In an effort to save a bit of money on film, I recently purchased a bulk loader from eBay for the princely sum of £19.99 plus delivery. The bulk loader came with some used cassettes that I could reload and a 7.5m reel of Pan F+. You can purchase the bulk loader with different film stocks, I chose Pan F+ as it was a film I hadn’t shot before and I wanted to try it. I managed to load 5 cassettes with 25 exposures and 1 further cassette with 15, I shot with the 15 exposure roll first so I could check that I had done it correctly and hadn’t accidentally exposed it during the loading process. I will leave writing anything further about the bulk loader itself for a future post for now I just want to write about the film it came with, Pan F+.
This black and white film is rated at 50 ISO, which is a lot slower than I’m used to, so I rated the first roll at EI 100. I loaded it up into my Leica M6 TTL and took it down to the Worth Way near my house, it wasn’t the brightest of days and the trees over the track made for probably less than great light conditions for the film. I shot all 15 frames on my walk and developed it as soon as I got home.
I developed the roll in HC-110, my developer of choice these days for 5 minutes at 22°C. Once dried I scanned them in, the first frame had a fully exposed left edge where I hadn’t given enough space for the leader, but other than that, there were no scratches or any other signs that I had made any mistakes loading the film using the bulk loader. The pictures themselves however were nothing special, this is not the fault of the film, they were just bad photos. Out of that first roll I only got one picture that was ok, this was of a tree stump. The detail and fine grain of the photo were lovely, so I do think that if shot correctly and with the right subjects, this is a really nice film. Now that I’m thinking about it I may try some portraits with it in the future maybe with flash.
I’ve since shot 2 more rolls in London, both at EI 50 and again the light wasn’t as good as it could have been and the pictures aren’t great. The sample section is a little light on the ground as most of the pictures I took with the film were horrible, but once again that’s down to me and not the film itself. I still have 3 rolls left to shoot and when I do use them I need to think about how I use them more carefully.
Pan F+ Samples
All sample images were taken with my Leica M6 TTL, developed at home in Kodak HC-110 dilution B and scanned with my Epson V550 flatbed scanner and Silverfast 8 SE.