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Sunday, September 28

Kodak Bromesko - a 32-year-old gamble



Well, I got the finger out on Friday and managed a brief spell in the darkroom, just feeling my way back. For some strange reason, I decided it would be a good idea to try out the new Leitz 1C with some 10x8 Kodak Bromesko, the British-made version of Kodabromide if I'm not mistaken.

I wasn't really expecting too much from the Bromesko as I think it stopped being made in 1982. This was a half-full box I got from a guy at a camera club a few months back. My bundle is glossy, grade 2, single weight and has a slight warmth to it.

As if dodgy paper wasn't enough, I thought it was about time I used up a half-full bottle of Fotospeed warm tone print dev as well. So stale paper and oxidised developer it was. As these things sometimes go, the results were pretty good. I can't actually see many signs of fogging in the paper, which was a major surprise, although the maximum black is just a little weak and the developer didn't last very long in the tray at all.

You've probably seen these pics (I scanned the prints in colour to see how the image tone would look on the monitor) before as I've shown negative scans in the past. They are both Adox CHS 100 II negs developed in Spur HRX. I've used that combination quite a bit but hadn't printed from it and I wanted to see how it was.

The tree print is a bit heavy-handed for my liking. I'd have liked to have had the buildings in the background a lighter colour and should have dodged them a little or used a harder grade of paper - which I didn't have available.

There's a wee idea going round in my head that I should start printing 35mm negatives as 6x9 inch images on 10x8 paper and mounting them in 12x15 inch card mounts for a nice, even, three-inch border and I was curious to see what sort of quality the Adox film would give me. 


It's quite nice as it turns out. Grain isn't really noticeable in prints of this size and the results were sharp and quite punchy. Although the Adox CHS/Spur HRX combination scans very well I'm not sure it's anything special when printed, just a good sold performer with no vices. It's early days, though, and my opinion might change over the next couple of weeks with more experience of these materials.

Despite the contraction in the film and darkroom supplies market, there are still plenty of options available when it comes to film and developer and it's tempting to keep trying different combinations in search of the ultimate. But, as much fun - and blog post fodder - as that might be, I want to get down to one film and developer and, as my film stash is almost gone, I'll need to make my mind up soon.

7 comments :

Rick Scheibner said...

There's a wee idea going round in my head that I should start printing 35mm negatives as 6x9 inch images on 10x8 paper and mounting them in 12x15 inch card mounts for a nice, even, three-inch border and I was curious to see what sort of quality the Adox film would give me.

Excellent idea! One that I might use for home use only, of course. I've got some 35mm negs that are begging for a crop like that, not to mention some empty space on the wall.

Regular Rod said...

Bromesko was my favourite paper through the 50's and 60's. If your paper is not fogged and you have enough of it. Try Amidol developer and follow up, after processing and very thorough washing, with Eastman Kodak Selenium toner. It was a fast but lovely paper. When it was dropped I changed to AGFA Record Rapid, which was wonderful but Bromesko gave the warmest blacks...

RR

Joe Iannandrea said...

News of your success printing on vintage paper couldn't be more timely for me. The Durst M601 I picked up just this morning came in a lot that included a reasonably impressive quantity of Ilfobrom and Ilfomar (mostly grades 1 and 3, hardly any 2), all of it bearing the old sunburst logo, along with an assortment of other goodies such as a packet of Kodak Panalure F and a few sheets of Kentmere Kentint Metalic Gold in an envelope that still bears the Woolco $2.78 price sticker.

Bruce Robbins said...

Good luck with that lot, Joe. I've been lucky with both Bromesko and Record Rapid neither of which was stored in a fridge or freezer. I'm beginning to wonder if it's maybe more important for the storage conditions to be consistent over the years rather than very cold.

MartyNL said...

Getting good prints from fresh materials can be a challenge for me, let alone from "vintage"!
So under the circumstances, I think you've done a grand job. And hopefully this will be the start of a beautiful weekly, biweekly, monthly, juant into darkness? - No pressure then...

scotty195823 said...

Bruce

Delighted your test worked out so well. I am the chap that has the other half of that box so will be looking forward to seeing what it can do in Fein's Amidol.

Chris Fairfowl said...

I'm still using an old box of Kodak Bromesko grade 3 and it's still a lovely paper. Got it in a camera club auction for a £