I think our memory of how fine grained it was is colored by comparison to the faster films of its day. It was considerably finer than medium speed films, Plus-X and Ilford FP[whichever] of the day, and far finer grained than the Tri-X/HP[whichever] of its day. But those films have been continuously improved ever since, not to mention we have various new tech films now to compare it to.
Well said. I always liked that quote from Ansel Adams (perhaps he was quoting someone else, not sure) about how the good old days are often the product of a failing memory.
Very true. However there was also the long tonal scale that was and remains rather unique for a slow film. IMHO, no modern slow film comes even close to Pan-X in this respect.
Originally Posted by Roger Cole
It all comes down to modern emulsion technology. Manufacturers have gotten very good with conventional films at creating silver grains whose size remains within a very narrow range. While this makes for fine grain it also reduces the tonality range of the film. Films whose grain size has a much broader spread have better tonality. Another example that in photography you can't have everything.
I don't necessarily disagree with you, but TMax 400 might be the exception. 14 stops, straight as a nail. Most of the time that is more than enough. I don't know what the Panatomic-X was capable of...
Originally Posted by Gerald C Koch
Actually I hedged my bet a bit by limiting my discussion to "conventional emulsions." T-grain or delta grain emulsions are a whole other story. Their manufacture is quit different from conventional films. Personally I don't use or like these emulsions and so would not speculate on them.
Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson
I shot one roll of Pan-X that I can recall, and might have done a second some time. I just never really have use for film that slow. Even with PanF+ I develop it in Diafine, partly for the compensating action which works well with that film but also for a slight speed boost.
How did the scale of Pan-X compare to, say, Agfapan 25? That film lasted a lot longer and seems to have been widely loved. If it was as good as Agfapan 100 I can understand the love for those who can live with or prefer the speed. If Agfapan 25 or Efke 25 were anywhere close, resurrecting something similar, possibly via Adox, seems not too unreasonable a thing to hope for.
Agfapan 25 was a higher contrast film than Pan-X. It was more typical of what one expects from an ISO 25 film. Pan-X behaved more the way we would expect current medium speed films to behave.
Panatomic-X, what a great name, with a name like that how can it not achieve the ultimate image? This is superb marketing.
thanks curt and bill, love those verses !
i guess since we are all taking a trip down memory lane ..
i used to buy bulk rolls of this film when i was a livinghighonthehog college student. i had paper routes
and a driveway reconstruction business in those days and after working hard all summer, money was no object.
i was told by my teachers and friends that pan-x was "THE BEST" so i would go to SBI i harvard square, cambridge
and buy 100 feet at a time. i would be kind of annoyed at its slowness
and i would shoot it at night in dark eateries with a flash, would process it in sprint developer
and liked the film. when the tmax family of films came along i used them, but never really liked how the grain
looked, the pan x grain had a look to it, a sheen i don't know, just a look, you know, like remembering what
captain crunch looked like before pepe lefoot kidnapped him and the replace him with the other captain crunch
or when they switched out darrin stevens, or jerry seinfeld;s dad and no one "noticed"
.. even though they are a direct replacement for pretty much everything kodak made in b/w and doesn't make now
tmax films were ( are ) nice but not quite the same .
i have figured out a way to get grain out of the tmax family of films and it involves abusing the hell out of the film.
the film was on the shelf for longer than i remember
covered in dust since the time i bought it 2001 september
instead of 400 or 100 it looks like maybe it i shot it at 10 or 25 i can't remember
the soup was black and fizzy and smelled like hell
it was warm to the touch, on these thing i like to dwell,
in they go, the sheets in the stack separated the stucktogether emulsion did swell
around and around from the bottom to the top, my fingers in this strange brew
the timer tick-toks with a hum i can barely see but somehow i know what to do
after 20 in the wash then the fix these negatives are barely seethrough
memories of pan x, visions of the past i better keep shooting this oldetmaxstuff, production isn't going to last.
it was much easier when subatomicx was around, strawberries and cream without the artificial ingredients.