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Saturday, 18 December 2021


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You say, "plain old Agfa APX 100", but for me, Agfapan 100 and 400 in combination with Agfa Rodinal were the magic combination for tonality and a look I loved. (HP5 in Rodinal was also a thing of beauty.)

[Yes, I loved Agfapan 100 in Rodinal. Made for each other. Although, curiously, not very fine-grained for a 100-speed film. Wish I had done more with it, now that it's gone. --Mike]

There once was a lens attachment that changed the field of view 90 degrees which when used horizontally allowed easy candid, if sneaky, shots.

Scala was a variant of APX 100 coated at the required (higher than neg film) silver/m² for it to deliver the desired reversal characteristics, not just 'plain old Agfapan' - all the nonsense about 'silver rich' becomes rather obvious when you realise that transparency films are coated at a silver/ m² rate several times that used in B&W paper (which has varied little since at least the 1940s).

[We'll have to disagree about this. I was Editor of Photo Techniques magazine at the time, and Phil Davis, Professor Emeritus of Photography at the University of Michigan and the author of Beyond the Zone System, performed sensitometric tests on Scala and APX 100 which proved they were identical. When presented with the evidence, our contacts at Agfa reluctantly admitted it was true. At any rate it doesn't much matter now. --Mike]

Interesting connection to APX100. I always was a "naive" user of Agfa Scala, working straight with it as it was and leaving the rest to the lab. It sure was expensive, but I never took more than a handful of shots in any one outing, so cost was ok.

Without the massive size of the raw material from the Fuji, I probably would have stuck to a negative-positive workflow, but those 6x9 positives where just so utterly gorgeous on the lightbox, I followed this route purely for the visual pleasure of those moments.

And on taking stock of the output, it seems to me that I never produced as many keepers as with the Fuji GW690 and (carefully metered) Scala. Subconsciously I think I still try to expose the same way with my digital Fuji, and then postprocess accordingly.

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