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  1. #1
    Dave Krueger's Avatar
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    35mm Efke KB400 vs Foma Action 400 in Rodinal

    I've been experimenting with different film & developer combinations to see what the grain looks like and today I exposed Efke KB400 and Foma 400 under the same conditions and threw them both in the tank at the same time to develop in Rodinal 1:100 for 13 minutes at 70F.

    The Efke looks so much like the HP5+ that I did last week that I doubt I could distinguish the difference if someone offered to give me a new Nikon F6 (or whatever they're up to now).

    But the Foma was much different. Much higher density in the high lights and MUCH more contrast. The Foma also looked grainier in the print even though it was printed with a full grade lower contrast filter. I'm using me as a subject in all of my experiments with the same studio lighting. While certainly not the most attractive human subject, I find myself to be exceptionally reliable (I'm always ready to pose when I want me to be). Anyway, my lips are more pale in the Foma pictures. Looking at the spectral sensitivity, I'm guessing that's due to the slightly extended coverage on the red end of the graph.

    Anyway, I just thought I'd post this for general purpose info in case anyone does a search in the future looking for info comparing the two films. Of course, this is only one developer, but I was intrigued by the similarity between HP5+ and the Efke. From what I've read, Efke 400 is no longer HP5 and is now similar to old Agfapan 400 (or something like that). I was also surprised by the difference between the Foma and Efke, although they both seemed to perform quite well (I only did 10 exposures). I guess I was expecting them to be more noticeably course grained. I didn't get any damaged emulsion using my normal procedures (with non-hardened fixer) and they didn't seem much more curly than any other film.

    -Dave

  2. #2

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    Does the 400 have the blue tinge that the 100 has?

  3. #3
    PhotoJim's Avatar
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    Efke 400 certainly *was* HP5 Plus. Are you sure that your roll isn't HP5 Plus? You should be able to tell by the frame numbering on the bottom.

    I have some Pan-F Plus that was rebranded as Arista film. The top is blank, instead of saying PAN F PLUS as Ilford film does, but the bottom is clearly numbered precisely the same as Ilford film is numbered. I'm guessing the same would apply to Efke-rebranded HP5 Plus.

    If your Foma 400 was grainier and contrastier, perhaps it's overdeveloped. It should be grainier than HP5 Plus but the contrast is slightly puzzling.
    Jim MacKenzie - Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

    A bunch of Nikons; Feds, Zorkis and a Kiev; Pentax 67-II (inherited from my deceased father-in-law); Bronica SQ-A; and a nice Shen Hao 4x5 field camera with 3 decent lenses that needs to be taken outside more. Oh, and as of mid-2012, one of those bodies we don't talk about here.

    Favourite film: do I need to pick only one?

  4. #4

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    Well, don't be puzzled by the Foma 400 film's higher contrast. If the Efke 400 in question here is in reality rebadged HP5+, there really is no comparison between the two films. I like Foma's 100 and 200 speed films, but the 400 speed offering leaves a bit to be desired. This is one film that really does need to be downrated to obtain a good image. Seems to be working fairly well for me at EI 250-320 in XTOL 1+1 dependent upon lighting conditions. Just don't expect to rate it at 400, then develop accordingly, and get a good tonal range. It can be done if the lighting is very flat, like on a dull, gloomy and overcast day. All bets are off though in even moderately contrasty conditions.

  5. #5
    Dave Krueger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maxbloom View Post
    Does the 400 have the blue tinge that the 100 has?
    I've never shot 100 speed Foma or Efke films, but neither of these 400 speed films have a blue tinge.

  6. #6
    Dave Krueger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhotoJim View Post
    Efke 400 certainly *was* HP5 Plus. Are you sure that your roll isn't HP5 Plus? You should be able to tell by the frame numbering on the bottom.
    The frame numbering looks the same as on HP5+, but it says KB400 on the top. The expiration date is 4/2009, so it's pretty new. I'm assuming it's probably the new film that they started using after they stopped getting HP5+, but the fact that the negatives printed the same as the same HP5+ test shots make a good case that it's a very similar film (at least when developed in Rodinal).


    Quote Originally Posted by PhotoJim View Post
    If your Foma 400 was grainier and contrastier, perhaps it's overdeveloped. It should be grainier than HP5 Plus but the contrast is slightly puzzling.
    Usually I develop films for 20 minutes in Rodinal 1:100 and get the kind of contrast I like, so the fact that this was that contrasty with a 13 minute time seems out of the ordinary, but I don't think it's a problem. As you say, normal development for the Foma is probably much less than the Efke (at least in Rodinal).

  7. #7
    Dave Krueger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fschifano View Post
    Well, don't be puzzled by the Foma 400 film's higher contrast. If the Efke 400 in question here is in reality rebadged HP5+, there really is no comparison between the two films. I like Foma's 100 and 200 speed films, but the 400 speed offering leaves a bit to be desired. This is one film that really does need to be downrated to obtain a good image. Seems to be working fairly well for me at EI 250-320 in XTOL 1+1 dependent upon lighting conditions. Just don't expect to rate it at 400, then develop accordingly, and get a good tonal range. It can be done if the lighting is very flat, like on a dull, gloomy and overcast day. All bets are off though in even moderately contrasty conditions.
    Yeah, I don't think it's a bad film. Just different from my usual 400 speed films. Actually, I was testing these films to see if they would give me more grain than the HP5+ and TMY that I'm used to using. Despite the fact that they supposedly use older technology, I found them to be quite good even by today's standards.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by maxbloom View Post
    Does the 400 have the blue tinge that the 100 has?
    Fomapan negatives have a blue cast in medium format (both 100 and 400; I'm not sure about 200), but they're clear/gray in 35mm (100, 200, and 400). I've shot Foma in both formats (all but 200 speed MF), so I've seen this personally.



 

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