Panatomic-X

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Alan Johnson, Aug 18, 2013.

  1. Alan Johnson

    Alan Johnson Subscriber

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    I bought some 1991 dated Panatomic-X from the link within this link:
    http://photo.net/film-and-processing-forum/00btQV
    The 1991 canisters are marked "Being Discontinued, Replace with T-Max 100 Film".
    I took some pics at EI=32 and developed in Beutler developer 7.5m 20C with good results.
    Exposures included some of a test chart from www.normankoren.com.

    Results.
    After 22 years fog is insignificant, like new film.
    The resolution of the film with my Canon EF 50mm f1.8 lens at f5.6-8 was about 70 lppm.This is consistent with some 70's lens tests I have from SLR Photography magazine, they never got much above 70 lppm.I have tested TMX in Xtol with the same lens and obtained ~100 lppm.
    Howevever, the idea of the thin emulsion / Beutler combination was, I gather , to give an impression of sharpness from high edge effect,and not from resolution.
    I think it works very well, compared to prints from the same subject from APX 100 in Xtol and in Pyrocat HD the Panatomic-X in Beutler does indeed have a higher edge sharpness.I don't have any APX 100 in Beutler for comparison.

    I wonder if anyone can comment on this Panatomic-X film.
     

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  2. ath

    ath Member

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    I can only comment on the EF 50/1.8 - mine easily records 180lp/mm with the right (micro-)film.
    70lp/mm is either limited by the film, your technique or both.

    I once did a quick comparison with ACROS in XTOL 1+1, Rodinal and Beutler. You can see my conclusion here.
     
  3. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    You picked a classic combination Pan-X and the Beutler formula. The results can be stunning in their detail. It is a combination of the film's high resolution and the acutance enhancement of the developer. For best results with the Beutler formula underexpose the film with the intention of printing on grade 3 paper.
     
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  4. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    Alan, see the summaries of the Altman/Henn study and Richard Henry's tests I posted. Pan-X seems to possibly have been "optimized" for D-25 when it comes to acutance (traditional), granularity and speed.

    To me it is an important film in the study of photographic science and processing. Credible, objective test results with the film helped illustrate to me how wrong we might be when generalizing regarding the working properties of film developers. The conventional "wisdom" is sometimes wrong. Depending on the film, a low pH, high sulfite developer such as D-25 can produce good acutance, while a supposedly "sharp" developer such as Beutler or Rodinal might simply increase granularity without a significant increase in actual edge sharpness (ie traditional acutance). Studies such as Altman/Henn which involved Pan-X helped me realize how critical the film type is when it comes to developer characteristics.
     
  5. Alan Johnson

    Alan Johnson Subscriber

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  6. brianmquinn

    brianmquinn Member

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  7. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    Good lord, that stuff has been gone since 1991? I tell you the years pass so fast now...
     
  8. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    I have some 50-year-old Panatomic-X (see here) that exposed and processed just fine in homebrew D-76d. Granted this was a non-scientific observation, but I don't normally photograph scientific objects.

    This stuff would still work just fine in normal use today. I think it lasts just about forever.

    Ken
     
  9. GRHazelton

    GRHazelton Subscriber

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    :smile:Back in the day my usual combo was Plus X and Beutler. I underexposed a bit and printed on grade 3 fiber based paper, most often Luminos because it was cheap and good.:smile: The perceived sharpness of this combo was excellent.
     
  10. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Since manufacturers make incremental changes to their films, it is hard to make comparisons. Off hand I don't remember when Altman/Henn and Richard Henry made their tests. But my best results with Pan-X during the 1960's was with the Beutler formula. Truly spectacular resolution. Cross section photographs show that Beutler developer acts primarily on the surface of the emulsion thereby increasing resolution. I tried D-23 but the results were not as good. Never had the patience for D-25's long development times.
     
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  11. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    I never overcame the shock/loss and am still living in denial...

    I have been looking for a suitable replacement since. While I look I shoot a roll of Panatomic-X here and there to see how my search is coming along compared to my known favorite.

    I tried a little of everything and my best candidate is 4x5 TMY-2 as a direct replacement for 35mm Panatomic-X.

    Huh? You say? ... Yes, that's right. I went up to 4x5... And at that rate, I no longer pine for Panatomic-X because... 4x5 is better.

    But when I do shoot 35mm...

    The thing I appreciate most is that prints from vintage negs and prints from current negs on 35mm Panatomic-X are indistinguishable.
     
  12. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    I shot a roll or two of Pan-X back in the day but not enough to really say how they compare, but I can say I like 120 Pan F+ a lot. I develop it in Diafine, EI 64, and it's very nice.
     
  13. NedL

    NedL Subscriber

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    Hi Roger, I've got a couple rolls of 120 PanF in the fridge that I might try this with. 3+3?
     
