Tag Archives: b/w

Film Review – RPX 400

The final film in the RPX line is their fast film, RPX 400. RPX 400 is not my favourite film of the trio; I’m not saying it’s a bad film, it’s just not my favourite. As the name says this is an ASA-400 film but has a substantial exposure latitude going down to 100 and up to 3200 but I would recommend that you stick to the 200 to 800 range for the best performance.

Product Highlights

  • Type: Panchromatic B&W Negative Film
  • Base: Triacetate
  • Film Speed: ASA-400, with a Latitude between ASA-100 and ASA-3200
  • Formats Available: 35mm/120

52:500c - Week 33 - Transit
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Distagon 50mm 1:4 – Rollei RPX 400 @ ASA-1600 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. A 5:30 @ 20C

52:500c - Week 32 - Lakeshore Evenings
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Rollei RPX 400 @ ASA-400 – Kodak Xtol (Stock) 9:00 @ 20C

The Good
There are two solid points on this film. The first is how easy it is to handle, many films of this time suffer from a centre line curl once it’s been processed and hung to dry. While some films this is very noticeable (I’m looking at you Tri-X) other are not as bad (HP5), this film despite the base materials stays flat making it easy to scan. The second point is that it has pleasing fine grain for a fast film. I only started to see heavy grain when shot at ASA-1600, and that’s in HC-110 Dilution A. The best developer I’ve found for this film is Pyrocat-HD at ASA-320 the fine grain nature of the film shines and the contrast point is dead on. I’ll probably even try this film out in Rodinal in one of the later weeks of the project!

52:500c - Week 28 - Cruisin'
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Rollei RPX 400 @ ASA-320 – Pyrocat-HD (1+1+100) 18:00 @ 20C

52:500c - Week 23 - Battlefield House
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Rollei RPX 400 @ ASA-400 – Kodak TMax Developer (1+4) 7:00 @ 20C

The Bad
The biggest problem I have with this film is contrast! Unless you develop it in a high-contrast developer like Rodinal, HC-110, or Pyrocat-HD, it becomes a muddy mess. It’s all a mess of greys. The developers include the specialised RPX-D and Xtol (diluted, not stock). This is also not a sharp film, it’s pretty soft around the edges in most developers, even HC-110 I find the film a touch too soft for my taste. Of course in Pyrocat-HD the film is sharp and probably will give similar results in Rodinal. And finally it comes down to the RPX-D developer, while it was designed for the film I really found that it didn’t do much over using something more normal like Xtol or HC-110.

52:500c - Week 14 - Just Won't Quit
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Disagon 50mm 1:4 – Rollei RPX 400 @ ASA-800 – Rollei RPX-D (1+7) 13:00 @ 22C

52:500c - Week 08 - Fort Town
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Rollei RPX 400 @ ASA-400 – Rollei RPX-D (1+11) 11:00 @ 20C

The Lowdown
Let me state again this isn’t a bad film, it just isn’t a favourite of mine. And that’s because it reminds me of HP5 (in 35mm) along with Delta 400 and TMax 400, these all aren’t bad films, it’s just I don’t like how they render contrast and it’s the same with RPX 400. But like anything, it’s all about freedom of choice, and if you like RPX 400, go for it, I am not one to stop you, this is just my view on the film.

Film Review – Rollei RPX 25

When I first learned about the RPX line of film I was pretty excited, these days we often get news of discontinuation of films more than the addition of a new film stock. I was also excited when I learned that these would be the modern reincarnation of the legendary Agfa APX films and what a return to the photographic stage. Now these films are produced by Agfa but marketed under the Rollei Name. So with my on going 52-Roll project just past the halfway mark I figured now would be a time to give them a bit of a review! So to kick it off I’m going to review the slowest of the three flavours, RPX 25 and so far my favourite of the lot.

Product Highlights

  • Type: Panchromatic B&W Negative Film
  • Base: Polyester (PE)
  • Film Speed: ASA-25, with a Latitude between ASA-12 and ASA-50
  • Formats Available: 35mm/120/4×5

The Good
I’m not going to lie; I love slower films these days, and the RPX25 doesn’t fail. The film delivers on its promise of being a fine grained film and sharp. I mean razor sharp. I’ve had excellent results developing this film in Rodinal and HC-110. It really likes Rodinal at 1+50 dilution and delivers super sharp negatives and fine grain which is something coming from a sharp developer. In HC-110 the high contrast nature of the film really shines but still provides a sharp image with a bit of an uptick in the visible (but beautiful) grain and you still have some great mid-tones. A huge plus for the RPX 25 is that it’s available in both roll film and sheet film, that’s right an ASA-25 sheet film. Something that hasn’t been seen natively in a long time.

