Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Some Aged Scotch

Several weeks ago I received some 35mm film to test.  My contact at Ultrafine Online sent me a couple of rolls of Scotch ATG 400 C-41 film.  I was of course, intrigued, and there was some speculation that it may be the same film stock as the recently released Lomography F2/400.    From Ultrafine's web site is the description of the Scotch ATG 400 film:

"This is a rare film and this series was unique from back in the day as Scotch was trying to set themselves apart from the field and did some R & D, which mainly resulted in this ATG Series of films, which were originally meant to assist with underexposure and exposure compensation. This has resulted as the film has aged to a nice tone, which has been a favorite among Lomophiles, Holga shooters, and dedicated film shooters, who love have fun, shoot film, and experiment with different types of emulsions."

The ATG 400 film was tested by Popular Photography back in 1993, and came in behind 400-speed films from Kodak, Fuji, Konica and Agfa beating it out.  However, the review by Michael McNamara "400 Revolution" [Pop.Photo. September 1993, pp. 28-37] tested a number of attributes of these films, at a time when 400 ISO C-41 films offered users many choices.  Interestingly, almost all of the results looked best at ISO 200, but in most cases, acceptable results were obtained between ISO 50 and 800. The Scotch film was the lowest-priced emulsion, and was designed to have better rendition in the shadows.
From 9/1993 Popular Photography

Okay, this film has been in Ultrafine's freezers for a while, so I knew that I wasn't going to shoot it at ISO 400. I figured it was worth a try to shoot it at 200 and hope for the best.  I loaded up my Pentax K1000 with the 55mm f/2 lens, and shot the roll on an overcast dreary day inside Matthaei Botanical Gardens. I figured it would offer me plenty of color and I could photograph things I am very familiar with.

I processed the film last night using the Unicolor C-41 kit.  It was fresh, and I had only put 2 rolls through the 1-liter kit since I mixed it up.  Processed as normal.  When I took the film off the reel I thought perhaps it had not even developed as the emulsion side looked brown.  However, after drying, the film has a noticeable blue base, and the emulsion side looked "normal."

Results?  I am thrilled with the results from this film.  It has a soft grainy look that is pleasant.  It makes me wish the weather was warmer and I had a model outdoors.  It would really be interesting to see how it would do for portraits and figures.  I chose well picking ISO 200. 100 may be even better, so I'll try that next time for part of the roll.  Reds looked red, the shadows were not too bad, and while I think the greens are muted, tending a bit blue, it could also be the muted light that day. Full sun would be the next challenge.

Here are some scans from the negatives. Minimal post-processing has been done, and there may be dust spots that I have not cleaned up.

So, I am impressed with the results from this forgotten film. Maybe like whiskey, aging does it good. At $3.95/roll it's cheaper than vintage Scotch. You may want to give this film a try.  I don't think it's the same as the  Lomo F squared/400 film.  The Scotch film is probably close to 20 years old.

No comments: