Kodak films: what does X represent?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Dali, Jan 1, 2013.

  1. Dali

    Dali Subscriber

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    Hi,

    It might be a silly question for some of you but I wonder why Kodak uses "X" in their film codes: Double-X, Plus-X, Tri-X, etc... Does "X" have a special meaning regarding film characteristics or is it only a commercial trick?

    have a great 2013 year!
     
  2. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    It's an excellent question. I look forward to the answer or answers :D

    pentaxuser
     
  3. Mark Crabtree

    Mark Crabtree Member

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    Welcome to APUG.

    I'll be curious to hear if anyone has an explanation, but even if they don't it isn't necessarily a "trick", just a name.

    I'll throw out my best guess here - "exposure". Plus-X - more exposure for the same settings as whatever preceded it. Double-X -twice that. Etc. It is just a convention now.

    If we figure this out, then we can take on "chrome", which got to be the common nickname for color transparencies. Verichrome I understand, but not how they got from that to Kodachrome.
     
  4. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    my guess is it is just a gimmick like the word kodak, easy to remember, means nothing
     
  5. AgX

    AgX Member

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    X = ASA 100
     
  6. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Pan X was the slowest film available in the late 1930's in Kodaks new series of modern films which included Super XX and Tri X, these were made in in least 4 countries, US, Canada, UK and Hungary.

    Plus-X and Double X were later films.

    Ian
     
  7. Vaughn

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    Pan-X at ASA 32...such a wonderful film!
     
  8. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Well, with Panatomic-X in mind that does not make much sense...

    Do we have to expect from Kodak designations to make sense?
     
  9. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    I don't know but guess that it goes back to the glass plate speeds...

    Slow, Ordinary, Rapid, Extra Rapid, Double Extra Rapid.

    Where the X is from Extra.

    I've had a hard time finding how these speeds translate to ASA/ISO speeds. Seems any reference that knows these speeds predates ASA...
     
  10. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    I think we need a Kodak source called PE :D There has to be a kind of reasoning behind the use of X doesn't there?

    pentaxuser
     
  11. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    Am I naive here? "X" = "TIMES". Double X was 2 times the 'standard' speed and Tri-X is three times the 'standard' speed. Plus-X is a bit faster than the 'standard' speed since 125 is a bit faster than 100. And NO, Tri-X is not 400 but really about 300. Panatomic-X I do not have an answer for. But, again, maybe none of my answers were real answers! - David Lyga
     
  12. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I don't think PE is old enough to know.

    Happy New Year PE:wink:
     
  13. zsas

    zsas Member

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    Think you might have it (just my guess after finding the below Kodak ad from '39 announcing three new films PlusX, SuperXX, PanatomicX)....

    http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4148/5210725555_8f8ccd0a74_o.jpg
     
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  15. RidingWaves

    RidingWaves Member

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    Well in Microdol-X the X represents the inclusion of the secret mercapto. Do a APUG search about Microdol-X where PE and I go back and forth about the mercapto.
     
  16. zsas

    zsas Member

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    So X is just a varriable used time to time to differentiate Y we think? Kinda like Super XX is to Plus X as mercepto leads to Microdol X
     
  17. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    This sounds very logical to me.
     
  18. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    David's explanation sounds as if it may be right. In those far-off days we spoke about the "times tables" referring to multiplication tables and people were used to the X symbol to mean the instruction "multiple"

    pentaxuser
     
  19. zsas

    zsas Member

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    ^ But David's theory doesn't work on the Microdol-X example....thinking X is used to mean Y....whatever that Y maybe
     
  20. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    I found an exposure chart and worked backwards from "Sunny 16" to find what I think might have been "equivalent" ASA speeds for the different plates.

    There wasn't as much difference between the speeds as I thought there would be... Maybe this is why they tried to run Hurter and Driffield out of town...

    Photographic News for Amateur Photographers, Volume 51


    Ordinary Plate EI appx 1.25

    Medium Plate EI appx 2

    Rapid Plate EI appx 3.75

    Extra Rapid Plate EI appx 5.00

    Ultra Rapid Plate appx EI 6.25
     
  21. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    if you substitute "speed" for "x" in the old film ad andy posted
    super speedy speed,
    plus speed, panATOMIC speed

    its just futuristic babble
    its the 30s, post industrialism,
    art deco at its finest ...

    wasn't the bromoseltzer guy's sub atomic plane
    powered by bromo X ...

    i think the guys from MST3K might know for sure ...
     
  22. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    I am not old enough to be "in" on the details of this naming stuff for films, but I do believe that David is right.

    X means times. So Super X was 2x the speed of an earlier film, and Super XX was 2x the speed, while TriX is 3x the speed. So, we have 100, 200 and 400. And BTW, Tri X is supposed to be 400.

    PE
     
  23. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    I don't know about rocket boosters... but I'm going to be buried reading "Photographic News for Amateur Photographers" for a while, this is fun reading.
     
  24. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Didn't all the films come out under the earlier ASA definition which included a safety factor?
     
  25. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi bill

    i have an old DREM INSTOMETER from around 1937ish
    and there are no asa - type film speeds on it
    it just has scheiner speeds ... maybe when asa values were established
    they established the "X"factor :smile:
    where's george when we need him ?!

    john
     
  26. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Yes they did.

    But it's the family of films introduced around 1939 that were based on the X factor, Pan X, Super XX and Tri X which came out at the same time so there's no reference back to earlier films.

    This family of films was introduced to compete with Ilfords new Pan F, Fine Grain Panchromatic and Hypersensitive Panchromatic which came out slightly earlier and still exists as Pan F, FP4+ and HP5+.

    Ian