52:500c - Week 10 - Capital National
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Distagon 50mm 1:4 (Yellow) – Rollei RPX 25 @ ASA-25 – Blazinal (1+50) 11:00 @ 20C

52:500c - Week 17 - No Place I'd Rather Be
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Rollei RPX 25 @ ASA-25 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. B 5:00 @ 20C

The Bad
There are a couple of points against this film, which aren’t really all that bad, they’re more minor annoyances. The first is developing times, often if you’re getting into highly-dilute developers, even 1:1 you’re looking at 10+ minutes but the results speak for themselves. And these are just the results using medium format, I haven’t had a chance to shoot this film in 4×5 but I’m sure the results will be even better. Another thing that might be of an issue with some folks is that if you’re developing for under ten minutes you will want to use a chemical stop bath. And continuing on the theme of developers there are a limited number of times available for this film stock. But it is still the new kid on the block, so it is just a matter of time.

52:500c - Week 21 - Welcome to the Roc
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Distagon 50mm 1:4 – Rollei RPX 25 @ ASA-25 – Blazinal (1+25) 6:00 @ 20C

52:500c - Week 29 - Lovely Saturday Drive
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Distagon 50mm 1:4 (Yellow) – Rollei RPX 25 @ ASA-25 – Blazinal (1+50) 11:00 @ 20C

The Lowdown
If you’re a fan of slow films, this is not one to overlook, or if you’re in the old school and loved APX 25 then this film is certainly a real winner for you. A future classic for sure. Ideal for landscape and architecture work as you do want to use a tripod to get the full experience with it. Although even on a sunny day you can hand-hold it. And being available in the three top sizes for photography it certainly is an excellent product that I plan on using in the future. And plan on expanding that list of developing times.

Developer Review – Rollei RPX-D

Along with their wonderful line up of RPX films, the folks over at Rollei have also got some developers specifically for their film. Similar to Kodak’s TMax Developer for their TMax line of films. So as part of my ongoing 52-Roll project I’ve been using the RPX line of films exclusively. So when I saw the RPX-D developer I figured to give it a shot to see if it gives something more to this film that I wasn’t seeing with my usual chemistry. Before I start I was a little disappointed with the developer, specifically because it seems to be a two trick horse, only having times for the RPX 100 and RPX 400 films, and really was more suited for the RPX 400 films and pushing it beyond the ASA-400 box speed.

RPX 100 – I really do like this film, and the RPX-D developer did a good job with it. The contrast was right on point and the film scans were nice and sharp. There was a decrease on the grain when I scanned it as well. But really it wasn’t anything more or less than what I could get out of Xtol or Blazinal with the film.

52:500c - Week 15 - A Fort Named George
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Distagon 50mm 1:4 – Rollei RPX 100 @ 100 – Rollei RPX-D (1+15) 6:30 @ 20C

52:500c - Week 04 - A Fort for A City
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Distagon 50mm 1:4 (Yellow Filter) – Rollei RPX 100 @ ASA-100 – Rollei RPX-D (1+15) 6:30 @ 20C

52:500c - Week 03 - In the Darkness Bind Them
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Rollei RPX 100 @ ASA-100 Rollei RPX-D (1+15) 6:30 @ 20C

RPX 400 – So the one big issue I have with this film is that it just lacks contrast, sort of like why I’m not a fan of Ilford’s Delta 400. So I was hoping that the RPX-D would bring out a bit more in the film to a point where I preferred it, and you know what, it really did! Both at ASA-400 and ASA-800. However it really didn’t tone down the grain on the film like it claimed and actually softened the film I feel.

52:500c - Week 14 - Just Won't Quit
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Disagon 50mm 1:4 – Rollei RPX 400 @ ASA-800 – Rollei RPX-D (1+7) 13:00 @ 22C

52:500c - Week 08 - Fort Town
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Rollei RPX 400 – Rollei RPX-D (1+11) 11:00 @ 20C

So my final say on this developer is really don’t worry about it. It really doesn’t add anything to the film that you can’t get with your standard developers like Xtol, HC-110, and Blazinal. In fact I’d go as far to say I actually prefer the film in my standard chemicals. But in the end it is all about personal preference. But in the end stick to what you know, and I know that I probably won’t go for any other specific Rollei developers for the rest of the project.

Exploring Ilford – Part 4 – Microphen

Another new developer for me and when I find a new developer I’m usually excited to see how different films react to it. And to make it even sweeter the Kodak equivalent, DK-50, is a developer I had never even heard of until now! According to the Ilford Product page this is a fine grain developer designed for push processing faster films. So for slow and medium speed films I chose to shoot at box speed, while faster films I went and did some pushing.

With Ilford FP4+
In all honesty you really can’t go wrong with FP4, this is one of those films that just always looks good in almost every developer I’ve run it through and the same can be said about FP4 and Microphen. Producing next to no grain and a pleasing grain at that and amazing sharpness and contrast. While it looks great in 35mm I would love to see what it does in Medium and Large formats…but that the topic of another set of blogs coming next year!

