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View Full Version : False Economy, the worst film I ever tried to use.



Dennis
28-Jan-2015, 10:55
I go through a lot of 8x10 film and it has gotten so expensive that I try to find ways to get it cheaper and ways to waste less.
I have gone through several boxes of Arista EDU 100 and 400 and found it pretty dependable and consistent. I had never tried the 200 because I figured it was middle of the road grainier than a slow film and slower than a fast film. I recently bought a 50 sheet box of the 200 because I picked up some info somewhere on line that it was a tabular type grain and different from the 100 and 400. My 8x10 work is all in my little studio space and all still life so I generally shoot a sheet of film and go straight away and process it, in hopes to get something right with one sheet. If it has a problem I fix it and re shoot and process another sheet.

These last few days I have been trying out or trying to use the Arista EDU Ultra 200. I have gone through 7 sheets of it and so far every sheet is covered in weird little clusters of seemingly scratches in the emulsion though I can't detect any texture mark. It is somewhat like they coated the film over bits of dirt or fluff or lint. I am pretty experienced with film processing and probably have processed well over 5000 sheets of 8x10 since 1990. Lately as I said I have been processing one sheet at a time in a glass tray with the emulsion up and I never ever touch the emulsion except at the very edge. There is no way in hell that I am the cause of these scratch marks. A couple of days ago as I was getting really frustrated with needing to re shoot and after I had gone through 5 sheets of the EDU200 I said screw it and shot one sheet of FP4. I opened up a 3d of a stop and adjusted the processing time and first sheet first try I got a beautiful flawless scratchless streakless sheet of film. A day later and I am working on another photo, I decide to give the EDU200 another try and once again got unbelievably screwed up scratched up mottled film.

I just wanted to go on record here with that experience. In case someone is doing web research on the film. I know as always some other people will weigh in and say that they have used several hundred sheets of EDU 200 and never once had a problem. But that was my experience and I am a very careful methodical photographer and lab tech.

I am going to continue to use the100 and 400 speed but the 200 was a complete waste of money.

Dennis

Jason Greenberg Motamedi
28-Jan-2015, 11:28
I think the 200 changed a few years back. I used the 200 for several years and was really happy with it. Sure it had terrible reciprocity and I shot it around 50 ISO, but it was cheap, dependable, and it worked great for alt processes because it built contrast so quickly. At some point a few years ago Freestyle ran out, and the manufacturer (Foma) changed the product. After the change I too found it useless and covered in flaws. After trying two batches I gave up and moved to Ilford.

Drew Wiley
28-Jan-2015, 12:25
Hmmm. That film is quite unique in being one of the last true straight line emulsions in the tradition of things like Super-XX and Bergger 200, capable of handling very wide contrast ratios; but it is a much slower film (I rate it at 100) with very poor recip characteristics, as everyone knows by now. I gave up on it because quite a few of the negs had fine parallel scratches which can only have happened during either mfg or packaging, versus the kind of random scratches we might get due to careless tray processing. The rumor, perhaps true, is that the master rolls of film are fairly fragile or perhaps brittle when they are fresh. To quickly turn a profit on the roll, the private label film is volume-cut first, and sold under the Arista label or whatever. Then the official Fomapan 200 is gradually cut on demand afterwards, when the emulsion is more fully cured, and sold for full price. Someone would have to do a lot of testing of film sold under both options to determine if this is the case or not. I can't afford to. I got some wonderful prints with 8x10 sheets of this film, but lost 50% of my hard-earned shots too, due to blemishes. That didn't make it a bargain anymore. So I've stayed with TMY400 for its dependability, true speed, and relatively long straight line.

Pete Watkins
28-Jan-2015, 12:27
Living over here I've never tried Edu BUT I understand (not from official sources) that Edu might not have the quality control that other Foma films have. I use Foma films and apart from one sheet (which I can work on) I've found the 100, 200 & 400 to be good films. I use the film at box speed and develop it in D-76H 1-1. I use water stop baths and fix it in a neutral or alkali fixer. I wear gloves throughout the process and I understand that the emulsion is very delicate when it's wet so I only pick it up by the edges. I wash it in tap water (alkali) and give it a final rinse in de-ionised water. I then hang it up to dry. The reciprocity qualities are terrible but the manufacturers make no claims that dispute this fact. Simple!
Pete.

