Did anyone use Agfa Scala 135/36 from B&H?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by LaChou, Mar 12, 2009.

  1. LaChou

    LaChou Member

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    I have recently bought three rolls of the above mentioned film from them and found out that this is a repackaged film, i.e. the cartriges were notoriginal.
    Can anyone think of a sufficient proof that the film incide is the real Agfa Scala?
     
  2. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    If you process it and the film sez Scala on the edges, and it is higher in contrast than you expected (processed as a neg), then it is probably Scala.

    I would try one roll rated at EI 100. Shoot it in flat light, and develop it for 5 or 6 minutes in something like D-76 1:1 or HC-110 dil B. See what you get. If it lacks edge marking, it still could be Scala. Sometimes relabelled film does not have edge markings. If it is low in contrast, it probably is not Scala.

    I would have no reason to doubt B&H's claim, however.

    Good luck. It is a great film if used for the right things.

    I find that this film's best use is as a very high contrast negative film to be used in very flat light. Most recently, two 120 rolls of it that I have had for years (waiting for the right conditions) turned some very dull shots of mine shot in the Smokey Mountains in winter into beautiful, contrasty, sharp pictures without having to overdevelop the film, like I would have had to have done with FP4, Delta, etc.

    If all you want is a black and white transparency film, you can use any normal b/w film developed to higher than normal contrast. Ilford has a published reversal process, and so do some other folks. You can also send it to DR5 lab in Colorado, U.S.A., and they can do it for you.

    There was nothing special about Scala that made it a transparency film specifically. It was simply a negative film built with contrast characteristics that were well suited to reversal processing.
     
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  3. LaChou

    LaChou Member

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    Thank you for this ample info. I live in a former Soviet Union country (called Ukraine), speak Russian and have access to the former Soviet litterature on photography, where (as early as in 1990) Agfa's reversal B&W process was fully described.
    I need some proof that the thing I am using IS Agfa Scala and nothing else. Problem is, the results may turn out good and may turn out bad, but, as an experimenter, I need to identify my starting point.
    So the question is open: can anyone think of a good proof that I (or B&H) was not fooled?
     
  4. railwayman3

    railwayman3 Member

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    Apparently master rolls of Agfa films manufactured just before the factory closed have subsequently been slit and packaged independently (quite legitimately) under licence from the old company.
    I've used these films (Agfapan 100 and 400, and Agfachrome), they are in packaging nearly identical to the old films (just the new suppliers name) and are fine.
    I've not seen Scala repackaged in this way, but it could be similar. Why not ask B&H, (they're a reputable business), otherwise the suggestions from the previous posters should get you started to test one of the films.
     
  5. LaChou

    LaChou Member

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    thank you for your reply.
    Please understand that I do not doubt the credibility of B&H. I simply need a clou as to finding some proof that the film inside is really Agfa Scala.
    P.S. I can sell you tons of Tasma film in old Kodak or Fuji cartriges and by the price of T-Max or Neopan Acros. See what I am driving at?
     
  6. railwayman3

    railwayman3 Member

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    I see your point. :smile: But we would have to assume that someone had thought it worthwhile to package some other film as Scala (which is a product in limited demand), then deceive a reputable dealer to buy it from them?

    The company still offering Agfa film under licence is Lupus Imaging...their website
    http://www.lupus-imaging-media.com/content/view/77/58/lang,en/
    shows a full range of color and B&W, including Scala.

    Given this, and B&H's reputation, I think that there is every chance that your Scala is genuine. Other than that, I think that the proof would be to check if the appearance of the unexposed film leader is the same as Scala, the appearance of the edge markings on a processed film, and the general characteristics in processing, etc., compared with a known specimen of original Scala.
     
  7. wayne naughton

    wayne naughton Member

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    i've got 5 rolls of the stuff, that have been sitting in my fridge since agfa went bust.....thought i'd done me dough!. wonder what it'd look like for naturally lit studio portraits.....
     
  8. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    I have seen that you can get some film still from Agfa. Mostly "Servailence Film" and other kind of film like that...Maybe they still make still make Scala?
     
