Tag Archives: Ilford SFX-200

IR Sensitive Films: Retro 400S

I thought about writing a summary of the origin and significance of the Retro IR Sensitive films as an aerial mapping film. But then I found an excellent history/summary by My Favorite Lens reviewing the Retro 400S. So check it out…………

Now we take up Part II of our IR Sensitive Film Tests. Here a comparison of Rollei Retro 400S and Ilford SFX-200 (My Standard). We again applied the IR 695 filter to both rolls. We know from our previous experience that this filter adds contrast to the Retro-films. So let’s jump in………

Images on the left are from SFX-200 and on the right from Retro 400S:

We ca see the obvious difference in Contrast. But it this first image it works.

Above, the contrast in the clouds for the Retro 400S makes it more interesting to me.

In the four images below,the lighter contrast (SFX-200) allows iu to see more detail.

Agai, here I think you choice my depend on personal aesthetics. There are qualities I like in both images.

S, we have determined in both cases that perhaps the Retro Films don;t really need IR-filter enhancement. So for our next test we are going bare. I’ll be comparing the Retro 80S with no filter to the SFX-200 with the IR 695.

IR Sensitive Films: Retro 80S

Why not start the Year 2021 with some film tests………..

I had casually tried some Retro 80S on the drive home from Phoenix in 2019. But I wasn’t really planning on a comparative study and my image were not in pairs. So I decide to set-up a real study comparing Retro 80S AND Retro 400.S This is Part I where I will discuss Retro 80S.

The tests were conducted using 120 film and my Mamiya-7 cameras both with IR 695 filters. Ilford SFX-200 was my standard for comparison.

All of the SFX-200 imafes are on the left, and the Retro80S on the right.

In my first images from 2019, I had used a Dark Red filter for the Retro 80S. applying the IR 695 to the Retro 80S made it more contrasty than preferred. So I thin for an future use I would recommend using just a Dark Red Filter, instead of the IR 695 for the Retro 80S film.

Next up to start the year: Retro 400s……

The Light and Dark of It: Exploring IR Sensitive Films

We will spend some significant time at the beginning of 2021 exploring the Infrared: IR Sensitive Films, IR Films and some digital IR from a converted camera.

And so the Light, from Ilford SFX-200

And the Dark from Rollei Retro 400S

From My Living Room Window…….

Prelim Discussion of IR-Sensitive B&W Films Part II: Washi-Z ISO 400

Arcosanti_Yucca

Washi-Z 400, above with a dark red filter.  I start with that statement because for some reason I didn’t shoot the first few images with dark red.  Instead I had used an orange filter for some reason:

Piestewa_Peak

Washi-Films were never intended for use in still cameras.  They were specialty films and most were developed for recording some type of motion, including a sound version.But nowadays these specialty films are creeping into the revitalized 35 mm film market.

And finally, two images from the Tonto Natural Bridge in Arizona.  Representing some of the early orange filter exposures.

So now what?  I’ve ordered more Washi-Z 400, and because the IR effect did not seem that strong, even with the red filter.  I’m going to try it with the IR-695 filter.  Watch for new results coming soon……

Washi_Test

Retrospective: Wyoming Thunderhead

On our Snowy Range Journey we saw this beautiful thunderhead to the east of us.  Had to pull off and make the image.  And since I had both of my Mamiya-7’s I have Portra 160 and SFX-200:

Wyoming-Cloud

StrikingCloud

Results of Film Expertise Survey and My Personal Thoughts

I have my favorite films and I ask myself whether it is worth the time to learn about new films?  My favorite B&W: Kodak T-MAX 400, Ilford SFX-200 and I when I want less contrast Ilford Delta 400;  I also want to spend some more time with Ilford Delta 3200 My Favorite Color film for now is Kodak Portra 400;  I am presently testing the new Kodak E100.  So I have 3 main films (bold); one that I use under certain conditions (bold italic and posted image below); and two that I am experimenting with (plain text italic).

