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Turner Reich
4-Sep-2008, 04:02
What's the closest film out there to the old Kodak Super XX?

David A. Goldfarb
4-Sep-2008, 04:51
The old Kodak Super XX, if you can find it. There are many good films out there, but nothing quite like Super XX.

Michael Kadillak
4-Sep-2008, 07:23
What's the closest film out there to the old Kodak Super XX?

Without question the closest sheet film to Super XX is T Max 400.

Super XX had the ability to linearly increase usable film density and developed in pyro makes contact prints that are to die for. That said it was really not a "sharp" film and can only be enlarged to a certain point.

T Max 400 also builds usable film density to the moon but is much sharper and has the best reciprocity properties I have ever experienced in any film. Additionally, I have seen it produce absolutely marvelous tonality when printed on silver papers and Azo.

I would also point out that people that have gained their experience with T Max films using T Max 100 and did not find it appealing must realize that T Max 400 is not even close to T Max 100. T Max 100 is highly sensitive to developer agitation and temprature prefering the JOBO rotary process. T Max 400 is considerably foregiving to these variables and can be souped in a myriad of developers with tremendous success.

Now that T Max 400 is being offered in ULF sizes and Kodak actually just finished improving the grains structure of this film to make it even a better film kicks T Max 400 to the level of the most advanced sheet film in the market today with impeccable quality control. I hope like hell that it continues to be offered long into the future.

Cheers!

JW Dewdney
4-Sep-2008, 07:57
can someone remind me what the code notches are on super xx?? I'll try to dig up some old negs and post... we should have a super-xx only picture post... or is that dumb?

BrianShaw
4-Sep-2008, 08:35
Bergger often said that their 200 ASA film was just like Super-XX, but after using some of it I'm not exactly convinced that there is any real substitute.

Based on M. Cadillac's comments I'm tempted to buy some T-Max400. I didn't like the T-Max 100 and never tried any of the other T-grain films.

Richard K.
4-Sep-2008, 08:56
T Max 400 is considerably foregiving to these variables and can be souped in a myriad of developers with tremendous success.
Cheers!

Michael, could you offer an example (or two) of developer (PMK?) and time for Azo and Pt?

-Richard

Jim Noel
4-Sep-2008, 09:12
can someone remind me what the code notches are on super xx?? I'll try to dig up some old negs and post... we should have a super-xx only picture post... or is that dumb?

The notch code is Two V's .
My three boxes of 4x5 in the freezer are the last for me so I use it sparingly.

Michael Kadillak
4-Sep-2008, 09:28
Bergger often said that their 200 ASA film was just like Super-XX, but after using some of it I'm not exactly convinced that there is any real substitute.

Based on M. Cadillac's comments I'm tempted to buy some T-Max400. I didn't like the T-Max 100 and never tried any of the other T-grain films.

Like many I purchased some of the Bergger 200 film after reading a same View Camera article written by Gordon Hutchings a number of years ago where Gordon stated that this film was comparable to Super XX. When I plotted it up and really looked at the data (density vs exposure or commonly called the HD curve) I understood the situation more clearly. What Gordon was stating in between the lines was that when one is printing silver (Density range of about 1.0 +/-) and staying within reason of normal development the center part of the Bergger 200 film curve is in fact a nice straight line. OK great.

However, when one needs to develop for Azo grade 2 (Density range of 1.65) or one of the alt processes that have even higher density range requirements OR one needs to increase development for a N+ scene it clearly becomes evident that Bergger 200 experiences a "topping out" of the films ability to attain usable density. It looks like the top portion of a capital "S". HP5 exhibits similar characteristics whereas FP4+ does not. I am simply stating my experience with these films and what I have learned in using them - nothing more.

T Max 400 builds usable film density to the moon and as I stated earlier, the reciprocity correction does not kick in until about a 2 second exposure. Some exposures I can use nearly the full stated 400 film speed with with LF and particularly ULF is an answer to a photographers prayer. Most alt process users already are familiar with what this film can deliver and many others are discovering its unique properties to make marvelous images. It is not the least expensive sheet film available but I know that the quality control is impeccable so in the balance it works for me.