  9. Alexander Ghaffari

    Alexander Ghaffari Member

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    If you have some fresh Tasma, I have some 35mm Scala in my freezer (it has been there since I bought it and it still gives excellent results, even though it expired a few months ago) that perhaps we could exchange some rolls? It is the real film in the real Scala cartridge, even inside an AGFA canister with their official Scala 200x sticker on the lid. No worries about this film (not that I would not trust B&H, but I have shot this film and it is definitely Scala).

    Let me know if you are interested in trading films. I always wanted to shoot some fresh Tasma film. Thank you for your helpful consideration.
     
  10. LaChou

    LaChou Member

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    Yes, we could trade films if you are aware of the fact that original Scala (even if expired) costs more than original Tasma (even fresh). I can organize this trading with you, but since it goes out of the scope of this thread, please write to me at le-chou-eclate@yandex.ru

    P.S. I may be somewhat unjust to Tasma. I have used a lot of A-2 cine film at earlier days of my photography adventure, and it was something that either Kodak nor Fuji have definetely never produced. So, it give a very particular, recognisable "look" to the final result. Pity, I can't show you my earlier work on A-2 at APUG galleries.
     
  11. Phormula

    Phormula Member

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    Agfa Scala is still available from Maco.
    http://macodirect.de/agfa-scala-200x-13536br5-filme-p-146.html

    As far as I know, the last coating of rolls took place in 2005, then Agfa Photo went bankrupcy and the consumer film division was taken over by Lupus. Since the original factory was shut down, my guess is that the rolls of film were stored somewhere. Since this is a slow moving film (I loved it but there is no more a lab in Italy handling it now), and Lupus is mainly a trading company I guess they handled the cutting and packaging to a third party.

    I have seen this with the CT Precisa slide film, the new ones have a box with Lupus logo on it and they look like packaged by Ferrania (former 3M film division). I have been told by a friend that works there that Ferrania bought some rolls of coated color film from Agfa bankrupcy stock. But I cannot state if they are also producing current Agfa line of consumer films and packaging what's left of the old.
     
  12. AgX

    AgX Member

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    We only can speculate on this.
    At the moment still Agfa Scala films with an expiry date still to come are offered. They have the Agfa rhomb as ikon. There is no hint at all that Agfa still produces Scala, rather the opposite.

    Those films were most probably produced in Leverkusen by either Agfa or AgfaPhoto. Don't forget that the lifetime of AgfaPhoto as manufacturing company was very limited. So these films are either original stocks stored refrigerated and dated later. Or some kind of cool stored bulk film packaged now in remnants of cartridges and packages out of the Agfa era acquired in the AgfaPhoto buy-out.

    In case those films were actually from AgfaPhoto, Agfa must probably allow them to be sold now under the Agfa brand. But even this seems possible as just now they licensed a german dealer to include `Agfa´ in the brand name of their conversions of current Agfa films.
     
  13. LaChou

    LaChou Member

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    I wonder how long these 35mm films will still be offered?
    No way to make sure, that this is real Agfa Scala, not a substitute.
     
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  15. AgX

    AgX Member

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    In case of suspicion on any film bearing the the Agfa-rhomb logo contact Agfa in Flanders.
     
  16. LaChou

    LaChou Member

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    I have a strong feeling that I can complain to my auntie with the same result as to "Agfa in Flanders". Germans are no fools in any case. Printing meaningless digits and "Agfa Scala" on the film perforation area must be an easy thing to any company which possesses corresponding equipment. To forge the outer paper box must also be easy enough.
     
  17. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Stated by OP: "So the question is open: can anyone think of a good proof that I (or B&H) was not fooled?"

    Have you tried a roll yet? Is it ultra contrasty or not? As mentioned before, it is easily identifiable just by the contrast, when processed as a neg.

