Eastman Kodak introduced Panatomic in 1933. It was designed to be an extremely fine grain film, which meant it could be enlarged for large prints and still retain details. The early version was on nitrate base, but around 1937, Kodak reformulated it on safety base, renaming it Panatomic-X. Sadly, Kodak discontinued this well-loved product around 1988 or 1989, claiming that TMax 100 could serve as a substitute. I am sure this is true, but many photographers regretted the loss of the older film. Used with top-grade lenses and careful technique (that means a tripod), the detail in a Panatomic-X negative is remarkable, even in this age of high-megapixel digital cameras.
There is always a risk with using expired film, but slow speed black and white emulsions usually age well with minimal fog problems. If the films have been refrigerated or frozen, they typically are completely usable. Long-term readers may recall that I had great results with 1960s GAF Verapan film packs that had been frozen for 50 years. Color film is much more susceptible to color shifts and other issues, but if you find some old black and white film, by all means try it.
|Former cotton compress, Levee Street (35mm ƒ/3.5 Super-Takumar lens, yellow filter, ¼ ƒ/11.5, overcast with drizzle)|
|Former tank farm, Levee Street (28mm ƒ/3.5 SMC Takumar lens, yellow-green filter, ⅛ ƒ/8)|
|Tugs on Yazoo Canal (28mm ƒ/3.5 SMC Takumar lens, yellow-green filter, ⅛ ƒ/8)|
|KCS rail yard, Levee St. (Leica IIIC, 50mm ƒ/2 Jupiter-8 lens, yellow filter, 1/20 ƒ/11)|
|Yazoo Street (35mm ƒ/3.5 Super-Takumar lens, 1/30 ƒ/4.0, hand-held)|
|Adolph Rose Antiques, 717 Clay Street (Leica M2, 35mm ƒ/2 Summicron lens, 1 sec. exposure)|
|Lot behind 1220 Washington Street (Leica M2, 25mm ƒ/4 Color-Skopar lens, ¼ sec. ƒ/8.05)|
|2016 Washington Street (35 mm ƒ/2 Summicron lens, yellow filter, 1/125 ƒ/2.8½)|
Rifle Range Road
|Abandoned (or forgotten) timber rail cars (55mm ƒ/1.8 Super-Takumar lens)|
US 61 South
|Church, 3922 US 61 S., Vicksburg (Leica 50mm Summicron-DR lens, yellow-green filter)|
|C&M Crawfish, US 98, Natchez (25mm ƒ/4 Color-Skopar lens)|
|Pump house at Mississippi River Basin Model, Buddy Butts Park, Jackson (25mm ƒ/4 Color-Skopar lens)|