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View Full Version : Would it be incredibly difficult for an existing company to make Efke PL25M?



David Aimone
17-Jul-2016, 09:36
Just curious, this film was so unique and by far my favorite in large format, and now it's been gone for a while.

How difficult would it be for a company like Ilford or Bergger, or another small startup company (film Ferrania, Cinestill) to get the process from Fotomatika and produce this film? I know the factory shut down because their machinery broke down and wasn't worth fixing.

If I had to wish for one "new" film, this one would be it.

IanG
17-Jul-2016, 10:00
Bergger and Cinestill aren't film manufacturers, they buy from other companies. Mirko of Fotoimpex has stated there's notab big enough market for a film like EFKE 25 which was a 50 EI emulsion (25 EI in Tngsten light) and as Mirko was taking almost all EFKE could produce in recent years he knows the economics. The costs of re-formulation would make it uneconomic with relatively low sales, and the new Adox CHS 100 should fill the niche.

EFKE only made these films under licence from Dupont, maybe that had expired but thetechnology was very old, the plant making the emulsion and the coating lines were as well.

Ian

David Aimone
17-Jul-2016, 14:39
I haven't tried the Adox, so I just revisited their information. It's expensive, but if it's that good I might use it sometimes and give it a try. It does say you can use developers other than their own but at a lower speed. I develop Efke PL25M in Pyrocat-MC.

It's a shame the film isn't economically viable. I seem to get much more out of it than the other films I've used (at least when I can shoot a slower speed).


Bergger and Cinestill aren't film manufacturers, they buy from other companies. Mirko of Fotoimpex has stated there's notab big enough market for a film like EFKE 25 which was a 50 EI emulsion (25 EI in Tngsten light) and as Mirko was taking almost all EFKE could produce in recent years he knows the economics. The costs of re-formulation would make it uneconomic with relatively low sales, and the new Adox CHS 100 should fill the niche.

EFKE only made these films under licence from Dupont, maybe that had expired but thetechnology was very old, the plant making the emulsion and the coating lines were as well.

Ian

peter schrager
17-Jul-2016, 17:47
David you should try Foma 100..I think you might be surprised at the look
It's certainly cheap enough to try but go through an entire box of 50 sheets before you make a decision
Best, peter

karl french
17-Jul-2016, 20:12
Fomapan 100 is nothing like Efke 25. Though it is an interesting film.

The Adox is not particularly expensive if you order it directly from the fotoimpex website. I've been shooting quite a bit of it over the last year. It's a really nice film.

Currently awaiting their next production run...

IanG
18-Jul-2016, 00:46
I haven't tried the Adox, so I just revisited their information. It's expensive, but if it's that good I might use it sometimes and give it a try. It does say you can use developers other than their own but at a lower speed. I develop Efke PL25M in Pyrocat-MC.

It's a shame the film isn't economically viable. I seem to get much more out of it than the other films I've used (at least when I can shoot a slower speed).


The EFKE plant was old and wearing out, wages, rents etc were relatively low compared to Germany that was reflected in the prices. When Mirko/Fotoimpex introduced the new Adox CHS 100 they had to do research and testing before the re-formulated film could be released that cosy has to be recouped.

As Peter says if it's cost that's affecting what you use then Foma films are the way to go, While the Fomapan 100 isn't the same as EFKE 25 it's the same effective daylight 50 EI in practice and is a nice film. I've shot a lot of it mostly 120 but also 9x12cm, 5x4 & 7x5, In the US you have a big advantage as it's offered re-badged as part of Arista's range at lower prices, I also like the Fomapan 200. You do need to tame the contrast of Foma films, I used a couple of rolls of 120 to establish my effective EI and development time in Pyrocat HD and that's the same when using LF, developments is about 75% of the times for other films I use, that's important because Foma films build up contrast very quicky. I also tested the reciprocity which I've found to be nowhere near as bad as Foma datasheets would suggest.

