Thursday, 29 December 2011

Verichrome Pan

Kodak Verichrome Pan 120 film, expiry date July 1964

Verichrome Pan was a black and white panchromatic film produced by Kodak from 1956 to c.2002. The film had a speed rating of 125 ISO, which would have been considered fast at the time it was introduced and replaced Verichrome, which was its orthochromatic predecessor. This advert for the original Verichrome lists its various unique qualities, including the fact that it was double coated, with two layers of photographic emulsion, both fast and slow, and also that it had enormous latitude, claiming an exposure range of 1 to 2,400. I haven't found any information as to whether Verichrome Pan kept these characteristics, but I doubt manufacturers would now claim such latitude for modern film emulsions (although I have used HP5 from 64 to 3200 ISO).

Verichrome Pan in 127 format, showing instructions for use on the paper backing

I shot a couple of rolls of out-of-date Verichrome Pan on the Summer 127 day in July. One of these had come from the box of a Kodak Brownie Starmite, with an expiry date of September 1975; the other was one of three films I bought from a certain auction site. The results from both sets of films were disappointing: the rolls bought online had evidently got damp at some point and the backing paper was stuck to the film: soaked and removed, the paper took some of the emulsion with it; the roll from the Starmite box came away cleanly from the backing paper, but nonetheless this seems to have left behind a textured pattern on the emulsion.

Sceaux Gardens, Bethnal Green: the black areas on the image are where the emulsion stuck to the backing paper


After the results with the 127 format film, I hadn't expected much from a roll in 120 format that had been inside the case of a Kinax folding camera that I bought. This roll of Verichrome Pan had an expiry date of July 1964. The box also contained a leaflet on Kodak films. I shot the roll in my Zodel Baldalux camera in Berlin during the summer, then stand processed it. Unlike the recent out-of-date FP4, I didn't take into account the loss of sensitivity with age, and exposed it at the box speed of 125 ISO. The resulting negatives are very thin, and while they have held the highlights well, the rendering of shadow detail is patchy, although the results are much better than the 127 format films. (All films were stand-developed in Rodinal, diluted 1:100, for 1 hour).

Pergamon Museum, Berlin, shot on Verichrome Pan, expiry date July 1964
Oranienburger Stra├če, Berlin, shot on Verichrome Pan, expiry date July 1964

Friday, 9 December 2011

127 Day - 7th December 2011

Cleaver Square Rooftops
127 Day is a calendrical encouragement to use 127 format cameras, on both 12th July (written 12/7 in little endian format) and 7th December (12/7 middle endian). Shooting with my Baby Ikonta, on the day I used a roll of FP4 with an expiry date of June 1976. Ilford no longer produce film in 127 format; my film was from a batch of three I bought online. I had used one of these rolls in my Foth Derby for the Summer 127 Day, and had been very pleased with the results from such an old film.  I rated the film at 64 ISO, half FP4's box speed of 125, to compensate for the loss of sensitivity with age, and stand developed the film in Rodinal at a dilution of 1:100 for one hour, with 30 seconds agitation at the start, and a couple of inversions at the half hour mark.

As I had been in July, I was working all day. With the limited amount of time I had to take photographs, especially given the short daylight hours, I took a number of night shots on my journey home from work to use the whole roll during the day. The daylight shots were metered with a Weston Master II; the night photographs were estimated.

London 2012 Olympic Site
Sutton Street, Stepney
A106 Eastway

See more photographs from 127 Day in the Flickr 127 Format Group Pool