Monday, October 16, 2017

Adventures in Street Pan

I don't do reviews on here, but it would be a mistake to not chronicle my thoughts and experiences about a certain film emulsion. I tried JCH Street Pan 400 at the behest of Jim Hair several months ago. I didn't get around to shooting any until this last August, and am just now processing it. Glad I did, too. This is good stuff.

You can google it yourself for more information, but this is a resurrected street surveillance film that was just re-purposed and re-introduced to the market back in 2016. It's contrasty and apparently possesses a good deal of red sensitivity, quite the opposite of the hp5+ I've been shooting.

Excessive grain acknowledged d/t pushing the curves in scanning.

I wasn't able to get any clouds against a blue sky for this roll, but that will be coming on my next roll (in the tank as we speak). And there will be a next roll. You see, even before processing this first one, I picked up a dozen or so more just because of what I'd been seeing around the interwebs.

I souped these in d-76 1:1 for the prescribed 10.5 minutes on the box. The negatives came out pretty thin, but a quick conversation with Jim told me that he extends that time to 16 minutes. Surprisingly, though, there was a lot of detail present, even when the negatives were fairly transparent. I think my grain is more pronounced because of the compensation in scanning, but examples I've seen show a fairly soft pattern in that regard. We'll see if the extra time in development gets me closer to a more ideal negative.

I can see this being a good film to use for the coming winter months, outside with cloudy/flat light conditions. I'm not sure if it's a good indoor film to push or not; it seems too expensive to do much experimentation on. A brick ran me north of $100 USD. Given the reported effort to bring this stuff to market, I can't complain much. It will be a nice mix up to go along with the rest of my arsenal this fall and winter.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Selecting a new 400 speed film

I need a versatile, bulk load-able 400 speed film that is readily available and that I can work with to get consistent results. As much as I'd love to bulk load Tri-x, that option is simply too expensive to justify it in 2017. I've seen prices for that stuff as high as $120 per 100' roll here in the US, which adds up to a lot more than what you pay for it per individual 36-frame cassette. There is simply no rationale for it.

So what's a film photographer to do for a 400 speed film with plenty of versatility on either end of the ISO spectrum? TMax, Delta, and even Kentmere 400 have all seen the inside of my camera at some point over the last several months, but I've decided to settle on Ilford hp5+. This is a 400 speed film that checks all of those boxes for me.

It doesn't have the gritty punch of Tri-x or the silky smoothness of a T grain like Delta/TMax. But as I work with it and refine my development, I'm starting to see how I can put it's own unique attributes to work for me. And there's a certain satisfaction knowing that Ilford is a stable company, and that hp5+ specifically comes from a rich heritage of hp-labeled monochrome films. My own dad shot hp3 in his Argus C3 back in the late 1950's.

So for me, financial considerations caused me to look elsewhere for my 35mm film needs, and I've landed on this one. As winter sets in and I turn my lens indoors more often, I'll appreciate being able to work with an extended ISO range.