Bergger Pancro 400 with the RIGHT developer (Begger PMK)

I photographed Bergger 3 times and never published because I didn’t think I had the results I would like to show.

As we never talked about Bergger, I thought it would be important to first try to understand what we can expect from this film.

A little of history

The Bergger Pancro 400 is very recent. It belongs to a vast list of films that appeared in 2017. However, the Bergger brand, born in 1995, is one of the last French companies specialized in the manufacture of photosensitive surfaces. Thanks to the legacy of Guy Gérard, chemist Guilleminot and economist Daniel Boucher, Bergger managed to resist the new digital age and stand out in the photography market.

Bergger has a wide range of products, from paper, chemicals to develop and several types of film format ranging from 35mm to 4 plate sizes for large format.

I highlight the developer Bergger PMK that was the reason for creating this post.

Pancro 400 Features

Bergger Pancro 400 is a panchromatic film with a particular characteristic.

It is a double emulsion film that combines two different chemical compounds. Silver bromide and silver iodide. They differ by the size of their grain and these properties allow a wide latitude of exposure.

It includes an anti-ripple and an anti-halation layer.

Despite having 3 films developed with different developers, the main feature common to all 3 is the contrast. It also has a very beautiful gray range and a very complete tonal latitude. This means that we can miss some stops that he forgives. The shadows are very beautiful and vibrant. I noticed that when underexposed there was a tendency to become more contrasted, but without losing much detail in the blacks.

Looking at my results I can say that the grain is the only parameter that differs depending on the type of developer used.

With the D76 and Rodinal, the grain is evident and I personally found it too present for a roll of ISO 400, comparing for example with the Ilford HP5 +.

The Begger PMK gave me a result with a finer grain and a much more evident sharpness.


Bergger Pancro 400 with Kodak D76 Stock

Bergger Pancro 400 with Rodinal (1+25)

Bergger Pancro 400 com PMK (1+2+100)

Bergger PMK – Why a more balanced and clear result?

PMK – Pyro Metol Kodalk Pyro – Pyrogallic acid (chemical compound)

The pyro is one of the oldest developers used in black and white development. Very dominant in the 19th century, but forgotten during the 20th century.

Pyro offers an increase in print quality and the ability to record subtle differences in light. Sharpness, tone separation and finer grain are improved properties in negatives. The highlights are very detailed.

The yellowish stain that remains on the negative is quite characteristic of this developer, known as a Stain Developer. The amount of the stain is proportional to the density of the silver, improving the hue and reducing the grain.

Bergger PMK is a pyro developer with his formula based on the original by Gordon Hutchings.

Fun fact: In one of his lectures on pyro developers, Gordon was approached by a wedding photographer, who offered him money to keep the developer formula a secret.

It was with this Bergger developer that I got the best results with the Bergger Pancro 400.

I confess that I had already given up on buying this film. Despite its very distinct characteristics, the grain was an aspect that did not make me happy. It lost sharpness because of the grain and there was a charm due to the contrasts so characteristic of this film.

PMK changed my opinion about the film and effectively makes everything that it promises possible. Together with the Bergger Pancro 400, it enhances the best features that characterize it. Very complete gray range and details in the highlights without removing information.


Bergger Pancro 400 with Kodak D76 Stock

Bergger Pancro 400 with Rodinal (1+25)

Bergger PMK

Gear: Bergger with Kodak D76 – Konica Auto S2 (35mm) Bergger with Rodinal – Mamiya 645 (120) Bergger with Bergger PMK – Mamiya 645 (120) – Develop by Nuno from Sagrada Pelicula Film Lab