Kodak Panatomic X Shooting/Developing
Old 03-27-2018   #1
ash13brook
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Kodak Panatomic X Shooting/Developing

A friend gave me all of his film. It has all been freezer kept.
Among the mix are two 36 exposure rolls and one hundred foot roll of Panatomic X.
For now, I'm going to assume it's still good.
I had just started in photography when this film was discontinued, so I have no experience with it other than maybe shooting a couple of rolls way back then (1989-1991?).
I have all I need to roll it up.
What I need is advice on shooting it and developing it.
I think I'll be shooting it in a Leica "on the street".
Do I shoot it at box speed?
What is a good developer to maintain the super fine grain?

Thanks,
Matt
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Old 03-27-2018   #2
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Matt, I wish someone would tell me to come get his freezer film! And Pan X, what a find.
It has been 40 years since I shot a roll of that, and it wasn't many rolls, as Plus X was the thing then, so I'm not giving any advice, but I will be listening in.
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Old 03-27-2018   #3
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When I used Pan X I tried a few different developers, including Microdol X and D-76. I settled on D-76 as it served me well for what I was trying to accomplish with the film. All I used back then was 35mm film as my enlarger wasn’t capable of medium format or any other size and I didn’t allocate any moola for the larger stuff.

I soon moved on with film as my photography needed a higher speed film. Plus-X was a good all around film for me back then. To me Ilfords FP-4 Plus is the same as Plus-X. And I can still buy the Ilford film.
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Old 03-27-2018   #4
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Shoot it box speed, develop it as you normally would. I usually use HC110, dilution B.

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Old 03-27-2018   #5
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OMG!!! A bulk roll of Pan-X !!!

I'm incredibly envious.

Its likely still plenty good. That stuff will last a very long time when stored nicely.

I actually have my last roll of Pan-X in a camera right now. A little bittersweet.

I remember developing Pan-X in microdol, HC-110, D-76, and Rodinal. I don't remember which gave me the best results -- which of course would be the tiniest grain and decent tonality. I'm guessing Microdol was a Kodak recommended developer, but dilute HC-110 is what I intend to use this time around. Dilution B (suggested above) is probably fine, I intend to use Dilution H.

I can't say how much of a lucky score you've received. Enjoy! Also consider trading a few rolls with someone for some higher-speed film. You might get tired of working in the limitations of ISO 32 and crave some ISO 400. Heck 100 might seem fast.
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Old 03-27-2018   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ash13brook View Post
A friend gave me all of his film. It has all been freezer kept.
Among the mix are two 36 exposure rolls and one hundred foot roll of Panatomic X....
Do I shoot it at box speed?
What is a good developer to maintain the super fine grain?

Thanks,
Matt
Hi Matt,

Some of us love slow film. It has such incredible detail.

I still use Panatomic X film, although mostly in 120 roll format (expiry date circa 1989) and 4" x 5" cut down aerographic roll. There is (detectable) base fog, depending on how critical your imaging requirements are - which you can suppress in several ways. If you know the vintage of your Panatomic X, here are some solutions:

Box speed is ISO 32: you can shoot at ISO 8-25 in order to cut down the development time proportionally and restrain the base fog. I see your open apertures are not quite fast enough perhaps to work your rangefinder comfortably at this ISO. Perhaps then, you might need to try one of the other development techniques.

Average generic developers like D76 or HC110 are alright for average medium grain film. Perhaps it feels a little wasted on such a fine film. If you must, Rodinal's acutance is preferable however you may need to adjust for the development time in view of base fog.

A 1% Benzotriazole solution to the developer acts as a restrainer. Alternatively, Sodium Metabisulphite can be used. You will have to experiment by adding low concentrations into the developer, since there is a trade off in tonal range with using either kind of developer restrainer to compensate.

The principle of using an 'energetic' developer like Kodak HC110, is helpful for Panatomic X when it can shorten the developing time: the shorter your developing times for your working ISO, the less time there is for base fog to develop. If you can source it, Fuji Artdol (discontinued) is more successful than Kodak HC110. Development times are typically contracted to 2 1/2 minutes - phenomenally short and delivering a full tonal scale: even with HC110 dilution B, such short development times are unheard of. By the time you push for HC110 dilution H, significant increase of development times obviate all the benefits of using an energetic developer to achieve rapid development without base fog ascension.

