To Techpan or not to Techpan....that is my question...

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by PKM-25, Feb 12, 2012.

  1. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    Ok, so I am trying to be a bit more mature and professional about my film choices for the next few years in terms of realistic image making as a business instead of dabbling. I started "gathering" Kodak Technical Pan in both 35mm and 120 in 2004. Needless to say I have a pretty healthy stash of it, all late dates, deep frozen. I also have a about half the Technidol required to soup it, the other half is TD3.

    Now that Rollei ATP is out I have been playing with it a bit and it is good, no grain, but curls like Shirly Temple. I have started printing an edition of landscapes from APX-25 in 120 and I just love the tonality, a total breeze to print, have a decent but not huge stash of that too. So I am thinking in terms of practical return on my investment, getting consistent results that I can use for years. Most of my prints will be on 11x 14, 16 x 20 and 20 x 24 paper with the occasional larger size.

    So I am tempted to part out of my TP, get enough capitol out of it to re-invest in a smaller stash of ATP and more TMX / 120 since prices are going up, the rest on paper, matting material, etc.

    I have enough TP to do about ten years worth of projects / shows, but wonder about the choice in terms of professional production value. I hardly see any great shots from it or the new ATP for that matter, all techno-dabble thus far.

    When ever I have asked about consistent processing of it, there is not one person who has claimed to arrive at a consistent alternative to Technidol. So I have two film backs loaded with both TP and ATP...I am thinking of loading one with TMX just to put a dose of reality in there and take a week really working hard to create scenes that I would actually sell as fine art prints.

    With great films like Pan-F, TMX with superb tonal range, why would someone even use TP or ATP?
     
  2. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    If you have other films you are perfectly happy with then sell the tech pan. You'll make a mint.
     
  3. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    When TMX came out it in the 1980s was pretty much 'nails in the coffin' for Tech Pan as far as I was concerned. The only thing that would make me try Tech Pan again would be the introduction of some new developer that allows you to easily and reliably process it with a long tonal range and an even sky.
     
  4. gandolfi

    gandolfi Member

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    I don't really understand your claim here....

    I have constantly stated, that using Tech Pan using it at 199iso and develop it in Tetenal Neofin Doku, I have my all time best non-grain film!

    T-max.... you must be kidding....

    The techpan was my "secret" weapon for portraits of especially young girls. They all almost fell in love with me, thinking I was the master.... (but I knew silently that the film was the reason..)

    I hate the fact that it is no more... I have some films left - from 135mm to 4x5" and a small stock of the neofin doku.

    I have tried the technidol, but never got the results I wanted...

    Neofin doku is the secret behind the secret film....

    (Sell the stuff to me!)
     
  5. Grainy

    Grainy Member

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  6. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    Not really wanting to use it for people and did not think you could Neofin Doku anymore?
     
  7. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    I found that Tech Pan could give incredible contrast (as in a lot of it) for small platinum or carbon prints. That is my use for it (if I had any)...

    I also loved Kodak copy film in sheets for the same reason.

    Vaughn
     
  8. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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  9. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Sell it to the techpan freaks. :smile:
     
  10. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    My opinion, if you're trying to be more mature about it sell your Tech Pan and get yourself a pictorial film - which will have some more grain, but will be far superior in every other way.

    When it comes to grain and resolution, accept the realistic limits of whatever film format you are shooting, and work to maximize the quality with careful exposure, processing and printing. So if you are shooting roll film, you will be MUCH better off if you accept a little grain, and work on technique to maximize the tonal palette and sharpness. With document films, there are severe limitations, regardless of what developer you use. Technidol, Adotech and other POTA variants are not very good. Uneven development is almost assured, and the luminance range is still very limited. TD-3 is a good developer, but you'll still be much better off with a general purpose film and developer.

    I'd caution anyone who's been told using document films can make their prints look like they used a larger film format. I have never seen a print from a 35mm Tech Pan, CMS20, ATP etc negative look like anything other than 35mm - albeit with less grain and harsh, usually poor tonality.
     
  11. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    I'd suggest buying some tmx and making it work, and it if does, slowly sell off your tech pan.

    A step or two up in format will yield grainlessness too. I shoot tmy2 in 4x5 and consider it grainless compared to anything from 35mm. A slow medium format choice would also do well.

    The dark look sample image looks like pushed film to me. A shortness of shadow detail and hearty contrast. Some filtration options would also help you get the look in more outdoor conditions as well.
     
  12. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    Oh yeah, fuji acros 100 is another almost grainless choice, and it's quite affordable.
     
  13. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Technical Pan had it's place and a unique feel when used for pictorial work but it's not really a good film for consistent project work where tonality is important.

    Probably my favourite two films were AP25 and AP100 and their sucessors APX25 & APX100. When Agfa stooped APX100 in sheet film I switch totally to Tmax 100, I'd already found that Tmax gave me almost identical results but it was a full stop slower in true EI.

    So if you like APX25 try Tmax100. Delta 100 is another superb film and would be an alternative.

    Ian
     
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  15. Mark Layne

    Mark Layne Member

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    I haven't found a source for Tetenal products this side of the pond
     
  16. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    So other than forgetting my gaiters, filling my socks with snow last night, I shot a scene on ATP, TP and PanF. This is pretty much what I am going to do for the next week, not tests but try to get working images from the TP films. It's snowing real nice here right now so I am going to work on a nice "quiet" series of Aspen trees.

