For decades, Kodak’s Verichrome Pan film was a popular product in camera stores around the United States (but I am not sure about overseas sales). It was a medium-speed (ISO=125) panchromatic black and white film intended for box and medium format cameras. Kodak claimed that it had:
- Extremely fine grain
- Wide exposure latitude
- Very high sharpness
- High resolving power.
Over the years, Kodak sold Verichrome Pan in 120, 127, 116, 126, 616, 110, 620, and 828 formats. As far as I know, Kodak never packaged it in 35mm cassettes, even though 828 was the same width. 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. As of 1996, Kodak even sold it in long roll for Cirkut panorama cameras. 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 in the past, and now it is too late. But upon mentioning this to a photography friend from Indiana, Jim Grey, he generously sent me a roll. The roll Jim sent expired in 12/1987. He did not know its original storage conditions, but he had kept it refrigerated.
Based on the title, you probably want to know about this mysterious snow in Mississippi. Well, it does happen once in awhile. I took pictures around town with my Hasselblad 501CM medium format camera on one of our two (yes, 2) snowstorms this year (2021). 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 A12 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. I used a Gossen Luna Pro Digital light meter in incident mode to measure exposure.
Here are five examples around Vicksburg. The caption will describe the location.
Needless to say, I am thrilled that a 30-year-old film still responds so well. What amazing technology. Under these conditions of soft light, the tonality of this Verichrome Pan was perfect.
Praus Productions in Rochester, New York, developed the film, and I scanned it with a Minolta Scan Multi medium format film scanner. The Silverfast Ai software did not have a Verichrome Pan profile. Instead, I used the profile for Plus-X film. Some writers on the web claim 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, 35MMC Readers, for following along on this exploration of expired film. You can see more of my explorations, mostly with film, at Urban Decay. All comments welcome. Explore your world, take many film pictures.