Thoughts on Ilford Pan F?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by filmamigo, Sep 26, 2007.

  1. filmamigo

    filmamigo Member

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    I have only recently discovered Ilford Pan F 50 (I know... what rock do I live under?) Looking at samples, I love the tone and the deep blacks. So finally, I have picked up a roll in 120. I'm looking forward to trying it out.

    I wondered if anyone had any tips or hardwon experience exposing Pan F.

    For reference, I will be shooting it in a Yashica 12 and getting lab process and scan from Downtown Camera in Toronto. (Unfortunately I don't have the time/money/headspace to get into processing and printing my own yet.)
     
  2. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I used to operate a Yashica 12, and found that with slow speed emulsions, such as Ilford Pan-F+, it worked best in low light due to lens flare.
    Ilford Pan-F+ can be finicky in how you expose it, if you're not careful the highlights will build incredibly fast if you overexpose and don't have a careful check on the development. I would use a compensating developer for sure. Do you know what developer the lab uses?
    Pan-F+ can, like most other films, look fantastic. By the way, after processing 5-10 rolls of the Pan-F professionally, you will have paid roughly what it costs to buy your chemistry and a used daylight tank and develop your own. With finicky films such as Pan-F, it's nice to have the control of processing film yourself.
    - Thomas
     
  3. Snapshot

    Snapshot Member

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    As Thomas has indicated, PanF+ is tempermental on how it is to be exposed. Contrast can be difficult to control so bear that in mind when using this film. I do like PanF+ and shoot with it when I'm in the mood to take my time as it has nice tones. Be prepared for the occassional blown highlight, however, until you master it.
     
  4. loman

    loman Subscriber

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    I'll definately recommend devolopping this film yourself. I would never trust it to a lab. I know you say you don't have the time and money etc. yet to process yourself, but when you do, I would recommend exposing pan f at EI 32 and developping in rodinal 1+50 for 7 minutes, with gentle (and I mean gentle) agitation the first 30 seconds, then two gentle inversions every thirthy seconds thereafter. The reason for the gentle agitation is to avoid the highlights from being blown out.
    If I had to rely on a lab to have my b&w film developped I would stick with Ilford fp4+ it's a much more robust and easy film to work with, so it will be more difficult for the lab to screw things up.
    Just my thoughts.
    Cheers
    Mads
     
  5. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    If you need to use a lab I suggest that you expose for the highlight and let the shadows fall where they may. I have a bulk roll of Pan F 35, I like both Pan F 35 in DK 50 and Di xoctol. DDX is also good.
     
  6. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    When I used Pan F+ I developed it in Rodinal. I think the two were made for each other.
     
  7. walter23

    walter23 Member

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    The only time I ever tried it I had really deep blacks. The reason was that every frame was grossly underexposed :wink: Some of the thinnest negatives I've ever seen.

    I haven't played with it since, so I don't know what the secret is. No doubt it's a film you have to learn to use properly.

     
  8. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    Indeed, a fussy film, but if processed properly, a very good film. As a suggestion, b/w films really need to be processed by the photographer. That way you can control the contrast to your liking.

    BTW, I'm still trying to master this film, even after 20 rolls. Getting close, tho'!
     
  9. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Nice stuff, but not something I'd trust to a commercial lab unless they did custom work. I like mine cooked in D-76, 1+3 for about 15 minutes at 68F. Keeps the highlights in check and allows for full (or very close to) film speed.
     
  10. craigclu

    craigclu Subscriber

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    What have you settled into for a developer, Jim? I've been occasionally returning to a large freezer stash of PanF+ and haven't hit on a magic combo yet.
     
  11. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    EI 40, Rodinal 1:50 15 minutes, agitate for 10 sec. then 10 sec. at 5 and 10 minutes. Pre Soak, fix and wash as prescribed.
     
  12. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    Hi Craig, I've been using Frederik Boone's time of 20 min. with Rodinal 1+100. Boone recommends 2 inversions/min., but I do only 1 to help keep highlights in check. This info is from the film/dev chart at unblinkingeye.com.

    Like Frank, I also like D-76, 1+3 for 15 min.; don't ask which is better:confused:

    My jury is still out on these combos, but I'm close, just a matter of tweaking things. I really like APX 25, but I'm out of it in 120 and low in 35mm, so I figured I'd better learn Pan-F.

    Efke 25 seems to be an easier film to work with, tonality and highlight-wise, but QC stinks.
     
  13. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    More thoughts: I'm really having trouble with Pan-F and Pyrocat HD. Others seem to like this combo, but I have yet to nail it down.

    Pan-F may be just screaming to be souped in a pyro/cat dev to help with highlights, although I'm not sure how well it stains.
     
  14. Travis Nunn

    Travis Nunn Member

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    A good friend of mine uses PanF as his primary film and he just follows Ilford's recommendation for D-76 1:1, 8.5 minutes at 20 deg and he shoots at box speed. His negatives always look great.