    In terms of APX25, love it and have enough of it in 120 to do several shows with, at least a few years worth, that film just does *everything* right, a shame it is gone. I also have a couple hundred rolls of TMX in 120 so I am good at least for this year. I don't mind grain a bit and 120 hides it well in most prints.

    I do have a few things that are nice from TP, but right now, as a career move, I need more consistency and can always buy ATP if I feel the itch. Thanks for the replies, I will figure out what this looks like by next week.
     
  17. BrianL

    BrianL Member

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    I shot TP for some years as my only b&w and my darkroom person learned how to get excellent tonality from it and found depending on developer, temperature and development time we could go for wide tonality to very high contrast and almost anything in between. I've not found a replacement film. APX25 has been okay but nothing beats TP.

    I used to load the TP in several backs marked for ultimate development and switched between them depending on how I saw the final print potential.
     
  18. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    I have 8 backs for this very reason and so I don't feel the need to just "push" a roll through in order to use a different one. So is ATP not cutting it for you? I am not sure what to make of it thus far...
     
  19. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    Quick question here if I may since there's a number of TP users here? I have ONE roll in 120 of Tech Pan. I certainly do not want to buy a new developer just for this one roll. Of the following which would you guys recommend I use? HC-110, D-76, Rodinal, Pyrocat-HD, Microdol-X or DiXactol Lux?
     
  20. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    I did TP and ATP together in the same soup of Rodinal 1+300 at 11 minutes, gentle agitation and the negs looked OK in terms of tone but I got streaks in areas that were uniform like snow, so if someone else wants to chime in...
     
  21. Brian C. Miller

    Brian C. Miller Member

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    Honestly, I wouldn't use Techpan in anything other than Technidol. You can find a Techpan-compatible developer at Photographer's Formulary.

    Also, agitate it according to the Kodak instructions: shake it like you are mixing a martini!
     
  22. Trask

    Trask Subscriber

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    IIRC, the Kodak instructions for Tech Pan are exactly the opposite to shaking like a martini, so I suggest double-checking on that point.

    I too have some Tech Pan to try out, and intend to try this development technique:

    http://www.gpaulbishop.com/GPB History/Articles/article_-_2.htm


    I've developed several rolls of "regular" B/W film in this Bishop developer, and found that it is fairly low-action/low-contrast. I wound up doubling the amounts of SS and metol, and adding a bit of restrainer (KBr, I think) to cut back on fog. I speculate that this original formula might work very well with Tech Pan. Note the quantities of powder are given in grains, not grams -- you'll need to convert. And doen't try to measure the acetone with a plastic graduate, unless you want it ruined -- been there, don that. Oh -- I had been using Home Depot-quality acetone, but recently bought some from the local pharmacy, so perhaps the better quality will have an effect.
     
  23. georg16nik

    georg16nik Member

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    ~ 20 years ago I have shot a few rolls of Kodak TP 135 @ 25 and developed in Rodinal 1:100 @ 18°C for 18minutes, 2 slow inversions every 2 minutes.
    Right now on the market, there is Tetenal Dokumol, that same document developer was better than Kodak own dev for TP back in the days.
    The devs for ATP should work even better.

    Kodak TP is quite unique film, spectral sensitivity wise, res power and so on.
    Rolei ATP comes close, yes. Rollei 80S in the spur developer might beat both TP and ATP depending on what You are after.
     
  24. gandolfi

    gandolfi Member

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    First of: the 199iso was a typo! Should have said 100 iso. Sorry for that.

    Second: I might be the worst photographer in the world, being so seemingly bad at developing "normal" film.
    Because I have never developed a film with so much tones - fine grain and sharpness as I did with the Tech pan.

    And yes: Some people did think I used 4x5" camera.

    Maybe it is the developer. The neofin Doku was fantastic for this film! and I am so lucky still to have some here...

    Ian: "Technical Pan had it's place and a unique feel when used for pictorial work but it's not really a good film for consistent project work where tonality is important."

    This I don't understand... Never had any problems.
     
  25. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Technical Pan film can certainly be used with great success for pictorial application. My dad shot it quite a bit, and I have a couple of his prints which I consider his very best work.

    If you have Technical Pan, and love to use it - use it! If not, sell it. Don't think about the money. It keeps virtually forever in deep freeze, and it can be made to work beautifully with dilute Rodinal. Photographer's Formulary I also believe has a developer that's designed for the purpose of getting a full and rich tonal range from Tech Pan.

    And, to all, please don't dismiss gandolfi and his use of Tech Pan. His portraits using the film are extraordinary, and is living proof that whatever theoretical advice somebody has against using it, you can flush right down the toilet, because he made it work in the the darkroom. What else could possibly matter?
     
  26. gandolfi

    gandolfi Member

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    Thanks thomas.

    I need to ask one question - have read it more than one time in this thread: What do you mean by "pictorial use"?

    And I have reacted really bad!! I should have told, that Tech Pan of course is a mediocre film - not for any good use.... In fact - all that have some should donate it to me... (I'll destroy it for you) :wink: