Review: Bergger Pancro400 roll film by David Tatnall

Review: Bergger Pancro400 roll film by David Tatnall

Pancro400 is a panchromatic film made up of two emulsions, silver bromide and silver iodide. It has been available in sheet film sizes since 2015 a review of Pancro400 sheet film can be seen here https://viewcameraaustralia.org/2017/06/28/review-bergger-pancro400-sheet-film/  From March 2017 is has been available in roll film sizes.

The general conclusion from the testing of this film is that has very good latitude showing it can produce good results while rated at 200, 400, 800 or 1600ISO. It produces varying tonality and grain depending on the speed and developer combination chosen.

I found the combination of 400ISO and Ber49 developer produced very good combination of tonal range and grain size. I also liked the combination of 400ISO and Xtol developer that produced beautiful skin tones in my tests.

Photographers using 35mm rangefinder cameras in ‘street photography’ style will like the 400 or 800ISO and Rodinal developer combination that has a pronounced grain and slightly gritty quality.

Photography is about the physical print rather than its digital reproduction. The test prints made from these negatives show the gradation of tonality is much finer as is the grain than in these reproductions.

I found the Pancro400 roll film to be versatile with good latitude that produced very pleasing prints.

Testing the Pancro400 in both 120 and 35mm roll film sizes was done between March and August 2017 in available light conditions.

Cameras used:
·      Hasselblad 501CM
·      Zero Image 2000 (pinhole camera)
·      Voigtlander R3A

Developers used:
·      Ber49*
·      Berspeed*
·      ID11
·      Xtol
·      Rodinal
·      PMK

*Ber49 and Berspeed are film developers made by Bergger. Both are three part powder developers that are mixed with water to make a one-litre solution. Working strength 1:1 at 24° C.

Ber49 is a fine grain developer that retains film speed. It is similar Kodak’s Microdol-X, Agfa’s Atomal and Tetnal’s Emofin.

Berspeed is a fine grain developer that allows speed increase.

   

Film speeds tested:
·      200ISO
·      400ISO
·      800ISO
·      1600ISO

For 35mm the R3A’s inbuilt light meter was used. For 120 both the 501CM and the pinhole camera, a one degree spot meter and the zone system were used.

All film was processed in Paterson tanks.

Developers, ratios, times and temperatures used for processing Pancro400:
·      400ISO Ber49 1:1 17minutes and 30 seconds at 24°C.
·      800ISO Berspeed 1:1 10 minutes and 50 seconds at 24°C.
·      1600ISO Berspeed 1:1 13 minutes and 45 seconds at 24°C.
·      400ISO ID11 1:1 17 minutes at 20°C.
·      200ISO ID11 1:1 14 minutes at 20°C.
·      400ISO Xtol 1:1 18 minutes at 20°C.
·      400ISO Rodinal 1:25 8 minutes at 20°C.
·      800ISO Rodinal 1:25 13 minutes at 20°C.
·      400ISO PMK 1+2+100 18 minutes at 20°C.

These processing times and temperatures are as recommended by the manufactures. Fine tuning of speed rating developing time and ratios should be done by experimentation.

Shown here are three sets of exposures made in quick secession using Pancro400 rated at 400ISO and 800ISO with a comparison photograph made on HP5+ rated at 400ISO. This was developed in ID11 1:1 for 13 minutes at 20°C.

Set one. Wattle and grasses, Yarra Bend

            

(Click above images to see larger)…
Left: HP5+ photograph shows good definition between the blacks in the trunks and the back light grasses. Developed in ID11.
Centre: Pancro400 at 400ISO also good definition, overall slightly less contrast. Developed in Ber49.
Right: Pancro400 at 800ISO still good definition, less contrast and slightly flatter. Developed in Berspeed.

Set two. Yarra River at Pound Bend

          

(Click above images to see larger)…
Left: HP5+ shows good tonality with strong whites in the moving water and good blacks in the wet rock. Developed in ID11.
Centre: Pancro400 at 400ISO shows good tonality also with good whites and black. Developed in Ber49.
Right: Pancro400 at 800ISO slightly flatter contrast overall, but still has good black and white. Developed in Berspeed.

Set three. Steps and leaves. Fairfield

          

(Click above images to see larger)…
Left: HP5+ shows good tonality overall. developed in ID11.
Centre: Pancro400 at 400ISO also good overall tonality, slightly less depth in the black. Developed in Ber49.
Right: Pancro400 at 800ISO very close to the 400ISO version with good tonality. developed in Berspeed.

In these tests the Pancro400 rated at 400ISO and processed in Ber49 showed fine grain and good tonality. At 800ISO and processed in Berspeed the tonality was good and grain also relatively fine.

Prints made from these negatives showed greater tonality and less grain than the scanned images reproduced here.

 

Nasturtium Leaves. Pancro400 rated at 200ISO and processed in ID11. This close-up photograph of nasturtium leaves was made using an extension tube. Very good tonality with rich blacks and good definition. Processed at ID11 1:1 12 minutes at 20°C.

 

 Two photographers. This portrait of photographers Lloyd Shield and Shane Booth with their 11×14 pinhole cameras was made on a very bright sunny day in front of a very dark plantation of Redwoods. Made on Pancro400 rated at 400ISO and processed in Ber49 it has a beautiful tonal range in the skin tones. Also very good definition is retained in the dark plantation behind.

 

Mount Alexander Nude. Made on Pancro400 rated at 400ISO with an orange filter processed in Xtol. Beautiful tonal range in the skin tones.

 

Cape Conran. 35mm Pancro400 rated at 400ISO processed in Xtol. A good range of tones in both photographs, more grainy as you would expect from a 35 mm negative.

 

 

 Cape Conran. 35 mm Pancro400 rated at 1600ISO processed in Berspeed. Grain is very present in both photographs; the close-up of the rocks and seaweed has very good definition and tonality.

                        

Pinhole photography workshop. 35mm Pancro400 rated at 400ISO processed in Rodinal. Good definition in the shadows and highlights.

 

Snowy River Estuary. Made on a 6×6 pinhole camera Pancro400 rated at 400ISO and processed in PMK. The exposure time of forty seconds was calculated by using reciprocity chart that can be seen in link to review of Pancro400 sheet film above. Very subtle tonal range.

 

More information about Pancro400 and Bergger developers can be found at their web site: http://bergger.com

All photographs in this article are by David Tatnall.

   

Neither David Tatnall or View Camera Australia received any compensation for writing this review.

 

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