Finally, I'd recommend consideration of using a staining development technique with a (speed) compensating developer like PMK Pyro (or Pyrogallol proper) staining development if you haven't already tried this method: the yellow-green stain masks base fog. Typically at ISO 16, development times run into 8 - 8 1/2 minutes at 21 degrees C. The base fog is extremely hard to detect in with this staining developer technique.

There are a number of darkroom developer resources (including Steve Anchell's useful primer and the Book of Pyro) which really bring out the best of this film. It's worthwhile learning how to match the development technique with such a fabulous film since you will be one of the last of this generation to shoot with Panatomic X. If you really cannot shoot any lower than ISO 32, then Ilford Microphen (a compensating developer or a similar like Microdol) would be better for the half stop speed increase, but still falls short of the other development techniques above.

Kind regards,
RJ
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Old 03-27-2018   #7
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I also have a small stash of Panatomic-X left, bought "as new" in the early 1990s when Australian camera shops were dumping the stuff, often for a low as A$1.00 per roll. I bought up big then and have kept it chilled (not frozen) in my film fridge - it has served me well over the years.

I had 200 rolls of 35mm and 120 at one time and now have about 20 rolls of 35 left, which I am keeping for special shoots where I need large prints or super fine scans of details like building construction, stone work etc etc.

With careful work in the darkroom you can still get up to 16x20" prints with good detail out of a Panatomic negative. Note the key word, "careful".

Without going into many technicalities about this film, I tend to shoot it in normal light conditions (if our harsh Australian sunlight can be called "normal" in any sense of the word!) at EI 25.

I develop it for normal time in D76 1+1.

I'm seeing some base fog in my negatives, but nothing that cannot be printed or scanned through.

Panatomic contrast tended to be a little higher than the other Kodak films of that era but D76 seems to tame it.

Enjoy shooting your Panatomic. I had three 100-foot rolls of it at one time.

We users and shooters of such glorious films as Panatomic-X and Plus-X are probably the last to benefit from the best Kodak era of all...

Last edited by ozmoose : 03-27-2018 at 16:03. Reason: My usual perfectionism
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Old 03-28-2018   #8
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I loaded up 100' of Panatomic-X into eighteen 36 exp cartridges and I've been saving them off in the deep freeze.

Beutler "Leica" Developer was recommended to me by TomA. It's easy to mix and it's just Metol and Sodium Sulphite as I recall. I shot a roll a while back but it's not been souped yet, it's on my list of things to do when I have time.

Beutler was also marketed as "Neofin Blue".
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Panatomic X
Old 03-28-2018   #9
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Panatomic X

i too have a few rolls left, now ancient. As with others here, I tried various developers, and if my memory (also ancient) serves me, I remember the results using Rodinal as the best. Thinking of TomA, I'll use his recommendation on these...
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Old 03-28-2018   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nokton48 View Post
Beutler "Leica" Developer was recommended to me by TomA. It's easy to mix and it's just Metol and Sodium Sulphite as I recall.
Metol and sodium sulphite is D23. Beutler has a second solution with sodium carbonate. The ratios of components are completely different too.

When I used Pan-X I liked dilute Microdol-X. It also looks great in dilute Xtol or Rodinal, but in Rodinal you lose quite a bit of speed when you don't have much to start with. In Xtol you can shoot at box speed.

Marty
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Old 03-29-2018   #11
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Wow.
Thanks for all the responses.
I have quite a variety of black and white film, so I'd like to keep the number of developers to a minimum as I work my way through some of it.
I'm not even sure what's still available as I haven't developed film in close to 15 years.
HC-110 and D76, I know are. What about either Microdol or Rodinal?
Also, I thought my old 1988 Kodak Black and White Guide would have all this, but didn't. What would be "normal" times for HC-110 dil b and D76? I really would like to keep with either of those if I can get good results.

Thanks,
Matt
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Old 03-29-2018   #12
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4 and a half minutes in HC110 B, nine minutes in D761:1.
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Old 03-29-2018   #13
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Old 03-29-2018   #14
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RJ-
I wish I would've spent the time learning that part of photography when I first started.
So, if I'm staying with less specialized developers, do you think I'm better off using the HC110 Dil B over straight Microdol because of the shorter developing time?

