Fuji Neopan 400

Fuji films have a cult following, even though Fuji kind of ignores its fans and keeps discontinuing more and more films. Few films are as known as Velvia, or Fuji Acros. Velvia is still around, but who know for how long. I give it a couple of years, then I think Fuji will discontinue all of the film production.

Anyhow, this blog post is about one of the fallen ones, Neopan 400. When you talk about Neopan 400 with someone who has shot it in the past, they get misty eyed and start reminiscing about its tonal scale, it’s great grain, how fantastic it was to push process.

I have recently aquired around 15 rolls of pretty fresh Neopan 400, and have these past few months managed to shoot two of them. One was developed in Fuji Super prodol, aka Fuji SPD, 1:1. 20c, 7 min. The other one I did in HC110 dil. E (1+47) for 8min in 20c.

I have not yet tried any push processing, but I might. I think SPD might be a good fit, of which I have a few packs left (I’ll write about this Japan only developer at a later date).

The first thing that hit me was how it renders blue skies, they are a bit less white compared to other films I have used. Slightly reduced blue sensitivity or just great highlights? I don’t know. It seems to really keep detail in the highlights anyhow.

Grain in SPD is around the same as HP5, in HC110 it is less than HP5. Around same as Tmax400 I’d say, but with better tonal scale. I prefer it in HC110 I think, but looks like I got a little bit more speed out of SPD. Should have shot the HC110 at ISO320.

Here is a 100% crop in SPD:

neopan400-8.jpg

And here is a 100% crop in HC110:

9.jpg

Here are some sample pics, first when done in SPD:

And some pics in HC110:

Summary

I really like this film. It shares a lot of its characteristics with Acros 100, and I can very easily get the type of feel to the images that I want. I just set white and black point and pull the midtones down, way down. And it look so rough, grim, sad. It evokes exactly those feelings in me that I often want to portray with my images, the underbelly of the big city life. The loneliness of being in a big crowd, the absurdity of the way of life in a modern big city.

Alright, that’s it for today. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or thoughts.

ORWO NP22 in HC110 dil. E

Here are some shots from a roll of 35mm ORWO NP22, expired in -91. Shot it at ISO32, down from original ISO125. Developed in HC110 dil. E (1+47) for 12min at 20c.

This roll has been well preserved, it wouldn't have needed this much overexposure. Almost no fogging, no weirdness. A little grainy for such a slow film but, otherwise just fine.

Don't have that much else to say about this right now, here are some sample shots.

Silberra Pan 160/200 first impressions

A while back a friend (thanks Nikolay!) from St Petersburg came to Finland so I went down to visit him, along him he had a small bag of Silberra films that at the time were not possible to buy anywhere else than in person in St Petersburg.

During winter it's really dark up here, so it took a while for me to shoot a couple of rolls, but today I developed and scanned the first two rolls. A Pan160 and a Pan200.

First off.

Pan160

Developed in D76 1+1, at 20C, for 19 minutes. Shot with a Pentax Spotmatic, mix of Pentax glass, a Helios 44-2 and an Industar 50-2.

Here are some example pictures from the lovely towns of Luleå and Oulu:

And here is a 100% crop: 

Capture.JPG

Pan200

Developed in D76 1+1, at 20C, for 16 minutes. Shot with a Lomo LC-A.

Here are some example pictures:

Here is a 100% crop:

Capture.JPG

 

Summary

Agfa traffic surveillance film, fine grain, hard contrast, goes up to the IR range, doesn't curl, clear film base.. is this.. is this JCH Streetpan for a fraction of the cost? I see some striking similarities, except at a lower film speed.

I gotta say the Pan160 looks pretty good for cityscapes, especially since I like a certain grimey look. I pull midtones way down, and I hate it when I get a mushy look when I want it to be generally dark/moody (Delta3200 worst offender). I'm not sure I would like this for portraits and such. Can't be sure, since I haven't tried, but solely based on the tonal range/feel. Film speed seems to be actually 160, none of that weird Rollei shit where film speed is two stops lower of advertised.

Pan200 looks equally fine, however, we are talking about a 0.33EV difference. A third of a stop. B/W film has so good latitude that if you expose two shots a third of a stop away from each other, there is no visible difference. So what is the point of this film? Honestly I can't say. It looks like the grain is a bit larger/visible compared to Pan200. I think you could might as well just push the Pan160 half a stop to 250 if you needed a tiny bit more speed. Maybe they just wanted to release a couple of different emulsions for the same range to then gauge what the public opinion is, and focus the efforts on either 160 or 200 depending on what people prefer?

