APX 100 , what made this film a classic?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Quinten, Sep 25, 2012.

  1. Quinten

    Quinten Member

    Messages:
    337
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2005
    Location:
    Amsterdam
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hi Guys,

    When AGFA went bankrupt a friend gave me 70 rolls of APX100 120, they have been in the freezer since. It would be great to hear from people who loved this film, so I can start using them with some of your insights.

    What did you like about this film, what made this film a character of its own, and does it need special treatments?

    Here is a nice example from Ellen von Unwerth: http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lydjkgB5iG1rnbzy8o2_1280.jpg There is bright blacks and whites but it doesn't look like the typical grade 5 print, or overdeveloping for high contrast, where you would loose so much detail in the whites, that stil seems to be in these APX pictures.

    (I tested 2 rolls in rodinal 1+50, 0.5 over exposure, normal dev time, they seemed a bit dull, mostly midtones, a steep histogram in the middle I suppose, so maybe the film is strongest in high contrast light.)

    stories or tips would be great!
    Quinten
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2012
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    18,032
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    APX100 was probably the best B&W 100 ISO film available, unlike Tmax 100 it's a true 100 EI emulsion, I used to use the two side by side and the results in 35mm through to Sheet film were identical in terms of fine grain, sharpness, tonlaity (contrast). The main difference was I needed to use Tmax 100 at 50 EI to get similar results.

    I never liked it (or Tmax) in Rodinal at 1:50 instead I always used it at 2:75 which gave me far better results, it was my main film from the mid 1980's until Agfa discontinued sheet films.

    Ian
     
  3. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

    Messages:
    15,201
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2003
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    First of all - its color rendition is different from other films out there. So if you shoot lots of portraits you would have to employ filters to get a similar grayscale from similar colors.
    Second, it does give a nice grayscale, as you mention, which is very desirable for many photographers. If you use a developer like Rodinal 1+25 you get the best of both worlds, as Ian mentions, 1+50 might be too dilute to give the energy to the negative that you're looking for. Shorter developing time gives less shadow detail, and more active developer gives more highlight contrast.
    My advice would be to try exposing the film at EI 100 and then use Rodinal 1+25. Cut your roll in thirds and try different developing times until you find just the right contrast for your process.
     
  4. kmallick

    kmallick Subscriber

    Messages:
    140
    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2011
    Location:
    Denver, Colo
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I agree with the recommendation of Rodinal 1:25. I had tried APX 100 with Rodinal 1:50 and I was not thrilled. Just recently I tried a 120 roll with Rodinal 1:25 just to cut down on the developing time and the results floored me. I am sold on that film. The mid tones are fantastic and the pictures just pop. Wish it was still available.
     
  5. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,958
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2003
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  6. Quinten

    Quinten Member

    Messages:
    337
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2005
    Location:
    Amsterdam
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Indeed a sharp peak at 550nm in the spectral sensitivity http://www.agfaphoto.com/appc/_upload/2008_36/Datasheet_F_PF_E4.pdf. Thanks never expected that, but it's quite apparent! I am trying to get my head around this since my subjects are always people.
    I can imagine the greens in nature being a lot lighter with this film, and skin being slightly lighter than you would expect. Did you use a light-blue filter for portraits with this film? Or slightly underexpose if there was enough brighter white in the picture, well the filter seems less scary:wink:

    PS Rich are those leafs still green in the picture above?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2012
  7. Quinten

    Quinten Member

    Messages:
    337
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2005
    Location:
    Amsterdam
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks guys, I will test with some stronger delutions of rodinal! For more highlight contrast would a different developer work better with this film? After all the tonal variation in the lighter grays seems to be one of the film's strengths.
     
  8. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

    Messages:
    15,201
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2003
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    No filters. It was more a thing of adjusting to other films once there was not more APX to be had. But I eventually just got over it, by using, like Ian suggests, the TMax 100.
    Why not just try it for yourself and see if there's enough of a difference between APX and the other film you're using; see if it's a classic to you too.
     
  9. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

    Messages:
    15,201
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2003
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Rodinal will do very well what you're asking of it.

    It's a very powerful developer, but a little bit slow working. It will keep developing and developing, basically until you stop, so you must use a bit of caution to insure that you don't over-develop and block up the highlights. But that's what testing is for, to see at which negative highlight density your prints have that brilliance you're looking for, and where they start to block up.
     
  10. Quinten

    Quinten Member

    Messages:
    337
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2005
    Location:
    Amsterdam
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks for the tips Thomas, shooting time! :wink: And a great excuse to post some more actual pictures here soon!

    Wouldn't recognize this as APX but a really mysterieus picture you created there: http://www.flickr.com/photos/monolight/5476277381/in/photostream

    BTW it's nice to see how light the leafs in Rich his example above are, shot with APX 100, and than how dark they are on this picture he took on 400TX http://www.flickr.com/photos/rich8155/7115953957/ Could be the greens, but again, not sure if leafs are always green in California...
     
  11. MDR

    MDR Member

    Messages:
    1,411
    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2006
    Location:
    Austria
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Apx 100 has a special grey tone that looks sometimes very metallic, this grey tone is pretty much unique. APX 100 is great for skin tones and was loved by german portrait photographers. APX magic is in the grey tones. Rodinal and APX were made for each other 1+25 or 1+100 Stand are good dilutions for Rodinal. Another thing I love and loved about APX was the grain, APX is not a grainless film but what grain it has is beautiful and enhances the appearance of sharpness.

    Dominik
     
  12. Quinten

    Quinten Member

    Messages:
    337
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2005
    Location:
    Amsterdam
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The metallic grey tones, that's it, that is what you see in some of these pictures from Ellen von Unwerth. Special!
     
  13. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,958
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2003
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Frankly I do not remember.