Sunday, 26 March 2017

Bergger Pancro 400 development test.

Pancro 400 Developed in Rodinal & Caffenol C-L

Loading up my latest acquisition of a superb Nikon FA, with this new film Pancro 400, I headed off to the Melbourne F1 Grand Prix. It was a fairly sunny day so ideal for some photography. I used my 50mm Nikkor prime lens and a Nikkor 35-135 plus a T200 x2 extender for the long shots.

It has taken me a good 12 months to get my Caffenol developments working well. Whenever I have tried Rodinal I have always stuffed it up and have actually destroyed some rolls with it. So I have tended to stick with Caffenol to ensure a reasonable result. However I was concerned about using Caffenol with Pancro 400 as I could not find anything on the Net about this. Hence this experiment.

 In the black bag I loaded half the Pancro 400 onto 1 Patterson spool and the other half was left in the canister in the dark and later loaded onto another spool. The first spool I developed in Rodinal at the recommended mix of 1+25 timed for 8 minutes at 20c with agitation for the first minute and inversions at the top of each minute thereafter. Stopped in filtered water and fixed in Ilford Rapid Fix for the long 6 minutes as per the recommendation from Bergger inside the film packaging.

The second half roll was developed in my regular Caffenol C-L for 48 minutes at 22c (see previous post for recipe) and fixed in Rapid Fix for the recommended 6 minutes.

Here is a very interesting comparison where the film was cut in half. It was scanned as one so the scanner software may have favoured the Caffenol side more when it does it's auto adjustment to the film type. (there is no setting for Pancro 400 so I was using Kodak T400 mostly) Click to enlarge.

The Caffenol stand development has clearly brought out all the shadow detail in the clouds giving more depth to the image. I was impressed that my same recipe worked so well with the Pancro 400ASA film as I was expecting to have to modify it. Below are a mixture of shots from the roll in the two developers.


Caffenol C-L


Caffenol C-L

Caffenol C-L

I am actually really pleased that I have managed to not stuff up developing in Rodinal and the results are very pleasing. It was also a quicker workflow. However I like how the Caffenol brings out all the shadow areas. Both processes seem to have worked very well with the Pancro 400 but looking over all the photos on my large iMac screen I tend to lean towards the Caffenol C-L for the best results. I might start using a paper filter when pouring the mixture into the tank. There are no white spots with the Rodinal but I can see a few with the Caffenol and the filter might stop this.

The Bergger Pancro 400 seems to be a nice 400 ASA film and the results are an improvement on my Ilford HP5 photos. But it is hard to go past the Agfa APX 100 or the Neopan 100 for the least amount of grain. At least now I am comfortable that I can safely develop the Pancro 400 in either method without a disaster as the film is too expensive to risk any failures.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

My Best Caffenol C-L Recipe - so far!

Switch to Potassium Bromide

The iodised salt was worrying me when I read that the iodine is not so good for film development. So I went hunting for Potassium Bromide and finally located it from a Compounding Chemist. Unfortunately it is only in bulk amounts of 500 gram and as I only use 0.35 gram to my 350ml mixture, it should last me close on 150 years.

This is now my go to Caffenol recipe that is proving consistent on most types of B&W film.

Soak in 400ml of water for 5 minutes.

Per 350 ml of filtered water which covers 1 spool in a 2 spool Paterson Tank.

  • 5.6 grams of Washing Soda.
  • 3.5 grams of Vitamin C.
  • 0.35 gram of Potassium Bromide
  • 14.0 grams of Aldi Instant Coffee.
  • Thoroughly mix and let stand for about 10 minutes
Times - 60 min @20c, 54 min @21c, 48 min @22c, 42 min @23c, 36 min @ 24c, 30 min @25c.

Agitation - First minute gentle swirls and 4 inversions then gentle inversion at 2, 4 & 8 minutes then let stand to finished.

Rinse Stop - Tip out developer, fill with water, tip out again, refill and gentle swirls for 1 minute. Tip out and repeat for another minute.

Ilford Rapid Fix - 70ml + 280ml water = 350ml mix. Fresh mix allow 2 minutes with most B&W film with one inversion at 1 minute. If doing multiple films over the 7 day mixture life I add 15 seconds for each film. But check the instructions for testing fixer. Using Bergger Pancro 400 I follow their instructions of 6 minutes fixing time (and I invert at 2 minute intervals).

Rinse Stop - Tip Fixer back into storage container and fill with water and tip out. Refill and start standard Ilford wash instructions. Swirl 5 times tip and refill, swirl 10 times tip and refill, swirl 20 times and done.

Final Rinse - I use a few drops of Adaflo to 400ml of water and swirl it for a few minutes.

Drying - I shake off as much water as I can feel coming off the reel whilst the film is still on it Then I hang the film horizontally on my push bike rim that has multiple hooks and is hanging from the ceiling through the centre. This has proved the best drying method for me and it stops those long water runs down the middle of the film that you get with vertical hanging.

Film Types

I have had great success with this recipe so far on the following films shot at box speed.
  • Agfa APX 100 ASA - Nice results.
  • Rollie RPX 100 ASA - Seems exactly the same as the Agfa negs.
  • Fuji Neopan 100 ASA - Really beautiful clear negatives that scanned a treat.
  • Ilford HP5 400 ASA - Best results with this film so far.
Bergger Pancro 400
Today I am conducting a trial with this new film and have just finished developing half the roll in Rodinal 1 + 25 @ 8 min as recommended. The other half in Caffenol C-L as per above 48 min @ 22c. The negs look awesome and as they are drying on my bike wheel I cannot tell them apart. Should be really interesting to scan them side by side. Check my next post for the results.

Example Results - click to enlarge.

Nikon FE - Ilford HP5 400 - Caffenol C-L

Nikon FE2 - Rollie RPX 100 - Caffenol C-L

Nikon FE2 - Agfa APX 100 - Caffenol C-L

Nikon FE2 - Fujifilm Neopan 100 Acros - Caffenol C-L