Regarding Ilford SFX
Is there any film a good candidate to replace Ilford SFX?
Any advantages of SFX over other infrared films on the market?
SFX is not a true infrared film. It is really more of an "extended red" film. You cannot achieve the classic white foliage/black skies look of infrared with SFX.
On the other hand, SFX is not nearly as grainy as traditional infrared films.
The only infrared films that I am aware of are Kodak HIE, MAACO, and Konica. Konica is available in 120 rollfilm format, but it is only produced for a short period each year, and you have to order it in advance of production to get on the waiting list to buy it.
I have more problems obtaining the IR effect with the Konica than I do the SFX. I at least can get the look with SFX. My experience with using Konica for IR has been all bad.
Originally Posted by Monophoto
Maco has a 750 IR which is only made in the 35 mm size, btw. Maco 820c/Maco 820c AURA are both produced in 120, 4x5 and 8x10. 820c is also made in the 35 mm size.
Konica film has a 750nm peak response, which is just barely into the infrared spectrum (a bit further than SFX). I love it. Some of the panchromatic image overlays the infrared image, so I get more good usable negatives with decent shadow detail. The grain is reasonably fine, so I can print 6x7 negs to 16x20 inches without looking like I used sandpaper for film.
I taped a piece of #29 red gel filter over the meter window on one of my Mamiya 7 bodies, set the ISO speed to 20, use a #25 filter on the lens, and fire away. On typical days, shooting from about one hour after sunrise until sunset, I'll get about 75% keepers.
It's more prone to base fog with some developers. I now use either Ethol UFG, or PC-TEA with 0.2g KBr per liter of stock solution added to keep the fog down. The film's acetate base is also prone to curl until it's been in a filing sleeve for a while.
A few years ago, an article in (Photo Techniques???) tested the keeping qualities and found that K750 was very resistant to aging. The conclusion of the author was that 5 to 10 year old film could be used with very little loss of speed or contrast..... so I filled my freezer, just in case....
120 and 5x4" Maco IR750C can be ordered from silverprint.co.uk - at least, it's in their online catalogue: I've never actually tried to buy any...
From the Ilford data: "SFX 200 is a medium speed panchromatic film which has peak red sensitivity at 720nm and extended red sensitivity up to 740nm"
Maco IR750C has the similar extended sensitivity so all else being equal, the effect should be much the same.
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I've shot a small amount of SFX 200. I only got an infrared effect by using the Hoya R72 filter with it. I got no infrared effect at all with a #25 or a #29 red filter. That may just have been due to the conditions, however. Without any filtration at all, SFX 200 is not bad. It has a very nice tonality but I found it had considerable grain in 35mm but that could be my method of processing. Using it in Canon EOS bodies with IR advance sensors caused no fogging whatsoever.
I would try the MACO 820 films as a replacement for SFX 200, if infrared is what you're interested in. They exhibit more of the IR effect and they are just as easy to handle as SFX 200. Although the data sheet from MACO says to load and unload in darkness, I've loaded and unloaded 120 MACO in bright sunlight and only got minor fogging around the film edges--none in the image area. MACO has been quite a bit more expensive to buy than SFX 200, however. I've not used the Konica film--it seems to be available for a few weeks a year and then it's gone for another year. I've never wanted to bother with Kodak's HIE film due to the need for total darkness to load and unload.
I have had serious fogging from 820c 120 when loading in bright sun (South africa). It ran thru about half the roll....I guess there was plenty of IR about! I now make sure I am in serious shade before even thinking about unloading/loading.
820c with an 87 or 89 filter is proper IR stuff! More so than SFX.
I didn't know that Maco 750 was available in different sizes, Bob. Thanks for the info!
I agree that the best filter for getting IR effects with SFX is the R72/89B.
I like the Maco 820c with an 88A filter too.