Professional Quality B+W Film Manufacturers, Circa 2012 - Who?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Andre Noble, Jul 26, 2012.

  1. Andre Noble

    Andre Noble Subscriber

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    Who is currently making B+W film at a high quality control and professional level? I am referring to quality of materials, clean process, no wierd things going on such as paper backing showing up in image, undue film curling, emulsion separating/flaking from base, wide batch to batch variability, etc)

    Already Know:

    Kodak
    Fuji
    Ilford


    But which other companies currently have professional quality manufacturing process for black and white film, if any?

    Thanks in advance for all serious replies.
     
  2. choppastyle

    choppastyle Member

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    Fotokemika = Efke and Adox
    Foma
     
  3. MDR

    MDR Member

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    Agfa-Gevaert in Belgium produces some good films. A bit red sensitive though. They are sold under the Rollei label.

    Dominik
     
  4. Andre Noble

    Andre Noble Subscriber

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    What do you mean? Thanks
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 26, 2012
  5. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    No Fotokemika doesn't equate to Adox.

    Adox is a brand noame owned by Fotoimpex, they sell some EFKE/Fotokemika films under te name but it's also used for films sourced elsewhere inc in the past Ilford. It's used as well for materials Fotoimpex are involved in bringing back, MCC papers former Agfa films, chemistry etc.

    Ian
     
  6. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Kodak, Ilford and Fuji are the only films I have not either experienced problems with, or heard/read of problems with.
     
  7. choppastyle

    choppastyle Member

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    My mistake. Thanks for clearing that up.

    About quality, Foma in the Czech Republic has the ISO 9001 (?) certification. I've heard their 200 speed had problems when it was first introduced, but maybe someone else more qualified than I can speak to its current quality. I only use Fomapan 100 and I've had no problems.
     
  8. Michael W

    Michael W Member

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    The only film company I've never had a quality problem with is Kodak.
     
  9. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Yes these are the first tier films. The quality control of all others is not professional quality.
     
  10. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    ISO 9001 certification (which must be renewed periodically) assures that the firm has the procedures in place to deal with problems. Although those procedures also help to prevent problems, they can not guarantee that problems will not come up. Certification checks that the procedures are followed, but when away from the intense period around certification, it is hard to guarantee how well the procedures are followed. Some firms do very well, some not so well. Those that constantly adhere to the 9001 standard usually have exceptionally well run organizations, although they may be overly bureaucratic.
     
  11. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    It might help to say what size or format film you are asking about? Fuji makes B&W film, but don’t look for it in the USA in 8x10 or anywhere in ULF. Kodak now offers 8x10 and above in 10 sheet boxes priced as if there were 25 sheets. For quite some time Kodak has been offering 7x17 film, once a year or two, in 10 sheet boxes that are 16”x20”. Imagine the need to freeze 200-800 sheets for a two year supply in less than a walk in restaurant freezer.

    John Powers
     
  12. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    And, with ISO 9001 - even when having the certification, and the subsequent processes in place, is not a guarantee that the quality will be of a certain level.

    To deliver a quality products is something an organization has as a goal, and ISO 9001 is one way or reinforcing an image of that dedication to customers and stakeholders, but as nworth eloquently explains, does not constitute any guarantees. I guess actions speak louder than words is what I'm saying.
     
  13. Arkasha

    Arkasha Member

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    You don't consider Rollei first-tier? I ask because everything I've read about their IR-400 has extolled its quality. Has your experience not been good?
     
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  15. MartinP

    MartinP Member

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    Rollei don't make any film so far as I can make out. Their products are from Agfa, frequently re-named aero-photography products, or from a 'UK manufacturer' (Ilfords white-label range) etc. etc. Nothing wrong with this, as they are supplying things that would otherwise be tough to source, but they don't actually make the films.
     
  16. Arkasha

    Arkasha Member

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    Thanks for the info. I wasn't aware that Agfa and/or Ilford made the Rollei films.
     
  17. piu58

    piu58 Member

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    > I wasn't aware that Agfa and/or Ilford made the Rollei films.

    Rollei Retro 80s is Agfa Aviapan 80.
    Rollei Retro 400s = Rollei Superpan 200 is Agfa Aviapan 200.
    Both films can be used with a 720nm IR filter

    Rollei RPX 100 is Ilford Kentmere 100.
    Rollei RPX 400 is Ilford Kentmere 400.
     
