The Atomic Movie: How Kodak Panatomic-X Captured The World In Positive Element

Kodak Panatomic-X was a black-and-white movie with a panchromatic emulsion and prolonged pink sensitivity. It was recognized for its extraordinarily wonderful grain excessive resolving energy and medium to excessive distinction. It was very best for giant prints that retained a ton of element and sharpness.
Panatomic-X was one of many slowest movies ever made by Kodak with a pace of ASA 32. It was additionally some of the steady and long-lasting movies because it could possibly be shot many years after its expiration date with minimal degradation. It was a movie that appealed to photographers who valued high quality over amount and who needed to seize the best particulars of their topics.
Panatomic-X was not solely a movie but in addition part of photographic historical past. It was launched in 1933 as a sheet movie for aerial images and it went by a number of revisions and codecs over time. It was discontinued within the late Eighties or early Nineties nevertheless it has left a long-lasting impression on many photographers who used it or admired it.
On this article we’ll discover the historical past and variations of Panatomic-X its traits and functions the explanations for its discontinuation and a few pattern photos taken with this movie. We can even pay tribute to this movie as one of many best ever made by Kodak.
Historical past of Kodak Panatomic-X and Variations
Kodak Panatomic-X was first launched in 1933 as a sheet movie for aerial images. It had an preliminary pace of ASA 25. It was a part of Kodak’s line of “X” movies which had been designed to have prolonged pink sensitivity and improved tonal rendition.
Over time it went by a number of revisions altering speeds to ASA 32 and at one level ASA 40. It was additionally accessible in 35mm and 120 codecs for normal {and professional} use. The movie had totally different names relying on the format and software equivalent to Panatomic-X Skilled
Panatomic-X Aerographic Panatomic-X Aerecon and Panatomic-X Scientific.
The movie was discontinued by Kodak within the late Eighties or early Nineties nevertheless it has a fame for being very steady and long-lasting. Many photographers have reported capturing expired rolls of Panatomic-X with wonderful outcomes typically at field pace or barely overexposed.
One in all them is Mike Eckman who praised the movie’s longevity and efficiency:
No matter when Pan-X was truly discontinued is essentially irrelevant as a result of probably the most wonderful attribute of this movie is the way it regularly defies growing old (sic). I’ve shot rolls of Pan-X discontinued within the Eighties 70s and 60s and the movie virtually all the time shoots at field pace with little in the best way of degradation.
He continues
My experiences with the seemingly immortal lifetime of Pan-X are usually not distinctive to me as I’ve spoken to many different photographers who’ve witnessed the identical issues themselves. When you discover a roll of 35mm Pan-X from 1977 in a closet someplace simply shoot it at ASA 25 and also you’ll probably get a complete roll of nice photographs.

Mike Eckman “Keppler’s Vault 70: Kodak Panatomic-X” | mike eckman dot com

One other photographer who shared his expertise with Panatomic-X is Alex Luyckx who described the movie as “a fine-grained normal goal movie and it appears the slowest of the X-Sequence of movies (Plus-X Tri-X Double-X). And what a movie Panatomic-X is […] I’m extra a gradual movie junkie and revel in Panatomic-X excess of Plus-X.”
I keep in mind the primary time I encountered a field of Panatomic-X and seeing the movie seep of ASA-32 my thoughts was blown. I had by no means seen a movie slower than ASA-50 (Pan F+). After which I despatched it off to the lab to develop it and was much more amazed on the outcomes.

Alex Luyckx Traditional Movie Evaluate – Kodak Panatomic-X | Alex Luyckx | Weblog

Alyssa Chiarello additionally wrote about her expertise with expired Panatomic-X mentioning that “it has an superior identify […] Atomic! You may’t get any higher than this!”:
Initially launched in 1933 as sheet movie Kodak Panatomic-X movie has been reformulated a number of occasions since its authentic launch […] The roll I shot expired in 1987 so it’s older than me! […] I shot it at field pace […] The pictures got here out very sharp with nice distinction.