I still have EFKE 25 and 100 left but my main films are Ilford Delta100/400 and HP5 with Foma as a backup so I've not bought any of the new Adox CHS100 which came out just after my last large order of Ilford film.

Ian

monotux
18-Jul-2016, 04:27
I haven't tried the Adox, so I just revisited their information. It's expensive, but if it's that good I might use it sometimes and give it a try. It does say you can use developers other than their own but at a lower speed. I develop Efke PL25M in Pyrocat-MC.

It's a shame the film isn't economically viable. I seem to get much more out of it than the other films I've used (at least when I can shoot a slower speed).
Make sure you are looking at the right film, it sounds like you've taken a look at Adox CMS and not Adox CHS II, these are very different films!

David Aimone
18-Jul-2016, 06:11
I use Arista EDU 100 and 400 all the time, and get nice results from it in Pyrocat-MC 1:2:100, but it's very different from the Efke film (which I also still have a dwindling stash in my studio).

I would like to try the Adox, but I only see Adox CMS 20 II and Adox CHS 100 II available in 4x5

LabRat
18-Jul-2016, 06:20
Guessing by the fact that even big film companies have sometimes stalled production on even 35mm slow emulsions, or jacked it's price compared to their other offerings, makes me think that slower films are something they prefer NOT to make... Most have different (even multiple) offerings of films in the 100ish/400 speed range, but their slow films have been on and off production/distribution...

I don't know why...

Steve K

IanG
18-Jul-2016, 06:44
I can't think of any manufacturer that has had a slow film on and off production/distribution and that's in 50+ years of shooting film. That's excluding copy/micro film and odd ball films like Techical Pan

Agfa stopped APX25 in LF very quickly slaes were just too low, they ceased it in 35mm & 120 becuase a key chemical component was banned and it was to expensive to re-formulate it due to low sales. I think EFKE eventually ran into a similar problem with EFKE 25 and Mirko indicated this was an issue with making a new slow emulsion.

Numerous Kodak films went due to poor sales Pan-X, Plus-X etc, Ilford have kept all their range except dropping Delta 400 in sheet film sizes, Pan F was never available in sheet film.

It's overlooked that modern T-grain (and type) emulsions are very close to the quality of older films like EFKE 25 which was probably the sharpest and finest grain film available from the 50's until Tmax.

The reality is the films we have today are the best available the biggest loss is APX25 & APX100.

Ian

LabRat
18-Jul-2016, 07:10
I can't think of any manufacturer that has had a slow film on and off production/distribution and that's in 50+ years of shooting film. That's excluding copy/micro film and odd ball films like Techical Pan

Agfa stopped APX25 in LF very quickly slaes were just too low, they ceased it in 35mm & 120 becuase a key chemical component was banned and it was to expensive to re-formulate it due to low sales. I think EFKE eventually ran into a similar problem with EFKE 25 and Mirko indicated this was an issue with making a new slow emulsion.

Numerous Kodak films went due to poor sales Pan-X, Plus-X etc, Ilford have kept all their range except dropping Delta 400 in sheet film sizes, Pan F was never available in sheet film.

It's overlooked that modern T-grain (and type) emulsions are very close to the quality of older films like EFKE 25 which was probably the sharpest and finest grain film available from the 50's until Tmax.

The reality is the films we have today are the best available the biggest loss is APX25 & APX100.

Ian

Ian, here in the states we have had some slow films in different formats that went away, seemingly for good, and surprisingly came back for a short or long time... (Mostly imported films...) Pan F, APX25 come to mind (and this includes 35mm)... Some papers have been like that,too...

Probably distribution issues, and it's hard to compete with the big yellow god here... But the first answer the retailers gave was "It's gone"...

Don't get me started on Pan X... Versatile film, that when discontinued, the Kodak rep told me "You don't need it anymore"... But when that was gone, it was gone for good...

Steve K

Pere Casals
18-Jul-2016, 07:31
Just curious, this film was so unique and by far my favorite in large format, and now it's been gone for a while.