    At this point, we should not be coming up with evidence that leads you to believe you were *not* "fooled". You should be the one that should be coming up with evidence that leads you to believe you *were* "fooled". Knowing that Scala is a dead film, and that anything being sold as new Scala is going to be a relabel, there is no reason not to trust B&H until something you see in the film proves otherwise. If you feel they made a mistake, I'd contact their customer service and ask them what happened; not hope to find the answer on the Internet.

    Additionally, as mentioned before, any b/w film can be reversed. You do not need Scala to get a b/w transparency, so I would not pay premium prices for it, unless you want to use it as an extremely high contrast, sharp, and fine grained negative film.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 26, 2009
  18. AgX

    AgX Member

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    La Chou,

    Don't forget that Agfa not long ago tried (in vain) at court to get back their brand name AgfaPhoto (and maybe the ikon with the red dot). So I guess, even after dropping their consumer product business they will be eager to keep their brand free of any forgery, and thus to learn about any suspicious case.

    Though, to my understanding, there is not yet a real sign of forgery.
     
  19. LaChou

    LaChou Member

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    1) The matter is I have never seen the original Agfa before.
    2) I don't think one can rely upon "contrast" when assessing such a thing as "Scala" look.
    3) I wanted to find an answer of the kind: "if you apply a drop of that and that chemical to the film it will turn red if it is original Agfa Scala and anything else if it was a forgery.
    Or, for instance, "check the numbers printed on film perforation. They must belong to that and that range.
    4) From what I have seen around, it is my strong belief that no other film can give true "Scala" look.
    5) B&H are professional dealers, not photography geeks. They don't care much whether they sell original stuff or a forgery, since they know that there is no absolutely valid proof of originality in this particular case.
     
  20. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Well, I guess you are just S.O.L., then! Enjoy your virtual Scala shooting experience, while I increase my enjoyment of APUG by clicking the ignore thread button.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 26, 2009
  21. LaChou

    LaChou Member

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    "At this point, we should not be coming up with evidence that leads you to believe you were *not* "fooled". You should be the one that should be coming up with evidence that leads you to believe you *were* "fooled"."

    - It is very strange logic. I never tried Agfa Scala before, but even if I did, how could I claim to be "fooled" founding my complaint only on subjective things like "contrast"? Photography is also a science and an exact one. You must know for sure where you start and where you want to get.
     
  22. LaChou

    LaChou Member

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    What is S.O.L.?
     
  23. LaChou

    LaChou Member

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    The guy got mad because I am a woman, who doesn't listen to silly talk with her mouth open?
     
  24. railwayman3

    railwayman3 Member

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    I understand what you're saying, LaChou, but I don't think that you're going to find a quick-and-easy litmus-paper test for Scala film.

    However, it does seem that there is clear evidence that original Scala film is now being sold (quite legitimately) under different packings, but there seems no evidence whatsoever that there any "forged" film is being sold by B&H or anyone else. I do think that you might be looking for problems which don't exist?

    I think that your comments in (5) above are a bit harsh to B&H, who seem reputable dealers...what makes you think that they "don't care" what they sell?

    You say that you've never seen the original Agfa, yet you then say "From what I have seen around, it is my strong belief that no other film can give true "Scala" look." If you try the B&H version and that gives you the Scala look, would that not be proof enough that you have what you need. :confused:

    P.S. I don't know what "S.O.L." means either? :smile:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 26, 2009
  25. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Sh*t out of Luck... or some such. There's some good advice in this thread, if you don't want to take it, then don't. But let's tone it down...
     
  26. LaChou

    LaChou Member

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    1) I meant that I have seen Scala results at Flickr and elsewhere.
    2) Agfa ceased to exist in 2oo4. How much "original" film should have been left by 2009? Can you tell when the last original Agfa's emulsion was coated?
    3) Due to my business I know Germans. They do not consider it to be forgery to take an easily available Sanyo battery, put it inside a small box and sell it along with their equipment as "an original and specialy designed for this particular device" at 10x of its price.
    4) Reversal B&W process is a "no fun" enterprise. I wouldn't bother with cancerogenic chemicals, if someone told me that my Scala is in reality APX100.