Alyssa Chiarello Expired Movie: Kodak Panatomic-X | Aly’s Classic Digital camera Alley

This relative indestructibility of the movie renders it one of many legendary emulsions for these of us looking for to rediscover the extra traditional B&W movie look. Whereas newer emulsions have been launched that render Panatomic-X redundant in pure technical phrases (as an illustration Kodak T-Max 100) the feel and appear of a traditional cubic grain movie of such decision is troublesome to breed.
Panatomic-X was not solely a movie for amateurs and fanatics but in addition for professionals and scientists. It was used for varied functions and functions equivalent to aerial images mapping reconnaissance studio images and scientific analysis.
Traits and Purposes
Kodak Panatomic-X had a skinny and extremely hardened emulsion that supplied excessive picture sharpness and allowed speedy processing at elevated temperatures in trendy continuous-processing machines. It additionally had a dyed-gel backing for antihalation functions and curl management.
The movie was finest used for medium to excessive altitude mapping reconnaissance and different earth assets functions. It was additionally appropriate for studio images particularly when a excessive diploma of enlargement was wanted. It supplied wonderful separation of spotlight tones and really wonderful grain.
The movie could possibly be processed in a wide range of Kodak black-and-white builders equivalent to HC-110 D-76 Microdol-X and Xtol. The really helpful growth occasions diverse relying on the developer temperature and agitation technique.
Alex Luyckx shared his expertise with totally different builders on his weblog. For instance in Xtol:
The very first developer mixture I discovered for Panatomic-X was Xtol […] that is my private favorite for this movie […] exhibiting off the wonderful grain of the movie much more but sustaining a pointy picture.²
and in D76:
[…] there’s actually nothing you are able to do to the movie to make it seem grainy. And that definitely comes throughout with D-76 every little thing is close to excellent the distinction is low however you get a tremendous tonality throughout the vary. You even get your whites and blacks nonetheless current. Zero grain in any of the pictures definitely a terrific selection for this movie.

Alex Luyckx Traditional Movie Evaluate – Kodak Panatomic-X | Alex Luyckx | Weblog

Causes for Discontinuation
Kodak Panatomic-X was discontinued because of a number of elements equivalent to:

The decline of the marketplace for black-and-white movies usually as color movies turned extra well-liked and inexpensive.

The emergence of newer movies with finer grain and better pace equivalent to Kodak T-Max 100 and Ilford Delta 100.

The issue of sustaining the standard and consistency of the movie’s manufacturing because of its advanced emulsion system and coating course of.

The environmental and well being considerations related to the usage of some chemical substances within the movie’s manufacture and processing.

Jim Gray lamented the lack of this movie on his weblog:
As quicker movies got here and went […] Kodak would discontinue Pan-X solely to deliver it again […] It will keep in steady manufacturing for the subsequent a number of many years because the skilled’s selection when absolute element should be maintained in black-and-white photos.
He additionally commented on the movie’s versatility and high quality:
For the type of capturing I do — handheld outdoor — gradual movies want nice gentle. I went out with my ME solely on full-sun days and I nonetheless bought shallow depth of area. But when that stepping into you may work with it.

Jim Gray “Taking pictures Kodak Panatomic-X” | Down the Street

Kodak Panatomic-X was a exceptional movie that supplied extraordinarily wonderful grain excessive resolving energy and medium to excessive distinction. It was very best for giant prints that retained a ton of element and sharpness. It was additionally very steady and long-lasting even after expiration. It was a movie that many photographers cherished and miss at the moment.
Panatomic-X was a part of Kodak’s legacy of manufacturing high-quality black-and-white movies for varied functions and functions. It was a movie that captured the wonder and complexity of the world in shades of gray. It was a movie that challenged and rewarded the photographers who used it with care and talent.
Panatomic-X could also be gone however it isn’t forgotten. It lives on within the photos it created and the recollections it preserved. It’s a movie that deserves to be celebrated and remembered as one of many best ever made.
Why do not you remark beneath on the way you keep in mind this legendary movie? Do you miss it or have you ever moved on? Tell us!