Why, what, how, who, and where: all about Tech Pan
In just a few weeks almost all Tech Pan 120 films suddenly disappeared from the market. Here are some questions.
1) Why are people interested in Tech Pan?
2) What is the best use of Tech Pan in pictorial photography? Which subject - landscape, portrait, architecture, still, etc. is more suitable to use Tech Pan?
3) How to use Tech Pan? (developer, formular, time, etc.)
4) Who is the master of this film?
5) Where in the Internet can one find some good photographs or a portfolio using Tech Pan film? Or even better, any photo book contains lots of photos using the Tech Pan film?
ISTR that there was a portfolio in LensWork last year where the photographer used Tech Pan exclusively. She used it for still lifes. I've tried it for landscapes and general photography and actually like it. My first roll of 35 mm TP was taken at the zoo.
Technidol is the recommended developer for it, but I've used D76 successfully.
The beauty of Tech Pan is that it can be used as a pictorial film, a graphic arts film, or as a high-contrast microfilm. It all depends on the working EI and the developer. Develop in Dektol for high-contrast; develop in technidol for wonderful tonality and minimal grain. Of course, there are many other developers that will give intermediate results. I have shot some TechPan in 120, mosty stuff using a copystand where I needed minimal grain for copy work. Mostly I have shot it using 35mm for pictorial use.
I use 120 Tech pan for making copy negs. Why? because it is increadibly sharp, virtually grain free and can record right down to the grain of the original. I rate it at 12 ISO and dev it in Technidol for 1-2 minutes below the time recommended for the temperature, depending on the contrast of the original. I use a Mamiya RB67 with mirror up on a copystand.
By the way, one small reason it vanished so quickly is that I now have a freezer full.
Yup, I loaded my freezer too--100 rolls 120, 750ft 35mm, 4 boxes 4x5. Still have some ringing in one ear from my wife's reaction.
The attraction is the grainlessness and resolving power.
There's also the extended red sensitivity--it's not deep enough into IR to make much of a difference for pictorial photography, but it is enough to capture the important "hydrogen alpha" wavelength for astronomers. Nothing else save dedicated IR films (and, very oddly, Kodak's long-discontinued C-41 PMC) capture this wavelength well.
I personally dislike Technidol because it is so easy to screw up, especially on film bigger than 35mm, and also gives an incredibly abrupt shoulder. I prefer Photographer's Formulary TD-3 for its much greater ease of use (they recommend some agitation, but I've found it works just as well as a stand developer) and much better highlight handling. Some people also like C-41 developer. "Normal" developers yield very high (but not quite lith) contrast.
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