Hasselblad has been forced to axe its groundbreaking dual-format XPan system camera because of a new European environmental regulation set to limit the amount of lead in electrical products.

Hasselblad has been forced to axe its groundbreaking dual-format XPan system camera because of a new European environmental regulation set to limit the amount of lead in electrical products.

We also understand that the Pentax 645NII and 6711 medium-format SLRs will fall victim to the new EU rules though this has yet to be officially confirmed.

The cameras fall foul of the Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2004 (RoHS Regulations) which come into force on 1 July. This prevents electrical companies using lead solder in their circuit boards explained a spokesman for Hasselblad (UK). Lead is considered to be harmful to the environment when disposed of.

The Hasselblad spokesman added: ?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.?

Reacting to the news Hasselblad (UK) Ltd managing director Simon Barnard said: ?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. However, there is really no other option open to us.? He added: ?Obviously we will continue to support the product line for at least ten years.?

The XPan system produces standard or panoramic format images on 35mm film, with the user being able to switch between formats on the same roll of film.

Hasselblad confirmed that it will continue to supply both 30mm and 90mm XPan lenses ?for a while more?.