Matt
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Old 03-29-2018   #15
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And thanks for the chart Freakscene.
That thing is sweet. Even has advice for flash bulbs.

Matt
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Old 03-29-2018   #16
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Interesting that the Kodak leaflet states that the sharpest results are with Microdol 1:3. Something to consider?

Regarding the question about HC-110 or Microdol (or D-76) as a function of developing time, I'm now curious as well: I was taught that longer development times (more than 5mins) are desireable because of the critical need to nail exact time when development times are short. But, I read in an earlier post in this thread that longer development times may encourage more base fog. So, which to favor now???

Also, I tend to favor HC-110 as my "commercial" developer (aside from Caffenol I mix up myself) because it remains good even after years of storage. I've had HC-110 work as new 6+ years after first opening. (I've had 30-year old Rodinal that worked as new). My D-76 seemed to fade in potency after a few months. So, a brownie point and a vote for HC110.
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Old 03-29-2018   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rfaspen View Post
Interesting that the Kodak leaflet states that the sharpest results are with Microdol 1:3. Something to consider?
In typical Kodak fashion, Microdol-X is a completely different developer to Microdol.

This:
https://www.freestylephoto.biz/74971...Makes-1-Gallon)
is essentially identical to Microdol-X, and works very, very well with Panatomic-X.

Marty
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Old 03-30-2018   #18
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Hi Marty,

Thanks for your knowledgeable input regarding Legacy Mic-X. Have you used straight Mic-x with Pan-X? I replenish as I have mentioned and I'm not interested in diluting it.

TomA suggested bracketing the first roll, which I did do. If I can soup it with my other films (I run everything roll and sheet in Mic-X), that would be great!

Regards,
-Dan
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Old 03-30-2018   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ash13brook View Post
RJ-
I wish I would've spent the time learning that part of photography when I first started.
So, if I'm staying with less specialized developers, do you think I'm better off using the HC110 Dil B over straight Microdol because of the shorter developing time?


Hi Matt,

You're still on time to learn how to match developers to your imaging style and taste! Equally, freezing your remainder stock of Panatomic X until you feel comfortable with working with a slow speed fine grain developer helps milk the best out of the Panatomic X.

HC110 dilution B for expired Panatomic X will work. Any developer recommendation above will work to yield some sort of image. Perhaps some recommendations will not net you sharper or even better tonal scale prints than using in date Fuji Acros developed in Paterson FX39 (compensating, high acutance, fine grain and great tonal scale). Equally, the base fog entails, the failure to print bright whites - perhaps perceptible.

If HC110 or Microdol were the only two developers on earth available for you, the shorter HC110 dilution B times for an ISO of 16 (maximum) would work okay (and cut down development time proportionally) - instead of box speed. Can you shoot at ISO 16, or do you need a Noctilux

Kind regards,
RJ
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Old 03-30-2018   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nokton48 View Post
Thanks for your knowledgeable input regarding Legacy Mic-X. Have you used straight Mic-x with Pan-X? I replenish as I have mentioned and I'm not interested in diluting it.
You're welcome. I used well-replenished Microdol-X a long time ago. My time was 25 minutes at 20C at ei32. But this was when test strips were more widely available and I would check speed and developer times frequently. It could vary 10-20% either way from that point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nokton48 View Post
TomA suggested bracketing the first roll, which I did do. If I can soup it with my other films (I run everything roll and sheet in Mic-X), that would be great!
It will look different to dilute fresh Mic-X, but replenished Mic-X will work fine, and I am sure you can figure out an EI and a time in your system.

Marty
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Old 04-10-2018   #21
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RJ-
I've realized that I have 20 rolls of this film, so having it's own developer seems not "excessive".
I can shoot at ISO 16, although I would prefer 32. I mostly shoot a Leica w/28 mm. No reason in the world I couldn't shoot on a sunny to slight overcast day. I've shot plenty of Kodachrome 64 at night and shutter speeds to 1/2 second with acceptable results fairly regularly. Summer is coming and I spend some time in Florida. So, plenty of light. Shooting that slow isn't my preferred way, but you gotta do what you gotta do. Might slow me down to my benefit.
So, if you were going to say "Matt, just get this developer and get busy", which would it be?
Also, which book by Steve Anchell are you referring, too? Might as well learn SOMETHING from this.