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  15. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    Yep. I just sort of stumbled on the combo because I had Diafine (mainly for use with Tri-X) and wanted to shoot Pan F and get a bit more usable speed from it. 64 looks a bit thin but mostly prints nicely. By all means experiment with one roll to dial in your own speed but most folks find the box speed optimistic and Diafine will at least get you that.

    Pan F is a nice film but can build highlight density pretty fast. The compensating effect of two bath helps.
     
  16. NedL

    NedL Subscriber

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    Thanks! ( Now back to Panatomic-X! )
     
  17. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I know of one photographer who gave up on photography when Panatomic-X was discontinued. He just quit, in one single moment. Never heard from the guy again.

    But, he had more problems than film choice on his mind, it seemed, so it was probably highly excessive behavior.

    I've never tried Panatomic-X, but at the same time I try very hard not to be 'hung up' on a single type of film. Great pictures look good on any film, but that 'special' film does not improve your photographs much.
     
  18. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    Still shooting it :smile: I was lucky enough to get a few 100ft 35mm bulk rolls.
     
  19. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    +1 or more. Especially in black and white it's very rare that a photo that succeeds on one film could not be just as successful on some other film.
     
  20. Alan Johnson

    Alan Johnson Subscriber

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    If that was true we would all use the cheapest film?

    The special property of the Adox films distributed in the US by Leica dealers from 1955 and later Panatomic-X was that compared to previous films they gave prints that looked sharper.Adox was a thin emulsion, Panatomic-X IDK,but both were often processed in acutance developers.
    Now, these fine grain acutance films are all discontinued.
    Tabular grain films replaced them.
    IDK which of todays films would give good results with the Beutler developer, as did Panatomic-X
     
  21. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    I didn't say there was no difference or that a given photo could succeed on ANY film. I said it could succeed on ANOTHER film. If it works on TMX, for example, you won't see much difference on Delta 100, or even FP4+. A bit more grain on both, especially the latter, but very unlikely to make or break the photo. That doesn't mean the same photo would work on, say, Foma 400.
     
  22. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    You speak of exactly what I try to get away from. Sorry to be drifting away from the original topic a little bit, but do you honestly believe that anybody besides obsessive photographers care about a small gain in perceived sharpness or slightly finer grain?

    I'm not Ralph Gibson or Mary Ellen Mark, obviously, but when I show my photographs to others they seem a lot more interested in the content, the composition, the light, expressions, and so on - and this goes for both photographers and non-photographers. Of course there is always one person that has to ask what film I used, but to me that's just an exception to the rule.
    Do you often go into museum exhibitions of photography and hear people talk about sharpness or grain?
     
  23. George Papantoniou

    George Papantoniou Member

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    I received a couple of rolls (unexposed) last year, that were kept in a warm office of a designer in Athens for the last decades...

    I can say I am happy reading the good news, guess that they won't be in an un-shootable condition...
     
  24. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    We'd have to define "good results" with respect to Beutler. Edge effects are one thing. There's also granularity (among other things) and tone reproduction.

    The big thing about Pan-X seems to have been that it was a fine grained film with good resolution which also had a long scale of moderate contrast. This is in comparison with the shorter scale and high contrast more typical of slow, fine grained films. But that was then.

    I think it is just another one of those old films people swear were "better" than the newer films.

    On balance, I'd agree with Thomas/Roger, particularly concerning current films. The most observable difference in image structure characteristics is granularity. And excluding the shoulder, characteristic curves for most contemporary 100-400 speed films are substantially the same.
     
  25. Alan Johnson

    Alan Johnson Subscriber

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    I don't think the public including me could tell a factory copy from an old master (in appropriate surroundings).
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...artists-recreate-paintings-sale-overseas.html
    I venture to suggest that most film photographers care about grain and sharpness, not just those labelled as you have done.

    To get back on topic, I'm interested in reproducing the Panatomic-X appearance and it seems either it cannot be done or it is not known how to do it.
     
  26. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    Alan - it seems more experimentation is in order. Are we sure a Beutler-type developer can't increase adjacency effects with TMax 100? It is an exceedinly fine grained, high resolution film with a long scale and gentle shouldering. To me it is superior to Pan-X (not to mention the extra speed) in any case, but if you're looking for exagerrated micro-contrast as an enhancement to perceived sharpness perhaps there is something that can be done with a low-sulfite Metol-Carbonate type of developer. Or something with a lower pH. Fuji Acros might be another film to try.

    An alternative would be to try something like Beutler or a variant, maybe FX-1 or a two-bath, with Pan-F, which might flatten out the curve.

    In the attachment Puts does not give the formula for the "maximum definition" developer. It isn't clear whether Beutler would fall under his characterization of MD or regular grain either.