Week 38: Ilford Pan F 50 in all its glory in the bright Frankfurt sun

I had been waiting to use this film for a while, but as it has such a low ISO, I needed a bright summer's day to allow me to shoot this film handheld. The reviews are all excellent, so I was looking forward to trying it out!

I have pretty much worked my way through Ilford's entire range at this stage, saving what I thought might be the best for last - Ilford Pan F 50. I had read how clear and sharp this film was, and I was looking forward to trying it out on a bright summer's day - and I can happily report that it did not disappoint!

According to Ilford: ISO 50, high contrast, super sharp black & white film with very fine grain. Ideal for studio photography and bright, natural light.

  • Slow speed ISO 50
  • Exceptionally fine grain
  • Outstanding resolution & sharpness
  • 35mm & 120 Roll Film available

So, with my criteria of a bright summer's day being met, I decided to go for a walk. My initial theme was something around river views, but then I decided to not get too hung up on that and just go for a wander along the River Main. By the way, ISO 50 is very slow (remember ISO number = how sensitive the film is to light), usually meaning you need a tripod due to longer shutter speeds (keeping the lens shutter open longer allowing more light to hit the film). However, if very bright outside (which it was), you can get away with using this film without a tripod (which I did).

Couple of guys rowing some gondola looking craft. I spent too long setting up the camera and missed a shot of them going by, however this shot is very cropped from the original and still keeps a lot of the detail - good first impressions!
Classic view of Frankurt's skyline.
The Commerzbank Tower framed by the architecture of one of the main walking bridges across the Main.
I really like how well this shot came out and it was completely unplanned, I turned around looked up and saw the shot. The bridge is bright red, I really like how it comes out in black & white. Another winner to be printed and framed!
Typical summer's day and people enjoying the good weather and river surroundings. Absolutely fantastic sharpness and contrast here!
An attempt at some close focusing of locks on the bridge - very hard to focus though!
Busy river. There's a shot of the guys in the gondola looking boat. Couple of big river barges at the back, another reason why I row at sunrise!
I love this shot - look at the sharpness of the tree and its leaves - really amazing! It is also quite contrasty and I like the bokeh effect (although that comes from the lens not the film).
Typical summer's day in Frankfurt.  
I really like this shot - definitely one to be printed and framed. I especially like simple photos in black & white. Very clear and lots of contrast - wonderful film!
Missed the focus slightly on this macro shot, but look how clear the little branches are - you cannot imagine how small this flower was! 

Overall impressions

As you can probably tell,  I was very impressed with this film. It's easily the sharpest black & white film I have ever used, the only downside being its slow speed. At ISO 50, you are going to need a tripod to use this in most situations, unless it's the middle of summer and the middle of the day. However, I have also heard this film can be pushed a few stops, so it would be interesting to see what effect that has on the resulting grain and sharpness.

I am definitely going to use this film again, but it will probably be for very well thought out minimalist shots that I want to print out and frame (for example the water steps shot). I wonder how this film works for portraits, mind you it's probably so sharp you better make sure your model doesn't mind every last detail being visible!

Definitely a film to have in the fridge for bright summer days - I love that Ilford has a film for pretty every situation you can think of!

So there you have it, another week done and slowly inching towards Week 52...exciting! More cool film to come as we make our way to Week 40 including Revelog 460nm, Rollei RPX 100, and some funky redscale film!

Thanks for stopping by, now go pickup a camera (any camera, but if film, even better) and get back out there and start taking some photographs!