Little difficult to judge the qualities of Pan200 this time since I shot with the Lomo LC-A.. Exposure is a little bit hit and miss, focus is off on a lot of shots, etc. Maybe Pan200 has qualities I am missing due to this. Luckily I have another roll of each left.

Just the fact that Silberra films have come out makes me happy. We got JCH Street pan, the re-release of Tmax3200, Ilford going still going strong. The chinese are back in the game with Lucky SHD100 and Shanghai GP3. I am not worried that I won't be able to get hold of the film i need for my own stuff in the long term. Black and white film seems to be going strong right now, and the worst dip is behind us. Both Pan160 and Pan200 I could definitely see myself using, especially at the price point I got these for..

Anyhow, let me know if you have any questions or if you would to read more about a certain subject I touched on in this post! Until next time.

[Edit:]

Silberra confirms my suspicion about Pan160/200: "PAN160 is alternative for PAN200, the latter shall be referred as Limited Edition at the moment. We'll decide later which one shall survive."

Superia Venus 800

Got my first roll of Venus 800 back from the lab. First impressions - I like it. The grain is.. obviously there, it's a pretty grainy film. But it is not that "in your face", it's kinda subdued, soft somehow.

The color palette really suits a cityscape, especially if you don't want to have bright colors. It's kinda brown in colors. Neutral, almost a bit unsaturated.

These shots are from my trip to Budapest this new years. I wish I had another roll or two, since Fuji will probably discontinue this film stock soon. Let's hope there's some left in Tokyo next time I'm there.

 

Orwo NP27 in D76 1+1

Another old film from the other side of the iron curtain. The famous Orwo films are not that unknown, they are not bad films either.

First impression, it curls a lot, but not longways as usually, but the short side is U shaped.. makes scanning a bit of a hassle since it's difficult to get it into the neg holder.

I exposed this one at ISO100 even though it's a ISO400 film originally, but this particular roll was 2 decades out of date. One stop per decade really seems to work well. I'd say D76 1+1 works just fine for this film too, the grain is pretty harsh but not in a bad way. There is this grimey look that I usually like. I wouldn't recommend this film for portraits though, at least this old. On the other hand I don't like much grain in my portraits.

I have a couple of rolls left, next time I'll try HC110. Here's some shots!

D76, 1+1, 20c, 12min. normal agitation.

 

Agfa Copex HDP13 in Rodinal

When looking through ebay you often see the Agfa Copex microfilms for sale, dirt cheap. I bought a roll, and didn't realize it was unperforated. Do'h. Oh well, bought 35mm-120 converter from ebay. The thing didn't fit my bulk loading cassettes. Do'h! So I just crammed the thing into my hasselblad back and put some bubble wrap top and bottom and said fuckit.

Shot a couple of quick test rolls yesterday and today. Yesterday I fucked up the metering, the sun had already set and I must've looked wrong at my meter because I was doing about 1-2s exposures at f8, which did feel odd but I didn't think about it. Today I went out daytime and it was 1-2s again, so a little bit better results.

I rate this film at ISO25, but I'd say it's a little bit low. Maybe due to reciprocity failure, since pretty much every shot is 1+ seconds. Maybe due to this roll being old, there is no date markings on it and who knows how it's been stored.

What I can already say about this roll is this, it scratches sooo soo easily. And fingerprints stick to it immediately. DO NOT HANDLE THIS FILM WITHOUT COTTON GLOVES. Seriously. And when loading from the bulk roll into the cassettes, you cannot "tighten it" by just dragging the film in the roll, you will make serious scratches. When wet, you can scratch off the emulsion with your finger, it's really delicate.

The film base is clear PET plastic, so base fog is not an issue. Contrast however is, as I said this is a microfilm, made for taking high contrast pictures off documents. Not for pictorial stuff. So contrast control is the tricky part. I did 1h stand development in rodinal, 1+100, and it turned out pretty alright in my opinion.

Is it worth it shooting this film? For experimental stuff, sure. But due to it being so scratch prone and difficult to handle, it's not worth it as a daily film. If you want that gritty high contrast look with maximum sharpness and resolving power, there is some interesting images that can be had with this film stock.

Here are some examples. Note the weird form factor due to shooting 35mm in the Hasselblad.

 

Svema 65 expired in -88

Another old russian roll. This one was an even more expired Svema, souped in HC110. It turned out really good actually, some fogging but not that bad. Not too grainy, and whole range of grays. Interesting!

