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New XPan II user some questions


Active Member
Hello Xpan II converts. I'm soon to join your passion for panorama rangefinder shooting. So I have a few questions after reading the various threads here.

My reasons for selecting this marvellous camera are two-fold and I will be interested to hear more of your experiences.

While my MF shooting is with 501CM/503CW Hassy kit and the truly magnificent Zeiss lenses; my 35mm is mainly with Leica-M (M7 and M6TTL married to Leica's own great optics), which I find hard to put down. The rangefinder experience was new for me about 15 months ago and since then I have become something of a Leica addict!

However, I recently acquired a beautiful Elmarit-M 24mm lens, which has some of the most brilliant optical attributes of any very wide angle lens in any format. I love its results, BUT, since using it I have learned more about "how I see what I am seeing".

I see wide angle 35mm in a panoramic way and thus tend to crop all my 24mm shots into the equivalent of 1/2 an Xpan panorama - far too small. In MF I see things square and love the Hassy V series format.

So I played with an Xpan recently sporting a 45mm lens in panorama mode and it was a revelation! This is what I'd been really seraching for.

Alas I will need to part with my 24mm Leica lens and my second Leica M body to step into an Xpan II with 45mm and 90mm lenses. But, this kit will be my "second" body as a buddy (certainly not a "secondary" purchase by any means) to my M7.

My objective is to get superb wide angle of about 24/25mm AOV but on a larger than 135 format neg. The Xpan is the solution since it will give me a "panorama slice" of a 6x7 neg - more than my 501/503 kit can do with its 6x6 neg!

Like Lutz Konermann has said in many fora, these kits fit together very well (I also admire his "Leicagoodies").

So my questions are:
Is the Xpan II TTL metering both non-flash and flash TTL metering? (Hassy web site is not specific).

If it is TTL flash metering what SCA adapter is compatible?

Is there a 49mm (I am not sure if the XPan 45mm and 90mm lenses have same filter thread sizes) step up ring to 55mm so that I can keep my 55mm black and white filters and polariser filters that I used with my 24mm Leica lens? Does Lutz's STEPS kit for Leica have a 49mm for use with Xpan lenses?

What do you experienced XPan II users feel are its weaknesses and what accessories are "must have"?

I really like using Leica ever ready cases with my Leica-M cameras (adds to the ergonomics and feel in the hand) - is the XPan ever ready case a high quality type of a good leather?

Can I just add filters (eg red or yellow single non-slim types) to the 45mm lens when it is fitterd with the ND centre grad filter and still have the lens hood fit? Will that cause vignetting?

Many thanks for sharing your knowledge so that I can better understand what I will be "getting into".