Does anybody prefer Efke/Adox 100 over FP4+
FP4+ is my usual film, developed in Sprint (D76 1:1 clone). I have recently started experimenting with Efke/Adox 100 PL mostly in 4x5 but also with 120 film. I develop the Efke in Rodinal 1:50 for 10 minutes. Interesting film but the emulsion is indeed very soft even with careful development in a tank. Moreover I am forced to shoot it at an EI of 50. It is fairly grainy as well. I am not sure if this is due to the film or the Rodinal; I have not developed it in anything other than Rodinal. The 120 film also appears to be unusually prone to edge fogging. I shoot the FP4+ at EI 125, I have actually tested it's true speed to be about 200 in my darkroom setup using two separate densitometers.
So does anyone see a major advantage for the Efke other than a minor advantage in cost (negated by JandC's high shipping costs). Indeed it is actually more expensive in 120 than FP4. I realize it is available in some rather unusual sizes. Indeed I intend to order it in 4x10 when that size becomes available in the Efke film. I use conventional developers and avoid use of staining developers since I can be sloppy with my chemicals though I do tend to be very meticulous with time/temp etc.
I have ordered another 50 sheet box and will form my own opinion but wanted to elicit some feedback from the group.
Last edited by haziz; 11-13-2005 at 05:38 AM. Click to view previous post history.
I'll step in as one who prefers Efke over FP4+, but both are fine films and although Efke works better for me I'd be unsurprised to find that FP4+ works better for others.
One thing I will point out is that it's unsurprising that your comparison of the two films is giving you Efke negatives that are significantly grainier. Rodinal 1:50 is generally recognized as providing negatives that are perceived as very grainy, whereas D-76 and clones thereof tend to clump the silver less, leading to less grainy looking negatives even at 1:1. Try developing some FP4+ in Rodinal and compare it to the Efke; I'm sure you'll find the difference much smaller. "Apples to apples...", as they say.
As to why I prefer Efke 100: I develop most of my film in Pyrocat-HD. My 8x10 negatives are all contact printed on Azo whereas my smaller negatives are all enlarged. I've found that I can build density forever with Efke. The film gives me the look that I want, with wonderful mid-tone separation, great shadow detail, and highlights that hold detail extremely well. I did try FP4+, but using my normal chemicals and procedures I found that I couldn't get the same amount of expansion or contraction out of it as I could with Efke 100. FP4+ is an excellent film, but using my procedures and for my purposes, Efke 100 is a better film.
The downsides to Efke are the obvious: it's extremely soft when wet and is easily scratched (I use a Unicolor drum and don't have any problems) and it really isn't an inexpensive film although some perceive it as such. J and C are the only distributors of note in the US, but I've found their customer service to be top notch and I'm happy to support them.
Regarding perceived shortcomings: I keep reading about emulsion defects with Efke film, but I've never found one in the film after having been through more rolls of 120 and boxes of 4x5 than I can remember, as well as a lot of 8x10. If there were defects, they were either too small to notice or of a type that didn't cause me any problems with my final prints. As to edge fogging: I've not seen it, but it's possible that the paper isn't as tight as that on other films. I make it a standard practice to use the black plastic tubes that J and C sell for all of my exposed 120 film and I've not had a light leak yet.
Using my processes and procedures, I find that Efke beats any other film I've tried for both expansion and contraction. I've run it at N+2 through N-4 with no problems, and I suspect that N-4 isn't near the end of what's possible with this film. Efke 100 responds wonderfully to stand development with Pyrocat-HD (and with very highly diluted Rodinal, for that matter). I've shot thousands of frames with Efke 100, and it remains my favorite film.
Again, I'm sure that FP4+ works better for some people...perhaps even most. But in my work I've found that Efke 100 is unbeatable, and personally I'd happily pay more for it than for any other film of comparable speed. It's possible that it's the use of a staining developer that gives Efke 100 the edge in my darkroom (although I have used Rodinal for stand development, and I believe Jay does a lot of work with staining developers)...if you want to try a staining developer then you can give Pyrocat-HD a try. In the bottles provided by Photographer's Formulary, it really is a "no fuss" developer that's as easy to use as almost anything else.
Last edited by Mongo; 11-13-2005 at 08:32 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Film is cheap. Opportunities are priceless.
You can put me in the FP4+ user column. I love this film for most of what I do, and want to support Ilford's support of the B&W community. I used Adox KB14 and KB17 in 35mm back in the '60s, but haven't actually tried the current Efke/Adox films. Thus, I can't really express a tested preference.
[COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]
Rio Rancho, NM
I quite like both, but all else being equal, if pushed to select one, I'd go for the Efke 100. I've not experienced any problems with the 120 film & it's been shot in old cameras with red window counters.
Try developing in Rodinal 1+100 for 19 to 20 minutes. Shot at 100, I get good tones, nice contrast, decent sharpness and little grain. I agitate less than typically recommended - 15s every minute for first 3 minutes, then one inversion every three minutes.
[QUOTE=Mongo]... but using my procedures and for my purposes, Efke 100 is a better film.
I think this sums it up rather well and the key word being "my". I'm afraid you'll really have to do your own side-by-side testing as see which one YOU like the best. This does not mean that you should disregard all the helpful advice found here; take all the good advice from the knowledgable folks here.
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I love Efke PL100 in largeformat but it is way to fragile for me to handle even in tubes. I am switching to FP4 for that reason
In 4x5, I prefer FP4+ to everything else. For 35mm, Tri-X is the one.
As far as I`m concerned, FP4+ it`s my favourite film!
Efke is better, IMO
Let me qualify this. 1) like like very smooth midtones. I like rich, voluptous, sensous and delicate, richly silvered film.
I used to use FP4 and what a film it was. FP4 Plus is but a shadow of its former self. It's painful to use.
Efke, on the other hand, actually has some silver in it. especially the 25....
We all differ in what we call a smooth toned print. I don't like Ansel Adam's printing style, I prefer a Caponigro, Paul Stand print. If you like Ansel Adam's style, I don't think it matters what film you you - they will all work. If you want something on the softer side (and I don't mean Emerson) very few will work, the only one I have found so far is the Efke 25....
I'll put my chips in with Efke 100. If your film is too grainy, you must be agitating too much. Rodinal 1:100 is an excellent dilution for all Efke films.
Why do I prefer Efke 100? I simply like the mid-tone contrast. It has a bit more "bite" than FP-4+. For some odd reason, I never warmed to FP-4 in any version. I like HP-5+ a great deal, but Efke 100 gives a smooth tonal scale with few blown highlights.
I have never experienced a defect using Efke film either. The tendency of the 120 films to curl is notorious. However a few days underneath a good, solid duotone photo book fixes that!