JCH Pan Review

Our good buddy and awesome photographer Shelly Sometimes (see her Snapshot Galleria feature here) was kind enough to donate the two packs of JCH Pan film we recently gave away in our Instagram contest. She also agreed to share her thoughts on using this film stock and some of the photographs she took. We’re really appreciative of her support, check out the review below!

In the world of film photography, it can be easy to let the discontinuation of various stocks and film types get you down. We know that it’s part of this hobby that we love, but that doesn’t make it any easier.

So, imagine how exciting it was to get news of a NEW film on the market! Recently, Bellamy Hunt (known to all of us as www.japancamerahunter.com) brought out a great new black and white film – JCH Street Pan 400.

According to Bellamy’s site: “This is a re-born film, not a re-spooled film that is still being sold. This is also not an ‘old stock’ film or a ‘pancake’ that was kicking around a ‘dusty warehouse’. This is a freshly produced emulsion with an expiry date of 2020. The film was no longer being produced and I had it put back into production.”

That sounded like such a cool endeavor to me. Even though I’m moving away from 35mm in favor of medium format, and even though I rarely shoot as high an ISO as 400 (100 is generally where I stay), I really wanted to try this film, and support Bellamy’s efforts in bring it to us. I believe smaller boutique efforts, like this film, and the efforts of Film Ferrania, are where the future is at. Because of scaling of their production lines, and lots of other issues, the day might come when some of the big names are no longer willing or able to produce film. That’s why I think things like this are so important to get behind!

I shot the film through a couple of different cameras – a Mamiya Sekor 500TL (my first real film camera) and my trusty Nikon F100. I was happiest with the results from the F100, but it’s pretty hard to go wrong when you’re using that camera. I soup my own film, and use Ilford products – Ilfosol 3 and Rapid Fixer.

For those of you who develop your own black and white AND might use Ilfosol 3 as well, the listed dilution on Bellamy’s site, as well as on the Massive Development Chart, might seem high to you – it did to me. But I promise it works! However, the next time I shoot some of this film, I might play around with some other development times, and see if I get different results.

All in all – I liked the film, and I liked my results. The film didn’t seem to have a lot of latitude on scenes where I had a wide range of light, from bright to dark, although I’ll need to shoot another roll or two to make sure this wasn’t just an oops in my shooting. It definitely has a contrast-y feel to it, and I really like how it handled some skies. And although I’m not a huge fan of grain, what I saw here, I was totally fine with. All in all, the experience of using this was a lot like using Ilford Pan F – some shots frustrated me, but most of them were just gorgeous, and I’ll definitely be using the film again in the future.

More of Shelly’s work can be found on Instagram: @shelly.sometimes