Film review: Bergger Pancro 400 35mm – First impressions at EI 800 (bracketed +/- 1 stop)
Following on from my recent film review of Bergger Pancro 400 (35mm shot at EI 400 and bracketed +/- 1 stop), I’m pleased to bring you the second instalment, this time discussing Pancro 400 shot at EI 800 and bracketed +/- 1 stop. Once again, the format is 35mm.
I will also be sharing my 35mm results at EI 1600 (bracketed) and with the film processed as black and white slides. Once published, you can expect exactly the same treatment for 120 format film – it’s all been shot and developed, so it’s just a question of time to put it together.
By way of a quick recap for those of you new to this film:
BERGGER, Pancro 400 is a two-panchromatic emulsion film, each emulsion being composed of silver bromide and silver iodide. The film is offered in 35mm, 120, plate and large / ultra large formats.
In 35mm, Pancro 400 uses a 135 micron acetate base, which should make for some interesting results when I publish my slide processing tests. In 120 and sheet format this base is switched out for a 100 micron PET base.
First impressions: Bergger Pancro 400 (35mm) at ISO 800
The roll discussed here was shot at EI 800 (ISO 800). As with the first test, the film was shot using a Nikon F100 set to manual and a Nikkor AF-D 28-105 f/3.5-4.5 zoom/macro lens, which was consistently shot at f/5.6. The camera was used in spot meter mode and each frame was bracketed with a single stop of under exposure and over exposure.
As with the first test, I developed the film at 20C in Rodinal 1+25. For the single stop push process, I developed the roll for 12 minutes using a x1.5 multiplier. During development, the film was agitated continuously for the first 60 seconds and then again for 10 seconds at the top of every minute thereafter.
Considering that Rodinal doesn’t provide what you may call exceptional results when used for pushing film, it was tempting to switch to another developer for this and other pushing tests. However, for good or bad, I decided to stick with Rodinal for a flavour of some consistency for this series of articles.
I used Ilford’s Ilfostop and Rapid Fixer at the recommended dilutions and once again, the film was fixed for an additional minute before being dunked in Kodak Photoflo and then rinsed for five minutes.
The six sample sets you see below show the underexposed frame, correctly exposed frame and overexposed frame.
Weather conditions ranged between overcast and partly sunny. The light was generally flat, so please consider the results below with that in mind.
The order of images for this and other sample sets is: overexposed one stop, exposed per meter reading and underexposed one stop.
I finished off part one of this series of short reviews saying that I’d developed a liking for this film and saw a lot of potential that the “wide latitude” touted by Bergger. To my eye, samples 01 and 04 above (doorway and tree/courtyard respectively), are the best examples I’ve seen so far that this claim is more than just marketing fluff and whilst I’ve yet to reproduce the latitude shown in Bergger’s own examples, the light I’ve encountered in the test so far has been mediocre to say the least.
Still, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the results and my EI 1600 negatives and the slides produced via black and white reversal development are pretty damned gorgeous. Those, and my equivalent experiments in medium format will be coming soon – six more parts in total!
Bearing in mind my choice to start these tests using Rodinal as my developer, it should not surprise anyone that the grain will appear fatter the more I push. Whilst I generally prefer a finer result when doing these kinds of tests, I will continue as I started – consistency is crucial when making comparisons, although the temptation to switch developers high!
Much like part one of this series, the difference between under/correct/over exposure is relatively small. Under better conditions (direct and what I would call “animated” sunlight), I would expect the difference to be more pronounced, however as with all panchromatic film, I wouldn’t expect a couple of stops of over exposure to be too much trouble (under exposure is still fixable if you’re into post-production but rather more destructive in my opinion.
If in doubt, over expose a touch.
I’ll be back with part three covering this film shot at EI 1600 with the same +/-1 stop bracket. Stay tuned!
Do you have any experiences or tips to share? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
As ever, keep shooting folks.
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