No other film comes close to it except Rollei Pan 25 or Agfa Pan 25.
There're all dead now. What's the use in talking about it further.
Everytime I find a film or paper that I like, they discontinue it. - Paul Strand - Aperture monograph on Strand
It's not resolution per-se that I am after. Perhaps it's the smooth grain. But I'm not willing to switch to Chromogenic film. It's not that I want "no" grain.
Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson
I did try hard to find a replacement, and found various issues with non-Kodak film which led me back to Kodak (p.s. I work for Kodak but the opinions and positions I take are my own and not necessarily those of EKC).
But I can say I am happy with the direction I am going. Larger film, when I grain a little finer than Panatomic-X... Gives me that... Even when the film is 400 speed.
For the 35mm work that I do, often 400 speed gives me the result I am happy with. (And when not... I have a tiny little stash of Panatomic-X that I bring to bear).
It's helping me to work out my feelings about this film. Maybe a 50 speed film will be its replacement for me. I don't know right now.
Originally Posted by Curt
Might as well buy a brick of PanF. We're not getting any younger.
Stop worrying about grain, resolution, sharpness, and everything else that doesn't have a damn thing to do with substance.
Back to the original topic, basically what Alan is looking for is a TMax 100 with more pronounced edge effects. Other than a possibly higher propensity for edge effects with dilute developers like Beutler (not sure as I have not seen equivalent data/tests with TMax), I fail to see how Pan-X offers anything over TMax. In terms of granularity, speed, and exposure scale, TMax has it beat on all fronts. Some further experimentation with developers may help with perceived sharpness, but this is a very complex thing and subjective impressions cloud judgement. Not to mention the tendency to glorify by-gone products and compare the working characteristics of current films with somewhat inaccurate memories of older films.
Bill - Chromogenic films still show graininess (ie micro-variations in density) in the print. It's just dye clouds instead of metallic silver. If you want a long exposure range, the tonality of a general purpose film, and the finest grain in small format, you're "stuck" with TMax 100.
Thomas makes a valid point regarding sheer resolving power. There are things which can work against the benefits of the larger film size. Camera (mis)alignment, inaccurate focus, excessively small apertures, film flatness, slow shutter speeds. But in the end resolution is only one of the elements of sharpness or image definition anyway, and not necessarily even one of the most important ones. Image quality is a complex thing. 35mm and 4x5 don't look the same, but everyone has to decide what works for them.
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I just keep buying PanX whenever I see it. It's funny-- when I started "seriously" shooting in 1987, I never bought PanX-- too slow or something. Didn't even think about it when they discontinued it. Now, it's my go-to emulsion. Nothing else looks like it, nothing else resolves like it. It looks great souped in Tmax developer, which is all my nearest BW lab uses. I'm working my way back toward a couple of 100'ers from the 60s, and after it's all gone I'll stage a funeral. People ask me what the best film to buy is when they see me shooting and I tell them PanX.
This is an interesting thread.
Originally Posted by Bill Burk
By the way Bill, if you don't already have this set up, I would suggest some sort of macro that types it quickly for you.
It may save you hours!
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
Originally Posted by MattKing
I type the company disclaimer the old fashioned way, that's kind of a pleasure. Each time it comes out a little different - like my pictures. I try to use it sparingly, to flag situations where I might seem authoritative (which I'm not) or have a bias towards the company (which I do).
Really, I need to take Thomas' advice and get into the darkroom and turn on the water. I'm afraid I'm near being slapped with a temporary ban on posting to the forums until I meet my quota of pictures in the gallery.
I believe Alan is looking for a slow, fine-grain film which would benefit from edge effects.
In this respect I don't think tabular grain films meet what he is looking for because they don't "need" edge effects. Developing them in standard developers gives the kind of sharpness you would get from edge effects (because sharpness is part of their nature).
I find your input in the forum valuable, Bill.
Often I'm a little bit too self centered in my view, and not empathetic enough. To me, photography is all about getting to the point of having a a fine print made. All of the choices I made prior to that is distilled at this point, and assembled in the print. Without the print there is no photography, in my mind.
But then I realize that there are a great many people who like to work things out in their heads first, to plot curves and make graphs; visual representations of what their film behaves like in different developers. This sort of testing is vital in keeping alive the knowledge behind what makes film work, but it clashes pretty violently in my head with the idea of 'just go make some damned prints already, and show us what you mean in a real world scenario'...
It's understood that each and every one of us has some of each in us, but individually the balance between the two is different.
I know that I just want to get to the end state of printing, so I make sure that I know my materials well. But it's always trial and error with me, where I figure out what works by using it. I'm happy when I go into the darkroom and make a print that I am proud of, and I don't have to spend too much precious paper and time to get there. After years of working with mainly Tri-X and TMax 400, and Ilford MGIV or Fomabrom 112 paper, in Ethol LPD, there's a basic understanding of what works and what doesn't. The difficult part when printing, I think comes in doing the final minute adjustments that make the difference between a good print and a great one. That seems to never be the same twice. So the faster I can get to 'acceptable' the better it is, which is where the 'get on with it and show us the damned picture' comes into play.
To wrap up - I hope that as many as possible of those who participate here, who discuss, opine, and theorize about photographic methodology and concepts, are putting their knowledge to work in the darkroom, churning out prints and practicing with all that knowledge.
I don't really know what Panatomic-X was like, and maybe it was magical, but in my limited experience of doing this for 15 years, I have not yet discovered any film that improved my photographs. I have learned a great many things about darkroom work, however, that did improve my photographs quite substantially.
Ultimately: it's quite clear to me where I need to place my focus and hard work.
Originally Posted by Bill Burk
"Make good art!"
- Neil Gaiman
"...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera".
- Yousuf Karsh
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit".
Thanks, Likewise Thomas, your insistence on the print and the capability of 35mm keeps me coming back for more...
Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson
I have to admit, sometimes I worry I am becoming a better writer than photographer. I've got the sink cleaned out and ready to turn on the water... This weekend I will do less writing and more printing.