35mm Tech Pan

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by rick_helmke|2, May 5, 2013.

  1. Evening all,
    I often tell my friends there is more film in my freezer than food and while I'm heavily invested in digital this is still apparently true. While looking for some dinner I ran into two bulk rolls of 35mm Tech Pan. I aquired these some time back when the photo service I used to work for went digital and gave me a huge supply of all manner of film and chemistry. It's out of date but I know for sure that it's been frozen since purchase. I recall using this film in 4x5 format (which I also have some in the same freezer) but that we used it for high contrast copy work. I recall using the 35mm in some studio settings rated at about 160 and processing for very high contrast results. If memory serves I believe I read somewhere it could also be rated at ISO 25 and processed differently for very nice, nearly grainless continous tone images. Does anyone here have experience using this film in that manner? If so, what developer was used? Is it truly good as a low speed continous tone film similar to the long lost Panatomic-X? I've used miles of Tri-X and Plus-X through the years but always thought Kodak made a mistake in dropping Panatomic from their line. I'd like to load some up and get some use from it. I may scan it it but am contemplating a new darkroom set up in the fall. Thanks for any information.

    Rick H.
  2. The developer you're thinking of is Technidol. Kodak stopped making and distributing it several years ago, now quite hard to find.
    Photographer's Formulary TD-3 developer is also quite suitable.
    No developer will really get a proper S-shaped HD curve out of Tech Pan, there will always be somewhat odd tonal response, and it also has an "unusual" spectral response. You're trying to make what is essentially microfilm into continuous-tone film, something it really doesn't inherently want to do.
  3. Pan-X has a much smoother curve though not as fine of a grain as Tech Pan. Tech Pan is also more sensitive to red, almost to the IR range. It was shot for its fine grain and very high resolution and edge sharpness making 35mm close to 6x9 in quality. There is no way to make Tech Pan look as "good" as Pan-X but with careful processing can still turn out a decent tonal range.
    data sheet: http://www.kodak.com/global/en/professional/support/techPubs/p255/p255.pdf
  4. What nostalgia!
    Mike's second link mentions H&W Control as one of four developers you could use with Tech Pan. Long before there was a "Tech Pan", I used to use Control with Kodak 5069 "High Contrast Copy Film", which is basically the stuff that got rebadged as Tech Pan. (Some would argue that Technidol was Kodak's answer to Control). I think it was the first developer propmted to turn high contrast microfilm into wide tone pictorial film. I learned about it in a 1973 Aaron Sussmann's "Amateur Photographer's Handbook".
    And guess what? When I Googled for the formula for Control, Google led me back to pnet. ;)
    Unfortunately, that article has two formulas.
    Supposedly, Bluefire HR is pretty much the same stuff.
  5. High Contrast Copy is certainly the precursor of Technical Pan, but they are not the same film. Unexposed High Contrast Copy is more greenish, where Tech Pan is more blueish.
    But they are certainly birds of a feather -- both are essentially microfilms.
    I'm sure that High Contrast Copy behaves very similar to Tech Pan in Technidol. But I have fun with High Contrast Copy in D-19, for lith-like results. But you do get halation due to the absolutely clear base of High Contrast Copy.
  6. Here on our own Photo.net Jack Dong with his ULC developer and Jay deFehr have two good substitutes for technidol that they use with Imagelink-HQ , the more recent Kodak copy film. You could do a lot worse that to experiment with those.
    Jay calls his 'sweet 'n low' IIRC. It came up in a thread on his Obsidian Aqua. Google 'site://www.photo.net'.
    Both use acscorbate in low dilution with phenidone or PPD.
  7. The TP2415 data sheet is still (last I looked, not so long ago) on the Kodak web site.

    It lists many choices for developer and gives the contrast that you should expect.
    There is an HC-110 choice not so much higher contrast than technidol, and easier to find, but I haven't tried it yet.
  8. I used Tech-Pan primarily for line copy and low contrast subjects. It and its predecessors were great for this. An exposure index of about 250, bracketing in several half stop increments, and developing in Dektol or Polymax worked for me.
  9. If you rate this film at ISO 25 and develop it in Rodinal (now Adonal) at a dilution of 1:300 for 12 minutes and using a temperature of 68 degrees F, you will get beautiful, continuous tone negatives. I also have some High Contrast Copy Film. Having heard it was the precursor to Tech Pan, I developed it the same way and got some great looking negatives. However, the film was from 1971, so I shot a few test frames and found it needed to be exposed at ISO 12 or 6.
  10. John-Paul, Thx for this.

Share This Page