View Full Version : Tech Pan for 4x5, or is this overkill?

B Griggs
11-Jul-2001, 11:18
The recent Readyload scare made me think of holders and films other than T-Max; thus the idea of using Tech Pan, apparently with Technidol, for 4x5. Several que stions: is this overkill, given the abilities of T-Max, and the ease of Readyloa ds, or are there people who have seen demonstrably better results with the Tech Pan? Are there problems with the extended red sensitivity of Tech Pan? Can its a bilities be exploited differently with other developers? Is reciprocity a proble m? (the tables apparently look OK) Other general comments and opinions would be most welcome. Thanks.

Jim Galli
11-Jul-2001, 11:49
T-Max is a pain-in-the-neck! Tech Pan is impossible!

pat krentz
11-Jul-2001, 12:08
Jim, a very good argument for Tri-X and Pyro dev. Pat

Pete Andrews
11-Jul-2001, 12:35
I find T-max100 to be a very good film across all formats, but if you don't like it, try FP4plus. IMHO FP4+ has the finest grain and best gradation of any non-delta/T-grain medium speed film.Techpan is impossible, I agree.

Stuart Whatling
11-Jul-2001, 12:44
I gave up using TechPan in 35mm years ago because I'd always end up with 36 frames on a roll that each needed slightly different development times.

Now I'm using 5x4 I may have to go back and try again...

Sal Santamaura
11-Jul-2001, 15:51
How does Tech Pan address "the recent Readyload scare?" Is Tech Pan available in Readyload now? TMX is the film Kodak will most likely keep in production longest, even if Readyload packaging is someday dropped.

For 4x5, developing TMX in convenient Ilfosol-S, I think you'd be hard pressed to see an improvement with Tech Pan, at least up to 16x20 prints. This takes into account practical matters like film positioning accuracy and typical large format shooting apertures. High magnifications from 35mm originals might be a different story. Also, to the best of my knowledge, reciprocity characteristics of TMY are bested only by Fuji Acros in this film category, and the single US source of that product in sheets charges $65.00 for a box of Quickloads.

Ken Burns
11-Jul-2001, 18:38

Tech Pan for the 4x5 format is gross overkill and probably not a practical approach. It is such a slow film that you would probably have problems with depth of field and/or reciprocity dictated by the small apertures necessary to acheive adequate depth of field. Under most lighting situations, you probably would not be able to stop the lens down adequately to get necessary depth of field. Exposure times would be so long at the normal working apertures for the 4x5 format that reciprocity law failure as well subject movement would be a problem in many situations. The exposure times would be tremendously long. IMHO, T-Max 100 would be much more pracical.

Jorge Gasteazoro
11-Jul-2001, 18:53
It might be overkill, and with such a low speed you will run into horrible reciprocity problems, on the other hand if you have a studio and/or a supernova is eminent, then it might not be a bad experiment. specially developed with a pyro type developer. This is an interesting question, I might even experiemtn with it.

David Vickery
11-Jul-2001, 19:43
Tech pan is not horrible or difficult or impossible. But it is different. It's probably the most DIFFERENT film of all standard films currently availble. In certain situations I believe that it is a tremendous tool to use(low contrast subjects esp.). Keep in mind what Dan Smith said and give it a try. I'd suggest trying one of the formulas in the Darkroom Cookbook or the Film Developing Cookbook or Technidal but be precise in your technique.

Doug Paramore
11-Jul-2001, 20:33
I honestly can't see going to the trouble of special processing, worrying if everything will turn out the same as last time, expensive developers and all the other problems associated with Tech-Pan just so I can get an ASA too low to be usable for much 4x5 work. Even ol' reliable Tri-X rated at 160 or HP-5 rated about 200 gets too slow at times with filters. Put in some bellows factor, a filter factor and you're down to almost nothing for an ASA rating. Why go to all this trouble when you can make perfectly fine prints in quite large sizes with medium or higher speed film. If you are going to do wall size prints, go ahead and use an 8x10. Fine grain just isn't a problem with normal size prints (16x20 to 20x24) with 4x5. I would certainly trade the additional speed of other films for the fine grain of Tech- Pan. Please feel free to disregard this personal opinion.


