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New EC law forces Hasselblad to discontinue XPan camera

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Category: Specialist

New EC law forces Hasselblad to discontinue XPan camera - Hasselblad's 35mm XPan panoramic camera falls foul of new laws set out by the European Community

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Hasselblad XPan
New EC law forces Hasselblad to discontinue XPan camera
Press release
Hasselblad has, unfortunately, been forced to discontinue the manufacture of the XPan system with immediate effect. Hasselblad (UK) Limited has a small number of kits, but has said that it will not be able to get any more when they have run out, although there will be a supply of both 30mm and 90mm XPan lenses for a while more.

There are a number of reasons why the XPan cannot be continued, but the timing has been forced upon us by the European Community in the form of the Disposal of Hazardous Waste Regulations. These come into effect in mid July and prevent electronics manufacturers using lead solder in their circuit boards. The XPan is evidently manufactured using lead, and falls foul of these new rules. The cost of redesigning the circuits in a way that removes the need for lead solder is too high, given the declining worldwide sales of the camera. Consequently Hasselblad have been forced into the decision not to produce any more.

Simon Barnard, Managing Director of Hasselblad (UK) Limited stated: It seems a great shame that this innovative, iconic camera should have to be discontinued in this way, especially as UK sales have been particularly good, but there is really no other choice open to us. Obviously, we will continue to support the product line for at least ten years.

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21 Mar 2006 - 12:10 PM

Total beaurocratic lunacy...

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21 Mar 2006 - 12:11 PM

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timbo  11591 forum posts United Kingdom
21 Mar 2006 - 12:11 PM


FrankThomas e2 Member 112762 forum postsFrankThomas vcard United Kingdom
21 Mar 2006 - 12:14 PM

Bloody european parliament!! beaurocracy gone mad

exclusive  9579 forum posts United Kingdom
21 Mar 2006 - 12:24 PM

damn, i was gonna get one when i had enough money.

but too be fair it is quite of Lead, which is a danger tot he enviroment.

can always but one in the USA?

Tony_M  10342 forum posts England
21 Mar 2006 - 1:10 PM

I don't understand why the XPan requires lead solder on its circuit boards if the vast majority of current cameras do not.

Any thoughts?

Bernard Caulfield

Tony, it could be that the only other material that would work well enough would be gold. With obvious cost implications.

foxybrown  9368 forum posts
21 Mar 2006 - 3:03 PM

fcuk the EU

suleesia  9176 forum posts Malaysia
21 Mar 2006 - 3:57 PM

falls fowl? what's that got to do with chicken?

timiano  9894 forum posts United Kingdom
21 Mar 2006 - 4:41 PM

Absolute lunacy,

There are a million and one other things that probably contribute by a factor of a million and one to lead in our environment.

Has the world gone mad?

conrad e2 Member 910870 forum postsconrad vcard 116 Constructive Critique Points
21 Mar 2006 - 10:32 PM

An unbelievable and regrettable development. And high time someone put a stop to this kind of bureaucratic idiocy.

pfheyes  9254 forum posts United Kingdom1 Constructive Critique Points
21 Mar 2006 - 10:34 PM

I'm speechless.

21 Mar 2006 - 10:42 PM

Unreal it really is

luxor  8 United States
21 Mar 2006 - 10:53 PM

I am a real tree hugger, but also a scientist. How is the Lead going to escape the camera body and poison anyone?? It's not a disposable that goes in a landfill, and is too well built to shed particles of debris. This just discredits real, vital environmental efforts.

moto  9
21 Mar 2006 - 11:07 PM

What a load of rubbish, the world is getting madder by the day, I don't have an Xpan but they must weigh a tonne to be a hazard!!!!!!!

how much lead is in there?????? 10g?? can't be much!

21 Mar 2006 - 11:15 PM

The only thing I could think off is someone has to service and possibly repair them. They would be the ones most at risk as they would be in the guts of the camera itself amongst the circuit boards and possibly using the solder.

21 Mar 2006 - 11:35 PM

More to the point, if you had one, why would you ever throw it away?!

