Mirko said, "You can see this difference very easily if you shoot outside. Try FP4 and CHS 100 II next to each other on a sunny day with some clouds in the sky or in portraits of a light-skinned person - of which you should have plenty in Schottland :). The old-fashioned look is caused by the way the film is sensitised with the gap in between blue and red (green). This separates the clouds from the sky, the lips (and spots) from the skin, etc. It would be great if you could reconsider this part of your article as it is somewhat misleading given the fact that you shot a subject where you cannot see it."
Since I hardly ever shoot on sunny days or do portraits seems I've missed it altogether! Happy to put that right, Mirko.
I'm hoping to a do a proper review of this film, comparing it with Adox Silvermax, in the near future but I thought I'd post some negative scans and print scans from my first 35mm roll of the new CHS 100 II along with my general impressions. It's the successor to CHS 100 which Adox said could no longer be made for a variety of reasons mainly concerning clapped out machinery and the unavailability of the spectral sensitiser.
I've got a soft spot for Adox as the brand's trade mark brings back a lot of memories. My late dad used to shoot Adox slides in the 1960s and there are a few of me when no more than a toddler that I'll keep in reserve with the threat of publication if readers don't start leaving comments again! I've been feeling a bit lonely and unappreciated since the comments have tailed off - but I digress.
Back to the new CHS and it's suitability as a general purpose, medium speed film. It's nominally rated at 100 ISO which means that photographers who frequent the forums will immediately expose it at 50 ISO or less and then start stand developing to control denser than normal highlights. Well, I'm a bit cheesed off with this approach. I've been getting beautifully-controlled highlights in almost all the film I've been shooting recently - and no zip at all in the mid-tones and an overall lack of contrast. Pulling a film is maybe a good idea if you live in California but in dreich and damp Scotland, where we still sacrifice sheep nightly in the hope the sun will shine the next day, a huge contrast range is normally not a problem.
Therefore, my first roll of CHS was shot at the box speed and developed in good old Rodinal at 1+50 for the 10 mins indicated on the Massive Dev Chart. Result? Pretty much spot on I'd say. The negatives have decent shadow detail, a good range of gutsy-looking tones, good sharpness and grain that is no problem at all on 6x9, full-frame, darkroom prints. I would have printed some at larger sizes but I ran out of paper (Tetenal Baryta Vario FB)! I'll do some blow-ups for the review.
Grain looks very reasonable under the grain magnifier. It's clearly nowhere near as fine as the likes of Delta 100 but it's not supposed to be. I'd say it's on a par with Agfa APX or HP5+ downrated to 200 ISO and developed in dilute Perceptol. I only shot a few rolls of the old CHS 100 but the new film looks a little better in respect of grain. What that means in practical terms is that it's hardly visible on the 6x9 enlargements I was making and would be noticeable but far from objectionable at 8x12.
Grain is a very personal thing and while some people like it by the shovel-load, others will take it drip fed from a pipette. You'll need to try it yourself to see if it fits the bill. I quite like a bit of grain but not an awful lot and I'd happily use this film for all my medium speed black and white work.
I've no complaints where sharpness is concerned, either. The first three photographs posted here are all (unspotted) print scans (all the rest are negative scans) and were shot on a tripod-mounted Contax 137 MD and 28mm f2.8 Distagon. The negs are very sharp. The subject of these three prints was the common stairwell or close of an early 1900s tenement building. This is a project that I've had in mind for some time and I've written about it here and here. I had intended using Fomapan 100 for the project but it must have the worst reciprocity failure of any film I've ever come across, meaning I'd be standing around for about 15 minutes per shot. Bugger that! I think, with Adox CHS 100 II, I've found my tenement close film.
I haven't done any testing yet but I'd say it needs no more than about half a stop extra exposure at shutter speeds of up to a few seconds and maybe a stop approaching ten seconds. What also makes it good for this sort of low light work is what appears to be a very nice ability to handle the extremes of light and shadow (this is the nearest we get to California).
However, on one frame a plus two-stop bracketed exposure led to window light bleeding beyond the confines of the 35mm frame and actually encroaching on an adjacent frame. This sort of thing can be a problem with some emulsions coated onto a clear PET base but Adox say the new film has an "optimised backside coating to fully prevent light piping". Still, it's there and you can see it in frames 50 and 52 on this pic below which is a "contact sheet" (actually a D700 shot of the negatives against a computer monitor). The frame numbering looks like it's for half-frame cameras which is a bit weird on a new film.
On the subject of the contact sheet, quite a few of the negs look thin but many were shot in low light situations where I just messed up the exposure and there are a couple of sunset-type shots with thin foregrounds. Where exposure was adequate, shadow detail is there.
Old CHS 100 was often praised for giving photographs an old-fashioned look. I can't say I've ever noticed this special quality consistently in any online pics I've seen. There's a tendency on the internet for people to just pick up on something like this and repeat it parrot-fashion until it reaches urban legend status. I didn't see this quality in the rolls of Adox CHS I shot (although I don't suppose I was looking for it at the time) and I can't claim to see it with the new film. Maybe it will become apparent with further rolls. A couple of the tenement close shots have a vintage look to them but that's probably just the subject matter.
Adox CHS 100 II just strikes me as a good, solid, reasonably fine-grained and sharp general purpose film. It dries with a nice, clean finish and there's hardly any curl at all to mention. Hopefully, I'll be able to compare it against one or two other films to give you a more objective view when I get round to a review so please remember to look back.
In the meantime, here are a few more scans, this time of the negs, to keep you going.
|A section from the 3200 dpi scan of the negative above.|