Film review: Bergger Pancro 400 35mm Part 5 – EI 6400
If you’ve been following along, you’re probably wondering what happened to part four of this series. To be honest, I had planned to finish the push process/bracketing tests of 135 format at part 3 (EI 1600), and continue with a comparison of the film shot at various EIs and reversal processed to create slides. This would have led to the inevitable 120 tests and well, you get the idea.
…then Daniel Tim popped his hand up…
Daniel, like me, likes pushing film quite a bit. I mentioned to him that I would like to see the results of his EI 6400 tests and after a bit of thought, I decided to incorporate those tests (this article), into my own series.
Not one for leaving big gaps, I have opted to add this as part 5 in the series, leaving part 4 (for EI 3200) as an empty slot for the moment. I will be circling back to it over the coming months and have also decided to add both EI 3200 and 6400 to the 120 series of tests, which you will see starting in a few weeks.
All this means that when finished, this review will cover Bergger Pancro 400 in 35mm and 120 formats at EI 400, 800, 1600, 3200 and 6400 (with bracketed exposures) plus reversal development tests at EI 400 (with some over exposure brackets) – six parts each.
You might be wondering if 4×5 format Pancro is ever going to feature and the short answer is yes…but I need to figure out how (I have a plan).
Enough of me though, it’s over to Daniel…
Bergger Pancro 400 at EI 3200
After buying one (only one) roll of the new Bergger Pancro 400 film in 135 format for a test, I decided to follow my usual practice and start my relationship with this new emulsion with a push process.
It has become a tradition of mine, especially with faster films and especially with ILFORD HP5 PLUS and Kodak T-MAX 400, both of which I push processed on my first encounter. They revealed fantastic potential, as my first article covering ILFORD HP5 PLUS pushed from EI 800 to 6400 shows!
Click on the images below for full-sized versions.
As some push processing times were already available for Pancro 400, and some experimental data started to appear online, it was the most relevant film to try an extreme push with – I admit some curiosity, too! I should say that by extreme push, I usually mean at least 4-stop or greater under exposure and push process development. Thus, I set my Canon EOS-1’s evaluative meter to ISO 6400, loaded a roll of Bergger Pancro 400 and went out on a slightly cloudy day with some bright sun, and shot my roll…
The film was eventually developed in ILFORD DD-X at a dilution of 1:4. I had already used the chemicals once. I went with 18 minutes at 20c as my development time.
The results didn’t look promising when I took the film out of the tank. I had also developed a roll of Kodak T-MAX 400 at the same time. Like the Pancro 400, the T-MAX 400 roll was shot at EI 6400 as well and on first glance, appeared to have TONS more detail than the Pancro 400.
But, as experience has told me, dim and cloudy film can still turn out okay in the scanner. One problem is that even the initial leader fix test revealed slightly dim emulsion (so it wasn’t a developer issue), and I suspected an “unclear” base right away.
The results were as expected – the deep shadow and black areas on the scans looked dirty and a bit rough. They are not nearly as good looking as ILFORD HP5 PLUS shot at 6400 (or 3200 – 12800 in general), and still worse than the imperfect Kodak T-MAX 400.
The good news is, Pancro 400 is punchy and although grainy, kept more detail than HP5 PLUS (developed in DD-X), and more than Delta 400 Professional, but seemingly slightly less than T-MAX 400. As mentioned already, T-MAX 400 is the champion
of detail and also sharpness at higher ratings.
The high contrast of this Pancro 400 plays well, even though at such strong underexposure levels, it destroys the beautiful, cinematic look of Pancro 400 (as I’ve seen on other people’s tests).
The overall look is rough and grainy but the images are certainly usable and have a good portion of that high EI charm!
This test wasn’t nearly thorough enough of course, as I still need to try this film with Microphen at even higher speeds and also with my latest favorite agent Kodak HC-110 “A” at EI 1600-3200. Once complete, the picture might be more interesting.
One thing is for sure: Bergger Pancro 400 is a decent, strong, new emulsion on the market that will hopefully find its fans.
Thanks for reading.
~ Daniel Tim
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