“Your package has been delivered” proclaimed the USPS tracking site. I had signed up for a project where a select few photographers were given a couple of rolls of KODAK Panchromatic Separation Film 2238 film to use and submit their best two images for future publication. Unearthing the two rolls from the innocent-looking manila envelope, I begin pondering what I’d photograph using this film.
I’ve shot low ISO copy/print films designed for cinema production before, but at the time had never even known KODAK Panchromatic Separation Film 2238 existed. Often, these films are orthochromatic (blue-sensitive), but this film is panchromatic on top of being on a clear base. According to the gentleman I received these rolls from, Michael Bartosek; this film is designed for color separation archiving. Knowing that, it being a low ISO panchromatic film made a lot more sense.
After some further research, I grabbed my Nikon F2 Photomic, Nikkor-HC Auto 50mm f/2 Non-AI lens and a large café mocha and ventured out into downtown Eau Claire, WI USA. While this film has a box speed of 25 ISO, I opted to split that and shoot at EI 12, knowing it would allow for more shadow detail and tend to present a much more pleasing image to my eyes. It would also cover my ass in the case of under-exposure or changing light conditions.
My chosen developer was Rodinal at 1:50 for 12 minutes (68F/20C) based on the results I found online. It also happened to be one of the only developers I had on hand too, so that was a factor as well.
The negatives looked pretty high contrast so I was unsure if I had got my development time and dilution right, but once they hit the scanner the creamy tones came through. Later this year I plan on trying to make a few darkroom prints from some of these and perhaps purchase more of this film later on.
It’s starting to become one of my favorite low ISO films with its fine grain, clear base, and dynamic range.
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This series is being produced in conjunction with Hamish Gill's excellent 35mmc.com. Head on over to read the other half of these stories there.
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