 

Tasma Foto 64 expired in -92

Funny stuff this Tasma. It comes in these tiny packages and the film is wrapped in black paper, but it does not come with a cartridge. You need to have your own to load the film is, since it's literally just a roll of film with around 36 exposures.

Had those since before so not a problem there.

My previous experiments with old expired soviet films were with Rodinal, this time I decided to try out the number one developer for expired films according to internet wisdom, HC110. Dilution B (1+31) at 20C for 7 minutes. I'd say this was a pretty good ballpark development time.

Apparently HC110 contains benzotriazole which is the most used anti-fogging agent, which makes it a good candidate for fogged films. You do loose a little bit of speed however with HC110 but I've already lost several stops worth of speed with these rolls due to age.

I shot the roll at around ISO12, ISO16 would be two stops so 12 is -2.33EV.. and 1992 was 25 years ago so that felt like a reasonable amount. It was barely enough though, and the shots would have benefited from a tad more light. But even at ISO12, shooting handheld starts to become really problematic. Unless you have a bright sunny day, it's basically impossible.

The camera I used was again my trusty Canonet QL19. My Pentax cameras hate this super curly stiff stuff that the soviets produced. The Canonet seems to have a different type of winding mechanism that kind of likes it that the film wants to curl up tightly on the take up spool.

Anyhow, here are some pictures!

 

Bergger Pancro 400 in Rodinal

Shot my first roll of Berggers new film a while back, and digitized the negs yesterday. Developed in Rodinal 1+50 for 22 minutes at 20C. Whoa, 22 minutes? That was a long ass time. I got bored of agitating after a while and got sloppy towards the end. Probably was one inversion every 2 minutes instead of 30sec or whatever.

First impressions are:

  • It's a bit grainy, isn't it? Sure its ISO400 and I developed in rodinal but.. still.. pretty rough grain?

  • I should've shot it at ISO320, I feel that everything is ever so slightly underexposed

  • Not a huge fan of the skin tones, the two portraits I have

  • It seems to hold up well in the highlights, if you look at the third shot here below, of the entrance to the hospital, in the upper left corner - look at the structure of the brighter part of the building. You can see the different shades, textures. Look at the shadow part straight below, it's all pretty murky

Interesting fact, the building in these shots is an abandoned sanitarium in northern Sweden for TBC patients. It is very very large and has been just sitting in the middle of a small village now for a decade, mostly forgotten.

 

Svema TSNL 65 pt.2

This is the second part of my experiments with Svema TSNL which should not really be processed in C41 since it expects an ancient process called C22. Read the first part here.

This time i developed at 25.5C for 11min, agitated for the first minute straight and then about every 30s an inversion. About twice as much agitation as last time.

I blixed for 11 minutes instead of 10min (or 6+4 really), also more agitation.

Exposed at around ISO12.

I'd say that the images are more "normal looking", but still have this weird monochrome picture overlayed over a weird random color cast. I kinda liked the extreme contrasty color blotches of last time, this looks more.. subdued.. I still think the silver did not get fixed away, either my blix has gone bad or I should be blixing for much longer. But difficult to judge, could be just harsh base fog.

Here are some example pics

 

First look at Svema FN125 expired in -94

Alright, first roll shot with the Svema FN125 I bought a couple of weeks ago. When I got the rolls, I thought the packaging was peculiar. Then I read another review about Svema film here where it says "Firstly, the film is provided as a roll without a cassette. That’s how it always used to be". So I bought some reuseable cassettes off ebay and didn't bother opening my films. Turns out however, that my films do already come in plastic reuseable cassettes. Well, more for me. Pretty cool though, they have the screw on top so they are easy to use again.

FN125 is a ISO125 film. It says ASA125 on the back. Wikipedia however says it is a 125 GOST/ISO 160 film. There seems to be variations on Svema film depending on when they were manufactured. Mine expired in -94, that might be a clue of sorts. Anyhow, I started shooting at ISO100 (who was I kidding). Dropped down to ISO80, then ISO64.

I developed this first test in Rodinal 1+50, for 12min with less agitation than I normally do. 1-2 min between inversions.

The film came out with lots and lots of base fog, and severly underexposed. I would guess it needs another full stop of light, and I probably should cut development time with a minute or two. I wish I had some HC110 at hand, alas I don't.. Maybe Ilford DD-X works well with expired films, does anybody know?

Here are some sample shots from todays expirement. To be continued..