APX100 in 120...what to expect?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Michel Hardy-Vallée, May 10, 2005.

  1. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    4,351
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2005
    Location:
    Montréal (QC
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I heard the sound of those marching to the altar of APX, and decided today to try out Agfapan APX100 in 120 for my Yashica-D (yashikor lens). I probably won't be developing this film myself yet, so my faithful local lab will process it in HC-110, or Xtol on demand. I've read that Rodinal 1:50 is a holy water for this film, but for now it's not a practical option.

    I've been shooting FP4+ in 120 so far, and despite my decision in a previous post to settle on it for future work and learning, I feel the urge to try good, cheap Agfa.

    So what should I expect at the bottom line? I'm shooting mostly available light, outdoors photography, and will probably be doing ordinary stuff with it like portraits, streets, buildings, and scenery. Is there anything in particular that should attract my attention? What should I look for in order to draw a comparison between FP4+ and APX100?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2005
  2. MikeK

    MikeK Member

    Messages:
    558
    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2003
    Location:
    Walnut Creek
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    What to expect - great results :smile:

    I have souped APX 100 in Rodinal (1:50 & 1:100), XTOL, D76 and D23 1:1. The D23 1:1. I stole this idea from Hey Lloyd who has an article on his web site about APX and D23

    I made a series of trees in fog using APX-120 and D23 and enlarged them to 16x20. They were really sharp, fine grain with good shadow and highlight detail and a wonderful tonal range

    The opening picture on my web site is one of these images.

    Mike
     
  3. david b

    david b Member

    Messages:
    4,031
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2003
    Location:
    None of your
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The more I mess with it, the better things get.

    I used xtol, d76, sprint, rodinal. All are just fine. Some are better (like rodinal 1+100).
     
  4. Amund

    Amund Member

    Messages:
    902
    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2004
    Location:
    Oslo,Norway
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  5. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

    Messages:
    2,027
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2003
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    expect, above everything else, wonderful tonality. I just love the stuff and am gutted that there is no sheet. Some say they find APX very grainy. I find it similar to FP4 plus.

    Thinner, clearer base than Ilford FP4 plus. I have used it in pyro devs, id11, aculux 2 and it is great.
     
  6. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    4,351
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2005
    Location:
    Montréal (QC
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Tom, how do you define tonality exactly? Is it the way the film react to different colors? I often see the term, but besides an intuititve grasp, I can't visualize what a good/bad tonality would be.
     
  7. Ara Ghajanian

    Ara Ghajanian Member

    Messages:
    368
    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2004
    Location:
    Providence,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    My thinking is that tonality (as far as B&W film) is the gradation from dark to light.
     
  8. david b

    david b Member

    Messages:
    4,031
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2003
    Location:
    None of your
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I should add that I love it so much, that I am taking 150 rolls with me to mexico in 2 weeks.
     
  9. BWGirl

    BWGirl Member

    Messages:
    3,049
    Joined:
    May 15, 2004
    Location:
    Wisconsin, U
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    This was the first film I put through my Hasselblad when I got it last year. WOW! It was beautiful and I have continued to buy it ever since! I've only developed it in Rodinal, but I'm sure other developers will be fine.
     
  10. gandolfi

    gandolfi Member

    Messages:
    1,804
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Location:
    Denmark
    Shooter:
    Large Format Pan
    I've been using it for years - it is my main film for painting with light.
    and I develop in HC110 for 6min..

    great film
     
  11. Phillip P. Dimor

    Phillip P. Dimor Member

    Messages:
    1,063
    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2004
    Location:
    Westport, MA
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Great film! I like it as well..
    I thought that Agfa had discontinued 120 films? Or was that only the 4x5 film?
    Not to start anything, i'm sure I am either confused or misinformed..
    Love the film though!
     
  12. ElrodCod

    ElrodCod Member

    Messages:
    141
    Joined:
    May 24, 2004
    Location:
    Florida
    Shooter:
    Pinhole
    They discontinued their sheet film. APX100 and 400 in 120 are alive and well.
     
  13. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    4,351
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2005
    Location:
    Montréal (QC
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    APX25 was the only discontinued film; APX100 is still in production in 135 and 120.

    I loaded my camera yesterday with it, and will start doing some shots!
     
  14. athanasius80

    athanasius80 Member

    Messages:
    641
    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    Location:
    Huntington B
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Rumor has it that Fomapan 100 (available in sheet film) is very similar to APX 100, but I can't vouch for that.
     
  15. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    4,351
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2005
    Location:
    Montréal (QC
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Got my first negs back from the lab today, and I must say I am surprised. The film is much less contrasty than FP4+ but it seems that the midtones have a better separation. It's a more "objective" film, so I'll have to see what it can do in print.

    Any suggestions on how to exploit these characteristics?
     