11-Jul-2001, 21:03
I've got to agree with you all, Tech Pan is sort of overkill in 4x5+ ...although the extended red sensitivity is nice for filtering old photos when you copy them...that said, TMX is my primary film...I'm not sure if there's any worry about Tech Pan going away soon though, EK has that as one of their replacement films for neg. duping if (& when) they do away with SO-366....

David R Munson
12-Jul-2001, 00:21
My question is this- how big are you enlarging? If you're going for some huge prints, have top-notch optics, and impeccable technique, then sure, go for it. Otherwise, I say stick to more "normal" emulsions. I shoot it in 120 sometimes, and David hits it right on the head when he says it's "different." I've never been a big fan of Technidol, so I develop it in Formulary Modified Windisch Catechol with pretty good results. But hey- if you feel like shooting it in 4x5 and doing battle with it's idiosyncracies, more power to you. After all, doing you own thing is half the fun of photography, isn't it?

John O'Connell
12-Jul-2001, 09:06
The big problem with TP in 4x5 isn't film speed. It's dust. I don't buy it anymore because I have ZERO dust problems with other films, but highly annoying ones on TP.

Seems a pity to me because it has excellent tonality for portraiture, and seems particularly well-suited to bringing out the texture of hair.

B Griggs
12-Jul-2001, 10:39
Thanks to all for their decisive comments. I had not considered the even lower speed with filtration (and multiple filtration, say, with yellow filters and a polarizer). And this is clearly not worth the hassle of film holders. On the other end of the speed scale, why can't Kodak put Tri-X in readyloads? Oh well. We should be thankful that T- Max is back in them.

Thanks again for your learned and reasoned responses, Burke

12-Jul-2001, 23:29
Also watch out which lens looks good or not so good with this film. You will be surprized. Example....In 35mm.... A leica with a dual range summicron(1960's) will knock your socks off with tech pan....and a more current lens with higher contrast might well suck. Go figure!

Pete Andrews
13-Jul-2001, 06:15
A leica? Whazzat? Is that one of those things that I crushed under a tripod leg the other day?

Struan Gray
13-Jul-2001, 06:22
Perhaps he meant one of these:


13-Jul-2001, 21:15
Hmmmm... Didn't Minor White use a Leica? Maybe he got tired of hauling a wooden crapbox around all the time. I think Ansel used a Contax and a Hassie too...Maybe he used the wooden box to store the cameras he actually used in. As well as his ego. BTW.... I shoot 12x20 too. Maybe I can get some TP for it.

floren de la rama
22-Jul-2001, 03:50
Yeah, HP5+ is pretty nice stuff. I used to be tempted by the slower finer grained film. I wonder why even with the use of a *tiny* 4x5 inch negative. If I want something finer, FP4+ fits the bill. Having said that, I've seen some wonderful Tech Pan prints. I was looking at the tonal scale and how the image was printed, not the fine grain.


james mickelson
22-Jul-2001, 12:17
Like any other material. It is used where it is useful and it is only hard to process if you haven't calibrated to development process you use with it. I find that Technical Pan film is absolutely wonderful "in the situations where it's characteristics are beneficial". As said above somewhere, low contrast scene, portraiture, and where extremely fine grain is a must like Bristle Cone Pines and wood/rust in Bodie. Tmax or even Tri-X is a good sharp film depending on what developer you use but I love TP for what it was made to do. And I don't find it hard to process at all. James

Jonah Giacalone
2-Jan-2002, 02:57
Go ahead and shoot the 4X5 TP and develop in PMK Pyro. It will take you a couple of tries to deal with the peculiarities but it's worth it...will change your life!