Last night, my friend Cynthia dropped a brick on me. Actually, it was three bricks -- of Kodak's TechPan film. A brick contains 20 rolls, for a total of 60 rolls of this amazing film. Turns out that they were going to discard it at her workplace, and she intercepted on my behalf, knowing that the surest way to make me happy is to give me free film. Even though the film was dated to expire in 1985 and 1992, I am pretty confident that it will be okay. For one, it's a very slow film, rated at 25 ASA, it's black and white, and it's a very stable film. I'll shoot a roll of the oldest batch first and see how it turns out.
Tech Pan is one of those marvelous films that Kodak produced, up until about 2 or three years ago. One of its primary uses was in graphic arts, as it could be shot as a high-contrast film for non-continuous tone images, or as a continuous tone lower-contrast pictorial film -- depending on the developer that you choose. Technidol LC is my developer of choice for this film, but one can use other standard developers at low concentrations to get a similar effect. I have also read that Tech Pan was used a lot in astrophotography since its resolution is extremely high. Did I mention that it is virtually grainless? One of the selling points was that it produced images in 35mm that rivalled medium format negatives. It's true. It does. Shooting 120 TechPan is therefore like shooting Large Format. That's true, too.
Unfortunately, TechPan is no longer produced, yet highly sought after. I sold 4 rolls of non-expired TechPan a few months ago on ebay for over $100. Crazy. A lot of people have probably stockpiled supplies of the film, and for good reason. I will use mine, and I still have a few hundred feet of bulk rolls of TechPan in my fridge. Geez. I'm sitting on gold, um, I mean silver.
Here are a few sample images from TechPan: