his own hands and built his own Hasselblad X-Pan. If that sounds amazingly cool, we assure you — it is!
It’s definitely something that requires more mad skills than building something like an advanced pinhole camera. Fortunately for our guy here, he picked up machining a while back. Because of it, he was able to make his anamorphic dreams come true and build his own Hasselblad X-Pan, which he dubbed the Hasselblad GX-Pan.
Here’s how he did it:
Basically, Cavanaugh machined his own custom adapter for attaching an anamorphic lens to a Hasselblad 500 C/M medium format camera. “What makes this better than the Hasselblad X-Pan in my opinion is that it gives you a true anamorphic widescreen image,” he said.
For those who aren’t familiar yet with anamorphic lenses, he also briefly explained what they do. These special lenses take your usual 6×6 medium format image and stretches it out to a widescreen image on your negative. They retain the vertical height of your image but make it wider on the sides. But, he cautions that the widest field of view that you can get is 85mm; anything wider than that and adapter creates vignetting on your images. For his setup, Cavanaugh chose a 150mm f1.4 Zeiss lens, which produces roughly an 85mm equivalent on medium format, and attached a Sankor 16C Anamorphic Lens to it using his custom adapter.
One challenging aspect about his setup, however, is that the projector lens functions independently from the camera lens that it’s attached to. But it’s all worth it: his results are really great. Casey gave a pretty interesting description about the shooting experience. “It’s literally like walking around with an IMAX movie camera that just takes stills,” he said. It’s easy to understand his glee since he’s also a cinematographer by profession.
Check out Casey Cavanaugh’s YouTube channel for more of his cool photography videos.
Screenshot image from the video by Casey Cavanaugh