My choice fell on Kodak Panchromatic Sound Recording Film 2374, a film I had never heard of until I saw a few dusty rolls in a photo store in Ukraine. That’s where I also bought a bag of expired Svema color film that I’m going to share with you another time. I asked the store attendant about the film that had just captured my attention, but my limited Russian didn’t really let me understand his explanation. So I decided to buy those rolls, give them a try and figure it out by myself.
Kodak Panchromatic Sound Recording Film 2374 is just what the name suggests: a panchromatic film designed to record film soundtracks. But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t record light. In fact, it does it in a way that I can’t compare to any other film I’ve tried so far. It produces the most extreme contrast of any film I know, and I didn’t manage to reduce it by avoiding any agitation or stand developing the film.
The negatives are almost solarized, with no grain whatsoever, and that is actually this film’s main drawback, at least for my grain thirsty eyes. Another funny thing with this film is that the text and codes normally found near the sprocket holes, here are printed in the middle of every fourth or fifth frame, stretching across two frames each time.
It’s difficult to expose, especially in the sunshine (I shot these frames in my Lomo LC-A). It’s rather unpredictable and extreme, a hard-to-tame beast. Did it become my film of choice? Not really.
Did I enjoy trying it? You bet.
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