I have to confess it: I love buying film…maybe just as much as shooting portraits and street candid pictures. I find myself buying way more film than I can use and sometimes old expired ones lay patient on the fridge, waiting for my consideration. This is what happened with a roll of Ilford PanF+ 50 that I bought almost 6 years ago in Paris and never had the chance to use…until I recently thought that I should give it a try. The occasion came when I decided that I wanted to start developing my BW film at home and bought all the chemicals and accessories needed…I then picked that old roll out of the fridge and, given that the Patterson tank I had could accomodate two 120 rolls at the same time, I decided to buy another roll on PanF+ and shoot it as well.
I ended up using the first expired roll on my Hasselblad 501CM, rating it a ISO32 (2/3 overexposure), given that such low ISO film are not that sensitive to expire date; the second roll, brand new, has been shot on my Pentax 67 at ISO40 (you know, a bit of overexposure is always good!). The film low sensibility is a challenge, as you really need a lot of light to nail the exposure. On the first roll I had to give up the idea of using extension tubes and used only the Planar 80mm as I was outside and did not want to carry a tripod; the second roll was easier as I shot mainly indoor, with a tripod and a cable release. This also gave me the possibility to try the SMC 135mm f4 Macro, a lens that I have almost never used so far.
As for the development, I used Ilford DD-X (diluted 1:4) for 5.5m at 24°C, with a classic 10s agitation every minute in a Paterson tank. I also used Ilfostop, Rapid Fixer and Ilfotol Wetting Agent to be sure everything was professionally done. Unfortunately I did not have the time to buy squeegees and film clips, so hanging the rolls to dry was quite a rudimental process (and the scratches that I have found later on could have been avoided with the proper care).
As for the results. I am quite happy. The combination PanF+ and Takumar 135mm macro has been less than fair to the skin of my wife (every little skin pore or imperfection is there) so I might want to take it into consideration for the future and choose a more forgiving film (FP4+ maybe?). But the tonality and contrast of the pictures are both great.
Last technical consideration: with such a vast tonality I kind of miss the capabilities of a better scanner. My Epson 750 is not bad, and as I said earlier on this blog, I could definitely improve my Silverfast skills, but I feel that printing these negatives in a darkroom would open a different world.
- Hasselblad 501CM > Carl Zeiss Planar T* 2.8/80 CFE > expired Ilford PanF+ @32
- Pentax 67 > SMC 105mm f2.4 and SMC 135mm f4 Macro > Ilford PanF+ @40