Sunday, August 30, 2015

Shooting Svema Again

If you have been a follower of the Film Photography Project (FPP), you probably are aware that they are the only seller in the US of "factory fresh" Svema film, which is a Ukrainian-based factory.  The FPP has been buying miles of the film, and you can purchase it from them by the roll, or in bulk rolls. Earlier, I tested a bunch of the Svema films, and really have liked the different stocks that I have tried. The redscale was certainly unique.  The Svema FN64 is another "keeper." Most of the Svema films appear to be on a Polyester base (PET?), which in the case of  Svema 100, is whisper-thin, but tough as nails.  You cannot rip it.  This also makes me wonder what the original application of the film was for.  Traffic or military surveillance? In any event, there are no flashed edge markings in the film sprockets, or other identification.  I obtained a bulk roll of 100 feet from the FPP, and because it is definitely thinner than acetate-based films, the roll seems more compact.  The film is easy to load into cassettes, and I suspect that one could easily fit 48 frames in a standard cassette.  However, I try to be in the 30-35 frame range when I load.

Developers -- I used the standard recommended developer for this film - D-76 1:1 for 11.5 minutes at 20 deg. C.  The Massive Development chart lists HC110 dilution B for 11 minutes for an ISO of 200.  I have enough to experiment with, so I may try Rodinal for 6 min at 1:25 just to see what I get.  Mike Raso uses D-76 full-strength for 6 minutes.

I shot a roll with my Nikkormat EL  and a 45mm 2.8 GN Nikkor (which is quite the "pancake lens") last week, and developed the film the same night.  The film went fairly easily into my plastic  Jobo reel, and I processed as described above in D-76.  It takes only a short time for the film to dry.  I would say that it is totally different from traditional emulsions.   One thing to note -- since this film is so thin, make sure that your take-up spool grabs it positively before you start shooting.

The film lies very flat in the scanning holders with no cupping or curling, and scans beautifully.  I used my Epson V700 scanner at 2400 dpi, 8 bit-gray scale, and below are some of the images that resulted.  Overall, I like the grain and  the tonality of the film, and as I shoot more with it, I'll have more opportunity to tweak it in the development process.











3 comments:

Jim Grey said...

If you told me this was T-Max, I would have believed you.

Wolfy said...

How is it with skin tones?

Mark O'Brien said...

I will have to shoot some people with it, and I'll let you knw how the skin tones work out.