5 Frames… With Kodak Panchromatic Separation Film 2238 (EI 20 / 35mm format / Nikon F4) – by Tony Grisier

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It isn’t often (if ever) that a film comes along and stops me in my tracks. In fact, I can’t think of a time that one ever has. Some have come close but this one stopped me dead in my tracks. The film, of course is Kodak Panchromatic Separation Film 2238, also known as “SO-2238”, a film originally intended for archiving motion pictures.

I was lucky enough to be gifted a roll from a friend in the Negative Positives Podcast Facebook group (Thank you Jr Wyatt)! I decided that a quick Sunday morning walk around town would be a good test for this film so I loaded the roll into my Nikon F4 (with Tamron 35-80 CF Macro f/2.8-3.8), set the ISO to 20 (the film can be rated anywhere from 6-25 ISO) and headed for downtown. While I was disappointed in the overcast weather, the film handled it quite well. I can’t wait to shoot my next roll with some actual sun shining.


At the suggestion of a friend, I developed the film in Kodak Xtol 1:1 for 12 minutes at 68F. I’m sure it can be developed in other developers and have even seen it developed in Caffenol. Very minor edits were made in Lightroom, mainly to clean up dust and very slight (if any) curves adjustment. To say that I’m pleased with the results would be an understatement. The rich tones and tight grain structure of the negatives could almost fool you into thinking you had shot your images with a digital camera.

The film is available through several retailers as well as eBay and can be had for a song in both 36 exposure rolls and bulk reels for those that roll their own. Either way, you get it you are getting more than you paid for. It certainly is a stock I will always have in my fridge ready to do.

~ Tony

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