It was through the Film Photography Project that I first found out about shooting motion picture stock through my still 35mm cameras. I recieved my first rolls of 35mm motion picture stock from FPP Super Friend Lance through his Labeauratoire website, a gold mine of rare and odd film stocks that he personally purchased bulk rolls of film and rolled them into 35mm cartridges. Out of all them one film in particular stood out to me, Eastman Double-X 5222. And if you’re a Bond fan, you’ve seen this film stock on the big screen.
This beautiful motion picture stock is the medium speed cousin of the Tri-X and Plus-X stocks, outside you can shoot it at ASA-250 (Plus-X is ASA-125, Tri-X is ASA-320, see?). The best part is that you can develop it at home in traditional B&W film chemistry (I’ll get into that later). It produces wonderful smooth, almost buttery tones. It works great in any lighting condition from bright sunlight to dimmly lit scenes. For the most part I shoot in natural light so I use the ASA-250 rating, but it is recommended that under tungsten light you shoot it as ASA-200.
Although what I do like the best about it is that it can be developed at home, and because there’s no remjet layer to the film, making it easy to do in either a hand or dip-and-dunk method. When I first shot the film I was not doing my own B&W developing, so I sent it to a lab to have it done, and I was blown away. Shadow Detail, Highlight Detail and smooth mid-tones. And then skintones are fantastic, no wonder it’s loved by film makers. And any grain that is there, is wonderful and very classic.
When I first started working with this film I used by go-to developer, Kodak HC-110 and loved it, however recently I decided to try developing it in Kodak XTOL, and bam, there it was, next to no grain and the fantastic tones. But like most Kodak films it’s very forgiving and has a wide latitude, and responds well to HC-110, D76 (or ID-11), or XTOL, like anything go with what you know and are comfortable with.
This film is a worthy and slightly faster replacement for the much loved Plus-X stock which was cancelled by Kodak last year and still very readily available in both bulk 100′ rolls or if you don’t have the time/paticence/equipment to roll it yourself, you can pick up either single rolls or a pro-pack (5-rolls) from the Film Photography Project Store, or from Lance.