Thanks
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Old 04-10-2018   #22
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I recently picked up a brick and a half of 35mm Pan X from a retired photog. Been slowly working through it with HC110 1:100, diluted straight from the syrup. Been running with semi-stand, so my times are likely of no help for "straight" developing.

I rate it half box speed but depends what kind of "look" you prefer and how much contrast your lenses give.

Go have fun!
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Old 04-10-2018   #23
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Hi Andrew -

It's a hard call. Your preference for street photography, is almost the extreme opposite of mine, in landscape work, where slow film is at most detailed. If you were to adopt my work flow, it would probably constrain your shooting style.

If I were to offer advice, it would be useless! I prefer Fuji Artdol and its flash development of 2 1/2 minutes with extreme pulling. I haven't come across any other photographer who happily admits to using it or finding it - not very helpful since I only have a few packs left to match the remaining stock of Panatomic X.

In some respect, you probably will have to at least try one roll of Panatomic X in HC110 dilution B for 4 1/2 minutes at 70degrees using minimal agitation - the effective film ISO reported by Kodak, drops with increasing agitation of the tank which is worth bearing in practice. This is what Fixcinater is controlling by his 'semi-stand' (minimal agitation) method, to preserve shadow detail and restrain highlight overblowns. The outstanding issue then, is still the variable degrees of base fog in expired rolls of Panatomic X. Maybe that is why I'd recommend learning about the range of development methods, and tailoring it according to your own specific knowledge of your own shooting style, film and development technique.

Once you have a reference point for your own work flow with a developer you are comfortable with, then the fun on the rest of the rolls start.

Steve Anchell's Darkroom Cookbook is still affordable:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Darkroom-Co.../dp/1138959189


and grounds many different strands of developing film like an artist' palette of paints, to choose from, in order to interpret the canvas.


Gordon Hutchings' Book of Pyro is great - specialist great and one of the greats in photographic literature - but unfortunately rather costly now:

https://www.amazon.com/book-pyro-PMK.../dp/B0006P3UEW

It is more specialised than Steve Anchell's general primer on darkroom developer technique. You could leapfrog Anchell and go straight for Pyro and Hutchings' gives a reasonable guide for the simplest Pyro developer for Panatomic X - PMK Pyro - of which the formula is on the internet:

http://www.cabbagetownphoto.com/pyro.html

it is toxic, so you have to take standard handling precautions: many photographers just buy the ready made Part A + Part B solutions {1:2 + 100ml Water) and develop between a reference value of 6.5minutes - 9 minutes at 20 degrees C depending on ISO. The cheaper powder form is not difficult mixing up from the raw constituents - but this is the start of specialist developer technique. If it's not for you, definitely don't go backwards to track down Patrick Dignan's vintage primer!

There is a useful Pyro Flickr group run by Jay de Fehr - you'll find Pyro developers and photographers tend to be close knit and supportive - perhaps more pedantic and fastidious about how we develop film, instead of the fast and easy beans on toast HC110 method. When you compare Pyro negatives form Panatomic X side by side with HC110b or Microphen, the negative' contrast range is really striking with Pyro.

That's the one I think will be most rewarding - go Pyro! You can practice the Pyro developer on any other film: Fuji Acros (ouch! discontinued as well), Ilford FP4+ and hone your development technique - it transfers very well and your dilutions of Pyro PMK are always going to be Part A: Part B: Water as 1:2:100 - less than 10 minutes for any of these film at 20 degrees.

Then the Panatomic X will be ready for use


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Old 04-10-2018   #24
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Expired 1981, unknown storage conditions, shot at ASA 25, four and a half minutes in HC110 dilution B at 20C in an Agfa Rondinax 35U, fixed using Photographer's Formulary T5, and the best looking negatives that I have ever made.


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Old 04-10-2018   #25
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A compromise solution.

Sacrifice a roll. Shoot the same scenes at 32, 25 and 20. No need to go any lower, old Panatomic-X holds its EI speed remarkably well.

