The xpan is a traditional flat plane film camera with a panoramic crop and the horizon is a swing lens panoramic camera, and they are very different tools. They aren't really comparable as they do different things. Some of the earlier horizons did have quality control issues that caused banding in some of the cameras. I would be curious to hear more opinions as well on the latest model
Jamie, you are absolutely right. There is huge difference in final pictured taken with those two cameras, like day and night. After many years of using Horizonts i tried Xpan for a year and I had to give up. Beautifully made camera with amazing features but on the end it didn't help me produce pictures I liked. Mechanically Horizonts can be challenged, even the newest S3 model. They are very crude picture taking machines but they can produce the most beautiful results. Banding is an issue when people mistakenly keep fingers close to rotating speed setting drum or if camera has some mechanical issues. But generally banding was never an issue with my 4 Horizont/Horizon 202 cameras or with S3 I tried. But be ready for everything else!
My expectation of sharpness is, able to print on 11x14 paper full frame (obviously, the image will not fill the paper vertically) and not see softening. I don't expect top end Nikon sharp or Zeiss sharp but I would like to see decent results.
I print on 16x20 paper cut in half for 8x20. You'll be fine.
tkamiya, pictures from Xpan simply looked like centre cropped 6x7 negatives, witch this is basically concept of this system. Everything was so straight. I was fine with horizontal angle of lens view but I couldn't adjust on vertical angle of 45mm lens. It was way to narrow for my liking. I was missing vertical angle of 28mm lens. If I had money to buy 30mm Xpan lens then my vertical angle will be OK but then my horizontal angle will be just too wide. The reason why I thought Xpan will work for me is because sometimes Horizont's horizontal 120 degree angle of view was to wide. Then rotating lens made all the difference I was looking for and Xpan with 45 and 90mm lenses was sold. And I never looked back! You can also check their New S3 model. The ugliest camera known to man, but it works!
Other than the angle of view issue both vertical and horizontal, do images taken by these cameras (Xpan and swing lens) differ in any way? Do the images get compressed/distorted differently? I'm tying to get a grip on the image differences, still. I ask this because I could, conceivably get an ultra-wide lens for my Nikon and crop top and bottom.
No, I don't think S3 is ugly at all.... I think it's neat looking!