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Thread: Bergger Panchro-400...Experiences?

  1. #1

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    Bergger Panchro-400...Experiences?

    I'm thinking that I might want to mess around with some fresh 11x14 film sometime over the coming winter...and am wondering about other folks' experiences with Bergger Panchro-400.

    The reason I ask is price...pretty compelling when the current B+H retail for 25 sheets of 11x14 HP-5 is 300.00, vs 190.00 for the same quantity of Bergger. And while HP-5 is listed currently in stock...the listed wait time for the Bergger is 2 to 4 weeks - and I could actually wait longer than this so its not an issue.

    A bit of internet sleuthing indicates that while the Bergger film does have a bit of a learning curve (would probably spring for some 4x5 Bergger for this reason...for testing/dialing in purposes), the general consensus seems to be favorable - with the possible exception of not responding well to Pyrocat. Again...I'd need to test this for myself to verify.

    Way back when (November of 2004 to be specific), I did have some problems with the then-version of Bergger 200 when souped in PMK Pyro - with badly clipped highlights. Probably my fault, but more or less turned me off to that film.

    At any rate...if anybody here has anything to say about Bergger Panchro-400 sheet film, I'm all ears!

  2. #2

    Re: Bergger Panchro-400...Experiences?

    I've been using Bergger Pancro 400 since 2017, in 120 and 8x10 formats. In 2017 I often processed the film in Rodinal/R09 because its what I had available most of the time. It was NOT an ideal combination though. I find Pancro 400 works very well in Xtol and D-23, but it really shines when developed with BER49 (aka Atomal 49), delivering excellent shadow detail and a rich tonal range without highlights sailing off into unusability. I have also been developing it in PMK, which worked very nicely when the film is rated at about 120 ASA, and recently in Pyrocat HD, which I found also works nicely. (I have not seen any reason to think Pyrocat HD doesn't work well with this film)

    Here are a couple examples of Pancro 400 developed in Pyrocat HD:

    (120 roll format)

    and:
    (8x10 sheet film)

    You can browse a number of images made on Pancro 400 here:
    https://www.flickr.com/search/?user_...400&view_all=1

    A few remarks...
    If you think its going to look and act like Tri-X, you're going to have a difficult time with Pancro 400. They're quite different. Pancro 400 has more visible (coarse, even) grain than Tri-X, no matter what you develop it in. BER49 optimizes for both grain characteristics AND tonality. I find that Pancro 400 lacks the acutance of Tri-X as well. Pancro 400 favors tonality and "atmosphere" over acutance. But of course, if you are using it in sheet film sizes, that isn't particularly relevant.
    Pancro 400 has an effective speed of 120-160 ASA when exposed for ideal shadow information, and when developed for optimal tonal rendering using Xtol or BER 49 or one of the Pyro developers. (For PMK you may need to increase exposure even more)
    I do suggest you buy some 4x5 and explore it before committing to a larger size. Some people do not like the film at all.

    Finally, beware of retailers that state restock dates: the supply chain that gets Pancro 400 into stores in the USA seems to be especially subject to delays. I have seen a 2-4 week restock forecast turn into 9 months in some instances. So, buy some wherever you can, from whoever has stock of it. Currently, it appears Adorama has the full compliment of formats of Pancro 400, and B&H has some sizes, but not 4x5 (backordered)

  3. #3
    Roger Thoms's Avatar
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    Re: Bergger Panchro-400...Experiences?

    I ordered 2 boxes of 11x14 from B&H on Dec. 20th last year and still haven’t received it. I do receive periodic emails letting me know that it’s still on backorder. I also emailed Bergger a couple months ago and asked when it might be available but didn’t receive a response.

    Roger

  4. #4

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    Re: Bergger Panchro-400...Experiences?