How difficult would it be for a company like Ilford or Bergger, or another small startup company (film Ferrania, Cinestill) to get the process from Fotomatika and produce this film? I know the factory shut down because their machinery broke down and wasn't worth fixing.

If I had to wish for one "new" film, this one would be it.


Making a new film it's a high investment for the today's sales volume. Launching a batch may need some $40k investment, if everything work at first try, then if they make some $1 net (I completely speculate) they need to sell 40k rolls to pay back, not easy with "special" films with limited market.

Ferrania closed and now it's an startup.

Cinestill do not make film, they take Kodak Vision 3 movie film and they remove from it the Rem-Jet layer in order it can be processed C-41, instead ECN 2.

Anyway the big loss I feel... it was Efke's IR820...

interneg
18-Jul-2016, 11:18
Making a new film it's a high investment for the today's sales volume. Launching a batch may need some $40k investment, if everything work at first try, then if they make some $1 net (I completely speculate) they need to sell 40k rolls to pay back, not easy with "special" films with limited market.

Depending on the amount of R&D needed you may be off by one or two orders of magnitude...

Bob Salomon
18-Jul-2016, 11:35
Making a new film it's a high investment for the today's sales volume. Launching a batch may need some $40k investment, if everything work at first try, then if they make some $1 net (I completely speculate) they need to sell 40k rolls to pay back, not easy with "special" films with limited market.

Ferrania closed and now it's an startup.

Cinestill do not make film, they take Kodak Vision 3 movie film and they remove from it the Rem-Jet layer in order it can be processed C-41, instead ECN 2.

Anyway the big loss I feel... it was Efke's IR820...

How many rolls would you buy? How many rolls would people that you know buy? How much of those 40,000 rolls would not be sold?

Pere Casals
18-Jul-2016, 12:36
How many rolls would you buy? How many rolls would people that you know buy? How much of those 40,000 rolls would not be sold?

Hello Bob,

And still there is the chance that the initial emulsion batch to not work well for a number of reasons, the grain formulation mixes different ammounts of different sized grains, obtained by micro filtration, http://www.vivianeli.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Ilford-Andrew-C-300x300.jpg, but also there are different layers with different grain types, dye sensitization... also the process has to be repeatable.

The way a small company can survive is exemplified by Ilford, and it includes knowing the marked very, very well, taking care of customers and mastering the science and the bussiness.

I read this article time ago: http://www.vivianeli.com/blog/2015/04/ilford-harman-how-a-manufacturer-profits-in-a-declined-industry/

Regards.

PD: Anyway if all of them stop making film we'll shot collodion, like Sally Mann !!! : )

Bruce Watson
18-Jul-2016, 12:42
How difficult would it be for a company like Ilford or Bergger, or another small startup company (film Ferrania, Cinestill) to get the process from Fotomatika and produce this film?

The ideas of coating photographic films, and "small startup company" don't mix well. Producing film, and doing it well, is a big endeavor that takes a lot of equipment and manpower, even using as much automation as you can. It's not something you can do in a garage on a Saturday afternoon.

Have you ever read Robert Shanebrook's book Making KODAK Film (http://www.makingkodakfilm.com/)? It'll open up your eyes.

dwross
18-Jul-2016, 13:18
Apologies to y'all who know what I'm about to say :).

I agree that a Fortune 500 size film company is not going to fit in a garage. That said...it takes far less space than a garage to make your own film and or even enough to have a small "cottage scale" company. It no more takes a Kodak size operation to make great, pre-modern film than it takes an industrial bakery to make a loaf of bread. Not everyone's cup of tea, certainly, but it is important to know that making your own film is absolutely possible. http://deniseross.zenfolio.com/

Drew Wiley
18-Jul-2016, 13:29
Make your own. Just get a fan and a pile of dust. I've got a whole bunch of the damn stuff in the freezer that is worthless due to random dust in the emulsion.
Prior to those later coatings when the factory was on its last legs, I loved that film.

dwross
18-Jul-2016, 13:37
? Apologies, Drew. I'm not following your meaning. Do you mean that handmade film is full of dust (it's no more so than commercial film processed and dried in a darkroom -- depends on the darkroom) or that your Efke film was contaminated?