CCR - Review 24 - Nikon F3
Nikon F3 – AI-S Nikkor 105mm 1:2.5 – Ilford FP4+ @ ASA-125 – Ilford Microphen (1+1) @ 20C

CCR - Review 23 - Argus C3
Argus C3 – Argus Cintar 50mm f/3.5 – Ilford FP4+ @ ASA-125 – Ilford Microphen (1+1) @ 20C

With Ilford Delta 100
I actually found that Microphen pretty much produced a level playing field with the tradition FP4 and the modern Delta 100 films (and actually both take ten minutes in the soup). You get again contrast on point, no grain, and just overall a very pleasing and very printable negative as a result.

CCR - Review 25 - FPP Debonair
FPP Debonair – Super Lens 1:8/80MM – Ilford Delta 100 @ ~ASA-100 – Ilford Microphen (1+1) @ 20C

Hitchcock Would be Proud
FPP Debonair – Super Lens 1:8/80MM – Ilford Delta 100 @ ~ASA-100 – Ilford Microphen (1+1) @ 20C

With Ilford HP5+
Okay so I’ll admit I’ve been giving HP5 a bad wrap through the first three parts of exploring Ilford’s chemistry line. And that’s mostly because I’ve been shooting it in 35mm format. So I’m going to even the score a little and give the medium format a shot. Now this, this is what I like my B&W films to look like, smooth grain, even tones and good strong blacks and whites. HP5 even at ASA-400 in medium format really sings especially in Microphen. It really helps smooth out the grain and gives really good contrast.

TFSM - Summer '15 - The Streets
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Ilford HP5+ @ ASA-400 – Ilford Microphen (1+1) 12:00 @ 20C

TFSM - Summer '15 - The Streets
Hasselblad 500c – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Ilford HP5+ @ ASA-400 – Ilford Microphen (1+1) 12:00 @ 20C

With Kodak Tri-X
I’ve always been a fan of Tri-X and will remain a fan of Tri-X to my dying day. And while I’m usually wary of taking this film out of Kodak/Pyro chemistry when I shot it and developed in Perceptol I got some great results. So with Microphen being a developer good for push processing, and I do enjoy Tri-X at ASA-800 I gave it a shot and was rather pleased with the results!

CCR - Review 22 - Canon EOS-1n
Canon EOS-1n – Canon EF Lens 35mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-800 – Ilford Microphen (1+1) 12:00 @ 20C

CCR - Review 22 - Canon EOS-1n
Canon EOS-1n – Canon EF Lens 35mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-800 – Ilford Microphen (1+1) 12:00 @ 20C

With Ilford Pan F+ There are some films that just look great with all developers and others that only look good in one or two. Then there is the odd case where you find a film and developer combination that just looks like pure magic. Pan F remains hands down my favourite film from the Ilford line but when you pair it with Microphen it just goes to a whole other level of film nirvana. Throw on a contrast filter and you probably have the perfect film at least for me.

CCR - Review 22 - Nikon F5
Nikon F5 – AF Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4D (Green-1) – Ilford Pan F+ @ ASA-50 – Ilford Microphen (1+1) 6:00 @ 20C

CCR - Review 22 - Nikon F5
Nikon F5 – AF Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4D (Green-1) – Ilford Pan F+ @ ASA-50 – Ilford Microphen (1+1) 6:00 @ 20C

Like Perceptol this developer only comes in 1L kits and when I’m using 500mL of chemistry 1 to 1 it does go through a bottle fairly quickly so this time I bought two kits right off the bat. Overall I was really happy with this developer, and will certainly use it again especially if I do a project that would be best done on Pan F. And while this brings us to the end of exploring Ilford’s film chemistry line. Stay tuned for Part 5 where I go over the best and worst in the way of Ilford products at least in my humble opinion.

Exploring Ilford – Part 2 – Perceptol

After the lack luster across the board performance of Ilford DD-X (Which I have since tried with Delta 3200 which DD-X was designed for, and my good friend Julie Douglas saying it works well with Kodak films) I decided to give another Ilford developer a try, Perceptol. According to the Ilford site the developer is a very fine grain developer with excellent image quality. While designed for the slower films in the Ilford line up it would produce noticeably finer grain with faster films. This is Ilford’s version of the classic Microdol-X from Kodak, a developer that actually grew on me the more I used it, so I was looking forward to the results!

With Delta 400
So the first film I gave the developer a go on was a film I don’t really have a good feeling on, Delta 400, mostly because I just don’t like the contrast, but that’s a rant for Part 5 of Exploring Ilford. I also decided to help cut the grain and boost the contrast by pulling the film one stop. It worked, a bit, but the one thing that I really liked about this is that the developer did exactly what it said it would do, it reduced the grain to something a lot more pleasing in the film scans and produced a super sharp image! I mean, razor sharp.