Dennis
28-Jan-2015, 12:47
I too always wear a glove and never touch the emulsion, or the base for that matter, except at the very edge and usually only the notched edge. I first tried Beutlers developer because I thought the edge affect might help the graphic type image I was making but after processing it didn't have enough density and it was mottled. So I switched my developer to Ansco 47 because it really punches up the whites and I decided that was more important than the edge affect.. especially since my print medium is platinum/palladium. I also eliminated the usual presoak and that might have significantly reduced the streaks.

IN any case I guess I can use the box of film kind of like a polaroid, first shoot it on the crap film to check focus and composition and then shoot a sheet of good film.

Dennis

Cor
29-Jan-2015, 07:03
Dennis,

Can't you get back to Freestyle and tell them your experiences ?

best,

Cor

John Kasaian
29-Jan-2015, 07:38
Dennis,

Can't you get back to Freestyle and tell them your experiences ?

best,

Cor
Yes, Freestyle should definitely be notified.

Dennis
29-Jan-2015, 10:06
I can write them to lodge a complaint but it is over 6 months since I bought the box of film. I suppose if enough people complain they might discontinue it. I think I will just write a feedback email to them. No way they are going to say... oh Dennis in Portland had a bad experience with the film so we better alert every one. I would still feel like I should post it in the forum. But yes I will write.
Dennis

Drew Wiley
29-Jan-2015, 10:22
The objective is not to discontinue this product, or there might not be anything to replace it! - but to iron out the quality control issue, or else only sell the more
properly controlled Fomapan 200 version of it, if it is indeed cut at the proper time rather than prematurely. A lot of the blemishes I've encountered would barely
even show in a contact print, even though they're a deal-breaker with modest enlargement. The 100 and 400 speeds of Arista discount "student film" are not at all
similar in curve shape to the 200 product.

Kirk Gittings
29-Jan-2015, 13:24
Yes, Freestyle should definitely be notified.

Three of us here are on the advisory board. Yes contact them absolutely. They do care about such. Contact Patrick DelliBovi.

Kirk Gittings
29-Jan-2015, 16:34
I remember when Arista was rebranded FP4+ and CHEAP. I bought a ton of it and froze it-still shooting it today.

SergeiR
29-Jan-2015, 17:42
I remember when Arista was rebranded FP4+ and CHEAP. I bought a ton of it and froze it-still shooting it today.

well you lucky then :) None of boxes i got from them was/is anything like FP4 :(

Kirk Gittings
29-Jan-2015, 17:52
Not luck at all-back in 2002 it was a known fact. Back in that day to make sure, I ran some fresh FP4+ and shot a second identical neg in the Arista 125 and then processed them together. There was no difference except for the notches.

David Karp
29-Jan-2015, 18:01
I am on my last 100 sheet box of the Arista 400 speed film that was private labeled HP5+. I think I might have part of a 25 sheet box of the 125 speed.

brucetaylor
29-Jan-2015, 18:10
I have had similar problems recently with Arista 200 edu in 120 roll film. At first I thought it might be me scratching the emulsion in the camera/processing/sliding into neg sleeves, but I think this is not the case, as the problem is consistently seen in multiple rolls. I also could not see a scratch in the emulsion which I would have expected to see. I think perhaps the reason I haven't see it in 4x5 or 8x10 is either the subject matter and/or the low enlargement factor.

jnanian
29-Jan-2015, 18:20
those were the days ...
photo warehouse sold
rebranded ilford too, cut off the master rolls
to any size for a tiny amount too.

and mrfoto on eBay sold 100foot aero rolls ...
and j&c sold efke and forte too

lot has changed in 13 years

Jac@stafford.net
29-Jan-2015, 18:27
Yes, I got some very bad film from some depressed country manufacturer. It had emulsion defects, and some did not even fit a 4x5" film holder. We know why.

To me, after schlepping a large camera about, and considering the investment in hardware and my health in general it is sensible to buy film known to be excellent. Why leave the final step to some schmuck in a desperate, poorly funded manufacturing enterprise?
.

Rayt
30-Jan-2015, 07:36
I have shot a lot of Arista.edu for its intended purpose which is as a budget film for students to learn with. It would be unreasonable to expect perfection given it was advertised and priced as a student film.

