Let’s travel back to the beginning of 2014, me and my friend Jonas had a discussion that we wanted some cheap and good film black and white film to shoot. After doing some research we ended up going for a black and white iso 50 called “Polystar Polypan F”, it is a cinema duplication film that doesn’t have an anti-halation layer. Hence, you get a dreamlike glow in your highlights, it is also sensitive to light piping so load the film in the dark!
Polylan F 50 also tends to be sensitive to scratches on the negatives, but that isn’t something I had too much trouble with after scanning the roll thanks to photoshop. The base iso is 50, I shoot my frames with one-stop push and develop as 100 and in one case accidentally shot a roll as 200, the film handles it wonderfully and hasn’t once let me down!
I like the results from the film, it’s a good amount of contrast, sharpness, highlights, mid-tones and generally gives me a pleasant look! The 152-meter big canister I got expired in 2015 but I made sure to cold store it in my fridge since I the film so no problems at all!
After getting the film, I realized I needed a way to bulk load the frames into 35mm canisters, and the bulk loader I own is limited to only 30 meters of film, so I needed a plan!
My solution was to go into a darkroom (my bathroom) and manually cut 36-ish frames by measuring them by using the length of my arms, making sure I don’t ruin my big source canister and working in the darkness. This method has worked great for me!
When I only had about 30 meters left, I tried loading it in my bulk loader, but I never became friends with it so put back the film into its big canister and continued with the darkroom and guess loading 36ish frames manually by hand method!
I prefer d76 stock and found that 9 minutes gives me good results on the negatives. I don’t remember how I found that time because the massive dev chart wasn’t too helpful when I was looking for development times. I guess I went with a number and 9 minutes won! I haven’t tried 1:100 or 1:50 standing development with Rodinal but I imagine it would work well too!
The Final 17 rolls
On August 31, 2022, I took the remaining meters of my dear friend the Polypan F 50 and loaded them into seventeen 35mm canisters, and with that finished a project that lasted me 9 years!
This then left me with a question: Will I continue bulk loading 35mm film? My current answer is no, I feel that I had a great amount of joy with the Polypan F 50 but it’s time to move on and with the way I shoot film. I can afford to get a good amount of rolls online or in stores that lasts me a good amount of time even with the prices of film going up and up, so I shall shoot like that for a while. It’s been a positive experience though.
A Selection of Frames Shot with Polypan F 50
In conclusion, I really like this film and I have created some great memories with it!
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12 thoughts on “My Last 17 Rolls of Bulk Rolled Polypan F 50 ISO Black & White 35mm Film – by Sina Farhat”
I had a vulk roll too. Quite quirky. Works well with Rodinal and Tetenal Centabrom (a so called universal developer, but mostly used for paper).
Do you get more grainy negatives with Rodinal developer?
I’ve never heard of this film but gotta say those are beautiful prints. Great latitude and contrast and shadow detail …. Very very fine work.
Thanks, it has been a good friend to have for many years and allowed me to find a more relaxed photo style!
These are very nice. You did an excellent job with this unusual film. It handled the white dress on the bride perfectly.
Sorry you didn’t find what you need in the Massive Dev Chart, but we do have many times for Polypan F, including data for D-76 which would have provided a starting point. It would be great if you could submit this time to the chart so that we can publish it for other users. Enjoyed the article.
I added my development times to the Massive Dev Chart, hopefully its helpful.
I can see why you like the film, very nice contrast and tonality. And the images themselves are are great!
If you want some more, there’s a guy in the UK selling it on ebay.co.uk. I bought some from him two or three years ago, and it was presumably reasonably well stored, as it turned out fine. I get the impression that there’s not much left however, and of course it’s older than when I purchased. I don’t shoot it often, as I prefer a higher speed, but mine’s in the freezer, so good to go at any time. I mostly shoot Kodax Double-X which is very economical when you buy a 400 feet movie roll – will last me many years, and IMHO gives the most beautiful negs of any B/W film; a number of suppliers (e.g cinestill) sell individual rolls, so you can try before committing to a bulk roll – you’ll love it!
Thanks for the tip about the ebay person!
I had my time with the film so I am good!
I shot some double-x and while I like it I have to say that it doesn’t feel like an everyday film for me with my current shooting style I can afford myself getting a couple of hp5 rolls and having film to shoot for a while.