Ottawa Wanderings - March 2015
Pentax 645 – SMC Pentax A 645 35mm 1:3.5 – Ilford Delta 400 @ ASA-200 – Ilford Perceptol (1+1) 12:30 @ 20C

Ottawa Wanderings - March 2015
Pentax 645 – SMC Pentax A 645 35mm 1:3.5 – Ilford Delta 400 @ ASA-200 – Ilford Perceptol (1+1) 12:30 @ 20C

With Pan F+
The next film up was Ilford Pan F, a favourite of mine. Now I’ve developed Pan F in plenty of other developers, some of my favourites being Rodinal and Xtol. But Perceptol really added something to the film. Pan F on it’s own is already a fine grained film with good contrast because of the slow speed, but Perceptol really brought out all the great qualities of the film. The grain was reduced to nothing which is going to make printing it all the more interesting while trying to focus it. But the grain that is there is oh so pleasing.

CCR - Review 7 - Fuji GX680iii
Fuji GX680iii – Fuji Fujinon EBC 80mm 1:5.6 – Ilford Pan F+ @ ASA-50 – Ilford Perceptol (1+1) 15:00 @ 20C

CCR - Review 7 - Fuji GX680iii
Fuji GX680iii – Fuji Fujinon EBC 80mm 1:5.6 – Ilford Pan F+ @ ASA-50 – Ilford Perceptol (1+1) 15:00 @ 20C

With FP4+
I already was a big fan of FP4+ but souping this film in Perceptol while generally enhancing the grain of the grain of the film (which really isn’t a bad thing since it’s a pleasing grain) made the film razor sharp. And probably my favourite part of the film was the contrast, dead on, exactly where I like my contrast to be!

CCR - Review 8 - Minolta Hi-Matic 7s
Minolta Hi-Matic 7s – Rokkor-PF 1:1.8 f=45mm – Ilford FP4+ @ ASA-125 – Ilford Perceptol (1+1) 15:00 @ 20C

CCR - Review 8 - Minolta Hi-Matic 7s
Minolta Hi-Matic 7s – Rokkor-PF 1:1.8 f=45mm – Ilford FP4+ @ ASA-125 – Ilford Perceptol (1+1) 15:00 @ 20C

With Delta 100
Next film on the list is Delta 100 and I was even more impressed with the results. Contrast, Sharp, and next to no grain. I mean the grain of Delta 100 wasn’t exactly my favourite in some other developers (it was okay in DD-X), but in Perceptol it was giving results of Pan F+ and contrast again right where I want it, if not more than I was getting with FP4.

CCR - Review 10 - Fed-2 (ФЭД-2)
Fed-2 – Jupiter-8 2/50 – Ilford Delta 100 @ ASA-100 – Ilford Perceptol (1+1) 17:00 @ 20C

CCR - Review 11 - Pentax 645
Pentax 645 – SMC Pentax A 645 35mm 1:3.5 – Ilford Delta 100 @ ASA-50 – Ilford Perceptol (1+1) 13:00 @ 20C

With HP5+
HP5+ in 35mm is a rough film to work with, so I figured I got some decent results out of Delta 400 (sure in medium format) and not wanting to give HP5 a bum rap I took a roll out to test out a camera and again pulled the film just a touch to a classic ASA-320. Well the grain is still there, but the contrast has certainly improved. While HP5 is still not my favourite film in 35mm ASA-400 offering, in Perceptol it certainly looks better than Delta 400.

TFSM - Spring '15 - Queen Street
Pentax K1000 – SMC Pentax 55mm 1:2 – Ilford HP5+ @ ASA-320

TFSM - Spring '15 - Queen Street
Pentax K1000 – SMC Pentax 55mm 1:2 – Ilford HP5+ @ ASA-320

TFSM - Spring '15 - Queen Street
Pentax K1000 – SMC Pentax 55mm 1:2 – Ilford HP5+ @ ASA-320

With Kodak Tri-X 400
Having enough developer left over, I figured, why not give it a shot with a film other than Ilford to see what happens, and having a couple of rolls of Kodak Tri-X laying around, and Doors Open Toronto here…I thought…why not! Now I’ve always used Ilford film in non-Ilford developers and have enjoyed the results, and as my good friend Julie pointed out to me she loves using Kodak films in Ilford developers. And well I was seriously impressed with the results of my beloved Tri-X in Perceptol, smoothed out the grain, kept the contrast and gave a very very very classic Tri-X look.

DO:T - John Street Roundhouse
Rolleiflex 2.8F – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-320 – Ilford Perceptol (1+1) 12:00 @ 20C

DO:T - John Street Roundhouse
Rolleiflex 2.8F – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-320 – Ilford Perceptol (1+1) 12:00 @ 20C

However there is one thing that I really don’t like with Perceptol and that it only comes in packages to make 1 liter of the stock solution, I know that you can just use it as stock and keep reusing it for a specific amount of processed rolls but I’m a diluting guy, so if I’m using 250mL of chemistry of each batch of 500mL (2 rolls of 120 or 2 of 35mm) that’s only four rolls per bottle. But at least the cost is lower. In the final say, I won’t keep Perceptol all the time, but if I want a better look out of HP5+ or a really fine grain look on Tri-X I’ll make sure I shoot enough film to use up a single 1 liter bottle in one go.