As far as developers I know people that have used it with Xtol, TMax RS, D76 and many variations of these as well as pyrocat with regular dilutions and stand and semi stand developed. I have seen prints made with T Max 400 and Harvey's 777 on Azo that blew my mind they were so excellent and pyro works well with it as well.

I am sure that others will contribute their experiences with this film as well.

Bottom line is that I believe that we should all use the best materials available that we can afford and strive to make the best prints possible. T Max 400 is still available in 10 sheet boxes in 8x10 before Kodak goes back to 25 sheet boxes later this year and 4x5 is a regular stock item.

How fortunate we all are to have this many great choices in the analog world that was supposed to have been dead and buried a long time ago. And then to have access to an even higher quality silver chloride printing paper is to good to be true.

Cheers!

BILL3075
4-Sep-2008, 09:38
Michael,

Commercially speaking, is anyone out there packaging Harvey's 777, other than (name escapes me) one in Kentucky that sells the basic chemicals to make the formula?

Thanks,

BILL

Michael Kadillak
4-Sep-2008, 09:49
The notch code is Two V's .
My three boxes of 4x5 in the freezer are the last for me so I use it sparingly.

I recently experienced first hand Michael Smith print with some Super XX negatives that exhibited at least 0.5 units of FB+F and from which he made the most marvelous prints from. To look at the unexposed film edges and seeing that nasty fog my first reaction was Oh Crap this is NOT going to be very good. Then the lights came on for print inspection and I about fell over experiencing such print quality.

Here is the most critical component of this entire discussion.

The ability of Super XX to continue to build usable film density carrying the fog with it tells me that if you are going to store sheet film long term frozen you better make damn sure that the unavoidable fog that will come as a function of time will not be an issue. Films that experience density "top out" will not be as capable of dealing with increased FB+F as does Super XX. My feeling is that since T Max 400 also builds density to the moon it will be as capable as Super XX of accepting considerable fog and still be very proficient at making quality prints with it. As far as I am concerned it is like buying insurance.

Think about it.....

Cheers!

Michael Kadillak
4-Sep-2008, 09:53
Michael,

Commercially speaking, is anyone out there packaging Harvey's 777, other than (name escapes me) one in Kentucky that sells the basic chemicals to make the formula?

Thanks,

BILL

Unfortunately Bill, they are the only one that mixes this formula that is still proprietary from the 1930's. There is an article on Unblinking eye.com on harveys777. The company is Bluegrass and they are mentioned in the article. It is a replenishing developer that needs periods of unagitation to realize its full potential.

David A. Goldfarb
4-Sep-2008, 10:35
Aside from the long straight line characteristic curve that SXX had, some landscape photographers say that "it made the skies light up." In my own experience of using SXX well after it was in regular production, it does respond in a unique way to filtration, and I think that's what made it such a great film for color separations and for B&W landscapes. It's as if a yellow filter or an orange filter has a very precise and predictable effect on a specific part of the spectrum, equal to a filter of similar density in a different part of the spectrum. This is reflected in the spectral sensitivity curve of the film (not to be confused with the characteristic curve), and that is something that hasn't quite been replicated in any other film.

Lenny Eiger
4-Sep-2008, 11:15
Bergger often said that their 200 ASA film was just like Super-XX, but after using some of it I'm not exactly convinced that there is any real substitute.

Based on M. Cadillac's comments I'm tempted to buy some T-Max400. I didn't like the T-Max 100 and never tried any of the other T-grain films.

All my tests with the TGrained films have shown that they are as far from the SuperXX's of the world as possible. Old style emulsions used many different sizes of grains on the emulsion, enhancing sensitivity to varying amounts of light. TGrained films have grains that are all the same size. Further, as Mr. Goldfarb noted, the spectral sensitivity is different, and this throws off a lot of old timers... because b&w doesn't look like it used to, for better or worse.

The closest thing to SuperXX today, IMO, is Efke 25. It's close, but not a match.

