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Kentmere Pan 100 Review

Updated: Jan 19


So you're wondering if you should give the Kentmere Pan 100 a go? Well I did, and my review of the Kentmere Pan 100 will provide you with all the facts and opinion needed to make your decision.


Let's get right to it.



Kentmere Pan 100: Cold Hard Facts


Kentmere.

Pan.

100.


Let's start off by breaking down all those three components.


Kentmere. If you've been around in the world of film photography for a while, the name probably sounds familiar to you already. The UK based company was acquired by Harman Technology back in 2007 (yes, the same Harman who is also behind the Ilford brand) and has since been producing black and white film rolls. In fact, the Harman/Ilford brand's goal was to keep black and white film photography alive.


Pan. This refers to the film being panchromatically sensitised, which essentially means that it is sensitive to the full spectrum of visible light, allowing it to accurately reproduce an image as it appears to the human eye in terms of relative brightness, although with no colors (ie. black and white).


100. The number simply refers to the film's ISO, which indicates that it's a low-medium speed one.


Beyond those three components, other factual and technical details you should know about the film is that it is available only for 35mm film cameras, and comes in either 24 or 36 exposures per roll. Each roll typically retails for around 5.50 - 9 EUR, which I consider quite affordable in comparison to other black and white film rolls out there.



Kentmere Pan 100 in Action


I shot the Kentmere Pan 100 with my Minolta SRT-202. Before I started shooting I was fully pushing myself to shoot outdoor and in well-lit conditions as much as possible, knowing that 100-speed films will not be as tolerant to underexposure as the 200-, and 400-speed films I'm typically used to. When it comes to its performance under well-lit conditions, the Kentmere Pan 100 passes with flying colors.



A man looking at a store window from the outside resulting from shots taken with the Kentmere Pan 100

A couple walking side by side in a forest resulting from shots taken with the Kentmere Pan 100

From deep blacks to bright whites, the Pan 100 manages to capture a wide range of tones and contrast. It also shows good separation between different tonal areas, resulting in images with depth and dimension that render both highlight and shadow details effectively.


The film exhibits a fine grain structure, which contributes to the overall image quality. The fine grain further enhances the level of detail and sharpness in the images, providing a rather smooth texture.


Now while I mainly shot the images outdoor and under bright conditions, this does not necessarily mean that the film can't handle underexposure. It was just my personal choice to play it safe most of the time, yet when I didn't, I was actually quite pleasantly surprised at the result.





Admittedly, even when shooting indoor I did make sure to have a strong source of light somewhere in the image. Not only does this help with the film's performance, but it also adds a certain depth and characteristic to the images. In general, seems to me that the Kentmere Pan 100 performs rather well indoor too. Sure, it loses a certain level of detail in the shadow, but still in a manageable way, especially for a 100-speed film. Would I even go so far as to say that it has a wide exposure latitude? Perhaps.


Up to this point, I believe I have yet to mention a single negative thing of the film. But then again, I am also not in love with the resulting images. Not that there's any issue with anything, I just don't feel strongly about the film. I suppose this is where personal preferences come into play. Reflecting on some of my favorite black and white films, such as the Fomapan 200 and Rollei Retro 400s, I think I tend to gravitate towards film stocks with a higher contrast level. When compared to the Kentmere Pan 100, both of my favorite black and white films do have a higher level of contrast, which in my opinion adds an edge to the resulting images.



Final Verdict


Overall, the Kentmere Pan 100 is one solid black and white film stock. While I would personally prefer my black and white film to have a tad bit higher level of contrast, I am also not wildly against shooting with the contrast afforded by the Pan 100.


I think the film stock does a decent job in tolerating underexposure and indoor shooting conditions, but it naturally will not perform with the same level of exposure latitude that 200- and 400- film rolls will. I do think that the Kentmere Pan 100 is beginner-friendly, but it would be a good idea to be extra mindful of the exposure level before pressing the shutter, just to make sure that your images don't come out too underexposed.


As I've mentioned earlier, I also find the price for the Pan 100 to be very affordable when compared to its black and white 35mm film counterparts. I would even say it is one of the cheapest options out there! That being said, the film stock is generally not as readily available as some other brands, like Kodak or Fujifilm, even though it is a popular one.


If you've never tried the film, I would definitely suggest you to try it. As I said, there's nothing to hate about it, it just comes down to personal preferences. Who knows -- it might actually satisfy all your preferences and make it to your list of favorites.

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