Heya, I’m Julian, and this will be – hopefully – my first contribution to 5 Frames, a series of articles that I enjoy a lot.

It was in March or April this year (2022) when I found that roll of ILFORD PAN F PLUS while strolling through a flea market. One reason I bought it was because I never shot this film stock before. But much more so was I drawn to it after checking the expiration box (now here I was supposed to write the number down, and I swear I thought it was 1979 before checking that the film wasn’t introduced before 1992. So it might have been 1997…). Anyhow, the film was old, and I thought I’d give it a shot.

Summer came by, and my girlfriend and I went for a holiday trip to Italy, and I thought it to be the perfect opportunity to try out my new Contax RTS III, which I also bought sometime in spring. I packed a few rolls of film — the PAN F PLUS included and was all excited about the Duomo, the nice Ponte Vecchio, delicious Pasta, and good wine.

We arrived in Florence after a little more than 6hrs on the train. The ride was exhausting, but the scorching heat of a burning July sun in Italy was definitely worse. It was so hot I started worrying about my gear. On the way to our apartment, I crossed the street to get to a Camera store, after barely surviving that (I thought in Italy they are used to silly pedestrians) my heart almost stopped pounding after the shopkeeper told me his prices for Kodak Portra 400. Alrighty, it’s time to get rid of the luggage and fetch a gelato to cool off.

I was glad I took several rolls of film with me, there is too much to photograph in Florence. We spent the first two days just walking around, getting high from the beautiful sights and the antic, while feasting on photogenic subjects.

Two months later, I got a mail, telling me that my negatives were ready to be picked up. I usually send my films to a lab, I don’t dare yet to do the developing myself. However, I am so impressed by how well this film did. To my eye, the negatives are super sharp. I like the stark contrast in the pictures and the little dots and smirks on the film (I guess due to the age of the emulsion). In shady locations, I appreciate the dynamic range of the film especially, it hits my kind o aesthetics. It sure was not the last time I shot with PanF+ (as you see in the picture above, I am ready for a 6×6 session with the 120 film stock). I shot all films at least two stops over.


~ Julian

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About the author

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Julian Ruoss

Trying to get more into and out of analog. Based in Switzerland.


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  1. Nice pics but a shame they were spoiled by the defects from the out-of-date film. Think I’d take fresh film if going on a special trip.

  2. I love Florence! Your photos show it differently than I have ever captured it in my own photos. The expired PanF was clearly still high on contrast, but also some artifacts. I wonder, do you post-process your scanned images? Much of those artifacts could be easily cloned out in software like Lightroom or Photoshop, to the benefit of your final image. Also, in the first image, showing your Contax RTS III and lens, isn’t that a roll of 120 PanF, not 35mm?

    1. Hey Lee, I haven’t got into post process (yet). Still trying to figure out how to shoot sharp photos and develope dense negatives 😉
      But I wanna dive into that in the future for sure, new AI makes that so much more intuitive I reckon.
      I run out of PanF135 and wanted to upload the article asap, hence also the bad photo quality of the gear. Next time will be better.

  3. Hello Julian,
    You did quite well with the outdated film stock. The Contax & its lenses are still a formidable picture taking combination. My favorite pic is the street scene with the three pedestrians and the goofy sign. The gentleman on the left could be my parish priest’s doppelganger!

    Your article brought back happy memories for my wife & I. In 2015, we gave ourselves a retirement gift by visiting Florence. We traveled in October, when it was cooler. What an enchanted city. I was mesmerized by the beautiful graffiti and the humorous ‘redesign’ of the signage that was almost at every street corner (as seen in your pic of the three pedestrians). I could have used all my film on those two subjects. I carried my well-worn M2 and the 35mm Summicron. It’s a city that can easily be photographed with a single camera/single lens outfit.

    Good luck with the 6×6.
    Dan (flickr.com/photos/dcastelli9574/)

    1. Hey Dan
      The signage is from CLET, in case you want to check it out again. I loved the random encounters with the altered signs a lot. Bought some stickers at the store, now run by the artists son. It’s a wonderful place for photography.
      Also I’d love to own a 35mm prime!
      Cheers Julian

  4. Good results for such an aged film. However, some artefacts can be seen in the sky parts, which might be from ageing of the film. How is the LED display in the viewer of you RTSIII? Can you see it when looking at bright scenes? Or is it faded as happens usually to most RTSIII cameras?
    I enjoyed reading your experiences.

    1. Hey Fred
      I noticed that as well. In the one frame it might almost be some birds taking the flight.
      The LED display is still in prime condition, deep saturated blue, quite lucky with this one so far.
      Thank you, I hope to get back with more film here!