Agfa Copex HDP13 in Kodak Microdol-X 1:3

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by grobbit, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. grobbit

    grobbit Member

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    Hi folks

    I bought a 30m roll of Agfa Copex HDP13 a while back dirt cheap and finally got round to trying it. It's unperf so the only camera I have that can use it is my EOS 10qd. I read that microfilm is great in bad light and as I like in the far north of England where the light is frequently bad, this interested me. I shot 8 rolls at ISOs 25, 50, 100, and developed in Microdol-X 1:3 to tame contrast. However, all my notes about dev times have proved to be useless as I discovered today the meter in my EOS 10qd was overexposing by about 8 stops, explains why I was getting such dense negatives. However, this film seems to have a massive latitude, and despite being extremely dense, my Plustek 7600i was able to scan them. All these are shot with my Micro-Nikkor 3.5/55, no point giving you specifics of development times and temps, but I think the dilute Microdol has done a good job of taming the contrast and producing nice tonality. Sharpness is excellent and grain is tiny, tonality is nice but I am sure I can improve on it now I've resolved the EOS metering issue.
     

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  2. gorbas

    gorbas Subscriber

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    Very nice work Grobbit! You matched well film characteristics and daylight! Are you sure that you did overexpose it for full 8 stops? It's on the edge of Miracle? Of course I do not have an idea what kind of film it is. Is it graphic film (like Kodalith) or duplication film for Xray imaging?
     
  3. grobbit

    grobbit Member

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    Hi Gorbas.

    Thanks for the kind words. When I compared the meter reading of my EOS to a known accurate handheld meter, they disagreed by 8 stops. I varied the development with each roll, taking detailed notes, so as to find the ideal time. The film has incredible latitude, I got scannable negs when exposed at ISO 25 then developed for 30mins at 25C, and also when given the same exposure then developed for 10mins at 25C.

    The film is a panchromatic (HDP= High Definition Pan) microfilm on a 1.3mil clear ESTAR base, speed is ISO 6 I think.

    If you could see the negatives, they look like black rectangles, incredibly dense, I was amazed my scanner could even scan them. The best ones were a bit thinner. Now I know the camera meter was wrong, I can work around it, get the exposure right and nail the dev time to get close to ideal density, that should improve the tonality.

    The light here at 56.4N in January is usually awful, for instance, the shot of the two tires was taken while it was snowing and just before sunset, really dark, exposure was 30secs at f8 with the film rated at ISO 100. I have tried shooting in similar light with 'normal' films like FP4 and HP5 and I get grainy poor results, so this microfilm is quite remarkable in it's ability to produce nice images in the worst light conditions. Conversely, in good light, it is very contrasty, so it is a film to be used on cloudy, dull days, which is a very important thing for me as here is is usually dull.
     
  4. John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Subscriber

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    Those shots look very nice and contrast doesn't look bad at all. Pretty sharp, but certainly not as sharp as I've seen this film. It looks like it would be ideal for environmental portraits, but that's just my thinking. I have a roll of 120 CMS20, which is suppose to be the same, that I'm going to try shortly. I used to do Kodak Tech Pan in Rodinal 1:200 and it was very, very nice with extremely high detail. I'm going to go that route with the CMS20 and see what happens, but your Microdol-X results look fine too. JohnW
     
  5. grobbit

    grobbit Member

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    Cheers John. My Plustek 7600i maxes out around 70lp/mm, this Copex is probably capable of double that. I'm not sure what the Micro-Nikkor can do in resolution, but I suspect the bottleneck is my scanner. Also, I didn't use MLU on the EOS and it's always windy here so there could be some shake. I didn't do any sharpening before I converted them to JPEGs either, so I'm far from fully optimised, I just wish I still had a darkroom and an enlarger.

    I really like Tech Pan in Microdol-X 1:3, I rate it at 25 and develop for 15mins at 20C. You can rate it at 50 and do 18mins, 20C, but I find the tonality anicer rated at 25.

    I only have about 25m of Tech Pan left, it expired in 1982, but it's still perfect. It's my love of Tech Pan that led me to try microfilm, they both work well in dull conditions.

    Good luck with the CMS 20, I know Rollei sell the Copex Rapid, I didn't know Copex HDP was also available. Another part of the attraction of the unperf microfilm version for me is the price, it's only 10eu for a 30m roll but you have to buy a box of 20. I'm keeping my eye on ebay for some more, I'm interested in trying other microfilms too, I saw 4 x 1000ft rolls of Kodak ortho microfilm at 25BIN last week, but it weighed 17lbs and shipping to England made it cost too much for my meagre budget, sadly.

    Here's Tech Pan rated at 25, first two are Contax IIIa with Zeiss Opton Biogon 2.8/35, last three are Konica Ft-1 with Hexanon EE 1.7/50.
     

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  6. John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Subscriber

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    Yes, I keep forgetting the possible "weak link" in digital to film. I was lucky enough to get a used Nikon CoolScan LS8000 for a good price and don't have much of a weak link now(I used an old Epson 2450 flatbed before that). I'm like you with Tech Pan in that for me it was pushing the limit just to expose at ASA 25, but when you hit the right scene/lighting/exposure it was beautiful. Of course I was using 35mm then and now that I'm stuck on medium format the super sharp, super fine grain films aren't as important to me. I've been using digital to replace my 35mm shooting, but just recently resurrected a Zeiss Ikon Contaflex Super and the later Super BC. With these cameras up and running they might just be good candidates for a film like this. I do know that they have excellent optics. Speaking of optics, I have a 55mm f3.5 Micro-Nikkor also and use it on my Canon 5D and find no need for a better macro lens on that camera. I still love film, but digital ain't bad either. JohnW
     
  7. John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Subscriber

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    Oh, I forgot to add that the last two examples you have of the Tech Pan shots are the type lighting that always worked best for me. Slightly compressed brightness range/lower contrast. Landscapes were fine if I wanted a little less shadow detail or let a little bet of sky go(burning in later). I tried filters(25, 8, 12 Pola), but then my ASA/ISO dropped down to near nothing. Still. I could make my 35mm look just like 4X5 under the right conditions. JohnW
     
  8. grobbit

    grobbit Member

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    Thanks for the comments John, I agree with all your points actually. Tech Pan for me, is a film to use on overcast cloudy days with dull light, which is how most days are where I live, so it's my sort of film.

    Today I shot a roll of Tech Pan and forgot to change the ISO setting on the camera so it was shot at ISO 64. I'll extend dev time and cross my fingers, i doubt pushing will make for the best results but they might still be okay with a bit of luck.
     
  9. John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Subscriber

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    I think you'll be okay, but the negs might lack a tad on shadow detail and be a bit punchy. I've went as high as asa/iso 50, but never really any higher as far as I can remember. My iso 50 shots came out okay, but certainly not as good as iso 25. I have shot it as low as iso 6 and 12, but for my equipment and Rodinal 1:200 iso 25 worked best. Tech Pan is like an old, comfortable pair of shoes that got trashed without you knowing it. You never knew how good you had it until they were gone and the blisters returned. Three Kodak films I really miss are Verichrome Pan 120, Panatomic-x 35mm and Tech Pan 35mm in that order. Have fun and happy shooting! JohnW
     
  10. grobbit

    grobbit Member

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    I would love to find some of all three of those films. I do have 45ft left of pan-x in 70mm, saving it for special subjects, I use it in a mamiya 70mm back on my century graphic 23.

    Still not souped the tech pan at 64, I'll post my results if they are worthwhile.