REVIEW: XPAN Leather Bag
(This is my personal review of the Xpan Leather Case 580 (3054468))
So with the news that the Xpan camera will no longer produced, I've been keeping my eye out for Xpan items. I've always wondered about the Xpan Leather Bag and when a new one came up on ebay last week for $100 including shipping, I bought it. The same bag sells for $125 (without shipping) at B&H so I figured it was a good deal. Now I recently bought a Domke bag that was small and usable but jammed with my stuff.
The bag arrived on Monday and to be honest, I was let down. This bag is really small. The Hasselblad website says it measures (LxWxH): 270 x 130 x 260 mm (10.8” x 5.2” x 10.4”). So I quickly started to unload the Domke to load up the new leather bag. Let me state here that the leather is really nice and soft.
In the main compartment, the body with the 45mm lens and hood attached can fit vertically with a separate space for an additional lens. I also own the 90mm lens and that fits fine but I can't imagine trying to fit the 30mm with the finder into this bag as well. I can hold 6 rolls of film on the inside of the main compartment without stacking it on the body or the 90mm lens. (To be clear: in the main compartment is the body with 45mm lens and hood, 90mm lens with hood, and six rolls of film.)
The front outside pocket folds out and has a few little mesh pockets inside. I put three 49mm filters with plastic case inside and I could barely close it back up. So I had to move the filters around in order to have my filters with me in this bag. I like to keep my filters in their plastic cases so taking them out of them while in the bag is not an option for me. Especially since the center filter costs $250.
The bag has two "cellphone" pockets on either end of the bag and since I prefer to keep my phone on my person, I was able to get 2 rolls of film in their canisters in each pocket.
As for useful space, there isn't a whole lot. Don't even think about putting a light meter in this bag if you are carrying the same things I have listed above. I suppose you could take out the six rolls of film and fit a light meter in the main compartment, but then you are down to carrying 4 rolls of film in this bag. I also suppose you could really jam more film in this but I like to be organized and I like to use just one hand to get my stuff out of the bag.
Major Screw Up
For some reason, Fuji or Hasselblad or whomever, decided the bag should not be securely closed with a zipper or a clasp. It closes up with velcro!!!! Why oh why, would they do this? There are inner flaps (thin pieces of useless nylon) that cover the body and the lenses that also use velcro pieces, and then the main flap/cover is leather and padded BUT it also uses velcro to "lock" into place.
This is simply awful for several reasons. First, velcro is loud and gathers every bit of lint or loose thread in a three mile radius. Second, if the bag were to ever fall over, I am not sure the contents would stay securely in place. Third, the bag is not weather tight which is very frustrating for a bag that costs this much.
Overall, the bag is very nice. The leather is soft and the construction is up to the Hasselblad name (which is prominently placed on the front flap). The bag comes with three straps: a leather shoulder strap with a small pad, a hand strap, and a built in waist strap.. The hand strap is a major plus for me as I sometimes hate using the shoulder strap. Both straps have sturdy clips on the ends. All of the metal on this bag (clips, zipper pulls) appear to be a dulled aluminum. Nice touch.
If you want a simple bag that can carry the same equipment that I have, including some film, and your not in a serious weather climate, this is a good bag. Great, maybe. Perfect, no.
Would I buy this bag again or would I have bought it if I had seen it in person? Probably not. But I am a Hasselblad kind of guy and like to have all of their products so I will keep the bag. Especially if the news of the Xpan demise is true.
Last edited by david b : 01-25-2006 at 09:49.