The Kentmere Pan 100
I have to start off by saying, wow. This film stock is beautiful for such a low price. I really wasn’t expecting anything great from this film, I just wanted to try another B&W film stock that wasn’t T-Max, Tri-X or HP5 (Since those were the other’s that I use regularly). Kentmere is produced my Harman Technologies which is the same manufacturer as Ilford. Knowing that, you know the Kentmere isn’t a lost cause.
First of all, Kentmere 100 had a face lift towards the latter end of 2018. It now is known as Kentmere “Pan” 100, same with it's +2 stop sensitive brother Kentmere Pan 400. I love the way this new package looks, the blue to green gradient pattern on the canister, it just looks great. This film has a nice latitude to it, I’d say it has a pretty neutral curve to it as well, so I was able to retain a lot of detail in both ends of the spectrum.
This film will not replace my beloved HP5 for my everyday B&W film stock though, especially with the HP5’s push capabilities. What I like about this film, is the way that the highlights look, it’s almost like you take a luma curve and dragged the highlight point just down a bit, it gives that “flat” look, but no loss in detail. It’s something that definitely jumps out with this film, you won’t like this in every situation, but in some it looks really neat depending on what you’re shooting.
The great thing about this film, is that it’s inexpensive compared to many films. You can pick up a 36exp just under 4 bucks (USD). When shooting this film, be mindful of the graininess. It seems that this 100 speed film produces more grain than any other 100 speed B&W film stock I’ve ever shot. This could just be my experience but I’ve heard similar comments made as well.
Something else that I was really excited about, is the shadow detail that this film retains. When I was adding some contrast into some of my images, I decided to raise my shadows, and man was I stoked to see all that detail! Obviously you will introduce more grain as you do so, but I was still able to get a nice image with bringing back some of that shadow detail and introducing a bit more grain.
This is a slower speed film at 100, and great for bright situations, but I really enjoyed shooting it on a bright cloudy day or even indoors with some light spilling in. The way the highlights contrast the shadows in those situations is really beautiful.
As much as I liked this film, I’m not going to forgo my beloved HP5 like I said before. I’m willing to spend a bit extra for HP5 or Tri-X for the flexibility & push-ability that it provides. I did enjoy my time shooting with this film though, there are some caveats to this film, but with the price tag that is has, there’s no complaining.
I’m sure I will shoot some more K-Pan 100 in the future, but for the time being, I’m going to stick with the classics!