For long, my go-to ISO 400 film in 120 format has been Kodak Tri-X 400. However, since I read about Bergger Pancro 400 on EMULSIVE, I wanted to give this film a go. Obtaining film in India is a challenge, and getting the Bergger is next to impossible. But, thanks to a courier from the US I got my hands on 4 rolls of this film.
The Bergger website states that this film is made of two panchromatic emulsions of different grain size giving the film a wider latitude. I usually develop all my Tri-X 400/any film using the very lazy Thorton Two-Bath developer. A lot has been written on the web about this developer, but I love it for its simplicity and ease of finding the required chemicals.
Tri-X 400 developed in this formula gives exceptional latitude and the grain size is very controlled when compared to Rodinal. Naturally, I was curious how Pancro would fare in my favourite developer as well.
The frames were shot on my Pentax 6×7 (MLU version) with an SMC-Pentax 105mm f2/4 lens at a market in Bangalore with the light changing often, indoors/outdoors and some deep shadows. The film was shot at EI 400 and developed in the Thornton Two-Bath developer for 5 mins with no pre-wash (Bergger does recommend a 1 min pre-wash).
The resulting images are packed with tonality and very sharp. The highlights/shadows hold details, and the mid-tone range contrast is very pleasing. As for the grain size, it’s very fine and prominent only if you have a severely underexposed shot. Sample images showcase the capability of the film, and also the Pentax 67 as a street shooter 🙂
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I enjoyed your posting. My fav. shot is the of the two guys at the fruit stall. I can’t imagine hauling the big Pentax around, but I bet you get a positive response from people you encounter.
I shot a roll of the Bregger 35mm and developed In Ilford’s DD-X (my standard developer.) it was shot @ box speed, and I got the times from the Massive Developing Chart. I got horrible results – huge grain, unprintable negs. I’ve been doing this for 50 years, so I can only blame myself; must have screwed up somewhere. You, however, got the results I was hoping for. Very good work.
Hey Daniel. Thank you for the kind words. Under the loupe, my TriX negatives and the Pancro negatives look kinda similar. I don’t have access to a darkroom, so no prints. But it feels as if the negatives would prefer lesser agitation. The Thornton two-bath has zero agitations in bath A and two inversions in Bath B.
I would love for someone to do a stand development on Pancro in Rodinal. Some of my best negatives are TriX in Rodinal.
Great looking shots Ashwin. My fav pic is the seller under lamp. I’m yet to get into film photography I’m waiting for the lockdown to complete hopefully I can get hold of camera and film(going to be a nightmare) . Are the processing solutions available easily in India? I have gone through lot of films and felt Pancro is something which I expect in film. I also felt that your pics matched the sharpened of some of the TriX pics I’ve seen.
Wow! Great pictures. The film looks like it is indeed very sharp. My faves are the woman in the market (I love using d.o.f. this way) and the men having tea, although the portrait of the gentleman is good too. Thanks for posting. Also for the tip about Thornton’s.
Thank you. I love that shot of the woman as well. The Pentax is a beast but it’s great to shoot in the street.