I understand while the Foma version is the same film the Arista label uses the ends which are less than perfect?

Flauvius
30-Jan-2015, 08:02
+1

As an aside, it amazes me that anyone who has gone through the large format learning process would foist likely defective film upon a newbie struggeling to understand all the variables in making a good large format negative.

In my opinion, it is damn near criminal fraud for a manufacturer, or any retailer, to sell such likely defective film to anyone.

Flauvius

John Kasaian
30-Jan-2015, 08:08
I've no complaints with 100 iso Arista/Fomapan but certainly these kinds of events are discouraging. I don't think Freestyle would ever knowingly sell defective film so your information re: lot number etc...would be of great value to them. If the issue was already reported your info would serve to further substantiate the extent of the problem.

I used to stick with one film until the distribution problems arose some years back when Ilford filed for protection and Kodak shut down when they built a new dust-free facility both at the same time (those were indeed golden days, as john nanian mentions, when Freestyle and Photo Warehouse sold proprietary branded FP-4+!) As a hedge against future supply disruption I'll put aside boxes of .eduUltra, x-ray, and the new version of APHS in "reserve." I admit is is fun to "learn" new films but as of yet nothing has replaced Ilford in my book (nor Kodak, but Kodak is just silly expensive in 8x10 and being special order stuff that makes it all the more a hassle I don't feel like dealing with.)

Drew Wiley
30-Jan-2015, 09:28
The complaints with this particular film have been on n' off for years. Maybe the fact that the sheet film footprint of it was limited while Fortepan/Bergger 200 was still around didn't turn up the microphone enough. I read plenty of complaints even from Europe about the 120 version, which might or might not be analogous. Perhaps the students and casual contact prints who work with the sheets aren't all that fussy to begin with, and can't tell their own scratches and air bubbles from actual film defects. It's a shame. The potential uses for this film in high-contrast situations are pretty remarkable if it could ever be trusted. I too hustled when Ilford film was temporarily in short supply, and might still have a box of 8x10 FP4+ in the freezer due to that panic. I thawed one out not long ago and it was still perfect. But this film and esp HP5 have very different printing personalities than TMY, which fortunately, I stocked up on pretty good in 8x10 when it was a lot cheaper than it is now. For 4x5 I prefer Acros in the mtns at least; but it has recently gotten even more expensive than TMY. In roll film it is
a bargain.

John Kasaian
30-Jan-2015, 10:54
I'm down to my last two boxes of 8x10 from the Great Yellow Father in Rochester (Tri-X & TMY-1) I shoot a lot of HP-5+

Michael Graves
30-Jan-2015, 11:37
I remember when Arista was rebranded FP4+ and CHEAP. I bought a ton of it and froze it-still shooting it today.

I still have three boxes of the ASA 400 that was rebadged Ilford. Use to have six, but for some reason, after you open a box and use the film, it goes away. The WORST film I ever tried was Shanghai. Emulsion flaked off and it was about 1/2 rated speed. Contrast sucked.

StoneNYC
30-Jan-2015, 22:30
Yes contact freestyle, if it's in-date they will most likely take it back as "manufacturer defect" and send you a different batch or refund your money, since you use other arista speed films I'm sure they will work with you.

Also, yes they used to use Ilford, not anymore, it's pretty obvious as Ilford is really the only manufacturer in England and the boxes are almost identical...

Same size boxes
128767
Same markings on box
128768
Same exact development times
128769
Made in England...
128770

Dennis
1-Feb-2015, 08:21
I thought I should update my complaint. I decided to pull a couple of sheets out of the middle of the box and got good useable film with both sheets. One of them is arguably flawless and the other has a retouchable straight scratch.
Feeling much better that the entire box is not a total loss. I just have to find where the scratching part ends.
Dennis

StoneNYC
1-Feb-2015, 11:08
I thought I should update my complaint. I decided to pull a couple of sheets out of the middle of the box and got good useable film with both sheets. One of them is arguably flawless and the other has a retouchable straight scratch.
Feeling much better that the entire box is not a total loss. I just have to find where the scratching part ends.
Dennis

Dennis, why aren't you sending them back? I don't get it?...

Dennis
1-Feb-2015, 11:38
Dennis, why aren't you sending them back? I don't get it?...


Because I bought the box over 6 months ago. I tend to buy film when I have some spare money rather than when I run out.