Panatomic-X

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Born2Late, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. Born2Late

    Born2Late Subscriber

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    After being away from film for 20 plus years, I finally came to my senses and got my camera gear and darkroom back together.

    One of my favorites, if not most favorite films was Panatomic-X. I still have a few rolls (20+ years old) and pulled one out yesterday, shot and developed it. I used PF Divided D-76 and the results did not dissapoint. The images look like they came from factory fresh film.

    Now I am sad because I know it's no loner available and wonder if any current offering comes close. Besides Pan F, any suggestions, recommendations or observations?

    Thanks
     
  2. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    Ilford renders softer than Panatomic X , IMHO. But Delta 100 looks promising.
     
  3. onepuff

    onepuff Member

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    I haven't tried it myself but have seen some pictures from ADOX CHS 25 and they looked pretty good. What about CHS 50 maybe as another faster alternative? Has anyone any first-hand experience of these ADOX films?
     
  4. htmlguru4242

    htmlguru4242 Member

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    I love this stuff ... it's from before my time, but the rolls I have shot came out sparkling and nearly fog-free.

    Off topic a bit , yes, but I wanted to throw in here.
     
  5. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    Kodak said that TMax 100 was supposed to replace Panatomic-X, giving similar grain and sharpness with greater speed.
     
  6. Brian Legge

    Brian Legge Member

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    What about it did you love? If you primarily want fine grain, Acros may be worth a look.
     
  7. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    It was the latitude of the film. Sadly today's slow films just do not match up.
     
  8. henry finley

    henry finley Member

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    When I was a kid back in the 70's, I did the Panatomic and Microdol 1:3 bit on scenics. D-76 is too rigorous on a high contrast film like that. And I was going for the view-camera look with a 35. I was never happy with my sharpness, not like I imagined it would be. Although I DID get view-camera grain out of my Mamiya/Sekor 1000DTL. This was like...1972, maybe. 73 and 74. Wasn't until about 2 years ago that a brainstorm dawned on me. I was shooting what?--f/11 and 1/60 or 1/30 on a tripod? It was the leaves, the branches, the grass, and many other thing that the breeze was moving. OF COURSE they are not going to be sharp. So the moral is to use the plus-x speed films. And use the Microdol 1:3 on the 35's and even the 2 1/4 cameras if you're doing scenics. Few scenics can stand grain as part of the photo like you get from D-76. Forget about the slow-speed film. That's my frank advice from and to myself. I misspelled scenics I see. Oh, well.
     
  9. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    Well, as far as I know there are no current slow films that are not relatively high in contrast. Mostly that is because the technology has moved on. TMax 100 is virtually the finest grained film around, with very high resolution and has a very long scale. If you don't like speed, you can easily rate it at 50 or lower with softer development. Acros would be a close second in the graininess category. I find them both finer grained than Pan F. I'd bet they are as fine grained or finer grained than films like CHS 25.

    There are those who will recommend the various extremely slow micro/document film options out there with ultra low contrast developers. However even with specialized developers I have seen no evidence these films have anywhere near the exposure scale/lattitude of a general purpose film.
     
  10. Mark Crabtree

    Mark Crabtree Member

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    I agree that TMX is probably the closest you're likely to come to FX today. The tonality is not the same, but much closer than Acros. I suspect that the right developer might make it a pretty fair substitute. I've got another bulk roll of Panatomic X, so may do some direct comparisons just for fun. FX seems to have a somewhat unique look, but it would be interesting to see whether that really shows up compared to TMX. A developer that improved the acutance of TMX might help; it is sharp but doesn't always have that crisp of a look. More smooth looking to me than FX.

    To me the speed difference between TMX and FX doesn't seem all that large really, maybe a stop or a touch more.
     
  11. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    TMX is similar to Pan-X only if your only criterion is fine grain.
     
  12. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    The characteristic curve as that different?

    Pan-X was a little before my time, but based on what I've read/seen the lust people have for it has more to do with nostalgia than its actual characteristics.
     
  13. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear dbuchheit,

    Not to worry. I was a PanX lover and yes, I'd still use some if available, but today's films are absolutely amazing. Spend your early time back enjoying playing around with them. You will enjoy it.

    Neal Wydra
     
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  15. MartinP

    MartinP Member

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    The Adox 25, 50 and 100 "CHS-ART" films were badged versions of the Efke films. They stopped all production last year.

    Adox still supply CMS20 (a microfilm style film) and Silvermax (which was a one-off batch and will soon also come to the end of existing stock), plus also an ortho film. They have stated that they will be producing improved versions of the old Agfa emulsions, but that there is still too much old Agfa stock in the distribution networks to make selling a new version economic.

    I never used the Panatomic-X when it was available so don't have a clear idea of what can best replace it. If there was a long, low-contrast type of result then you could perhaps pull one of the slower emulsions - PanF, FP4, or Foma-100. The new technology films would inevitably have a different look wouldn't they?
     
  16. RidingWaves

    RidingWaves Member

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    I remember a Kodak publication/information sheet about tmax 100 and Pan-X and Kodak recommended Tmax 100 shot at 50 processed in Microdol-X 1:0 as a 'direct replacement' for Pan-X. As far as I can tell in comparing the few old rolls of 120 Pan-X I still have left, Kodak is correct: thats the very closest I've ever gotten to the creamy tonality of Panatomic-X, and of course the grain (what you can see of it) is different but the tonality and excuse me, 'glow' is there. Try it.
     
  17. RidingWaves

    RidingWaves Member

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    I seem to recall it was a small kodak info sheet that was put out in response to photographers freaking out that Kodak was discontinuing Panatomic-X. Kodak's response that Tmax 100 was the 'replacement' didn't go over very well at all, especially since in those early Tmax days lots of photographers were having a few adjustment challenges. I will look, I may still have that printed info sheet in an old notebook.
     
