Ilford Pan F Review (Why I love Ilford Pan F 50!)

Ilford Pan F 50 review covering 35mm film and 120 film – Example Pan F 50 photos and thoughts from using this film with Leica & Hasselblad cameras.

  • Part 1: Ilford Pan F 50 35mm
  • Part 2: Ilford Pan F 50 120
  • Part 3: Ilford Pan F Developing
Ilford Pan F Review (35mm Ilford Pan F 50 Portrait)

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Part 1: Ilford Pan F 50 35mm Film

Ilford Pan F 50 35mm film in Zurich, Switzerland

1.1 35mm Ilford Pan F 50

Ilford Pan F 50 film is super fine grain, slow speed, black and white film produced by Ilford.  I bought a roll of 35mm Pan F 50 to take on my trip to Zurich for a model photography workshop.  It was my first time using this film and I was interested to see the results.  I often use ISO 100 speed black and white film such as Kodak T-Max 100 or Fuji Acros 100.  I had not shot with slow speed film before but I was in luck as we had bright sunny weather for the shoot.

1.2 Ilford Pan F 35mm + Voigtlander Bessa R3A!

I shot the Pan F 50 film in my 35mm Voigtlander Bessa R3A rangefinder camera on the first day of the workshop.  (My Leica M3 was loaded with Kodak Portra 160 and my Leica M2 was loaded with 35mm CienStill 50D film).  The first model we worked with was Joy, kindly supplied by Option Model Agency.  The second model was a local dancer, Julia.

1.3 35mm Ilford Pan F 50 Portraits

Here are some sample images shooting Ilford Pan F 50 at box speed in my Bessa R3A camera and developed in a soup of 1:3 diluted Xtol solution + 1:400 Rodinal.  I realise other developers may give sharper and finer grain results but I wanted to use the developers I know best at this stage.  Most photos were taken with a Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.4 lens.

Model – Joy
Ilford Pan F 50 Portrait
Bessa R3A + Ilford Pan F 50
Bessa + Ilford Pan F 50
Ilford Pan F 50 Model Shoot
35mm Ilford Pan F 50 Fashion
Model – Julia
Voigtlander Bessa R3A
35mm Film Sharpness
Ilford Pan F 50 Fashion
Ilford Pan F 50 in Xtol + Rodinal
35mm Ilford Pan F 50

1.4 35mm Ilford Pan F 50 – Conclusion

I was really impressed with the amount of detail captured with the 35mm Pan F 50 film.  The resolution was something closer to what is achieved with 120 medium format films.  My next test will be to shoot 120 Ilford Pan F 50 film in my Fuji GF670 stopped down for my sharpest possible negatives.

1.5 Would I buy 35mm Pan F 50 film again?

Ilford Pan F 50 film is certainly not an everyday film as it requires 3x more light than say the popular Kodak Tri-X 400 film.  I believe Pan F 50 is more suited to my 35mm film photography than my medium format cameras as 35mm lens are often much faster with the likes of the Leica M mount Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0, Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.2 ASPH and Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4. I am also interested to try this film with my latest purchase, a 35mm Nikon F4 SLR with perhaps the Nikkor 50mm f1.2 Ai-s lens.  Most of my medium format camera lenses start at f2.8 (x2 slower than f1.4) or smaller with the exception of my Mamiya Sekor 80mm f1.9 C for the Mamiya 645 Super camera.

1.6 Price of Ilford Pan F vs Fuji Acros vs Kodak T-Max

I plan to shoot Pan F 50  when I can during the brighter summer months of the UK and for some strobist work.  Price wise Ilford Pan F 50 can be found cheaper than Fuji Acros 100 and a similar price to say Kodak T-Max.  I invested in a 10 pack of 35mm Ilford Pan F 50 film to get a slightly cheaper price and to keep me going over the summer months.

35mm Ilford Pan F 50 Film – Available on Amazon – Check for latest prices! (UK) / (US)

35mm Ilford Pan F 50 :)

Part 2: Ilford Pan F 50 120 Film

Ilford Pan F 50 120 film in a Hasselblad 501C 6×6 film camera! Sample photos.

2.1 Hasselblad 501C + Ilford Pan F 120 Film

Working with males models in Hamburg using the Hasselblad 501C and Ilford Pan F 120 film in the bright conditions.  I love how much detail the film and camera captures!

Hasselblad + Ilford Pan F 50
120 Ilford Pan F 50 Portrait
Hasselblad Portrait
Hasselblad Fashion
2.2 Ilford Pan F Flickr Photos (Hasselblad 501C)

Shot in the UK with a local model, Georgie

Hasselblad Double Exposure Fashion
120 Ilford Pan F 50
Hasselblad 501C

Part 3: Ilford Pan F 50 Developing

Most or all of the above photos were Ilford Pan F 50 developing in Kodak Xtol or Xtol+Rodinal soup.  I have not tried Ilford Pan F + Rodinal but I can’t see why it would not be a good option.  (I used to develop all my black and white film with Rodinal but I discovered Ilford Pan F film a few years after that time).

Ilford Pan F 50 Review (+ TMax 400!)

A still regard Ilford Pan F 50 as one of the best films for capture fine detail on black and white film.  If you need something similar to work in lower light conditions I would highly recommend Kodak T-Max 400 film.  Super fine grain and amazing tones (and more robust than Pan F 50 film).

Related Links

Other Black and White Films


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10 thoughts on “Ilford Pan F Review (Why I love Ilford Pan F 50!)”

  1. Pingback: – BLOG | – Matthew Osborne Photography

    1. matthewosbornephotography

      Hi Tony, I used to use Rodinal for everything but currently I use Xtol and it gives me great results. I hope that helps. Matt

  2. Pingback: Black & White World Cup results: Round of 16 - Kosmo Foto

  3. sunstonetaxgmxcom

    Well done. I have used Ilford Pan 50 for landscapes, but the portraits are really nice. Appreciate the review.

    1. matthewosbornephotography

      Thanks Peter, sorry I was thinking in stops 50-100 (1) 100-200 (2) 200-400 (3) Each stop of light is 2x more light (So as you say – 2×2=4×2=8) (For anyone reading this at a later date).

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