I really dislike it when film or paper is sold under a different name and the identity is kept “secret.” This is now the case with CatLABS X 320 Film which is- in fact- Kodak 5222 Double X film– one of my favorite films in 35mm… but not like this. I purchased three rolls for testing hoping to find a new emulsion to love but instead I spend time and money for nothing. How can I be so sure?… Check out the imprint on the side of the film.
So now that the “cat” is out of the bag I’m off to do some shooting on a beautiful Vermont day.
Just to be clear…. I still stand by my original processing technique outlined here in FR years ago which does not use the pre wet and has slightly more agitation than the technique outlined above (metal reels and tanks only for the older process). If the film and agitation technique is perfect without a pre wet then go for it but I have found most modern films do benefit from the pre wet… the only downside is developer longevity and about 1/3 stop loss in speed.
This makes me very happy! Back when I did my review of Df96 monobath developer (link below) my only issue was the cost of shipping liquid chems is very high due to the weight. I asked about the possibility of a power version and was received with a hmmmmmm…. well that hmmmmm has turned into a big YES. This is very good news not only from an economic standpoint but it will now allow this chemical to ship to many more locations and the increased shelf life of unmixed powder is a very big plus.
So here are my latest results experimenting with CineStill film in Caffenol (instant coffee)… I am very happy with this combination! I have found the usable EI for this film-developer combination to range from 100-3200, all with one processing time, but the very best is around EI 640. This test image was made with my 1956 Leica M3 with a 1960 Leica 135mm Leitz Wetzlar Elmar at F5.6.
I’ve been continuously tweaking my Caffenol developer and developing technique over the past few years… I find it to be a very solid go-to developer for virtually any black and white film.
Announced this morning, Kodak will begin shipping E100 in 35mm now and next month 8mm and early next year 16mm.
I remember being at a cafe here in Vermont and getting a call from Kodak to let me know that E-6 (Ektachrome) was being discontinued by Kodak due to weak sales. Me and a few other photographers got a few days notice in order to help soften the blow in online media. This time I got no call, no film to test and finding an actual press release was strangely difficult (Why is it not on the homepage Kodak??!!) BUT, I am nevertheless happy to see Ektachome’s return… it is a good sign of strength- and returning faith- in our medium.
A picture is worth a thousand words… so this is going to be a very short review!
Bergger Pancro 400 reminds me a lot of XX by Kodak– it has a very classic long greyscale with just the right amount of grain and amazing highlight control. The quality control is very high, and I love that it’s available in all formats, 35mm through 8×10 sheet film. After extensive testing I have decided to make it my go-to 120 film… yeah it’s that good! In 4×5 the grain is very, very smooth and round. In 120 the grain is there, but very fine and beautiful which I think adds a wonderful depth to the scanned film. As for 35mm? There will be grain, but again it is a classic looking grain, which I love.
So, if you want lifeless, flat, smooth boring film? Bergger Pancro 400 is not for you! This film is classic… and combined with Df96 developer it hits all the right marks.
Rate Bergger Pancro 400 at between 100-325…. I find 200/250 to be the sweet spot if you want full shadow detail. This holds true for all the developers I tested this film with.
CineStill Df96 MonoBath developer produces the very BEST negatives I have seen with this film; it is a perfect combination.
Try pulling the film with Df96… shoot it at 200 and pull 1/2 to 1 stop in development. Note: I did not do that in the sample image above but I could have… it’s a nice way to control high contrast scenes.