Fern_Canyon4

So I posted a Survey on Twitter and asked the followers of both of my Blogs to add their comments.  The Twitter Survey ran for a week with the following Results:

Survey_Results

Most of my blog followers are also on Twitter, so their votes are included above.  I agree  with the survey results: 48% of you say 3-4 films and 23% say 1-2 films.  Total for less is more: 71%.  So most of us agree that you cannot be an expert with dozens of films.  My husband said that his answer was 5+ films.  He really likes to find special films for special circumstance and does more experimentation than I do, which is a film multiplier.   @donkittle on Twitter wrote to me supporting different films for different situations also.  I typically shoot 3-4 different types of scenes/subjects.  So following this approach may explain why I only need/use 3-4 film types.  And I think that most photographers in that 71% are doing the same, typically shooting select films for their preferred subjects and no more.

I am open to experimentation on a limited basis, or using a certain film according to the conditions if I know that it will perform better (Delta 400) than my usual B&W (T-MAX 400).  We should all consider new films from time to time.  But film testing is time consuming, and I think that my days of trying new films are pretty much over once I’m done testing Kodak E100.  If I like the new E-6 film, then it will largely replace Portra 400, since ISO 100 films are better for travel (i.e. they survive possible airport X-ray mishaps better; also some film travel tips here and more here).  But since I already understand Portra 400, I can pull it off the shelf when I need it.  And although I don’t like the color balance of Portra 160 for my landscapes in general,  I can recommend it for Pinhole Cameras.  So another case of a special film for a special case.

Now lets consider some Favorite Films of Famous Photographers.  I’ve tried researching this on the WEB.  Lot’s of discussion of gear (cameras, lenses, etc), but very little on Films used by the Famous.  So isn’t Film part of your Gear?  Isn’t that why we choose certain films for certain circumstances?   Hey, if you become famous, please include preferred Film Types in your Gear……..  Here’s what I found after a few hours of searching for a some of my Favorites who considered the Film a part of their Gear:

I realize that it may be harder to find this information for deceased Photographers. But if you are still alive, please let us know what type of film you most recently used (even if you have switched to digital).

A Final Thought from the Weston Interview linked above:

“…..If you use a film long enough, you get to know its characteristics. I don’t use a meter, I just know the light…..”

 

 

 

 

 

Film Expertise?

I have posted this on Twitter.  But I wanted to give my followers here a chance at answering this question too.  In the future I will write an ‘article’ here on my feelings and the results of my survey.  Here it is:

How many films is it really possible to be an expert at using?

While here in Arizona, I’ve been testing various films that I hadn’t used before (e.g. Silberra, Ilford FP4, the new Kodak E100),  In most cases for B&W I use Kodak T-MAX 400 and Ilford SFX-200; for color I’ve settled on Kodak Portra 400 (pending my results for E100).  I know these films well, and I usually get the expected results.  When I experiment with new films, the results are up in the air.  Yes with my ‘expert’ films I made early mistakes but worked through it. Now I wonder if it is worth the the time to learn about MORE films or stick with what works?  So let me restate the question:

What films do you use and how many do you feel it is possible to be an expert with?  Please leave a comment or vote on Twitter @AnalogPhotoBug, and look for the future article.

Kodak T-MAX 400:

KEJohnson_Convent
The Symbol of My Journey

Kodak Portra 400:

Carhenge2

Ilford SFX-200:

CragsView2

The Story: Wyoming Cloud

Taken from the same location along the Roadside in Wyoming…….The joy of having two Mamiya-7’s, allowed me to make these images literally seconds apart.

strikingcloud

I was testing Kodak Portra 400 (as my new color film) and looking for good opportunities to make a few images with Ilford SFX-200.

wyoming-cloud

But more importantly I saw this cloud in the distance and we pulled over so I could capture the Image.  I Imagined the Image first. I would probably adjust the brightness/contrast for the B&W image to bring out more of the detail that you can see in the color image, because I know that detail is there……..I’ll repost once I’ve done that.