12 January, 1988 | Pentax P3 | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | Kodak Tri-X Pan 400

Kodak Tri-X Pan 400 Memories

Early in my photography journey, shooting with 35mm black and white film was easier. I felt that 35mm colour film was too distracting and did not have the pretension "art" look I was into at the time.

Tri-X panchromatic (Tri-X Pan) film was popular by photojournalists and many amateurs. Eastman Kodak manufactured it. Sales of Tri-X declined in the 1970s and 1980s due to the falling price and increasing popularity of colour films. Tri-X fell out of use in newspaper journalism with the onset of online newspapers and colour print media, though it remained popular in documentary journalism for a while.

From the KODAK TRI-X Pan datasheet.

KODAK TRI-X Pan Film is a high-speed (ISO 40027 ?) panchromatic film that is a good choice for photographing dimly lighted subjects or fast action, for photographing subjects that require good depth of field and fast shutter speeds, and for extending the distance range for flash pictures. TRI-X Pan (TX) Film 5063 is available in 135 size and 35 and 70 mm long rolls. TRI-X Pan (TX) Film 6043 is available in 120 sizes. You can retouch the 120-size film on the emulsion side. TRI-X Pan Film is recommended for push-processing applications.

Since I found only one set of Kodak Tri-X Pan negatives among my "film treasure chest", since it's over 30 years later, my memory is faulty about the dates. However, all of these photographs were captured around the Drew University campus using my budget-friendly Pentax P3 and SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 lens.

Drew University offered compressed courses during the six weeks between December break and the start of the Spring semester. I can tell it's winter from the photographs, and the campus seems free of people. I speculate that this was one of the many "Jan Terms" I was on campus. I don't know if this was Jan Term 1987-88 or 1988-89, but I think it was Jan Term 1987-88. The photographs seem to have a theme around reflections, and the pictures of the Media Resource Center makes me think this was the Jan Term when I took my first darkroom photography course.

I learned about the relationship between ISO, aperture and shutter speed and how aperture affects depth of field. This is often referred to as the exposure triangle. My assignments were shot on film on my Pentax P3 and SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 lens and developed in the Drew University darkroom in the campus Media Resource Center. I was supposed to think about composition somewhere between learning how to use the camera and exposing film and adequately e.

Digital cameras were not generally available in the mid-1980s. Today, what can be learned in minutes with a digital camera, took weeks of effort shooting and developing film in the darkroom and making prints. My first photography course was supposed to be about the "art of photography", but essentially given the steep learning curve, I spent more time thinking about the technical considerations required to make good photos.

12 January, 1988 | Pentax P3 | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | Kodak Tri-X Pan 400
12 January, 1988 | Pentax P3 | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | Kodak Tri-X Pan 400
12 January, 1988 | Pentax P3 | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | Kodak Tri-X Pan 400
12 January, 1988 | Pentax P3 | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | Kodak Tri-X Pan 400
12 January, 1988 | Pentax P3 | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | Kodak Tri-X Pan 400
12 January, 1988 | Pentax P3 | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | Kodak Tri-X Pan 400
12 January, 1988 | Pentax P3 | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | Kodak Tri-X Pan 400

3 comments

    1. OH MY GOSH, Jim! Yes, it was a PITA to scan. There were no digital scanning services around in the 1980s, and it’s so expensive to do it today. I ordered a 36 exposure roll of Tri-X (400TX). Let's hope I shoot more than just photographs of the sidewalk. 🙂

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