New film?

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by glen_h, Jul 20, 2017.

  1. Following the discussion about who would like to see Panatomic-X return, and realizing that Plus-X has also been discontinued, and also the comment that, with changes in the production facilities, Kodak would not make the same Panatomic-X anyway, I wondered about a new film.

    Some of the reason for asking about the return of a film, is remembering the film with that name, even if the new film isn't the same.

    But anyway, how would people feel about a new film, somewhere between Panatomic-X and Plus-X, but otherwise using similar technology, and so hopefully similar images.

    I am not sure that you can take two film recipes, combine them together, and get a new film with properties in between, but maybe.

    So, maybe a new ISO 64 film instead?

    Or 50 and directly compete with Pan F+?

    Thinking about it, completely new films seem to be pretty rare, though sometimes they are new, with an old name.

    Is Kodachrome 200 completely different from Kodachrome 64, or just a slight difference?

    From: Ilford History and Chronology

    Ilford FP goes back to 1934. Then a series through FP2 and FP3 into FP4.

    Are those part of a continuous small improvement series, or completely new films with similar names?

    If there are enough users of cubic grain films for Kodak to produce a new (or improve an old one), what should it be like?

    It does seem that an ISO 64 film might be about right.
  2. Interesting idea. What would be a good name for it?
  3. I'd be on-onboard.

    I try every film Big Yellow throws our way. Some only see a few rolls or sheets while other become regular users. Portra 800, for example, is a film that I've not found a use for-I'll use the dread "D' word if I need color film that fast. I also don't use TMAX films. With that said. I've been burning a lot of Ektar lately(mostly in 120) and have really warmed up to it. I'll be in-line to buy some Ektachrome when it hits the shelves, although I'm hoping it will make it to 120 and maybe even sheets.

    With that said, I've been shooting a lot of FP4+. I can't seem to get the creamy tonality out of it that I can get out of Plus-X(( have a decent amount of the latter that's not too far out of date). With that said, I like the fact that I can get the same film in 35mm, 120, and 4x5. Heck, I can even get it in 5x7 and 8x10(I don't shoot either size) and if I were so inclined they do a ULF run every year. 4x5 and 8x10 are roughly the same cost per surface area as 120 and 35mm, something that can't be said for Kodak and Fuji.

    In any case, what about Plus-F at 64 or 80?
  4. Or call it Panatomic Plus? We need someone to do a mock up of the film box now. But market it as an ISO 64 film that one could rate at E.I. 32 for finer grain or rate at E.I. 125 for more contrast. Could be a winner.
  5. I like the name Panatomic, especially when I think of it as Pan-Atomic. The name precedes the construction of nuclear reactors or atomic bombs, so I doubt there is a connection. Maybe -atomic refers to its extremely fine grain.
  6. It seems that Panatomic-X traces back to 1933, so yes before fission, but not before radioactivity
    and radium, and so atoms might still have been a topic of discussion, especially in scientific labs.

    I only recently learned it went back that far.

    I first started in photography, and darkroom work not much later, in 1967.

    I knew some about earlier films, but some I didn't know about at all.

    In 1967 there was Tri-X and even Royal-X, as fast films, along with
    Verichrome Pan and Plus-X as medium speed films, so Panatomic-X
    was really slow relative to the others, and much finer grain.

    I suspect at the time, I thought that Panatomic-X, Plus-X,
    and Tri-X all came into existence at the same time.

    But in 1933, it wasn't so much slower than other films around.
    But maybe it was enough slower, and enough finer grain, to name it
    after (small) atoms.

    Any name except Plusatomic-X, which is the first name I thought up.
  7. It might be interesting to have a film that is a hybrid between Panatomic-X and Technical Pan. A film that has the grain and sharpness of Tech Pan, but can be processed like Panatomic-X. Its ISO would not be that important to me.
  8. Reminds me of 649F, also known in 35mm as SO-253.

    It is more than 1000 lines/mm, and one source says ASA 6 but it might be a lot less.

    It is especially good with HeNe lasers.
  9. "It is more than 1000 lines/mm, and one source says ASA 6 but it might be a lot less."

    - Oh really? 1k lppmm requires a feature size of < 0.5 microns; something that can barely be distinguished with the best of optical microscopes. It would also be impossible to image such a resolution onto a flexible based fim using any practical or affordable lens, even using near UV illumination. And as for imaging a decent continuous tone as well.....

    So what would be the point of such a film and such a sacrifice of speed?

    Just abandon the crippled 35mm format for something bigger, and all those impossible demands on lens and medium go away. If you want real detail in your images you simply need a bigger format.
  10. SO-253 was made for holography, and it was a bit odd compared to pictorial films. It had a very high resolving power so it could record interference fringes, it had high contrast, good red sensitivity, and quick latent image decay. In holography there is no image-forming lens, so there is no concern about optical resolution of such a lens. It was a specialty film which was not intended for regular pictorial use. In some ways it was like Tech Pan, as Glen noted. But just because it wasn't designed for pictorial use didn't stop people from experimenting with it.
  11. Real holography is done on glass plates, but as well as I know, it is the same emulsion as 649F plates, but in the f source.)orm of 35mm film.

    We did use it in an optics lab to make diffraction gratings, as the interference pattern of two laser beams.
    (Pretty much the hologram of a point.) We put a roll in a 35mm camera with the lens removed.

