Bergger Pancro 400 Review

Bergger Pancro 400 is a relatively new, since 2016, black and white (B&W) film. I'm pretty particular with B&W film, relying heavily on Ilford HP5 and pushing it to 1600 to shoot indoors for the tattoo project. It never hurts to try new things, so I picked up a few rolls of Pancro 400 to shoot. Maybe it could find a way into my rotation?

Pancro 400 has been described as a low contrast and a fine grain film. My results matched this description. Switching between HP5 and Pancro 400 there was a drop off in contrast and increase in dynamic range. Pancro 400 shows more details in the shadows and allowed me more control over contrast. The downside of that control is the image loses too much contrast for my liking.

When shooting film the less I need to adjust in post the better. If I continued shooting with Pancro I would need to adjust my curves to increase contrast on almost every image. I rarely need to do anything with my images from Ilford HP5 at 1600 and it will continue being my main choice for B&W film. Pancro 400 would be a good option when the subject requires more dynamic range, like medium format and portraiture, things I shoot much less of.

Bergger deserves credit and praise for bringing a new film to the world. As a community we romanticize the days when there was more variety of emulsions. These days I'll continue supporting efforts to bring new emulsions to the world. They won't always replace my favorites but they don't have to. By just existing they give me the ability to experiment and new options for shooting, and that is more than enough.