  18. Dr. no

    Dr. no Subscriber

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    Long toe and "glow" being more important than speed (I mean slow...) and grain, I think, in this distinction. I can often, but not always, get the contrast I want from Tmax 100, so I typically don't use it. I grew jaundiced to flat-grained films as having flat contrast, except for Acros.
    As a substitue for Pan-X I would recommend trying Ilford Pan F 50. Used to be cheap, now other people have discovered it.
     
  19. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    Yeah, I suppse that's partially true with anything that is now gone, but what i liked about FX was that i could soup it in just about anything and get a great neg.

    IMO, TMAX is not a great sub for FX. Yes, I can shoot TMAX at EI 50, but playing by the same rules i could shoot FX at 16. I shoot a lot of waterfalls at slow shutter speeds and sometimes and EI of 50 is too high. FX was great for this.

    For my $.02, I'd go with Pan-F.
     
  20. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    I bet Acros is going to come closest to the look you want. I shoot Pan F and it's a great film too but Acros will probably look more like Pan-X.

    The only reason to use a film as slow as that today even if you could find one would be to intentionally use long shutter speeds and/or wide apertures in light that otherwise wouldn't permit it without ND filters. Today's best 100 speed films are finer grained than Pan-X was. They do look different (TMX I agree with Gerald looks VERY different) but Acros has pretty steep highlight contrast. That will probably be closest.

    And with gear prices the way they are today I don't understand putting a 35mm camera on a tripod and shooting stopped down at slow shutter speeds for landscapes. Just get yourself a bigger camera. Getting grainless looking results, if that's what you are after, will be so much easier. The only reason I'd shoot landscapes in 35mm off a tripod nowadays would be to shoot transparencies for projection since 35mm projectors are common and cheap and medium format ones are neither. At one time, when medium and large format gear was expensive it made sense to use the finest grained films you could get to make big enlargements of landscapes and such from 35mm negatives. Now used film gear is so affordable, just use a bigger camera. Like in vehicles where there's no substitute for horsepower, there's no real substitute for a big enough negative, though today that can easily be 6x7 or even 6x4.5, today's films are SO good.
     
  21. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    If you want sharpness, I wouldn't use Microdol-X (or the modern clone or Perceptol) for any film. It gets finer grain at the expense of sharpness. With today's films there's no need for it.
     
  22. Born2Late

    Born2Late Subscriber

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    Thanks

    Thanks everyone for all of your input.

    Looks like I'll just have to experiment, I have a number of the films listed already with more coming.

    There was reference to Microdol-X. I think it's gone too, but I believe Ilford has a similar developer still in production. I hope formulas for the extinct developers become available so at least we can make our own.

    One comment too if I may. Remember that much of what we do is subjective and a matter of taste. Some (as has been demonstated on this forum) love grain, the more the better, while others do not. So, if one is asking about a substitute, you would logically look toward a product that would have a similar appearance or properties. As an example; I lean toward warmer papers. In some cases, more brown than black. I'm not sure that anything like that even exists anymore. Can you guess what my next posting might be?

    Now, I wonder if those 2 bulk roll of High Contrast Copy Film in the freezer are still good? :smile:
     
  23. Mark Crabtree

    Mark Crabtree Member

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    It had a tow and shoulder like nearly all films then, nothing extreme, and maybe even less than Pan F Plus, but still there. Acros seems to be a straight line film with a slight tendency to sweep up in the highlights. That is the look many of us don't like in some modern films, a lot like TMY. TMX is a fairly straight line film, but has a very slight shouldering off in many developers. Tonally,I find it much more like working with older emulsions than Acros.

    As I mentioned, I have some well stored FX and will try to do a comparison or two in the next week or so for my own curiosity.

    I haven't shot Acros for a few months, but have a couple hundred feet of the Freestyle packaged stuff left. I had never really come to terms with it, but just as I was finishing off the last 100 feet I tried it in PMK and thought that was very promising. I don't really like having to mess with Pyro (everything else goes into Xtol right now), but think it might be worth it for the Acros.

    I personally don't at all miss the slow speed of FX, though it sounds like one or two people do. I only put up with the slowness because I like the look.
     
  24. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    Kodak branded Mic-X is gone, but you can easily get the same formula (well, probably, but I don't think this one is a big secret) if you're so inclined:

    http://www.freestylephoto.biz/749710-LegacyPro-Mic-X-Film-Developer-to-Make-1-Gallon?cat_id=301

    I didn't have much use for it with old films and even less with new ones but as always YMMV. The similar Ilford product would be Perceptol, still available.

    Warm papers - Ilford MGWT FB is one of the finest papers I have ever used. It's not "brown" without toning but tones exceptionally well. I develop it in Ilford WT developer and tone lightly in dilute brown toner. Works beautifully.
     
  25. Mark Crabtree

    Mark Crabtree Member

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    I agree with Roger on the Microdol-X for modern films. Xtol is very fine grain with these films, but gives higher film speed and better sharpness. A lot of people said that Microdol-X worked particularly well for Panatomic-X; that seems odd, but enough people liked that combination that I don't discount it. I believe TMX is already finer grained than FX by a bit anyway.
     
  26. RidingWaves

    RidingWaves Member

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    Yes Microdol-X worked particularly well Panatomic-X, it was rumored and surmised that each were formulated for each other. Hence the X! Just Kidding, the X in Microdol-X is a secret anti-silvering mercapto that Kodak has not nor never will release. BUT apparently Photo Engineer has the name of the chemical handwritten on a small piece of paper in his left shirt pocket.