Ilford Pan 100: Panchromatism Galore


I don’t remember how I came across this film-gem. But nonetheless, I took this film-gem on a trip to Sweden last summer and I can proudly say that the Ilford Pan 100 is one of the greatest black and films I ever got to try.

I don’t even recall how I got this film-gem. But that is one of the sudden beauties of analogue photography. I have a brain like a swiss cheese and so I even forget to develop a film for about 5 years. Not this time, though. But nonetheless, I took this film-gem on a trip to Sweden last summer and I can proudly say that the Ilford Pan 100 is one of the greatest black and films I ever got to try.

As I am so satisfied with the fine grain, it is really time to get a little bit more familar with the term panchromatic, from which the PAN comes from. Sure I have seen it plenty of times on black and white films, but did I really know what it is about? No!

Credits: wil6ka

An emulsion is a light-sensitive colloid, a liquid comparable to a gel, on celluloid that makes photography possible. But how and what has panchromatism to do with it? It is the light, everything we see is light. And all the colors, shades, and all the differences of matter are light, light in different wavelengths. In an emulsion are silver hallide crystals that basically reflect and save the information of the electro-magnetical wavelengths of a picture through a electro-chemical reaction. It works pretty much like an organic hard drive.

Credits: wil6ka

As we have slide films, color negatives, and black and white films, all of them are sensitized for a different set of wavelengths, and also how the picture is reflected. For black and white, color obviously doesn’t play a role, but even more so does the brightness and the contrast. Panchromatic films have the nature of being very close to the perception of the human eye. No exaggeration or abstraction from how we see a picture. I guess this has also to do with the history of seeing photography. And there is also something like zeitgeist. Pictures of today could be actually quite awkward to the one who perceives the past. But I am content. I like the Ilford Pan 100. It is my panchromatic cup of tea!

Going for the elegant, old-school look? Add a timeless touch to your images with Black and White films. For that classic appeal, check out our black and white film selection.

written by wil6ka on 2012-01-17 #gear #boat #train #fun #water #black-and-white #ilford #review #sweden #trip #panoramic #b-w #fishing #fine-grain #lomography #35-mm #kiruna #user-review #negativefilm #karlskrona


  1. neanderthalis
    neanderthalis ·

    I really like using PAN film myself. Glad I am not alone. :D

  2. stevecf
    stevecf ·

    Some History: Early Black-and-White film wasn't sensitive to the color red, and that meant that it could be developed outside of a tank in a darkroom lit by a red safelight. Panchromatic Black-and-White film is sensitive to all (pan) of the colors (chroma), meaning that it could record red as well as all of the other colors (as shades of gray of course). However, with the introduction of panchromatic Black-and-White films (which may have been around 1950, I'm not sure), they have had to be developed in total darkness. Kodak's standard consumer Black-and-White film was once called "Verichrome Pan," Agfa had "Agfapan," I think there used to be a "Fujipan", and there still is "Ilford Pan F" and "Fomapan." Color print films, oddly, never get the Pan suffix, even though they are meant to record and show all of the colors; so, if you see "Pan" in the name of a film, you know it is Black-and-White.

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