  16. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    4,351
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2005
    Location:
    Montréal (QC
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hmm, I've only been looking at contact sheets, but the blacks had more punch and are richer. It's worth what it's worth, and I'll be printing some next (not this) weekend, so I might need to keep my trap shut until then.... But by comparing similar light conditions, I found FP4+ to have a greater range of values. Unless I'm completely misunderstanding the notion of contrast.... ah, it's great to be a beginner with a big mouth!
     
  17. Mongo

    Mongo Member

    Messages:
    960
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2004
    Location:
    Pittsburgh,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    In my experience, APX 100 in 120 is a fantastic film for anything that requires smooth tonalities though the mid-tones. This makes it one of my favorite films for portraiture and macro work (especially flora). It's also an excellent film for general use, but it outshines just about everything for people photography.

    Freestyle is repackaging the APX 100 as their new Arista II film. Unfortunately, they're only listing it in 35mm, but if you shoot 35mm it might be worth your time to buy the film in the Arista II packaging. You'll save 50 cents per roll that way.

    As was mentioned above, Fomapan 100 is a similar looking film (although it does not have quite as thin or clear of a base as the Agfa film). If you decide that you like the look of APX 100, you might want to try a few rolls of the Arista.edu Ultra 100 speed film (which is re-packaged Fomapan 100). At a savings of almost a buck a roll, it's worth considering if you'll be shooting a lot of film. Fomapan 100 and 200 are quickly becoming staple films for me.

    I still keep APX 100 around for portrait sessions, but my general use films are now Efke 100 and Fomapan 100 & 200. The Efke is capable of expansion unlike almost any other film I've used, and the look of Fomapan is similar to APX but for less money. All of these films respond really well to Pyrocat-HD and to Perceptol, which are my two favorite developers. Fomapan will be available in 4x5 and 8x10 sizes shortly, so I'll have two films (Efke 100 and Fomapan) that I can use in every size from 35mm to 8x10. I only shoot APX 100 in 120.

    (On another note, rumor has it that Ilford will have Perceptol back on the market this summer. Happy news for those of us who miss it.)
     
  18. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

    Messages:
    2,027
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2003
    Shooter:
    Multi Format

    It's a good questions. For me it is the very subtle, gradual transition between tones that looks 'nice'. From my gallery, there are a number of images from APX 100, not that you can see much from web images in this regard. I agree with other comments that it is with portraits that APX100 stands out from the crowd. Skin tones are so velvety and smooth. This said, I had a single box of 5x4 sheet bought just as they (sneakily) discontinues sheet and some of the 'test' landscapes I shot whilst trying out pyrocat blew me away. This was well after I used to use the 120 in a rollfilm back and I had switched to other films also available in 120 and sheet. In this time I had improved a lot, but enlarging a properly exposed and developed APX neg once more still made me do a double take again.

    The film is to me the total opposite of TMAX100, which someone describes as paradoxically 'appearing flat and too contrasty all at the same time'. I struggle to get TMAx100 to glow and look 'rich'. APX100 seems to make this a whole lot easier and unlike TMAX, naturally wants to produce imaghs that appear 3 dimensional rather than flat on a piece of paper. Sometimes TMAX has loooked good for me (Snowdonia Sunset is a rich print) but in the majority of cases it does not and it works me really hard. APX100's thin base can be a pig tho esp if it is humid. It just loves to stick up and cockle in those developing reels.
     
  19. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    4,351
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2005
    Location:
    Montréal (QC
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    OK, I see what you mean. I was therefore saying that my APX100 had less contrasts than my FP4+. For me it was a rough indication because I tend to shoot in similar conditions these days.
     
  20. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

    Messages:
    2,297
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2003
    Location:
    Floriduh
    Shooter:
    35mm
    This is what I have found, substantiated also by other threads I've read elsewhere. For me it's a different comparsion against FP4+ in Xtol 1:3. Maybe I just need another developer, and maybe the Pyrocat I just got will do better. My next test is the 400 speed.
     
  21. jjstafford

    jjstafford Inactive

    Messages:
    735
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Location:
    Minnesota Tr
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Gosh only knows what your lab will do to that wonderful emulsion, but FWIW, it is my favorite and I process APX 100 in Rodinal 1:50 and sometimes stand-processed Rodinal 1:200.
     
  22. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    4,351
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2005
    Location:
    Montréal (QC
    Shooter:
    Multi Format

    Well, they do deep tank developing with HC-110 or XTOL (on demand), so they're better than any drugstore there is around here, but I'm seriously considering doing my own devel, at least for the negs. Should be my birthday present to myself...
     
  23. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

    Messages:
    3,984
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2004
    Location:
    London
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Happy Birthday! Whenever it is, bring it forward to this weekend :wink: ... The cost of the equipment to process B&W film is tiny and will repay itself within a handful of rolls. Even more importantly, it allows you to fine-tune your development to get the results you want. Also of course it allows you to use developers your lab may not use: Rodinal or staining developers for example...

    Cheers, Bob.