Lenny

Michael Kadillak
4-Sep-2008, 11:50
All my tests with the TGrained films have shown that they are as far from the SuperXX's of the world as possible. Old style emulsions used many different sizes of grains on the emulsion, enhancing sensitivity to varying amounts of light. TGrained films have grains that are all the same size. Further, as Mr. Goldfarb noted, the spectral sensitivity is different, and this throws off a lot of old timers... because b&w doesn't look like it used to, for better or worse.

The closest thing to SuperXX today, IMO, is Efke 25. It's close, but not a match.

Lenny

Excellent point Lenny on Efke 25. I did not give it much thought because of the low ASA but it is in fact a very good film from a comparative perspective for this post. The low ASA can be challenging in the field and that is why I do not use much of it.

I understand that the spectral sensitivity for Super XX is different from T grained films, but I suspect that this is a variable that has been tweeked each time a new film is being formulated. I woud bet that far less than 1% of the consuming public is capable of understanding this variables affect on how the film reacts to light so for all practical purposes it is probably driven by manufacturing and costs than by esthetic objectives.

That said I remember talking to a number of seasoned veteran photographers that shot Super XX and felt that it was without question the absolutely crappiest film they had ever used. When it was announced that it was going to be discontinued they commented that they were surprised that it took Kodak that long to figure out that it should be put down. Go figure.

Mark Sampson
4-Sep-2008, 12:43
The reason Super-XX stayed in Kodak's product line as long as it did was directly related to its color response curves, which were matched. This allowed correct color-seperation negatives to be made for the dye-transfer process- I believe no other film allowed this. Photographers who used it as a camera film would, not surprisingly, be unimpressed with its graininess; this of course is not an issue for those who contact print.
In the late '70s I worked at a lab where we made b/w internegatives from color slides, and copy negatives from color originals, on 4x5 Super-XX. The lab owner never told me why S-XX was the film for those purposes (questions were frowned upon there), but the film's color response must have been the reason. Later I worked in another lab, where one customer regularly ordered 8x10 S-XX. He explained that this was because of its long straight line, which was useful when developing to high contrast for platinum printing. Which corresponds nicely to Mr. Kadillak's comments about TMY-400.

Lenny Eiger
4-Sep-2008, 12:46
I understand that the spectral sensitivity for Super XX is different from T grained films, but I suspect that this is a variable that has been tweeked each time a new film is being formulated. I woud bet that far less than 1% of the consuming public is capable of understanding this variables affect on how the film reacts to light so for all practical purposes it is probably driven by manufacturing and costs than by esthetic objectives.


I have spoken to a number of top people, authors of books we all appreciate on film and developing, and to a person, they hate the new films. They don't want to say so publicly, or have someone else quote them, but its pretty surprising.

I don't like the response the new film gives, either. I started in Photography in the 1960's and it looks wrong to me. I spent a lot of time thinking about it. I have one more test to run, and I will get there in a little while. I very much wish I had a film like the old FP4....

Lenny

Sal Santamaura
4-Sep-2008, 12:47
Aside from the long straight line characteristic curve that SXX had, some landscape photographers say that "it made the skies light up."...This is reflected in the spectral sensitivity curve of the film (not to be confused with the characteristic curve), and that is something that hasn't quite been replicated in any other film.Ilford's spectral sensitivity curves are labeled "Wedge spectogram to tungsten light." The Kodak curves you attached offer no insight as to what exposing light they result from. Nonetheless, the Delta 100 and HP5 Plus curves are much closer matches to Super-XX in this regard than the two T-MAX emulsions.

Michael Kadillak
7-Sep-2008, 18:22
The closest thing to SuperXX today, IMO, is Efke 25. It's close, but not a match.

Lenny

Based upon your comments I dug through the chest freezer and found a box of 8x10 Efke 25 that had been frozen for years and shot some today. FInished processing it this afternoon and I must say it looks really nice. Going to proof it tomorrow.

When the light is reasonable and the wind is modest, I just may have something here.

Thanks Lenny.