    I have made quite some 4x5” photo’s with Pancro400 in 2017 and 2018. I liked it better than recent TriX, but not especially more than TriX from 2003. Do you really need 400 Asa? Because that makes a higher price too. At the moment it’s sold out anyway.
    In the meantime I discovered Adox CHS 100, it’s cheap and phenomenal. https://www.fotoimpex.com/films/adox...che=1636269324
    I love it much more than Pancro because of its clarity, Pancro has quite a high base+fog and that’s not so easy in wet printing as the Adox film. Here’s an example: a photo of a baryta print (Bergger CB) from a 4x5 Adox CHS 100: https://lotwouda.zenfolio.com/p35654...b5ad#hf279b5ad

  5. #5

    Re: Bergger Panchro-400...Experiences?

    As an aside Bergger has zero customee relations. I really like and have used the print film for making dupes and its great material. Unfortunately it is out of stock in most places. I sent Bergger an email and got no response. So much for customer relations

  6. #6

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    Re: Bergger Panchro-400...Experiences?

    My experiences are rather limited - only one or two boxes in 4x5. In my experience the results with Pyrocat HD were less then ideal - I have read somewhere explanation by some of their staff that the only pyro developer that works really well is PMK, which I have not tried. Rodinal was OKish, my best bet was Moersch Eco developer. The negs were fine for normal enlarging, however, when printing kallitypes I missed the pyro stain...
    Website of sorts, as well as flickr thing.

  7. #7
    Ironage's Avatar
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    Re: Bergger Panchro-400...Experiences?

    I tried a couple of boxes of 5x7 and some 120 rolles to see what it is like. I found that it had a lot of base fog. Maybe they flash it to control contrast. Made good silver prints, but I did not like it for ziatypes.
    ...Dilettante! Who you calling a Dilettante?

  8. #8

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    Re: Bergger Panchro-400...Experiences?

    Very discouraging about the wait time for the 11x14 Panchro, and also that Bergger's communication efforts seem nil. As for film sensitivity vs price...my "go to" Fp-4 (which also comes with a 4-6 month wait time) actually costs more than does the Hp-5.

    So it looks like I'll be going for some HP-5...as I'd rather cough up the 110.00 extra than wait around for - who knows how long?

    At any rate...thanks for all the great responses!

  9. #9

    Re: Bergger Panchro-400...Experiences?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Layton View Post
    Very discouraging about the wait time for the 11x14 Panchro, and also that Bergger's communication efforts seem nil. As for film sensitivity vs price...my "go to" Fp-4 (which also comes with a 4-6 month wait time) actually costs more than does the Hp-5.

    So it looks like I'll be going for some HP-5...as I'd rather cough up the 110.00 extra than wait around for - who knows how long?

    At any rate...thanks for all the great responses!
    Happy to be of assistance.
    Regarding Ilford prices right now: It seems that when you find HP5 for less than FP4, its because the vendor is selling off their remaining HP5 inventory at early 2021 prices, not the late 2021/2022 prices. A month ago I stocked up on some 5x7 format FP4 for $65.50 a box. After restocking, the vendor updated the new inventory to the new prices: $85. per box. Ilford's pricing is such that HP5 will always be a bit more expensive than FP4, and I doubt that has changed. Its about existing inventory, before updated prices affect new inventory.

  10. #10

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    Re: Bergger Panchro-400...Experiences?

    Quote Originally Posted by paulbarden View Post
    I suspect its a byproduct of the fact that it has both a bromide and chloride silver layer. From Bergger's web site:
    "BERGGER Pancro 400 is a two emulsion film , composed with silver bromide and silver iodide. They differ by the size of their grain. These properties allow a wide exposure latitude. The two emulsions are panchromatic"
    No. It seems to be a standard Bromo-iodide negative emulsion set (as Bergger themselves say), coated in two layers (as almost all ISO 400 B&W neg films are today). The high base fog is going to be a result of interactions between emulsion components and developer (and the solvency of the latter in particular). For various reasons, some more modern emulsions accept a higher level of base fog (because you can print through it) as the solvent effect from the developer on the emulsion(s) releases important development inhibiting byproducts.

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