Kodak Tri-X Pan 400 Memories

Pentax P3 | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | Kodak Tri-X Pan 400 B&W Negative Film

Early in my photography journey, shooting in B&W was easier. 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 a popular film used 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. With the advent of online newspapers and colour print media, Tri-X has fallen out of use in newspaper journalism, though it remains popular in documentary journalism.

Since I found only one set of Kodak Tri-X Pan negatives among my “film treasure chest”, and 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. From the photographs, I can tell it’s winter, and the campus seems free of people. I am speculating 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 photographs of the Media Resource Center makes me think this was the Jan Term, where 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 often referred to as the exposure triangle. All of 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. Somewhere between learning how to use the camera and properly expose film, I was supposed to think about composition.

Digital cameras were not generally available in the mid-1980s. Today, what can be learned in a matter of 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.

Pentax P3 | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | Kodak Tri-X Pan 400 B&W Negative Film
Pentax P3 | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | Kodak Tri-X Pan 400 B&W Negative Film
Pentax P3 | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | Kodak Tri-X Pan 400 B&W Negative Film
Pentax P3 | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | Kodak Tri-X Pan 400 B&W Negative Film
Media Resource Center, Drew University &$124; Pentax P3 | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | Kodak Tri-X Pan 400 B&W Negative Film
Pentax P3 | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | Kodak Tri-X Pan 400 B&W Negative Film
Pentax P3 | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | Kodak Tri-X Pan 400 B&W Negative Film

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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