As an ongoing series in trying to gather information about film stocks that have unknown origin, here is a continuation on the Astrum Foto 100 series. Read previous post here.
I was sure this was Agfa Aviphot 80, but then on Photrio a guy said that it can’t be, because it has no IR-sensitivity. Based on my previous tests, this sounded unlikely but possible. I had not tried an actual IR-filter, but saw the telltale signs of IR-sensitivity because people got that porceline skin type effect, with a slight glow.
So, I loaded up a roll of Astrum Foto 100 together with a Silberra Pan 100 which I am sure is Aviphot. Which version I am not sure about any more.
Silberra has Pan 50/100/160. Aviphot exists in ISO 20/40/80 and 200. I assumed both Silberra Pan 100 and Astrum foto 100 was the Aviphot 80 version.
I shot both films without filter, with deep red filter and with IR filter. Both films have IR-sensitivity for sure. Both films have identical sprocket holes, the film base is the same, flimsy PET, impossible to tear off. They had exact same color of AH-layer which comes off during washing. They take the same amount of time to clear in a fixer. All signs pointing towards them being an identical film.
But then came the surprise, I developed them both in Xtol 1+1 for 9 minutes. This was perfect for the Astrum but several minutes too short for the Silberra. I was very surprised, how can this be?
So they are not identical emulsions after all. It could be that Astrum Foto 100 is actually Aviphot 200 and Silberra Pan 100 is Aviphot 80, and that is why it needs a longer development time to build up suitable contrast.
But currently I am seeing more and more rumours about Svema, probably due to FPP starting to market Svema films. The facts that we know are that there is no Svema factory any more, there is no film being produced in a weird Ukranian factory. Nothing is “original recipie”, Svema is a brand name by Astrum, that probably bought whatever was left after Svema got dismanteled for cheap. If you look with Google maps at the address of the supposed factory you just see a lot of dirt roads and derelict buildings. There is no way any emulsions are getting produced there. Here you can see what the “factory” looks like inside. Here is a Ukranian news article about the factory. Quote: “As you know, the plant has long been abandoned, the premises are in poor condition.”
Astrum is respooling aerial films, like Aviphot (and selling old expired FSU stock), and since it is difficult to find information about FSU stuff like this, people think it sounds cool with an original Ukranian film and spread this misinformation further. The same thing was happening with Silberra films once they started coming out. The feel of “russian films” as people know it now is just Agfa Aviphot. And you have been able to buy them through Maco for a long time. Same with Streetpan, it is much cheaper as Rollei Retro400S.
Anyway, sample images. Here is Silberra Pan 100 in Xtol 1+1 for 9 minutes, 20c:
And here is Astrum/Svema Foto 100 in Xtol 1+1, 9min, 20c: