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Thread: Technical Pan

  1. #1

    Technical Pan

    Hey y'all,

    I recently got my hands on some expired 4x5 techpan, cold storage, only 50 sheets. From what I can tell this is a legendary film that needs lots of testing and work to get results worth shooting such a rare film.
    I'm extremely new to the whole large format film thing. With only 50 exposures to work with, I'm wary about using it. Would it be worth it to just save it until I have a stabilized workflow and process etc? I'd rather sell this to someone who a) has already done testing so they can really use the full extent of this film b) has a consistent darkroom and a consistent workflow. I'd rather have like 100 sheets of other stuff I'm willing to use and have someone else who knows how to use techpan gets another shot at it.
    2 questions:
    a) How should I make sure this gets into good hands? If I sell it on ebay anyone with a paypal could get their hands on it(and possibly waste it).
    b) what in the heck would be a reasonable price? I've seen people pay like $4 a sheet. Is this even close to sane?

    Sorry, this is a lot. I just don't want this stuff to get wasted.

  2. #2
    Eric Woodbury
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    Re: Technical Pan

    Good questions. I use a fair amount of Tech Pan. Wonderful film for my use, but it is not for everybody.

    In my experience, most people use it as a high resolution, normal contrast film. It can be this. It is extremely high resolution. As a quirk, it has good red sensitivity which can be used for or against you. It is hard to tame into normal contrast, but with Rodinal or POTA or other slow developers, it can be controlled. I use it for its high contrast; when I want to photograph a subjects innate contrast, not the contrast of the light, but the contrast of just the subject. This can require N+4 or more. Needless to say, at that level of contrast, it is nearly impossible to get the correct exposure. In these cases, I will expose carefully, say a little prayer, and hope for the best. Every photo is a throw of the dice.

    It is interesting and fun. Good luck.

  3. #3
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Technical Pan

    It is not a good beginner film -- that said, it has some great characteristics for special circumstances and uses in printing.

    A rate of one sheet of tech pan for 2 sheets of 4x5 film sounds reasonable. From Freestyle, that would be about $160 plus tax/shipping...or twice that for TMax. And that would probably be a lowball offer.

    I have a long-term project for which I use Tech Pan (along with copy film) that can take advantage of its characteristics (alt process where I want high contrast negatives) and do not mind the slow speed.

    Tamed with the appropiate developers, it can make grainless enlargements...easily 16x20. But I suggest seeing what 'normal' films can do first.

    If you offer it in the For Sale section, you will get some good responses.

    PS -- edited to better reflect the rules.
    Last edited by Vaughn; 20-Dec-2019 at 14:21.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  4. #4
    おせわに なります! Andrew O'Neill's Avatar
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    Re: Technical Pan

    I used it for a bit back in the 90's, developed in Technidol. If I had some now, I'd try it in POTA. What's the expiry date on it?

  5. #5

    Re: Technical Pan

    1987.

    I like the idea of shooting it because I'm a high resolution guy and the red sensitivity does well with what I shoot. Side question: is it possible to replicate it with a really harsh red filter and a sharp film, or is there something else there that I don't understand?

  6. #6
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Technical Pan

    For me, it is the contrast one can build up with it -- I contact print, so fine grain/extreme sharpness is not as critical for me as the contrast flexibility (which is why I can use 'normal' developers with Tech Pan).
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  7. #7

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    Re: Technical Pan

    I suppose related to assessing a value for selling is... Do you know how the film has been stored for 30+ years? I've only ever used it in 120 roll format and used Technidol many years ago, when it was available, and 510-Pyro most recently. I wouldn't recommend it for a beginning LF photographer.

  8. #8
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    Re: Technical Pan

    Quote Originally Posted by BennoLF View Post
    Hey y'all,

    I recently got my hands on some expired 4x5 techpan, cold storage, only 50 sheets. From what I can tell this is a legendary film that needs lots of testing and work to get results worth shooting such a rare film.
    I'm extremely new to the whole large format film thing. With only 50 exposures to work with, I'm wary about using it. Would it be worth it to just save it until I have a stabilized workflow and process etc? I'd rather sell this to someone who a) has already done testing so they can really use the full extent of this film b) has a consistent darkroom and a consistent workflow. I'd rather have like 100 sheets of other stuff I'm willing to use and have someone else who knows how to use techpan gets another shot at it.
    2 questions:
    a) How should I make sure this gets into good hands? If I sell it on ebay anyone with a paypal could get their hands on it(and possibly waste it).
    b) what in the heck would be a reasonable price? I've seen people pay like $4 a sheet. Is this even close to sane?

    Sorry, this is a lot. I just don't want this stuff to get wasted.
    Your question (b) is one we avoid on the forum, by policy--please read the guidelines about asking for valuations. It's easy enough to figure out what it's worth, if anything. I'm leaving the thread open as long as you are receiving advice on how to use the film yourself.

    Your question (a) is a lot easier. Your 30-day introductory period is over, so you should have access to the For Sale forum. List it there with whatever price you think, based on the research you did in (b).

    But read the guidelines first--our for-sale forum is there to serve as a classifieds listing for members.

    Rick "who hasn't used Tech Pan since, oh, about 1978" Denney

  9. #9
    jp's Avatar
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    Re: Technical Pan

    Little sense to play with it until you get good with it and then run out of film. I'd suggest selling it for what the market can bear and buy some film you're apt to use... If you like super fine grain, perhaps tmax400, delta 100, tmax100, or fp4+ would be worth your while to learn. In reality, any of these listed films are fine enough grain it's not worth splitting hairs over to find the finest grain.

  10. #10
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Technical Pan

    It's not a good beginner film. You need special developers for ordinary contrast work. The scale of the film in terms of the brightness range it will handle is less than most. It might, as you say, have a theoretical capacity for high resolution; but because it has poor edge acutance - which I don't want to explain here - but it doesn't really look very sharp in print. I recommend something like FP4 as a good versatile learner film, though some people stick with FP4 for good. I once used Tech Pan film for forensic photography (like detecting art fraud under IR lighting), or for restoration copies of very old faded photographic prints, stuff like that. I never cared for it as a "taking" film for general use. But everyone seems tempted to try at least once.

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