Tin Can
18-Jul-2016, 13:45
Apologies to y'all who know what I'm about to say :).

I agree that a Fortune 500 size film company is not going to fit in a garage. That said...it takes far less space than a garage to make your own film and or even enough to have a small "cottage scale" company. It no more takes a Kodak size operation to make great, pre-modern film than it takes an industrial bakery to make a loaf of bread. Not everyone's cup of tea, certainly, but it is important to know that making your own film is absolutely possible. http://deniseross.zenfolio.com/

Needs hearing twice! +1

Pere Casals
18-Jul-2016, 14:51
that making your own film is absolutely possible.
http://deniseross.zenfolio.com/

It is possible, but what its clear is that to make a good quality film with precise specs and multiple layers requires a lot of work, precission, machinery, knowledge and capital, ...and a few specialist engineers.

...But making something that can be developed it's quite straight.

The easiest way is to make dry glass plates with suplied emulsion. Or collodion... Still some people do it... and once every photograph was doing it !!!

If can adhere a polyester base to the "glass plate", you operate as if you where making a glass plate, remove the glass and you have film... yes !!

Pere Casals
18-Jul-2016, 15:00
due to random dust in the emulsion.


I found this solution to get rid of darkroom dust:

https://www.amazon.com/Honeywell-16200-HEPAClean-Tabletop-Purifier/dp/B0000TMDY2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1468879168&sr=8-1&keywords=honeywell+hap+16200

I Start it 10 min before, and I use clothes that do not emit to much dust.

Also work for scanning !!

dwross
20-Jul-2016, 06:52
It is possible, but what its clear is that to make a good quality film with precise specs and multiple layers requires a lot of work, precission, machinery, knowledge and capital, ...and a few specialist engineers.

...But making something that can be developed it's quite straight.

The easiest way is to make dry glass plates with suplied emulsion. Or collodion... Still some people do it... and once every photograph was doing it !!!

If can adhere a polyester base to the "glass plate", you operate as if you where making a glass plate, remove the glass and you have film... yes !!

OR, you could/can coat an appropriate film base just like you'd coat paper. Actually, far easier than coating glass plates. Any old polyester won't do, however. Normal PET is hydrophobic, that is it repels water-based liquids, which describes silver gelatin emulsions. You need a film that has been "subbed" to accept wet media (hydrophilic) and Graphix makes a perfect one, https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Duralar+for+wet+media

Tin Can
20-Jul-2016, 07:21
OR, you could/can coat an appropriate film base just like you'd coat paper. Actually, far easier than coating glass plates. Any old polyester won't do, however. Normal PET is hydrophilic, that is it repels water-based liquids, which describes silver gelatin emulsions. You need a film that has been "subbed" to accept wet media and Graphix makes a perfect one, https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Duralar+for+wet+media

Very good suggestion Denise.

I put some on a wish list.

Yes, glass needs something. 20 years ago I took a watercolor painting glass and decided to shock my peers. I poured and brushed standard watercolor paint on a 2X6 ft wood window. Made my original painting very quickly. Actually well received. It was OK for 10 years, then the paint shrunk a bit.

But by then I had what I really wanted, the actual discarded window, as it was from a 100 year old school that was later demolished. I knew that desecration was just a matter of time.

I removed the 'painting' 5 years ago and now my windowless darkroom has a fake window and many memories.

dwross
20-Jul-2016, 07:26
[QUOTE=Randy Moe;1341171 ...

I removed the 'painting' 5 years ago and now my windowless darkroom has a fake window and many memories.[/QUOTE]

:)!!

