Photographing with Technical Pan
While digital technology largely supersedes film photography, there are still plenty of film enthusiasts around sourcing vintage rolls to experiment with different mediums and styles. One of the most popular black-and-white films manufactured by Kodak was Technical Pan, also known as Tech Pan, and while its no longer in production, its still highly sought after by photographers who like to do their own darkroom work.
What Is Technical Pan?
Technical Pan is a black-and-white film created by Kodak up until 2004 that leaned toward the red side of the visible light spectrum. It boasted outstanding fine grain, particularly when used at low speed, and is favorable for enlargements while still preserving the images fine details.
- This panchromatic black-and-white film included the addition of dyes to create extreme contrast and you could easily develop it at home using the Technidol developer mixture.
- Because its production has been discontinued, Tech Pan is now considered highly prized and can be difficult to find. However, you can find it from various sources as 35mm film rolls, as well as 120mm, 4x5-inch and 8x10-inch film rolls.
- Art and fashion photographers particularly favor Tech Pan for its high contrast results, particularly when processed using a high-strength developer.
What Are the Advantages of Tech Pan?
The main advantage of photographing with Tech Pan film is the extreme detail it is capable of recording in enlarged prints, which is on par with medium-format film. While it boasts incredible sharpness, controlling the contrast in the images can be tricky.
- Even under poor light conditions, Tech Pan can produce prints of good quality with stunning off-whites, soft grays, and highly contrasted highlights and shadows.
- Technical Pan requires specific developing conditions to achieve optimal results, which makes it a frequently used medium for photographers wanting to experiment in the darkroom while retaining significant control over the prints they create.
What Should You Look for When Buying Tech Pan?
When searching for Tech Pan film rolls, carefully check which the film format, such as 35mm, 120mm, 4x5 inch, or 8x10 inch, and that it is compatible with your camera.
- Some Tech Pan film rolls are also sold with Technicol liquid developer, so always check if it is included in the bundle when doing your own darkroom developing.
- Most films come with an expiration date, so always check the date. You can prolong the life of the film if you keep it in a refrigerator or sealed within the manufacturers packaging.
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