Many processing suggestions here, read everything and then decide. Me, I would soup it in D76 1+1 for either the recommended time or 10%-15% less, the latter being best for bright scenes. If in doubt, go for the full time. It's a test, after all, and you can look at the finished negatives and then decide.

Expect some base fog, nothing dramatic. Expect also that you will be amazed at the resolution you see in your negatives and finished prints.

Someone posted a comment about Kodak "fashion" which made me grin. Until the MBA bean counters in Rochester took the (ill-fated) decision to go mod in about 1990, and we know what happened then, "fashion" was the last thing Kodak could ever be accused of. Reliability, yes. Dependably, for sure.

Fashion? Like, DK-60a or Polycontrast/Polycontrast Rapid?

I rest my case.

PS Excellent image from greyscale. I also have done some of my best work with this film in its time.
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Old 04-10-2018   #26
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When Panatomic-X is all gone, there's Ilford Pan F!
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Old 04-11-2018   #27
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Here's a sample from one of my rolls. I adjusted contrast a bit in post, but the combination was higher contrast than what I thought it would be. Definitely more inherent contrast than say, Tri-X.

My flatbed scanner is very much the weak link, shows noise and is not as sharp as the neg is (where the DOF actually is). Looks OK for web sizes.

Leica M3
Canon 50/1.5 LTM
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Old 04-11-2018   #28
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That Pyro sounds great.
Except...man, does it sound like something I don't want to mix up in my kitchen!
Is it really as bad as it says? Is it that bad once it's mixed? I could mix it in my garage, I suppose. What do you do with the developer once your all done?
Also, do you reuse the developer that just developed the film after the fix and rinse to get the stain?
I might try the HC100, also, since I already have some.

Thanks,
Matt
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Old 04-11-2018   #29
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Hi Matt

Are you developing in your kitchen and not in a dedicated darkroom?

If you are in a kitchen, scrub the Pyro PMK developer off the list!

It lasts shorter than Ilfosol S - generous estimates range around 15 minutes half-life

It is one shot, once you mix Part A+B into water: essentially, it exhausts so rapidly, that you have to agitate, to prevent streaking from the chemical by-products. I tend to develop in a 16 litre tank (for sheet) - it feels the same as any other developer, only the set up is slower.

Hutchings abandoned his advice to re-stain the fixed negative back in the developer after originally touting its superiority. Thus the development cycle is straight-forward - develop, stop and fix. Perhaps the difference I'd recommend, is the 1% Benzotriazole solution added into the developer. I kind of do this out of habit, instead of checking densitometries (my densitometer runs on Windows XP I think it's nearing extinction!).

The Pyro developer exhausts rapidly: you cannot replenish it. The volumes of Pyro are tiny though and very economical. In developing Pyro, the agitation cycle is different from standard development: the Kodak inside 'cocktail' method (where the film is moved up and down in the developer liquid, rather than tank inverted). If you are developing roll film, you can use a cocktail agitation method, although I don't think it's necessary, so long as you have at least 600 ml per 120 roll, or 400 ml per 35mm roll. If you work too tightly with just 500ml per 120 roll or 300ml per 35mm roll, the developer exhaustion for the volume is too close to the tolerances and so you get the awful bromide drag (streak marks) phenomenon.

Kind regards,

RJ
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Old 04-11-2018   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ozmoose View Post
Someone posted a comment about Kodak "fashion" which made me grin. Until the MBA bean counters in Rochester took the (ill-fated) decision to go mod in about 1990, and we know what happened then, "fashion" was the last thing Kodak could ever be accused of. Reliability, yes. Dependably, for sure.

Fashion? Like, DK-60a or Polycontrast/Polycontrast Rapid?

I rest my case.
Fashion, as in
/ˈfaʃ(ə)n/
noun
noun: fashion; plural noun: fashions
2. a manner of doing something.
"the work is done in a rather casual fashion"
synonyms: manner, way, style, method, mode; More

Kodak's usual manner of naming products was confusing. It's less so now they have so many fewer products.

Apologies if my non-American and somewhat old-fashioned English is confusing. I come from the peripheries of the English-speaking lands and was schooled by a religious order who taught that the only 'correct' English was Fowler's 'Modern' English Usage (1926).

I'll dig up some Pan-X scans when I can get a minute.

