Film Review: JCH Streetpan 400 Part 1: 120 format EI 400
Having shot and experimented with a fair bit of 35mm JCH Streetpan 400 this past year or so, it’s no secret that I’ve been itching to get my hands on it in 120 roll film format since it was first announced back in July 2017. I finally got my chance in September when I became the proud recipient of half a dozen-ish rolls and well, that was the next fortnight set for me…
To be fair, two months isn’t the longest wait in film photography history but I had been curious to see how the emulsion would suit the 3-4x larger surface area of a 6×6 negative in my trusty Hasselblad…making it technically about a year and a half’s wait.
Anyway, I digress…
Welcome to part one of a multi-part review series where I’ll be introducing you to 120 format JCH Streetpan 400 through my eyes and development process and scans. Your results may vary but I will do my best to ensure you can replicate the tests here if you like the results enough to do so.
At the time of writing I still have three rolls waiting to be shot and would love to hear your thoughts on how you’d like to see this film shot in the comments below.
As with other recent reviews – Bergger Pancro 400, FERRANIA P30, Lucky NEW SHD 100 – this is going to be a multi-part review and will deal with the film shot at various EI’s and push/pull processing. In the case of JCH Streetpan 400 specifically, I’ll also be showing how the film responds to infrared filters*1.
This article covers the film shot at EI 400 in a variety of natural light conditions. Part two will cover the film exposed with Orange #21, Red #25 and R72 (infrared) filters. Part three will cover macro photography with bracketed under and over exposure (if I can clean up my negatives in time).
I’ll provide additional details of future parts in due course but you can expect quite a bit of pushing along the way.
Here’s how part one breaks down…
Table of contents
*1 – Speaking of which, if you’re interested in seeing how 35mm JCH Streetpan 400 works as an infrared film, check out my guest post on japancamerahunter.com.
What is Japan Camera Hunter Streetpan 400?
As I mentioned in the JCH Streetpan 400 infrared photography review I mentioned above:
“…this isn’t a new film stock. Bellamy himself states that it’s a discontinued surveillance film that he’s bringing back into production. In simple terms, even if you’ve shot most film stocks over the past 20 years, odds are that you won’t have shot this.”
In 35mm format it’s a relatively fine-grained black and white negative stock, which is coated on to a light grey film base.
If we take 120 format ILFORD HP5+ as our baseline, 120 Kodak T-MAX 400 is half as dark as that. 120 JCH Streetpan 400 is half as dark again as T-MAX 400. It’s not as clear as New Lucky SHD or some Rollei stocks but it is clear enough to make black and white reversal processing quite an interesting prospect.
One other rather useful difference from the 35mm version of Streetpan 400 is the nature of the film substrate itself. It’s thin. Not worryingly so but it has a nice surprise in the way that it lies incredibly flat when cut for scanning and archiving.
Here’s a quick spec sheet:
|Name||JCH Streetpan 400|
|Vendor||Japan Camera Hunter|
|Type||Black and white negative|
|Format||35mm / 120|
|Speed (ISO)||ISO 400|
|Development process||Ilford Ilfosol 3, ID-11, Ilford Perceptol|
Kodak D-76, HC-110, XTOL
|Push processing||+3 stops|
As with my Bergger Pancro 400 (120) review, I used my 2000 series Hasselblad (focal plane shutter) with a 2nd generation A12 6×6 format film back. I metered using a Sekonic L-308S by taking reflective reading of somewhere just a touch darker than middle grey (Zone IV for your Zoners). I then took an incident reading of the scene and averaged them out.
Hasselblad Planar F 80/2.8 at F/2.8 for the first five frames below and between F/5.6 and F/8 for the rest. No filters were used.
The film was developed in HC-110 (dilution B: 1+31) at 20c for five minutes (per the film carton). 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.
ILFORD’s Ilfostop and Rapid Fixer were used at the manufacturer’s recommended dilutions / times before being dunked in Kodak Photoflo and then rinsed for five minutes.
The film was left to hang to dry, cut then scanned using an Epson Perfection V750 Pro scanner in factory-shipped 120 holders.
As usual, I scanned to TIFF at 1600dpi in Vuescan for speed, and a light unsharp mask was applied in Photoshop with no dust removal.
The files were exported to 1000px on the longest edge in Lightroom with a light hand on getting the file size down for web.
I already mentioned that in medium format, JCH Streetpan 400 is the flattest film I’ve ever had the pleasure of using. When I say flat, I mean sheet metal flat.
Each of the 12 scenes I shot on this roll is shown in the gallery below. To view each image in fullscreen mode, click or tap it. You may swipe left/right, or click the navigation arrows, or use the cursor keys on your keyboard to navigate through the entire set.
#1-4 – Subdued light
The environment was mostly under shade with blades of light shooting through the trees onto the tables and chairs. Whilst predominantly dark, the tonality and buttery smoothness of the grain floored me.
I wasn’t expecting that at all and really want to try my hand capturing it again.
#5 – Flat light
If I was to shoot frame #5 again – which had flat but overall dim light – I would most likely overexpose by at least one stop in order to brighten the scene, even though that would likely blow the highlights.
#6-8 Hard light
Frames #6-8 were taken to try and demonstrate how the film behaves in hard light. The results show a reduction (albeit quite small), in tonality and demonstrates the stark contrast this film is capable of producing. It doesn’t need much of a push – just a stop over in very bright light.
That said, the mid-tone greys are all present and accounted for, even if the histogram shows a distinct bump to the left.
#9-12 Bright light and shadows
Subjects aside, this set of four images probably shows the working exposure range of this film the best. Zoom in to any of the shadow areas in these four images and you’ll still see detail waiting to be pulled out. There’s so much range here, it really put a smile on my face.
In short, I am supremely happy with this film. It doesn’t build contrast as fast as its 35mm counterpart and retains much more shadow detail than I expected – see the right side of frame #9 and the backgrounds of frames #10-12 for examples.
Shadow detail could be further preserved by shooting and developing the film at a lower EI, or by using a higher dilution of HC-110 (E perhaps?). I’m even considering using Pyrocat-HD at EI 200 to see what additional detail the film is able to preserve.
What struck me the most about 120 JCH Streetpan 400 is the tonality on those first four frames at the top of the previous section. In all honesty I was expecting stark contrast – literally black, white and nothing in between – the end result is nothing short of a revelation for me.
I was expecting Streetpan 400 in 120 format to be only slightly more tonally diverse than it’s 35mm counterpart – even and identical film would have been enough to satisfy me. That said, for my style of shooting, available light and gear, the tonal difference is pronounced and sits above the film’s infrared sensitivity as one of the main factors that will lead me to restocking my fridge when my current batch is developed and scanned.
Anyway before I go, iIt would be rude of me to keep talking about 120 Streetpan 400 and infrared sensitivity without throwing out at least a little teaser for part two:
And with that, I’ll leave you until part two (yes, It’ll be covering infrared).
Thanks for reading and keep shooting, folks,
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