I bought a roll of Ilford Pan100 a while back but waited some time before loading it. I wanted to save it for the right time. A nice slow black and white roll deserves something special. So I waited till the bright sunny days of summer. I got out my Canon A-1 with a handy 50mm 1:1.4 lens and loaded it up. I had a plan, ideas, and a focus. Completed the roll, drew the shades, closed the bathroom door and went to work. After developing it took over two months to finally get the negs scanned, and when I got them back, I was disappointed.
The shots were okay, the quality was okay, but I felt like something was missing. I had put off the results for so long, I think I developed some grand idea of what the photos would look like nice and big. After thinking about it for a while I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t the Pan100 that let me down, but myself.
First: I think I underestimated the film. I see iso100 and think that I’ll need my fastest lens and the brightest day. So that’s how I treated this roll: midday, strong sun. I was shooting busstops and overpasses so I wanted bright light and clear shadows on the steps and from passerby’s. But this film wasn’t as agreeable with idea as I had hoped. I did some searching around flickr and found some sets taken with Pan100 that interpreted the light in a way I envied. The big difference…dark. Some were even taken at night. Next time I load Pan100, I’m underexposing for sunny shots.
Second: The darkroom. I may have gotten a bit careless in my eagerness to churn out some negatives. I was expecting 100 to look a lot more smooth that what I got. Next time I’ll agitate much more gently. The the chemistry, Ilfosol 3, may not have been the best choice either. Next time another developer.
Third: The scans. Partly my fault, the negs had a few scratches and some dust. But it wasn’t just the lil’ imperfections. I took some pictures of the negs to check them out and they looked better than when I got the scans. What I noticed was that some frames were more over exposed than others. If they were all scanned using the same settings, I would end up with some frames more bland than others. It always feels better blame someone else.
I haven’t given up on Pan100, but until I get some new developer I think I’ll stick with the cheaper Lucky SHD.
Any suggestions on how to treat this film? Know what I did wrong? Let me know in the comments!
For an example of Pan100 used well check out Feng Hui on flickr.