Shooting SFX 200
Checking in on the Leica website recently, I took a look through some of the work posted under "IR" and decided to try my hand at shooting some SFX 200. My previous experience with IR is decidedly limited: perhaps 30 years ago, just starting out, I shot a few rolls of EK's Ektachrome IR; as well, waaaay back when, I ran a couple of 35mm rolls of EK black and white through the cameras. Neither obviously made much of an impression; I do not recall having shot any since. However, now that I shoot medium format for the majority of my landscape and fine art work, I have reconsidered. So, for those who have worked with SFX 200, a couple of questions: 1). What filter(s) do you use to most closely approximate the IR look (I am aware the film is extended sensitivity and not a true IR); I have Hasselblad's deep red and orange filters; 2). What ISO do you rate the film at; and 3). What is your recommended developer/paper combination ( Harmon/Ilford provides a list of possible film developer that can be used).
Shooting SFX 200
Hi. I have used this film, but have not tried its infrared effects. I have a book, however, called Infra-Red Photography by Hugh Milsom which covers IR use. He suggests using an opaque filter such as Hoya R72 or the special Ilford SFX filter which is similar. ISO 6 is the suggested film speed using a seperate meter. He suggests a starting exposure on a bright sunny day should be f11 at 1/15, and recommends bracketing one stop either way. For use with a red filter, the speed should be ISO 200 with a TTL meter. Again, bracketing is advised. I have just bought this book via Amazon. It seems quite detailed and useful. It looks better than several other IR books I have bought recently. I have had good results with Rollei IR 400 film and can recommend it from personal experience. Unfortunately, it does not feature in my book, but there is some useful info about it on the Internet.
Filters: B+W 092 or Hoya R72. 25A and 29 are too light, 87C or 093 is too dark. Try some 35mm first, and shoot at a slow speed, around ASA 12, and bracket from -2 to +2 (five shots). Then pick a developer and a time.
Here's the thing about current IR: like was discussed on another thread recently, the current films are not all that great compared to Kodak HIE. If you didn't like HIE, then don't bother, do something else.
Conifers (pines, spruce, whatever) will range from grey to black. Deciduous trees and grass will be either white or light grey. You never know what you will get with IR, so be prepared for disappointment and suprises.
You want an R72 filter (720nm cutoff), even one of the cheap chinese clones is going to be fine. I shoot it at about EI2 in full Sunny-16 conditions with that filter, example.
I tend to do my IR shooting with IR820 (probably try Rollei next thanks to the demise of Efke, but I have a healthy stash). More commonly with the SFX200, I tend to shoot portraits, maybe with a red filter; it gives a very clear alabaster look to skin.
Thanks all for the quick responses and the wealth of information!
Not all that great is an opinion for sure, not what everyone thinks. I have plenty of HIE in 35mm and 120 and a ton of Efke IR 820 in 120 and 4x5 but Rollei IR400 is still my favorite IR film.
Originally Posted by Brian C. Miller
The reason why is that I do not always want the glowy look of HIE / IR820. Even if I could still buy it, I would prefer Rollei IR400 for most of what I do, it is sharper, easier to deal with and frankly, it is incredible for rock, ice, water and sky.
I use IR400 strictly with a R72 filter and it prints utterly fantastic. Now I have gone though about half a brick of SFX200 in 120 and have yet to hit my stride with it. It definitely feels like a slight step down in terms of the bold and sharp IR effect of Rollei but I need to work with it some more, same filter of course, R72.
And I know exactly what I am getting with IR every time I shoot because I work with it enough. Geir Jordahl did not publish a brilliant book with HIE in an Xpan by sheer luck, he had his system and down and anyone can with enough practice.
I've shot a good few rolls of SFX200 in 35mm and 120. You need an R72 filter. I take 2 exposures at 6 and 3 (essentially 5 stops under due to the filter) and I get one shot with glow, one with less glow. I developed in ID11 1+1 and print on MG art paper or on MG IV. I think it looks better on a pearl/matt finish rather than gloss.
It's a very capable film, not deserving of the amount of dissing it gets - and guess what? Yes you can actually find it for sale!
Yes do give SFX a try. You very well might conclude that it is for you. PKM-25 and fran have useful things to say about it. No it is not HIE but to say that anything which isn't HIE isn't worth bothering with is simply one person's opinion and you are not that person so may not reach the same conclusions
I like this film a lot. both in 35 and 120. I shoot it thru my N70's aith AF and set the meter at 160. I compose, let AF do it's thing, take the camera body off AF, put the R72 filter on and shoot. I process in Rodinal mostly. Not a true IR, but enough for me.