  18. cmacd123

    cmacd123 Subscriber

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    Maco/Rollei apparently does converting and packing of film mostly from the Agfa Aviation film range.

    Foma makes their own film, and although I have heard gripes from time to time, it is good stuff for the most part. Their 35mm seems to made a touch long so I can sometimes squeeze out an Extra shot.

    I have personally experience the Number print through problem with EFKE roll film. There product is a bit unique as it is based on a 1950 era design, and it is good stuff in 35mm.

    The three top tier suppliers are still Kodak, Ilford and Fuji. with only Illford having a fairly complete range of B&W.

    AGFA only makes film for industrial users these days, so Mako is doing us a favour by packaging it for still cameras, on the other hand the Air survey film does have some strange properties.

    There were three suppliers in China, Lucky Film, Shanghai Photo and ERA but the products do vary a great deal in quality, and the supply chain is a bit murky. I had one roll of Lucky 120 where the film was folded back on itself, so their Quality control is lacking.
     
  19. andrew.roos

    andrew.roos Member

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    Ilford make excellent high quality film, chemicals and paper, are comitted to b&w, and are not bankrupt so their film is likely to remain available.
     
  20. Andre Noble

    Andre Noble Subscriber

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    B+W film will continue through our lifetimes (Shanghai, Lucky, Whatchamacallit, etc), but in terms of professionally manufacture quality... Let's just say that when I get my freezer I will be stockpiling low ASA films from Kodak Fuji Ilford *just in case*.
     
  21. Rolleijoe

    Rolleijoe Member

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    The Rollei brand films in my opinion out-perform "the big 3" in tonality & sharpness. I've never had a single problem with Efke, nor the few times I've used Foma.

    Since Kodak has discontinued just about all of their films I used (including dropping their entire E6 line), I'm not too happy with them, and Fuji dropped Neopan 400 in 120 & discontinued 1600. Plus, I don't like their color films at all.

    Fortunately Rollei has some E6 film to try, and hopefully that will fill the void.
     
  22. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    Yep. As a former QA inspector trained in ISO 9000/9001 I can state that getting people to adhere to it can be damned difficult if they don't want to. I regularly had loud arguments with one plant manager who said I wasn't a team player, and to whom I countered he wasn't my team captain. I received so much harassment and even verbal threats from his underlings that I took to cataloging them and reporting them to HR every time they happened, including the exact language used. HR knew if anyone tried to get me canned the company would have some real problems, so they tried to get people to shut up, with only some success.
    In another place I worked I was physically assaulted by the shop manager. It just happened to be that one of his own machine operators had asked me to look at some parts, which I was doing when he became irate and threw me out of his shop, so his sense of timing was particularly bad. He got severely reamed by the CEO and transferred to a department where he was no longer in charge of anything- an outcome I was satisfied with.

    Both places were fully certified, but in both there had been a history of intimidation and marginalizing the QA departments- something certification didn't change. What was different in me from most other inspectors was I had worked as a machinist long before I became an inspector, so the machine shop couldn't browbeat me or pull the wool over my eyes the way they could with others. I was their equal, and knew it. So they figured by making me miserable I'd quit. What it did do was increase my resolve to hold the line, and cause me to always keep my ass covered. I left the first place for a better job, the second went out of business and we all lost our jobs. But I left those places knowing I upheld the certification as I was required to by our ISO manual, which many inspectors didn't.

    Sorry to say, ISO 9000/9001 is often in practice more like a statement of intent, than a binding document. It's supposed to be binding, in that if it's specified in manufacturing contracts it's part of the contract and must be followed; but the attitude far too often toward QA is "Who's gonna tell, if you don't?"

    Bottom line, it's the sincerity and resolve of the people in charge that determines if the ISO certification means anything or not.
     
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  23. Leigh B

    Leigh B Member

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    Do you mean B&W films, as in Black & White?

    B+W is a German company that makes filters and related items. They don't make film.

    - Leigh
     
  24. JPD

    JPD Member

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    B&W was a swedish store chain. They never made film. :tongue:
     
  25. ath

    ath Member

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    To be precise B+W is a brand, the company is Jos. Schneider Optische Werke GmbH
     
  26. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Amen...