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Old 04-12-2018   #31
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I still might have to try the pyro. Just with great care. I'm pretty neat with developing in the kitchen sink.
So...after developing, how do I get rid of the exhausted pyro? Is it dilute enough to wash down the drain?
And for sure, I'll try the Legacy Mic X, too.
Thanks,
Matt
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Old 04-12-2018   #32
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Hi Matt,

If you can avoid selenium toned toast by developing in the kitchen, you've really mastered Marie Kondo's art of tidiness.

My darkroom was designed to expel exhausted chemicals into the soilstack. Generally most photographic darkrooms expel exhausted pyro via the water drains from the sink - there is no environmental consequence since it is less toxic on a macro scale than washing up powder' inorganic phosphates, or bis-phenols which are more problematic than traditional photographers

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RJ
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Old 04-12-2018   #33
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Thanks, RJ.
I think I have try it. I see the PMK Pyro is all liquid, so no dust. I'll probably put a little exhaust fan in the window and put all the dishes away...
Maybe wait until my wife is out...

Thanks,
Matt
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Old 04-12-2018   #34
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Also, I assume because of the high dilution, I should develop only one roll in a two reel tank and only two(probably won't ever develop more than two at a time) in a four reel tank?

Matt
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Old 04-13-2018   #35
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Hi Matt,

I find the liquid Pyro stock solutions tend to work out fairly costly compared to powder mixing. Perhaps you can find the liquid in a nearby stockist - there are import restrictions on liquids overseas for us here. I found I always ran out of Part B [powder Sodium Metaborate] faster than Part A, and just found the home chemistry powders more flexible.

The liquid is great to start off with - and then refine your interest and technique.

Sandy (of the LF Photography Forum too) favours mixing Pyro to form Pyrocat HD.

ABC Pyro is also a modification of the original powder mix: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6P29hjhtzw

He shows the agitation technique in the video (much of it is redundant and not applicable, since the ABC Pyro has been developed to prevent the rapid exhaustion challenges when sheet film processing).

For 35mm format, the liquid Pyro is great to start experimenting. That's right on with the volume ratio per film. A 400ml [Part A 4ml, Part B 8ml, 400ml distilled water] is convenient - although 5ml:10ml:500ml is easier to work consistently for a 35mm film - you can see the advantage of having a syringe measure.

Kind regards,
RJ
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Old 03-04-2019   #36
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A year or so ago, a friend gave me a roll of Panatomic-X which had belonged to his father and had been stored in the garage....in Texas...for decades. He had no idea how old it was, but certainly was not from the last batch produced. Old, probably real old. Stored in a hot garage for decades. The leader on this film canister, once I opened the box, surprised me because it was long and thin, exactly like the leaders used by Barnack Leicas. Not sure when Kodak went to a current leader shape, but the only reference I could find to Pan-X with that kind of leader was from a 1946 roll.

I loved Pan-X, and always bang on about it here when anyone mentions how much they miss Plus-X. Wasn't expecting much if anything from this roll and just shot this as a lark, taking pictures of pretty much anything and nothing. Now, I wish I had been a little bit more judicious as to subject matter, but it is what it is. Still love this film. This is the one I want Kodak to bring back.

Developed in HC-110 yesterday at 4:30 minutes, because that is what I had handy, so results are grainier than if I had used Microdol, most likely.
Nikon F2A very haphazardly shot.








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Old 03-06-2019   #37
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Have some expired in 89'. Believe I used Xtol 1+1 for 10mins or so.



Adrienne
Hasselblad 2000FCM | Carl Zeiss 150mm f4
Panatomic-X

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Old 03-06-2019   #38
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I have 100' of 35mm PanX I spooled off into cassettes, I have been saving it in the freezer.

PhotoImpex in Germany has very long rolls of 70mm double-perfed PanatomicX. This film will run through a Hasselblad, etc About $2.00 for each 12 exposures approx

https://www.fotoimpex.com/films/koda...d-x-215-m.html

It's a lot of money but I am very tempted.

Panatomic-x 70mm Aerographic by Nokton48, on Flickr
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Old 03-06-2019   #39
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Yeah, it’s tempting. It would work out to almost 300 rolls of 120!
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Old 03-06-2019   #40
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About $725 US including shipping. $2.41 per 12 exposures.
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