    I, on the other hand, can't seem to find anything that works for me. I've tried it with D-76, Sprint and Rodinal and I haven't found a combo that I like yet.
     
  15. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    That sounds like a lot of agitation. I have recently processed PAN F in Rodinal 1+100 for twenty minutes but with agitation every five minutes which seemed about right.


    Steve.
     
  16. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    That could be worth a look. However, with the price of film these days (the good stuff, over $40.00 for 100 ft!) I can't keep experimenting willy-nilly with film and devs anymore. I'd like to nail it down fast!:smile:
     
  17. George Hart

    George Hart Member

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    FWIW I use Perceptol with this film, which is a bit of a historic combination. I rate it at 25, and my baseline time in Perceptol 1+1 is ~9 min at 20 degC, agitation every 1 min.
     
  18. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear filmamigo,

    For your situation, there is no alternative to bracketing your exposures. You need to run a test roll through your exposure system and then through your processor to find out how to handle things. This assumes that both you and your processor will be reasonably consistent in the future. It will likely require several iterations before you're really content.

    One last note, there is no magic in the choice of film. I use a lot of PanF+ because I do think it looks good but, as with every other film I've tried, when it doesn't look good it's always been my fault.

    Neal Wydra
     
  19. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    I think this is the issue. It's as much personal preference (and working habits) as anything else. I, too, get perfectly acceptable negatives from PanF in D-76 or ID-11. However, I "like" Rodinal better. But then, not with other films ... :smile:
     
  20. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    HOORAY! Good for you, Neal, someone who knows whats going on.

    This reminds me of the sister of a bride I met this w/e at a bridal fair. She asked if I did weddings in digital and I asked if it mattered. She told me she had a friend "photograph" her wedding and the film got exposed leaving her with only one photo. I replied that it wasn't the film's fault!
     
  21. Simon R Galley

    Simon R Galley Subscriber

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    Dear Jim,

    I also remember when I was learning to be a photographer in the early 1980's
    ( and one of my jobs was hand printing the mono orders ) a lady had lost her wedding album in a move to Australia...it was gone for ever, she was really distraught, she contacted us in case we still had the negs...oh yes we did, from my recollection it was certainly shot in the early 1960's I can remember the negs being a bit curly but I can remember the satisfaction printing it and shipping it to Australia and how happy she was.

    Do that with d******l after 20 odd years...don't think so.

    Obviously a bit 'off topic' sorry, re PAN F+ I do not use much, but when I do I soup it in ID11 and I bracket, but then I always bracket no matter what film I use, but then again I probably pay a lot less for film than you do...one of the perks of the job.

    Simon ILFORD photo / HARMAN technology Limited
     
  22. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Simon. It may not matter if such things aren't possible with d****** in 20 years time. We've produced a generation for whom most things are not for keeps and permanence or history matters little. Not their fault. They are prodcuts of the times in which they live.

    When things break down I reach for a screwdriver to see what may have occurred. My son, of the instant replacement generation, reaches for the waste bin.

    To the OP. Before I knew anything about film and had just started on a night school course I went through a period of trying any new Ilford film I could and simply developing it in ID11 according to Ilford data at the night school. I didn't know about some films' difficulties.

    Some Pan F shots were of Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire in contrasty sunshine both above ground and in the shady basement with shafts of sunshine streaking through. All negs came out acceptable with some outstanding.

    Sometimes ignorance is bliss. It's a bit like the guy who flies a jet OK until he reads the manual and "realises" the difficulties of such flying and then decides that knowing the difficulties he had no business even trying.

    pentaxuser
     
  23. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Hi Jim,

    Thanks, I have plenty of hindsight to learn from.

    Too bad about the wedding photos. At least she has one. ;>)

    Neal Wydra
     
  24. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    My apologies to the original poster. I'm way off topic now. But I can't help myself. I just read this and had to smile, a big one too from ear to ear.

    What a good story. It's also interesting to see someone as humble as Neal admit that when it doesn't look right it's usually not because of the film. I will be the first to admit a mistake, and that I make them all the time. But when I get it right, it seems it doesn't matter much what the materials are.

    I recently came back from a trip to the Lake Superior North shore. I shot three types of sheet film, Tmax 400, Tri-X, and APX 100. I can't really tell THAT much difference between them. Not enough to be sold on either.

    Get some Pan-F, shoot a lot of it and develop it an any B&W developer. I'm sure you will be able to produce outstanding negatives once you're used to that combination, same as any other combination.

    - Thomas

     
  25. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    Dear Simon,

    Thank you for the reply. I'm sure you do get Pan-F at just a bit of a discount. Love the film. We'll nail it down sooner or later. The fun part is taking the photos.

    Jim