Retropan 320—My First Experiment.

Czech film manufacturer Foma introduced a new black & white film in 2015 called Retropan Soft (ISO 320).

This is advertised as a panchromatic, special negative film with ‘fine grain, good resolution and contour sharpness’. Among its features are a ‘wide range of half tones and a wide exposure latitude.

I tried my first roll in early December 2016. I have to admit that I was curious, but skeptical. Could this new b&w film change the way I approach film photography? Might it offer something decidedly different than Kodak Tri-X or Ilford HP5?

Working with an old Nikon F3 and 50mm lens  I wandered around Philadelphia with my brother and exposed a variety of gritty urban images that I thought might benefit from the look advertised by ‘Retropan’.

Foma recommended using their specially formulated Retro Special Developer, so I ordered some from Freestyle Photographic Supplies .

I exposed my film at ISO 320, and processed it more or less as recommended using Retro Special Developer, with two small changes:

I shortened the processing time (as I generally find that manufacturer recommended times are too long and lead to excessively dense negatives); plus I pre-soaked the film in a water bath with a drop of HC110 (as described in previous posts).

The negatives scanned  well, and I was impressed with the tonality of the photographs. I’ve included a selection below.

Please note, that although I scaled the files and inserted a watermark, I have not cropped them or manipulated contrast, exposure or sharpness. These photos are essentially un-interpreted.

Philadelphia exposed on Foma Retropan Soft and processed in Foma Retro Special Developer.
Parkside Avenue, Philadelphia.
42nd Street, Philadelphia.
Philadelphia City Hall. Philadelphia exposed on Foma Retropan Soft and processed in Foma Retro Special Developer.
Evening view from the same street corner as the daylight photo.
Low angle view of an alley.
Buying SEPTA transit tokens.

Stay tuned for my next Retropan test!

Brian Solomon presents something new on Tracking the Light every day.



2 comments on “Retropan 320—My First Experiment.

  1. Michael Walsh on said:

    Berlin awaits you – just the place for that look.

    The German Berlin, that is!

  2. Anonymous on said:

    Never imagined my back alley would make it in tracking the light!

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