Jim Fitzgerald
7-Sep-2008, 18:57
Michael, I think you will find that Efke-25 is a nice film. It seems to expand nicely for me. I've been developing it in Pyrocat-HD 1:1:150 minimal agitation for 4x5 and 8x10 negatives and I like what I see. I don't know about the Super XX because I never used it but the Efke -25 has a great look. I'm always looking for a big rock to set up behind to avoid the wind. The film is higher in contrast and works nice for Azo and my carbon prints.


Jim

Michael Kadillak
7-Sep-2008, 19:05
Michael, I think you will find that Efke-25 is a nice film. It seems to expand nicely for me. I've been developing it in Pyrocat-HD 1:1:150 minimal agitation for 4x5 and 8x10 negatives and I like what I see. I don't know about the Super XX because I never used it but the Efke -25 has a great look. I'm always looking for a big rock to set up behind to avoid the wind. The film is higher in contrast and works nice for Azo and my carbon prints.

Jim

Thanks for sharing Jim. The other thing I remembered when I dug this ancient box out of the freezer (four years+) and looked at the crystal clear film edges is that low ASA films keep extremely well. Another in the plus column. The price is pretty damn good as well.

Jim Fitzgerald
7-Sep-2008, 19:23
Makes some nice prints also!

JIm

jetcode
7-Sep-2008, 19:57
What's the closest film out there to the old Kodak Super XX?

Bergger claims to appease fans of Super XX ...

David A. Goldfarb
7-Sep-2008, 20:01
They used to make that claim, but Fortepan/Bergger 200 had little in common with SXX, save for being a grainy medium speed B&W film.

jetcode
7-Sep-2008, 20:03
They used to make that claim, but Fortepan/Bergger 200 had little in common with SXX, save for being a grainy medium speed B&W film.

I'm not a big fan of Bergger but it works. I have no experience with Super XX.

Michael Kadillak
7-Sep-2008, 20:43
I'm not a big fan of Bergger but it works. I have no experience with Super XX.

Read Page #1.

Scott --
7-Sep-2008, 21:24
Check the For Sale ads... (http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=40364)

jetcode
7-Sep-2008, 21:43
Read Page #1.

I read and responded to the first post and later read more of the thread. It sounds like you have a lot of experience with that film.

I didn't get started in photography until 1996 and by that time Super XX may have already ceased in production. My favorite films are TriX Pro, Agfa APX100, TMax-100, Tmax 3200, and HP5. I think FP4 will be fine whenever I get around to shooting some. I've shot a little of old formula TMax-400 in 35mm. Bergger is a bit too grainy and requires a lot of light to get the kind of exposure I like.

Michael Kadillak
7-Sep-2008, 22:00
I read and responded to the first post and later read more of the thread. It sounds like you have a lot of experience with that film.

I didn't get started in photography until 1996 and by that time Super XX may have already ceased in production. My favorite films are TriX Pro, Agfa APX100, TMax-100, Tmax 3200, and HP5. I think FP4 will be fine whenever I get around to shooting some. I've shot a little of old formula TMax-400 in 35mm. Bergger is a bit too grainy and requires a lot of light to get the kind of exposure I like.

Super XX was discontinued in 1990/1991. Plus it was a very expensive film relatively speaking particularly in ULF sizes.

I am not participating in the lounge any longer Joe for a reason. I would rather concentrate on the art and craft of photography.

Cheers!

jetcode
8-Sep-2008, 00:03
I would rather concentrate on the art and craft of photography.

Cheers!

My teacher liked PlusX which must be from the same family as SuperXX. I liked HIE and Recording Film too both discontinued. The only ALT processes I did were Polaroid transfers, Cyanotype, some solarization and reticulation, and texture screens mostly right after school.

I'm pretty simple in my approach to imaging.

Turner Reich
8-Sep-2008, 04:17
With only a couple of boxes of 4x5 left in the freezer I guess I'll use it up. I use Efke 25 quite a lot but haven't used the T Max 400, I'll have to give it a try. I'm going to look for a film that works best with the new contact paper.

BrianShaw
8-Sep-2008, 08:25
My teacher liked PlusX ...

Me too... and I miss it more than I miss SuperXX.