JJGEE  96103 forum posts England18 Constructive Critique Points
22 Mar 2006 - 12:26 AM

If Hasselblad was a French Company it would stick two fingers up at the E.C. and carry on regardless as this is what it appears the French do to any regulations ! !

mattmatic  10598 forum posts
22 Mar 2006 - 12:35 AM

FWIW: It's not the camera containing lead that's the big problem. It's having the solder baths full of a couple of tons of molten lead in the electronics manufacturing plants that causes the greatest problems. As a consequence of the ROHS (Reduction of Hazardous Substances) regulations these plants have to migrate to other environmentally free methods, and that involves the designers making significant changes.

Lead free solutions require higher temperatures to melt the solder, and not all electronic components are available lead free anyway. So in some cases it's not possible, or cost effective, to update a design.

Still, this directive has been known about for a long time...

In the case of this camera - it's a great shame. Would've liked to actually see one (have seen some of the great results).

vickyh  12706 forum posts United Kingdom
22 Mar 2006 - 1:43 AM

No way. I'm shocked!


This was one of my 'one day when I'm rich' dream cameras.

Now its going to be my 'one day when I'm exceptionally rich and can afford the even higher prices to which it will now no doubt soar' camera.

I'd vote for a new EU regulation to control the emission of methane gas and semi-solid animal effluent from the EU's legislative ar**, sorry, I mean arm....

tim franklin
22 Mar 2006 - 2:25 AM

The reality I think, is that Fuji (who actually make the XPan, and sell it under their own name in Japan) wanted out for whatever reason, and the EU Directive is, to an extent an excuse.

Its a shame to see the camera disappear however.


If its made by Fuji, does that means its actually made in Japan? Therefore, does the new law affect imports too? Or are they saying that the world market isn't enough once you remove the EU from the equation?

deviant  103024 forum posts United Kingdom1 Constructive Critique Points
22 Mar 2006 - 2:52 AM

The laws regarding not using leads been about since the 90's and as Matt said it's more to do with the huge amounts used by the electronics industry in general. Most people have been on a lead free process for years. It involves slight redesign of the circuit pads and certain components but is by no means rocket science. This just smacks of an excuse to me.

azzabc  9185 forum posts United Kingdom
22 Mar 2006 - 3:43 AM

Have you heard about how this change affects church organs!!! Theres an interesting issue.

muppeteer  1180 forum posts England
22 Mar 2006 - 3:45 AM

don't suppose it affects church bells does it? some of us love a lie in on sundays!

muppeteer  1180 forum posts England
22 Mar 2006 - 3:47 AM

on a serious note tho, i agree with deviant and feel that this is an easy way for a corporation to blame bearocracy when it basically feels it wont be able to make enough money out of a product.

muppeteer  1180 forum posts England
22 Mar 2006 - 3:50 AM

on a serious note tho, i agree with deviant and feel that this is an easy way for a corporation to blame bearocracy when it basically feels it wont be able to make enough money out of a product.

JJGEE  96103 forum posts England18 Constructive Critique Points
22 Mar 2006 - 4:37 AM

"Don't suppose it affects church bells does it?"

Perhaps not but earlier in the week there was a news item that St Paul's Catherdral in LONDON may not now be able to restore their organ pipes which apparently contain lead.

Consulo  9762 forum posts Scotland9 Constructive Critique Points
22 Mar 2006 - 4:58 AM

This is an absolute travesty.

perrism  9
22 Mar 2006 - 6:29 AM

Today, I got a replacement Nikon UC-E4 USB cable for my Nikon DSLR and it contains the warning, "WARNING : Handling the cord on this product will expose you to lead, a chemical known in the State of California to cause birth defects and other reproductive harm. WASH HANDS AFTER HANDLING". So are they going to ban USB cables, too?

22 Mar 2006 - 8:22 AM

I use multi-core solder every day. I seem to recall that solder is 60/40 lead and tin (please correct me - it's been a while!) so... am I going to have to find something else to do for a living because they're going to ban solder??
... and the first one to say 'Scotch-Locks' gets it!! OK!!

tonyheps  111 Constructive Critique Points
22 Mar 2006 - 10:57 AM

They've gone too far this time - I wanted that camera!

tim franklin
22 Mar 2006 - 12:41 PM

>Or are they saying that the world market isn't enough once you remove the EU from the equation?

