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Thread: Bergger Pancro 400 in sheets

  1. #21
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Bergger Pancro 400 in sheets

    It was originally marketed here under the Lotus brand (the camera co). Then Bergger distributed it. Forte made it, as just noted. They were a major paper manufacturer too. Polygrade V was a home run product. But without former Cold War era govt subsidies, large scale facilities could no longer be maintained. And not profitable enough to start over downsized. So they retired. A different kind of problem than Kodak and the stock market. The only "straight line" film left on the market is Fomapan/Arista/Classic 200. Even less flexible than Bergger 200 compared to the old standard, Super-XX, but when you need 12 clean stops of range, It's got it.

  2. #22
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Bergger Pancro 400 in sheets

    Michael - you're apparently confusing Forte with Foma. Forte/Lotus/Bergger 200 was never discounted. The current Fomapan 200 is sold at a discount under the Arista 200 label, but it's an open question if the coating is properly cured when the discount version is cut from the master roll.

  3. #23

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    Re: Bergger Pancro 400 in sheets

    Wow, lots of good information here!

    I'm must confess thought to not quite understand some of the jargon / technical terminology, or at least think I understand some of it but question if I am on the right track...

    When people are saying 'straight line film' are they talking about the film maintaining good detail in the toe and shoulder, at either end of the exposure spectrum? I'm assuiming this is a good thing if one wants good, usable detail from pire black to puire white, and is prepared to alter contrast in the printing stage (if at all)?

    From the comments here, FP4+ is still considered a great film; something I agree with, having used it a little bit (all be it a long time ago in roll film varieties). Many great practitioners I know now use it instead of Kodak after the price hikes. I'd love to try pyro processing, but confess to know nothing about pyro development. I'm always been a D76 guy, but am keen to try something different for my venture into sheet film. Bergger themselves seem to recommend the PMK developer over all else for Pancro 400. Is it easy and relatively safe for tray developement? If so, I might buy a box of FP4+ and another of Bergger, and see how I get on from there...

    I must say, although I've been shooting LF for a long time – 4x5" for over ten years and various view cameras, but only with colour film or high-res digital backs – I'm a total newbie when it comes to 8x10" cameras and sheet film processing. Part of the attraction is trying new things and simply trying to keep things fresh. Is great to hear that there are some many film manufacturers still out there, and such a strong community of people still using the stuff plus sharing knowledge here.

  4. #24

    Re: Bergger Pancro 400 in sheets

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Michael - you're apparently confusing Forte with Foma. Forte/Lotus/Bergger 200 was never discounted. The current Fomapan 200 is sold at a discount under the Arista 200 label, but it's an open question if the coating is properly cured when the discount version is cut from the master roll.
    Yes, I believe you are correct Drew in that I got the two names juxtaposed unintentionally.

    But looking at the current Freestyle website the costs appear the same as FP4+ on a per sheet basis. I was a staunch Kodak guy for years and while I firmly believe T Max 400(2) is the best sheet film ever produced, the costs are exorbitant to the current LF consumers and are unjustified in the marketplace. The results I get with it are not 2.5X superior to FP4+ and I do not have to be concerned about quality control and I can get full 125 ASA box speed out of FP4+.

  5. #25

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    Re: Bergger Pancro 400 in sheets

    In the end, it's whatever works.

  6. #26

    Re: Bergger Pancro 400 in sheets

    Forte also went out of business because the real estate became valuable

  7. #27
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Bergger Pancro 400 in sheets

    Well, my financial default when March winds arrive will be to shoot 4X5 TMY400 instead of 8X10. And I too consider this to be the best quality most versatile sheet film ever made. But FP4 will work fine in the 8X10 in the meantime. Later in the year, I often enjoy working with the extreme contrasts found in the forest and high mountains. The further the straight line goes into the toe, the better in that case. Bergger 200 was wonderful for that, but TMax films come close. Glaring sparkly ice or glacial polish adjacent to deep deep shadows - now that's a nice day.

  8. #28
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Bergger Pancro 400 in sheets

    Tim, the term "straight line film" is relative, because most films have a straight line in the middle of the characteristic reproduction curve, but some films have a much longer straight line than others. At the bottom of the curve is the "toe" representing shadow exposure. If this toe itself is long, it means that it is easy to get exposure in the shadows, but that these shadow values won't be crisply differentiated, and might seem muddy or "boring". At the very top of the film curve is the "heel". If the film is overexposed, the highlights will be pushed off above the straight line an onto this curved-over heel, and you'll lose differentiation of the high values - they'll look bleached out. So it's important to match both your specific film and exposure and development technique to the contrast range involved. A film like Pan F can handle only a narrow contrast range because it has only a brief straight line section, but can give lovely results in beach fog etc. TMax films have a very long relatively straight section, but need careful shadow metering. FP4 is more forgiving, but can't dig quite as deep into shadows.

  9. #29

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    Re: Bergger Pancro 400 in sheets

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Well, my financial default when March winds arrive will be to shoot 4X5 TMY400 instead of 8X10. And I too consider this to be the best quality most versatile sheet film ever made. But FP4 will work fine in the 8X10 in the meantime. Later in the year, I often enjoy working with the extreme contrasts found in the forest and high mountains. The further the straight line goes into the toe, the better in that case. Bergger 200 was wonderful for that, but TMax films come close. Glaring sparkly ice or glacial polish adjacent to deep deep shadows - now that's a nice day.
    Drew, what do you think of Delta 100 in 8X10?

  10. #30
    LF/ULF Carbon Printer Jim Fitzgerald's Avatar
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    Re: Bergger Pancro 400 in sheets

    I'm glad that I have 100 sheets of Bergger 200 in 14x17 in my freezer. It does do well in extreme contrast situations in the Redwoods as does my Efke 25. When I empty the freezer I'll go to FP-4.

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