Dear Readers, this is a continuation of my series on discontinued photographic films. Previous posts covered GAF Versapan film packs, GAF Versapan 135 film, Kodak Ektar 25, and Kodak's famous Panatomic-X black and white film.
For decades, Kodak's Verichrome Pan film was a staple in camera stores around the country. It was a medium-speed (ISO=125) panchromatic black and white film intended for box and medium format cameras. Kodak's data sheet stated:
• Extremely fine grain • Excellent for producing high-quality images
• Wide exposure latitude • Rich tonality maintained with overexposure and underexposure
• Very high sharpness • Excellent for applications that require a high degree of enlargement
• High resolving power • Good rendition of detail
Over time, Kodak sold it in 120, 127, 116, 126, 616, 110, 620, and 828 formats. As far as I know, Kodak never packaged it in 35mm cassettes. Note that these are format designations, not width in mm. The 126 was the Instamatic cartridge that was so popular in the 1960s and 1970s, and the 110 was the smaller cartridge for 110 cameras. As of 1996, they even sold it in long roll for Cirkut panorama cameras. Numerous writers on the web enthusiastically claim that it was a superb film. It was such a flexible film, an inexperienced amateur could could load it in a crummy box camera and achieve something that a lab could print.
For unknown reasons, I never tried any Verichrome Pan, and now it is too late. But good news: my Indiana friend, Jim Grey (author of the Down the Road blog), generously sent me a roll.
The roll Jim sent expired in 12/1987. He said he did not know its original storage conditions, but he had kept it refrigerated. I took pictures around town with my Hasselblad 501CM medium format camera on a rare day when snow had fallen (yes, it does snow in Vicksburg
once in awhile). The light was soft and even, so maybe this was not a very challenging test for this film, but that is what was loaded in my film holder. Because of the age and unknown storage, I decided to add extra exposure and use it at EI=64 (or half the original), meaning one ƒ-stop extra light for each frame. Click any picture to see it enlarged to 1600 pixels wide.
|Kansas City Southern tracks from the North Frontage Road bridge (80mm ƒ/2.8 Planar-CB lens)|
|2624 Washington Street, Vicksburg (80mm Planar lens)|
|Fairground Street Bridge (permanently closed; 80mm ƒ/2.8 Planar-CB lens)|
|Pearl Street view north (80mm Planar lens)|
Over a decade ago, cottages lined the west side of the tracks (left in this photograph). All have been torn down and the road has been abandoned.
|Kansas City Southern rail yard from Levee Street, view east (80mm Planar lens)|
|Kansas City Southern rail yard view south (80mm Planar lens)|
|Work shed on levee next to Yazoo Canal (50mm ƒ/4 Distagon lens, 1/30 ƒ/11)|
|Sycamore Avenue, Vicksburg (80mm Planar lens)|
|View west from Sycamore Avenue (80 mm Planar lens)|
|Kansas City Southern tracks along Mississippi River waterfront (250mm ƒ/5.6 Sonnar lens, ⅛ ƒ/16.5)|
Well, once again I am thrilled that a 30-year-old film responds so well. What amazing technology. I love the tonality of this Verichrome Pan, at least under these conditions of soft light.
Praus Productions in Rochester, New York, developed the film, and I scanned it with a Minolta ScanMulti medium format film scanner. The Silverfast Ai software did not have a Verichrome Pan profile. Instead, I used the profile for Plus-X film. I read in some old Kodak books that Verichrome and Plus-X responded about the same. I have read that they were almost the same emulsion but one had no anti-halation layer (?). I do not know if that is true, and I had no recent experience with Plus-X. The last time I used Plus-X may have been in Moscow in 1978 (click the link).
Thank you, Dear Readers, for following along on this exploration of Films from the Dead. All comments welcome.