In digital age, it’s a rare event when a new film gets released. Bellami Hunt aka Japan Camera Hunter did so. The emulsion is called JCH Street Pan 400 which is available as 35 mm and 120 film.
In fact, it is not a “new film”, it is reborn out of a discontinued AGFA emusion that for formerly used in traffic infringement cameras. Thus, it can be used in a wide range of weather conditions and according to the JCH Website, is perfect for dawn, dusk or winter photography.
I first heard about this film from my friend Jannie Leong. When I saw some of her shots taken with this film, I was immediately hooked by its punch and tonality. The pictures just looked different to well known films such as Ilfords HP5 and Kodaks Tri-X 400. After a chat with her, I was convinced to try this emulsion myself.
I first got my hands on this film during my family vacation in Dresden, Germany. After some research before shooting this roll, I found out that many people suggested to pull this film because it is rather a “light-hungry” emulsion. Hence, I shot this roll at ISO 200. I tested this roll under various light conditions such as indoors, outdoors and back light.
I developed the roll in Rodinal (1:50) and at the first sight, the negatives looked contrasty out of the box! I was excited to scan them and have a closer look.
When it comes to scanning the pictures, the film strips were easy to handle as they were plain flat. However, the software part was rather tricky.
Normally, Silverfast offers film profiles, called “Negafix Profiles”. They help you to tweak your scan- so that HP5 Looks like HP5- in just a fraction of seconds. Unfortunately, there was no Negafix Profile available for Street Pan.
Therefore, I contacted Silverfast and they told me, that they only create new profiles in extremely rare cases and there will not be a profile for Street Pan in the near future. Luckily, they adviced me how to set the Negafix controls to get decent results:
set “Vendor” to “other”
set “Filmtype” to “other”
set ISO/ASA to “monochrome” and
set “Tolerance” to “0”
After the scanning process was done, I was pretty amazed how the scans looked like. Rich in contrast, sharp and not grainy at all compared to Kodak Tri-X or HP5 (note: I adore grain). In Lightroom, I only had to apply “my” usual minor tweaks for film scans such as dust and spot removal and adding a slight vignette.
I was rather surprised that the pictures were so punchy and rich in contrast out of the box even though I pulled this film; therefore, I would not recommend to push this film at all. You would most probably lose all shadow detail and the pictures would be way too contrasty.
To be frank, in the beginning I was excited to shoot this film. However, I prefer the looks and flexibilaty of my favorite film stock HP5. Also, I am a huge fan of grain, and JCH Street Pan can be considered as a “low grain film”.
In the end, it’s nice that engaged people like Bellamy Hunt release new films and keep the film comunity alive. I will most certainly shoot this film again.
Camera: Leica M6
Lens: Voigtländer Nokton Classic 35mm MC f1.4
Scanner / Software: Plustek 8200i / Silverfast 8.8
Chemicals: Rodinal (1:50), Ilford Rapid Fixer (1:4)
Developing Temperature: 21°C
Developing times acc. to Massive Dev Chart