Film photography is actually a upcoming trend today. Bergger developed with the Pancro 400 a modern panchromatic double-emulsion monochrome film, delivering fantastic results in small and medium format. Due to my passion for old and rare cameras, I took some rolls, testing how this film behaves in various cameras, built and developed long before the Pancro.
Here is the actual contestant:
The legendary Leica II, a screw mount rangefinder with the Leitz Elmar 50mm f3.5 lens, M39 mount, for small format. Produced from 1932 to 1948, it was the first Leica with built-in rangefinder. I bought this Leica from the US and it´s in a really awesome condition. The lens, even if it´s uncoated gives sharp results with very good contrasts. From 1925 to 1930 it was built as a fixed lens before Leica started to produce it as a interchangeable lens in 1930 and coated it since 1946.
Optics are 4 elements in three groups and it owns 10 mostly straight aperture blades, closest focus is 1m.
All images are developed in Kodak XTOL, scanned and not digital pot-processed. The first three ones are made at the Neptunes Fountain in Berlin, one of the touristic attraction near Alexanderplatz. Aperture was set at f4.5, shutterspeed at 1/200, the sky was covered with thin clouds that day.
The Pancro400 is definitely one of the best rolls I ever tried in this camera. The sharpness and the details couldn´t be compared to modern film cameras but I can name this images the best results a film ever delivered in it.
Especially in the picture with the goat, you can see the clear lines on its body and the details on the horns.
The grain is very evenly and pleasant without losing the details in it.
In the images of the figures in the fountain you cann see the dynamic range of the film, due to its double layers. Even with the sky in the background, the different tones are shown really good and you can clearly identify the figures in the darker areas, holding neptunes shell.
Shooting the Pancro400 in lowlight condition? Normally no problem, I made the experience that it´s pushable up to ISO1600 with keeping the image quality I expect. But with the 70 years old Leica I was really curious about the results. The subway entrances of Berlin are always a nice place for playing with light and shadow. I chose the highest aperture of f3.5 and set the shutter speed on 1/60, due to the sunlight falling in the conditions were not as difficult as expected.
The Pancro400 shows a really good contrast here, light and dark tonings are well balanced. Details are not as sharp as in the fountain images, but that was a expected result, also by using the old uncoated lens with open aperture, but compared with former lowlight film results still amazing. The grain is stronger now, but it keeps its very evenly and smooth look.
In the image of the Berlin Tower you can see a stronger grain. I took this image to show the dynamic range of the Pancro400, by shooting the shadow side of the tower against the bright sky. Even if there´s a stronger grain, the details of the tower under this conditions are still recognizable.
The Marie-Elizabeth-Lüders-house in Berlins government district is one of the most interesting buidlings when it´s about architecture. The Pancro again had no problems to handle the details and contrasts when shootings against the bright sky.
Finally you definitely say, that the Bergger Pancro400 works absolutely well with the vintage Leica II. Modern film technology and historic camera development are a very good combination in this case. Not even that this camera is absolutely a eyecatcher, with the Pancro400 you don`t have to worry about the results.