Shooting and developing Kodak Technical Pan film
Shooting and developing Kodak Technical Pan film

Shooting and developing Kodak Technical Pan film

The second part of my adventure with Kodak Technical Pan. TL;DR: I shot the only roll of Technical Pan I’ve had in Zenza Bronica GS-1, and developed it, despite having no Technidol, its designated developer.

Read more about the first part of my adventure with Technical Pan!

Quick overview, first: I was shooting a roll of Technical Pan in Zenza Bronica GS-1, in its standard 6×7 back, with the sharpest lens of the system, Zenzanon-PG 80mm F3.5. Since the film expired in 2001, according to the general rule of thumb of decreasing film sensitivity one stop for every decade after the expiry date, I was supposed to shoot it at 6 ASA. That would require shooting from a tripod, and I really wasn’t happy doing that, so I took a chance and guesstimated it as only half as expired, meaning, I was shooting it at 12 ASA.

Shooting the film

Shooting with an 80mm lens from the hand meant keeping the exposures above 1/80 to minimize the camera shake. Luckily, Zenzanon-PG lenses have a leaf shutter built in, reducing the amount of shake, but there’s still a significant mirror slap. At 12 ASA, that meant I had to keep the apertures pretty wide, well below ƒ/8, where I would like them to be. The resulting shallow depth of field is clearly visible in more than one photo, and I wasn’t expecting that effect to be this obvious – I was nowhere near the minimal focusing distance.

At one moment, I was left with the final three photos, but I was running out of daylight fast, so I threw the caution away and cranked the ASA dial to a shocking 25 ASA! I basically just skewed the camera’s light meter a stop; despite the setting sun, it was still a bright day, one stop less shouldn’t make a deal-breaking difference.


After finishing the film, I had to develop it somehow!

As I’ve read on the ‘net, Technical Pan is a notoriously difficult film to develop correctly, it is difficult to tame its contrast while keeping the sharpness and minimal grain. Historically, using Technidol, its recommended developer, would do the trick, but it was discontinued at the same time as the film, in the early 2000s, and buying a bottle of a special-purpose developer just for one roll would be an overkill. I’ve had a few options left – Rodinal, Perceptol, FX-39 or XT-3. Xtol (XT-3 in Adox nomenclature) is what Kodak recommends as an alternative but for film metered at below 10 ASA, something I certainly didn’t prepare for.

My options were like this:

Developer Dilution ASA Time Temp
FX-39 1+19 25 7 20°C
Perceptol 1+1 25 9 22°C
Rodinal 1+50 25 4.5 20°C
Rodinal 1+100 25 8 20°C
Rodinal 1+100 25 60 20°C
Rodinal 1+150 25–‍64 7 20°C
Rodinal 1+300 25–‍64 12 20°C
Technidol LC stock 16–‍25 5-11 20°C
Technidol LC stock 25–‍32 7-18 20°C
Xtol / XT-3 1+5 10 15-16 21°C

In the end, I decided to go with FX-39, because of reasonable development time, and because I had it open and ready to use. I’ve decided to develop the film at its box speed, 25 ASA, with no compensation for pulling it to 12 ASA, simply because I had no idea how long should I develop it. YOLO, and see how would it turn out.

After 7 minutes of development, some fixing and washing, the film was ready for drying.


Absolutely amazing!

Negatives are well exposed and well developed, sharp, with a full tonal range, from deep blacks to shiny whites, all in the right places – deep blacks in deep shadows, and bright whites on top of the clouds.

I’ve reached the limits of my flatbed scanner, scans are as good as I can get them at the moment, negatives look like they have a bit more dynamic range, and are sharper, but without a better scanner, this is all I can get.