Thursday, March 08, 2018

Agfa Cinerex - Another Oddball Film

I purchased a couple of rolls of Agfa Cinerex IC1N film from Ultrafine last year, and finally finished up a roll in my Nikon FE a few weeks ago. I had forgotten to put a slip of paper in the film reminder slot on the back,so all I knew was that I was shooting an ISO 50 film.  I hate it when I do that, but in this case, my subject was a good test for the film.

First of all, what is Agfa Cinerex?  It's a fine-grained orthochromatic film (not red-sensitive) that was used in the medical industry as a cineradiography film.  There is no antihalation layer on the polyester base, so it's a good idea to load it in subdued light to avoid light-piping (which definitely shows on the sprocket area of the roll that I shot). It seems to have first become available online around 2012, as entries regarding the film appeared on Rangefinder Forum and APUG that year.  At that time, someone was selling 300 ft. rolls of it.

There is a dearth of information online from the manufacturer. I'll say one thing about Kodak -- they published technical data for their films and made the pdfs available online.  Thankfully, Ultrafine Online has some basic developing information available, and the links to the forums are helpful. 

When I loaded the film back in September, I did a few shots around town and forgot to indicate the film on the camera. I picked up the Nikon FE last month, and shot some beautiful fog shots to finsih the roll.  I shot more fog on a roll of Svema FN-64, and I will compare them sometime.

I developed the Cinerex film in XTOL 1:1 for 11 minutes at 20C, with my standard fixing time of 8 minutes.  The film dried quickly, and I scanned the negatives on my Epson V700.  There is a slight curl to the film, but it sat nicely in the 35mm filmstrip holders. 
See the light piping? Load in subdued light!

It's an odd film, of course, and probably not well-suited for low-contrast images such as the fog scenes.  However, with sunny conditions, and even low-light, it performed pretty well. Lots of good contrasty results in full sun.  The fog scenes are very grainy, and yet are very interesting.  That's probably pushing the film to accomplish what other films do better, so my next roll will be shot in strong light, and maybe even with LED lighting, just to see what I get.

Until recently, you could buy this unusual film in 36-exposure rolls from Ultrafine Online (also known as Photo Warehouse), but they are no longer selling it in 100-ft bulk rolls, and the individual rolls are listed as "out of Stock". That's too bad, because it's an interesting film. However, like I always say, "If you are late to the party, don't complain about not getting cake."

These all look pretty darn good 

As you might have guessed from many of my posts, I enjoy trying out strange films, especially if they are black and white.   While any film emulsion can be used for some sort of still photography, the challenge is often to see what a film is capable of doing well.  Sometimes the limiting factor is the low ISO of some cinema-specific films -- i.e., those used for making titles and special effects, or for copying to make positive masters.  With some films, it might be the spectral sensitivity that is a factor.  In some instances, we just have to wing it when it comes to the developing of the film.  With a large film user community, we end up having some good data on developing these films, and with sites like the Massive Development Chart, we have an easily-accessed knowledge base.  The gang at the Film Photography Project also have been providing us with some oddball films from Eastern Europe.  If you have been experimenting with any of these films, remember to share your successful results with the larger community.

After adjusting brightness and contrast post-scan 

Almost looks like a pen and ink image.


Jim Grey said...

These are all super lovely. The more I shoot the less I'm interested in oddball b/w films, but I like your results with this stuff!

Doug Lynch said...

Very nice Mark, an interesting range of effects from the same roll!

Reuben Zuazua said...

I just recieved this film as an added bonus from a Bulk Loader sale that also included some 400BW of something called 481 and some Kodak Double XX