The Panatomic-X Trick

Anyone who has been in photography for a long time will remember the legendary Kodak film, no, not Kodachrome, the other one…Panatomic-X. Panatomic-X was first released in 1933 and continued until 1987 this fine grain ASA-32 panchromatic black & white film produced a huge tonal range and allowed for even 35mm negatives to be printed extremely large without noticeable grain…and when there was grain is was very pleasing. These days you cannot find fresh film, or even another film on the market like it. Most of the film I’ve shot expired back in the 1970s but can still be shot at box speed (ASA-32). The idea for this came when I opened up a box of the film I purchased through the FPP store that stated that the replacement product was Kodak’s TMax 100.

Administration
From one of my last rolls of originally packaged Panatomic-X
Nikon F4 – AF Nikkor 35mm 1:2D – Kodak Panatomic-X (FX) @ ASA-32 – Kodak Xtol (1+1) 7:30 @ 20C

So I got an idea why not shoot TMax 100 at ASA-32, or as my friend Mat puts it “that’s one hell of a pull.” Now before all you folks out there start yelling about how TMax is a T-Grained film and blah blah blah…I figured if you can get a dreamy soft contrast look out of TMax 100 by developing it in D-76 one-to-one, you can pull it to ASA-32 and achieve somewhat of a Panatomic-X look. So using the Massive Dev Chart, I settled on using Xtol one-to-one for 8 minutes and forty-five seconds. And the results nothing short of spectacular! The first time I did this was up at Photostock last year using a Pentax Spotmeter V.

Beyond Bliss

Framed In Trees

Swing,Swing

Then again in the same camera (Rolleiflex 2.8F) using the internal meter in the Beaches neighborhood of Toronto, Ontario.

TFSM - Spring '15 - The Beaches

TFSM - Spring '15 - The Beaches

TFSM - Spring '15 - The Beaches

While we can never have Panatomic-X back it’s nice to know you can still get somewhat of that antique look with a modern film. If you want to try out Panatomic-X yourself, the Film Photography Project still has some bulk loaded film for sale or pick up some fresh TMax 100 and try the trick out yourself!

Classic Camera Revival – Episode 3 – Rangefinders

ccr-logo-leaf

A favoured camera of the street photography group, the rangefinder, is one of those niche cameras that is often associated with brands like Leica. However while none of us have a Leica to present this episode we have some fine (cheaper) alternatives to the Leica that are sure to get your attention. The main feature of the rangefinder is that the viewfinder is often off-set from the taking lens, and uses a super-imposed image that you ‘line up’ to get the focus. However, composing takes a bit of work. The first rangefinders were produced by Kodak back in 1916, but really got popular in 1925 with the first Leica camera.

The cameras featured on this episode are:

Minolta Hi-Matic 7s – The Upgraded version of the Hi-Matic 7, this beautiful fixed lens rangefinder has a Rokkor 45mm f/1.7 lens, hot shoe and an auto exposure system from the SRT line of SLRs. But since it takes a mercury cell is no longer usable. But being mechanical the camera still works like a charm!

The Collection - September 2012

Foggy Dew

Golden

Parking

Kodak 35 RF – The coupled rangefinder version of the original Kodak 35, this ungainly looking camera was introduced in 1940 but don’t let the weird looks fool you, it’s a solid camera with legendary Kodak optics backing it up.

kodak35

k35-02

k35-01

Olympus 35 SP – Another cult favourite of Olympus with both a centre weighted and spot metering system built in, and a 42mm f/1.7 Zuiko lens to back it all up, this compact rangefinder is very user friendly with wickedly sharp optics!

olympus35sp

oly35sp-01

oly35sp-02

oly35sp-03

Voigtlander Bessa R – The only interchangeable lens rangefinder on the show today, the Bessa R, gives all those folks who are fans of the Leica Thread Mount (LTM/M39) a camera with TTL metering and easy loading! While not actually from the famous Voigtlander name, but rather designed and built by the Japanese company ‘Cosina,’ the the Bessa R is a solid contender.

bessa-r

bessar-02

16722352580_190d09e416_o

16341748972_ddb2804854_b

Of course, this is far from a complete list of rangefinders out there. In addition to the iconic Leica lineup there are some other good cameras to look at.  Such as the Yashica Electro 35G, Canonet QL17 GIII, Konica S3, and Olympus XA.

The Darkroom
A topic that will get any traditional photographer going for hours (thankfully it didn’t for this episode) is developers! Even today there are still a pile of different developers available for black and white films, and they come in two different varieties. First being powder which you combine with water to create a stock solution which can be used on its own in many cases or diluted down with water. Second is liquid, which can be mixed into a stock solution (like Kodak HC-110) or diluted straight with water into a one-shot working dilution, such as Rodinal.

Some of the developers mentioned in today’s show include.

