I’ve always wanted a Fujifilm TX-1. Or, if I needed to compromise, a Hasselblad XPAN. They are essentially the same camera, produced by Fujifilm. The black version took on the Hasselblad name and circulated the western market. The one I fell in love with, however, is the champagne-colored and elegantly handsome Fujifilm TX-1 beautifully accentuated with a wood grip.

How the Fujifilm TX-1 made me fall back in love with photography – FUJILOVE  MAGAZINE
Photo by David Imel

Sometimes, the hype is absolutely justified. Everything about the TX-1 radiates quality and finesse. The entire camera fits comfortably in my small hands, and the panoramic viewfinder is bright and clear.

One of my favorite features is that upon loading a can of film, it winds all of it out onto a spool first. When an exposure is made, the film rolls back into the can, protecting the exposed images if the camera back were to be accidentally opened. Honestly, I wonder why this design hasn’t been adopted by every automatic film advance system.

Enough about the camera itself. The images produced are every bit as moving as I wanted them to be. Starting with 4 frames near where I live.

Kodak Portra continues to meet my expectations. The high dynamic range performed beautifully in these high contrast scenes, even though I estimated my exposure quite freely. These frames look like stills from a movie, and I love the format for that.

Another shot I took near Van Ness street in San Francisco serendipitously created this continuity of a red band, running through the reflection on the left windows to the wall of the BevMo building.

Heading south to San Jose, I navigated a precariously chaotic sidewalk along a track overpass to capture these two shots. I drove past the bridge many times and was never able to stop and photograph from that angle until this day.

The expansive aspect ratio was exactly what I needed to express what my eyes were seeing.

Moving on, I ventured into the empty SAP center parking lot, and attempted to frame this shot, albeit unsuccessfully. I wanted to show it here still because of the potential, though I couldn’t find a spot to stand where I could include everything without unwanted obstructions. The composition I had in mind would’ve included a more balanced distribution of white space behind the apartment building. Still, I liked the conic funnel the signal light structure and the apartment building create in this image.

I was also reasonably happy with the following two. They aren’t particularly remarkable, but I do like the feeling of stillness in them.

Finally, two shots in Palo Alto to experiment with the cinematic aspect ratio.

Honestly, I wasn’t sure how the shots were going to turn out. The roll sat in my fridge for many months, I wasn’t particularly excited to send them in. But after seeing the results, I think I finally get it: the magic of 2.7:1. It’s stupidly simple, but also precisely because of it, the experience of using a TX-1 is so elegant.

I don’t think it’ll become my default camera though. The portability of Nikon L35AF still beats my other cameras, and my Leica M-A still wins in the versatility department. However, I do feel that this is worthy of a travel landscape camera, or a special projects tool.

I’m happy to finally have a TX-1 in my toolbox, and I’m eager to create many memorable photographs with it before its electronics eventually give out.