Italian reader Donato Chirulli has been quietly working away on what seems to be something of a fixation with some photographers - getting CMS 20 to behave itself in a normal developer. It's not the film's fault, of course: it's the fault of photographers who are using it for a purpose that probably was never intended.
Microfilm-type material is designed to produce sharp, fine-grained and contrasty results for photographing documents and yet some of us insist on trying to retain those qualities of sharpness and fine grain and, at the same time, overcoming the inherently high contrast.
It might be a good idea to read the earlier posts on Adox CMS 20 to get a flavour of what we're on about if you're new to the blog. You can find them at Adox CMS 20: Adventures in development Part One and Part Two and Adox CMS 20 and Mainstream Developers.
But back to Donato. He's been tackling the tricky Adox film using a developer I hadn't heard of before - Ars Imago FD. It's Italian-made and seems to be a hydroquinone-based developer with edetic acid as a preservative. Donato thought to give this brew a try as it seemed to do well with Ilford's Pan F+ which can get a little on the contrasty side under certain conditions.
Donato's written up his initial findings in English and Italian on his blog. The results from his Rolleiflex look promising but there remains that slight lack of shadow detail which seems to characterise Adox CMS 20 unless it's rated at something like 10 ISO and souped in Spur-developed Adotech.
I mentioned this to Donato, who rated the film at box speed for his tests, and he said, "Yes, the shadows are a little too closed as the negatives were underexposed. I'll try it @ 6/10 ISO next time."
Ars-Imago seem keen to accommodate Donato on his quest and have agreed to help him out with materials. He's planning to take his tests further and will be writing the results up on his blog so it would be a good idea to add it to your reading list to see if he manages to square this particular circle.
On the subject of Adox CMS 20, regular commenter Andy Nutter, aka Morris 1800, raised the interesting - and entirely logical - proposition of using pre-exposure, the subject of a couple of recent posts, to deal with the lack of shadow detail. He has some CMS 20 in his freezer and is now considering pre-flashing with it to see how it responds.
Could this be the Holy Grail for CMS 20 when developed in a mainstream developer? Andy, it's up to you (no pressure).
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