  • Rodinal – The oldest commercial developer still in production today, however it’s known as Blazinal, Adonal, or Agfa R09 One Shot. Produces incredibly sharp images but does enhance grain.
  • Pyro Developers – These are staining developers that produce amazing tones, fine grain, and sharp images. They do leave almost a sepia stain on the negs. Two types are mentioned, Pyrocat-HD and PMK Pyro, both are avalible from Photographer’s Formulary.
  • Diafine – This unique two bath developer (don’t mix the two baths) will produce ultra-fine grain, and increase film speed, sharpness, and resolution. Oh and the stuff lasts forever!
  • Kodak Xtol – A powdered fine grain developer from Kodak that produces good sharpeness and fine grain. It’s also one of the more environmentally friendly developers out there being based on Vitamin C. The downside is that you have to mix it up 5 liters at a time. A jerry can is a good idea for storage.
  • Caffenol – a developer that you can mix up yourself and you can make it in so many different ways. At the core is instant coffee, then you add additional stuff to change the results. Best part there’s nothing really dangerous that mixes in with it, just don’t drink it. Co-Host Alex did a good experiment with Caffenol a year or so back.
  • Kodak HC-110 – One of the more interesting developers because of the alphabet dilution table, and introduced without much fanfare. You can mix it up as a stock solution and dilute from there, or just dilute straight from syrup. If you want that ‘Tri-X look’ HC-110, Dilution B.
  • Kodak TMax Developer – Designed for use with the T-Grain (TMax) films, but don’t let that scare you, this is a fantastic developer that makes most film (even Tri-X and Plus-X) sing! There’s a little more grain but you do get nice sharp negs.
  • Ilfosol 3 – A general purpose film developer designed for use with slower films with great results especially with Pan F and Delta 100

If you want to try mix up your own developers you can find a pile of great recipes online at the Unblinking Eye. Also check out the Massive Dev Chart to get starting developing times. If you’re just starting out with film developing a good one to start with is Kodak D-76 or Ilford ID-11, as it’s cheap and works with almost every film out there! And more importantly don’t be afraid to experiment and find your favourites that get the results that you want! Just note that if you order liquid developers from US distributors you may not be able to ship them across the border, you may even face some restrictions with powder as well. New York City isn’t that far away and totally worth the trip just to see the awesomeness that is B&H!

If you are in the Toronto area be sure to check out host, John Meadow’s first gallery show: The Silver Path. Running from the 10th of April to the 19th. Check out his site for more details: johnmeadowsphotography.wordpress.com/the-silver-path-film-photography-by-john-meadows/!

Looking for a place to get this chemistry, check out Burlington Camera, Downtown Camera, or Film Plus if you’re in the GTA region of Ontario, if you’re on the West Coast (British Columbia) check out Beau Photo Supply. Additionally you can order online at Argentix (Quebec), the Film Photography Project or Freestyle Photographic.

Svema Madness!

It’s been a long time coming, but I’ve finally had a chance to work through some backlogged film testing for the Film Photography Project. For the most part this has been testing the Russian/Ukrainian film stocks from the Svema company. This is actually really good film! First off a little background, Svema, or Свема, combines the first letters of two words: Светочувствительные Материалы, which translated means “Photosensitive Materials”. Svema was the Kodak of the USSR, founded in 1931 the company produced paper and black & white films, after World War Two, Svema gained Agfa’s colour technology when the Russians overran Germany and took the equipment back to the plant in the Ukraine. The company continued to hold a monopoly in the Soviet block until the collapse and when the iron curtain was torn open, suddenly the photographers had access to a wide range of western film stocks. And Svema started to collapse. But they survived and yes, they’re still producing films near the same plant they started out in. And while they produce a wide range of film stocks today I’ll be touching on just three. Svema Foto 200, Svema MZ-3, and Svema Micrat-Orto.

Svema Foto 200
Svema Foto 200 is a ASA-200 panchromatic black & white film that is just pure magic. I was actually really surprised at the results I got. The depth and tonal range of this film, not to mention the sharpness. To take a phrase from fellow photographer, Leslie (who was kind enough to supply with me the two rolls tested here) “it looks like the way I want the world to look.” And I couldn’t agree more. The first roll of film I processed using a formula from another photographer, John Meadows, Kodak Xtol, diluted 1 to 1 for twelve minutes.

Winter Photo Walk - Taylor Creek Park

Winter Photo Walk - Taylor Creek Park

Winter Photo Walk - Taylor Creek Park

One thing you have to watch out for with this film is that it’s on a polyester base which is thin as a heron’s leg. So if you’re sending it out to a film lab let them know as some may not want to send the film through their automated machines. Places like The Darkroom can handle this sort of film through a dip-and-dunk process. If you process at home, you may face some issues loading it up onto your plastic reels, just be calm, and don’t use violence. I have no real experience with stainless steel but they may give you an easier time.

Svema MZ-3
This is not the film for the faint hearted. I really have no idea what this film is for. It’s a slow film, most people rating it between ASA-1.5 and ASA-6. But it produces a image with almost zero grain and incredibly sharp. The first roll I actually shot back in the summer at Fort Michilimackinac. Getting developing times of course with my limited chemistry cabinant, was another issue. Again turning to Leslie’s flickr stream as she had tested the film also, I found some in HC-110, enjoying the look, I decided to shorten the developing time based on other reading I did online. And settled for six and a half minutes in HC-110 Dilution E.