I understand the UK was the most successful market for the XPan (as it apparently was for the much missed Fuji medium format rangefinders), but the sales of the camera have been declining. For the current sales volume, Hasselblad say it would simply be uneconomic to redesign the circuit boards to eliminate the lead. They are annoyed by this, because the EU legislation is primarily aimed at short life-span consumer goods like computers, mobile phones etc, but as is so often the case, the half-wits who draw up these rules prefer to condemn all the innocent as well, rather than let one guilty man go free.

I did see that piece about church organ pipes being caught up by this rule; indeed, I very nearly mentioned it in my previous post, but thought it a bit OT. The problem seems to be that many modern instruments use electric motors to pump air through the pipes. Presumably, some of those contain lead solder (as mentioned the pipes are also partiaally lead, and to remove it would have a detrimental impact on the sound quality). Someone recently commented that our obsession with health and safety is costing us dear in the quality of our lives - how true that is. Sad

mattw  105189 forum posts United Kingdom10 Constructive Critique Points
22 Mar 2006 - 11:40 PM

hmmmmm, so 'lead' is out, but building new nuclear power plants is OK. Have we got our priorities right??


MrTooth  8 England
23 Mar 2006 - 4:14 PM

What about mercury amalgam fillings? Will people with these in their mouths upon dying have to be disposed of as hazardous waste too?

safaribry  940 forum posts United Kingdom
23 Mar 2006 - 10:25 PM

to me it sounds like an excuse to pull a great but not profitable camera...and save face and money...with a fairly poor but believable story...shame it really is a great piece of kit

simon butterworth

What a tragedy.
I love using my XPan so much I have just bought another to keep me going. I just can't imagine a walk in the highlands with out it!

24 Mar 2006 - 11:24 AM

Such a shame to see a great camera discontinued. A new version with a high-resolution digital back would be infinitely popular, but I dont suppose we will be lucky enough to see this. Hasselblad take note!

Ycmah  9 Australia
25 Mar 2006 - 4:06 PM

I think this is just another example of pitfalls for a monopoly position: allowing them pricing too high to be out of reach of ordinary forks result in a smaller pool of enthusiasts, lack of competition and complacency that make them even reluntant to redesign with non-lead!

u08mcb  105817 forum posts
27 Mar 2006 - 2:24 AM

Quote: What about mercury amalgam fillings? Will people with these in their mouths upon dying have to be disposed of as hazardous waste too?

I'm guessing you're a dentist? Surely you'd be aware that you could drink several pints of mercury before the gut would absorb enough of it to do damage?

PeteBailey  11 United Kingdom
31 Mar 2006 - 9:54 AM

I agree it seems to be bureaucracy gone mad, but lead is a dangerous substance, and I think it is not what is in the camera that is the problem, but what happens during the manufacturing process to get it there; lead fumes are toxic!
To have an Xpan was always an unachievable aspiration, but I might be able to secure similar panoramic views by cropping the middle out of my 6cm x 4.5cm (actually 57mm x 41mm) transparencies, to get 57mm x 21mm photos (a ratio of 2.71:1, the same as the Xpan). An alternative with my Mamiya 645Pro would be to use a 35mm back with panoramic adapter, producing frames of 13mm x 36mm, a ratio of 2.77:1. So the world of panoramic photos need not die with the Xpan, there are alternatives, but often at a cost.
I feel that I have missed something but don't know what....any comments?

Trajan  8
31 Mar 2006 - 10:18 PM

i have found no confirmation on the Hasselblad Website.
What gives?


Get one from Fuji out of Japan, they manufacture them afterall.

ChrisPD  8
5 Apr 2006 - 3:13 AM

This is the most pathetic, backward-looking decision since the withdrawal of Concorde! I'm lucky enough to Have an XPan II with all the lenses, but I feel very sorry for those writing here who were still saving for one. I would love a spare 45mm lens just in case - mine is very well used now. I travel a great deal with my camera, and will now live in fear of it being damaged or stolen!

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