Since the demise of Kodak Technical Pan, Adox has led the way with the finest-grained, sharpest film on the market in the shape of CMS 20. The negatives it produces are nothing short of staggering. I came across the pic above - actually a black and white slide from the film - on the Adox website and was blown away by the beauty of the tones in the Porsche Speedster.
With quality like this, is there really any need for larger formats, aside from technical concerns such as lens movements? The only fly in the ointment is that, just like Technical Pan, it's a tricky film to handle and to achieve consistent results with.
Adox produces a dedicated developer, Adotech, to help this process along. When you get everything right, the results are superb but I know from my own experience (that's one of my good ones above) that it can be an inexact science.
Perhaps that's more a reflection on me rather than the materials but there are a lot of photographers who've tried CMS 20 and come to the same conclusion. Perhaps some of us just aren't prepared to put in the time and effort to extract the best from the film.
Some photographers have wondered if there might be a way to tame the inherently high contrast of these document-type films using more mainstream developers but I'm not aware that anyone has cracked it yet.
However, reader Scotty Elmslie of Jacksonville in the US is trying to home in on just that - and I'll post his efforts so far this coming week. He's not there yet but he's heading in the right direction.