Return to Michilimackinac

Return to Michilimackinac

Return to Michilimackinac

The highlights were a little blown out, and another odd thing is that on the film rebate there was another company name, Kodak. Wanting to keep with HC-110 I again shot the film at ASA-3 and dropped it by half a minute. That half a minute made all the difference, the highlights were back, and this film is looking amazing.

Wiarton, Ontario - Svema MZ-3 Test Roll 2

Wiarton, Ontario - Svema MZ-3 Test Roll 2

Wiarton, Ontario - Svema MZ-3 Test Roll 2

What this film was used for originally I don’t know, but when I used it to capture architecture in downtown Wiarton, Ontario using a perspective control lens, it worked great, very sharp, no grain at all. If I had to guess I would say this film is very blue sensitive, based on how it rendered the colour, similar to Eastman 5363, so it’s probably a copy film or high contrast title film. So I wouldn’t use any of usual contrast filters you’d use on regular B&W films.

Svema Micrat-Orto
This is the one film I had no ideas what to do with it! The canister said ASA-1, but after looking at the information I could find on Flickr, I realized this would be better shot at ASA-.75, yes you read that right, a speed less than 1! Possible, yes. How did I do it? Easy, I took the meter reading at ASA-3 using my Sekonic L-358, (3 is the lowest it’ll go), then using the same shutter speed, I opened up the aperture two stops. So I would meter for f/32, then shoot at f/16. Then it was simply a matter of figuring out how to develop it. I wanted to use Xtol, since it was the only one I could find times online for, being 8 minutes in the Stock solution (again care of Leslie), but I don’t really like using the stock chemistry. But if I dilute it, what should the time be? Should I just double it and make it 16 minutes? Then I looked back at the Foto 200, the stock time in Xtol was around 7 minutes, the 1+1 time was 12, so that’s double, minus 2 minutes. Which applying the same formula, would be 14. So I setup the Massive Dev app, and put in just the first roll. Bingo!

Roll 1 was shot in Tobermory, Ontario, but honestly don’t visit the town in the winter, the only things that were open were the grocery store and the LCBO.

Svema Micrat-Orto - Test Roll 1 - Tobermory, Ontario

Svema Micrat-Orto - Test Roll 1 - Tobermory, Ontario

Roll 2 was shot at Fifty-Point Conservation area in Hamilton, Ontario on a particularly cold, snowy, windy, winter day.

Svema Micrat-Orto - Test Roll 2 - Fifty Point Conservation Area

Svema Micrat-Orto - Test Roll 2 - Fifty Point Conservation Area

Svema Micrat-Orto - Test Roll 2 - Fifty Point Conservation Area

Oddly enough the Micrat-Orto or “Svema Super Positive Slide Film” develops as the name implies as a positive image even in traditional B&W chemistry, similar to Kodak 2468. The time of 14 minutes, you could probably drop it maybe 30 seconds and get some highlights back. Don’t dismiss Svema films out of hand too quickly. The films give a pleasing image especially the Foto 200. But if you’re looking for weird and wonderful I oddly enough recommend the Micrat-Orto, especally if you want to catch motion, you won’t need any sort of nutral density filters with this film, but you will need a meter that can either go down to ASA-3 or lower, the Gossen Luna Pro is a good choice. Remember, we’ve always had access to Fuji, Agfa, Foma, Kodak, and Ilford films, but adding Svema into the mix is simply to give you freedom of choice, and it’s certainly a film line I plan on trying more of this year, the Foto 100, FN64, and Tasma NK-2! If you want to try your hand at some of these films you can pick them up through the Film Photography Project Store: Svema Foto 200, Svema MZ-3, and Micrat-Orto. We’re also building up a database of developing times in the group on Flickr.

Long Live Film!
Comrades.


Foto 200:
Nikon F4 – AF Nikkor 35mm 1:2D – Svema Foto 200 – Kodak Xtol (1+1) 12:00 @ 20C

MZ-3:
Roll 1: Nikon F4 – AF Nikkor 35mm 1:2D – Svema MZ-3 @ ASA-3 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. E 6:30 @ 20C
Roll 2: Nikon F4 – PC Nikkor 35mm 1:2.8 – Svema MZ-3 @ ASA-3 – Kodak HC-110 Dil. E 6:00 @ 20C

Micrat-Orto:
Roll 1 & 2: Nikon F4 – PC Nikkor 35mm 1:2.8 – Svema Micrat-Orto @ ASA-0.75 – Kodak Xtol (1+1) 14:00 @ 20C

52:320TXP – Week 01 – The HMC Campus

Ah and sorry about the delay but the V700 scanner I had ordered took a bit to actually come in! So I’m about four weeks behind, but these will come out one a day until I’m caught up then follow a somewhat regular posting schedule.