    HeNe lasers are 632.8nm wavelength, so you might have fringe spacing about that length.
  12. We might also ask: if Kodak were to introduce a new black & white film, what would it be based on? I don't think they'd spend the money to engineer a new film from scratch. Like other industries (at least here in USA) Kodak might go to existing technology and create a new film. In some ways it's like a US automaker using off the shelf parts to create a new car.
    Even though I think it unlikely that Kodak will introduce a new black & white film, this has been an interesting thread. I did not know about SO-253 film, for example. I wonder how this film would respond to gas hypering like Tech Pan back when astrophotography was still mostly film?
  13. I wasted quite a bit of time and money trying to get consistent continuous tone negatives from Tech Pan. The printing qualities of the few successful frames were tortuous to print, and the supposed increase in detail captured was minimal. So why would anyone bother with that, when the simplest route to improved detail and tonality is just to shoot on a bigger format?

    Does the technical challenge of obtaining a picture alter its aesthetic value? I would strongly argue not. Because almost anyone can produce a stunningly sharp and detailed photograph of an exceedingly boring and badly composed static subject in uninteresting light with excessive depth-of-field from using the optimum aperture of a "standard" lens.
  14. Yes, and this is the part of film engineering that I don't understand.

    Given the small number of films designed over the years, it looks like it is hard, but I suspect not quite that hard.

    It might be that getting a new film into the market is harder than engineering a new one.

    That Kodak keeps selling Tri-X, even though it isn't the same Tri-X as it used to be, because it
    makes marketing easier.

    Why didn't they stop making Tri-X when TMY came out? Seems that there is enough demand
    for both cubic and T-grain films.

    It might be that one could take the formulae for Panatomic-X and Plus-X and combine them,
    without a lot of engineering work, to come up with a new film. Or maybe not.

    One might say "stir 10 minutes" and the other "stir 20 minutes", and so a new film says
    "stir 15 minutes".

    The most important step is when silver nitrate and potassium bromide (both ionized in solution)
    come together, and crystallize out silver bromide. The exact way this happens, determines the
    range of sizes of the grains. But that is as close as I know it. I don't know at all how easy
    or hard it is to come up with a new recipe of add and stir, add and stir.

    One of the amazing things, is that you can come up with such a recipe, and then keep
    it constant for many years. That films keep coming out, close enough, to the way we expect.

    Some of this is visible. The aging for consumer films, and the lack of aging for professional films.
    (Especially for color films, where lack of uniformity generates color shifts.)

    The whole idea behind this thread, is that Kodak might be able to make a new film without
    excessive engineering costs, combining old engineering in new ways, but I don't know that
    is true.

    As for marketing, a new film might appeal to previous users of both Panatomic-X
    and Plus-X, or neither.

    Kodak (or Kodak Alaris) has promised us an Ektachrome, but we don't know if it is the
    same old Ektachrome, or a newly engineered one. Considering how many films have
    been named Ektachrome over the years, it seems that we have never known.
  15. AJG


    Glen--I remember when T Max 400 came out, and it was much more finicky about processing than Tri-X for marginal quality improvement, in my experience. I also remember several different developers (from Kodak and others) that were supposed to solve the problem, but I never saw one that really worked. Maybe somebody did come up with a solution, but I didn't see the point of a lot of experimenting for a slight improvement in quality. Incidentally, when Kodak later built a new production line for Tri-X 4x5 sheet film they changed it drastically so I switched to Ilford HP 5 which worked for me the the way old Tri X 4x5 did.
  16. In general from a business perspective I think it's fair to say that having fewer and more distinct product lines is more sustainable than having a bunch of overlapping ones. I can see where it makes some sense to bring ektachrome back because if fills a hole in the product line.

    Before introducing a new B&W film, Kodak would have to believe that it would either attract new people to film or bring old people back. If all it does is cannibalize their existing film sales, then it's probably not worth it. They'd be better off making subtle improvements to existing products.
  17. Yes, marketing is an important part of introducing a new film.

    Too many choices, and it is hard to get retailers to stock them all, and customers to decide which to buy.

    As far back as I remember, the Kodak films that I actually knew, saw in stores, used, or knew people who used,
    were for black and white films, Verichrome Pan, Panatomic-X, Plus-X, and Tri-X. At some point, I knew
    about Royal-X, but only saw a roll a few years ago.

    For slide film, there was Kodachrome II, Kodachrome-X, Ektachrome-X and High Speed Ektachrome.
    (I didn't know about pro films at the time, though I do remember knowing about Ektacolor.)

    In the years before Ektachrome went away, there were so many different kinds, maybe too many.
  18. When everybody was buying film I can understand why it was super important for them to build brand loyalty and not give a loyal Kodak customer any reason to buy Fuji film (for example). So they sold all kinds of film.

    Maybe Kodak doesn't see it this way still, but I think it's critical for the film industry today (and ultimately Kodak) for there to be more than one legitimate player in the market. In other words, it's OK for Ilford to have films that Kodak may not have a direct competitor for and vice-versa.
  19. How about a 35mm version of Verichrome Pan? As much of that as I used in 120, I'd certainly welcome that in 35mm.
  20. I used to wonder about that, but that was a long time ago.

    But now that Plus-X is gone, maybe it would be a nice replacement, and presumably doesn't take much engineering work.

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