Thursday, 25 August 2016

Rollei RPX 25-Back to the Future

For some two or more years we have had the opportunity of using a 25ASA film of conventional manufacture by a quality film producing company in the UK. True,we had Technical Pan for a few years with all its mystic ways and an exotic and expensive developer to go with it. However, one has to go back to the days of the original German made Adox KB 14, followed by Agfa 25 to find a slow film that can really be used for general purposes. In this emulsion Rollei, ( or Maco,or Ilford/Harman) have given us a product that can be used for the widest range of subjects-given the light-and yet processed in a vast range of developers.At this point it may be wise to mention the Adox branded products made in Croatia which never reached a level of quality or consistency to make them acceptable to the Leica user.True,Ilford have had Pan-F at 50 ASA for years but it has  gained a questionable reputation for latent image problems with some workers and is often dismissed as 'tricky'. It has been suggested that RPX 25 is a development of that emulsion but, if so , passing reference must also have been made to all the emulsions I have mentioned in this brief history and the best qualities drawn from them.

My experience of the film has now included about ten rolls of film only and it has become obvious that true speed is an issue. Rated at 25 this film could well be marketed at 50 ASA with little problem. I have used FX-39 as a developer so far and had no problem in producing consistent ( very full ) exposure at 25 ASA suggesting that the manufacturers claimed reserve of speed is really present. However this is perhaps the result of using a(Leica) mid yellow filter on the cameras which could have an effect on the camera metering which is not the same as its effect on the emulsion. Needless to say a strict test would have to allow for such effects.The Data Sheet is interesting but no one can really tell what the camera is doing at present with any precision.For the first time the notes on colour filters in the guide books and data sheet come into play.

The base of this film is water clear and it lacks any of the grey density of many faster products.Clear developer is turned mid-red by development and this is no doubt a sign that a layer is being removed in the tank.Fixing takes place rapidly in the usual diluted Amfix /Hypam or similar product enabling wet time to be reduced.

More interesting is the prospect of dilute Rodinal use which may have a taming effect on film contrast.At present the use of FX-39 gives grain finer than I could have expected and no complaints about sharpness. Grain is hardly visible on a focusing magnifier. You will see that shadow detail is not entirely lost , next to do is something about the highlights.

Result so far-High Contrast print that can just be printed down but lacks full highlight detail.Back to the Darkroom.

Above Photograph: The Church steps at Alaior on Menorca,This church, Santa Eulalia, dominates views of the town,try visiting the roof -or the Civil War shelters beneath.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Farewell Colin O'Brien 1940-2016.

Sadly, we lost Colin last Friday at the age of 76. I can only direct you to the excellent tribute by The Gentle Author on the Spitalfields Life site and merely contribute this photograph as a record of a very happy summer evening at Bruton Place last year