52:320TXP - Week 01 - The HMC Campus

But let’s get started! This is where I work, the Hazel McCallion Campus (HMC) of Sheridan College in Mississauga Ontario. My division within the Information Technology Department, the IT Solutions Center was moved here last April from our old office at Oakville’s Trafalgar Campus. I was initial wary of the move as it really increased my commute time, and more city driving however despite that I’m pretty happy with the new digs. First off…it’s a new place to shoot, although there’s not much TOO shoot around, just a shopping mall, although the curvy condo towers will make a neat subject. The campus has one thing that my old office(s) did not…windows, yes actual natural light floods the campus, even some decent north light!


Modified Anniversary Speed Graphic – Schneider-Kreuznack Angulon 1:6,8/90 – Kodak Tri-X Pan (320TXP)
Metering: Gossen Pilot
1/25″ – f/32 – ASA-320
Kodak Xtol (1+1) 8:30 – Drum Processed

Eastman 5363 Positive Film II

Back in December I was approached by Michael Raso of the Film Photography Project if I wanted to help test a new (to the FPP) film stock. Just before Christmas the film arrived with a little note saying “ASA-6, we think” there was no real indication online how to develop this film in traditional B&W chemistry or it’s exact sensitivity. Google yielded a document by Eastman Kodak on this film stock, Eastman 5363 Positive Film II was a high contrast motion picture film designed for the creation of both positive and negative titles for films. And to develop using Kodak’s D-97 chemistry. Last time I checked I couldn’t just walk into my usual camera shop, Burlington Camera and get D-97. So I had to go with my gut, what other high-contrast film had I used from Kodak’s Motion picture line. The first thing that came into my head was the John Meadow’s found SO-331!

The first roll I shot in High Park in Toronto at ASA-50 (I meant to shoot it at ASA-25) I really wasn’t convinced at the ASA-6 rating and I really didn’t want to have to lug a tripod around that day. Plus I figured as a motion picture film it would have a pretty wide latitude. Besides I still had two other rolls to shoot so why not? After shooting it I got it home and developed it in Kodak Xtol, Stock Solution for 5 minutes (per times for SO-331 at ASA-50), constant agitation for the first minute, then 10 seconds for each following minute. Water stop with constant agitation for a full minute. Then Kodafix Rapid Fixer with Hardener for five minutes following the same agitation pattern as with developing. Then two minutes in Kodak Hypoclear, then washed using the Ilford wash method, straight water for the first three cycles, then Photoflo introduced for the final cycle. The results very very contrasty image, pure B&W very little in the way of midtones but rather unique all the same.

Eastman 5363 Test - Roll 1 - High Park

Eastman 5363 Test - Roll 1 - High Park

Eastman 5363 Test - Roll 1 - High Park

The second roll I shot in downtown Stratford at ASA-25. But this time I went with a forumula developed by friend and fellow FPP Volunteer and all around awesome lady Leslie from Imagine That! and the Mecca. HC-110 Dilution G (1+29 from the stock solution) for 22 minutes. Constant agitation for the first minute, then 10 seconds for each following minute. Water stop with constant agitation for a full minute. Then Kodafix Rapid Fixer with Hardener for five minutes following the same agitation pattern as with developing. Then two minutes in Kodak Hypoclear, then washed using the Ilford wash method, straight water for the first three cycles, then Photoflo introduced for the final cycle. Much cleaner results, and a very metallic chrome feel to the image. Still High Contrast but with more mid-tones.

Eastman 5363 Test - Roll 2

Eastman 5363 Test - Roll 2

Eastman 5363 Test - Roll 2

The third roll was also shot in Stratford, and since I still had lots of sun I decided to knock it down one more stop to ASA-12. Developing this time I took a huge step and went a bit crazy, stand developing. I used Blazinal (the locally available Rodinal blend) at 1+100, and stand developed for one hour. Constant agitation for the first minute, then two inversions every 15 minutes. Water stop with constant agitation for a full minute. Then Kodafix Rapid Fixer with Hardener for five minutes following the same agitation pattern as with developing. Then two minutes in Kodak Hypoclear, then washed using the Ilford wash method, straight water for the first three cycles, then Photoflo introduced for the final cycle. The results…failure. Everything was way over exposed that I didn’t even bother scanning it in. But when it comes to testing a new film stock failures are bound to happen, and that means that the other testers can work from there to make it better.

This film does work at ASA-6 as well, Michael Raso has had great luck with D-76 at 1+1 for 12 minutes. Over all I rather like this film, it’s a great slow speed film and has a lot of potential for unique landscapes and crazy portraiture. If you want to try this film out you can pick up rolls at the FPP store! Have other ideas on how it could be processed, please feel free to contact me by email, or you can contact the FPP directly.

High Park Photos: Contax G2 – Carl Zeiss Planar 2/45 T*
Stratford Photos: Contax G2 – Carl Zeiss Biogon 2,8/28 T*