Pere Casals
20-Jul-2016, 07:42
OR, you could/can coat an appropriate film base just like you'd coat paper. Actually, far easier than coating glass plates. Any old polyester won't do, however. Normal PET is hydrophilic, that is it repels water-based liquids, which describes silver gelatin emulsions. You need a film that has been "subbed" to accept wet media and Graphix makes a perfect one, https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Duralar+for+wet+media

Hello Denise,

Thanks for the information... this is a very good option.

(I've searched a bit and I found how they convert hidrophobic to hidrophilic as industry needs to paint on PET http://www.nature.com/pj/journal/v43/n6/full/pj201120a.html )

I'm to study you book word by word, I want to learn about emulsion handling in that way.

Perhaps in the future I'll ask you !!

Best Regards
Pere

dwross
21-Jul-2016, 06:31
I hope you do give it a go. I predict fun :). I wish more photographers who still have a darkroom (or at least a dark’able corner they could set up in) would try their hand at emulsion making. At the very least, it would be educational. Silver gelatin is such a big part of the history of photography and there is nothing, literally (if I can use an overused word), like making a material to understand more about its basics, even if you still mostly buy the stuff or even if you mostly work with d-cams.

I’m old enough to remember when all of the “alternative” processes were just starting to be rediscovered. Arizona State University (Bill Jay was there then) called the classes “non-silver” even though albumen was on the list. Wet plate wasn’t, however, and carbon was a process no one thought possible to revive. One of my fellow students was the only one working with gum printing and most of us thought she was doomed to futile failure.

The trip down memory lane has a point (although there is something about this time of year, with summer fleeing by, that makes one realize how fast time flies). All of the alternative/traditional processes that are now so well worked out got there because a great number of people experimented with them and shared their work flow and/or their art with the world. Even though there are still (a few) silver gelatin materials left that we can buy, I hope that more people will lean into learning the process. If we don’t, a lot of photography will be become merely abstract history.

Drew Wiley
21-Jul-2016, 11:54
Pere - I'm afraid a little desktop dust or cigarette smoke remover like that isn't going to be of much use in a big industrial emulsion coating room. Efke's giant plant was inherited from cold war days when it was subsidized by the state, and they just couldn't afford to keep up with the necessary scale of maintenance anymore,
on their own income. Toward the end, they resorted to hanging sheets of ordinary black polyethylene over the ceiling and walls to limit dust and paint chips, but that is hardly a substitute for a true cleanroom environment. But for home darkrooms, those little desktop air cleaners can be quite handy.

Pere Casals
21-Jul-2016, 17:55
Pere - I'm afraid a little desktop dust or cigarette smoke remover.

Drew, I've tested it. I bought this one https://www.amazon.com/Honeywell-16200-HEPAClean-Tabletop-Purifier/dp/B0000TMDY2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1469147806&sr=8-1&keywords=honeywell+hap and it is not small at all, small ones have 1/20 of the power of this one.

It has two filters, air first pass throught a foam filter that can be washed, later it pass throught an HEPA filter. To qualify as HEPA by US government standards, an air filter must remove (from the air that passes through) 99.97% of particles that have a size of 0.3 Ám.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HEPA

This is really beneficial for asthma and allergy sufferers.

I found that after working some 15 min that device left no visible dust in a small 6m2 room, where I operate, no particle in negatives or while scanning, tyndall illumination found nothing.

But... (and then comes the "but") a person is a source of particles, from skin and clothes, so to be completely dust free one must wear apropriate clothes, if I hit a jeans pants with the hand an incredible cloud of particles is seen with tyndall illumination.

The room has to have no hiding places for dust and working area has to be routinely blowed with compressed air to rise all dust, to be taken by the device.

If you manipulate and scan film I recommend it, really.

Pere Casals
21-Jul-2016, 18:10
If we don’t, a lot of photography will be become merely abstract history.

Your reply made me happy !!

Thanks for motivating me into it, I think I needed that little push.

First I want to do is to print over glass a photograph I love, as if it was a big slide, later I'll go further, I thing I've a lot to learn, but I'm eager to do it.

I'll ask you things in the future

Regards