View Full Version : Efke PL100 and Black Madonnas

Patricia Langer
8-May-2006, 15:38
I'm leaving for France on Sunday and have a question about using Efke 100 in very low light. I rate it at 50 for bright days, but I will be photographing the Black Madonnas in dimly lit crypts as well as the landscape. I've heard that it's best to rate it at 100 for low light and that the reciprocity factor is basically the same as Bergger 200. The chart for this is on the AZO forum. Is that accurate information? Efke is fairly new to me and I will be travelling with my standard Tri-x, but I want to use both. I'm working in 8x10 and contacting on AZO. Any sugestions would be appreciated.
Thank you.

Scott Killian
9-May-2006, 08:19

I've shot over 500 sheets of 8x10 Efke PL100 - all of it for contact printing on Azo. This was my standard film/paper combination for some time. However, I began to run into batches with major quality control problems - streaking. This was not the result of my developing process because it was clearly visible on un-developed sheets right out of the box. Two other people I knew who were heavy Efke users had the same problem. When it happened to all of us a second time, we quit using the film. It was a wonderful film when it worked - expanded very nicely, but I suggest testing what's in your box to make sure it's alright before you travel to France with it.

As for rating and developing, you really should do your own tests because there are just too many variable that will effect the outcome. However, I rated it at 100 and my N time for 2:2:100 pyrocat in tubes was 11 minutes. For reciprocity, I used the standard scale 1 sec -> 2 sec, 2 sec -> 5 sec, 5 sec -> 15 sec, etc...

Best of luck on your trip.

Scott Killian

Patricia Langer
9-May-2006, 09:09
Scott, thanks for the heads up. What you said about the streaking is rather unsettling. You are right about testing it myself. I realized after posting that I was being rather cavalier heading off to France with untested film. I'll make time this week to get that resolved. Thanks for your help.

Patricia Langer www.patricialanger.com

9-May-2006, 10:29
I suggest you also take a look at 400TMax. I know that some photographers don't like the look of it, but I just love the smoothness I get with it on my Azo prints. I've made many 8 x 10 negatives of religious iconography in very low light and the reciprocity failure characteristics of this film make it a delight to use in that situation. If your meter gives you an exposure of 100 seconds, you need add only 1.5 stops. TMax is expensive, but I've never had a single quality control problem with it after hundreds of sheets in both 4x5 and 8x10.

Gregory Gomez
9-May-2006, 16:07

I took the liberty of viewing your website, and I must say you have a beautiful collection of very fine images. I especially like "Gas Pump 2006," "20 Mule Team Canyon, Death Valley 2006," "Kelp 2005," and "Sand Tufa, Mono Lake 2006."

I had been planning to use the Efke PL 100 film for 8x10 contact prints. However, I have heard too many complaints about its quality control and its soft emulsion, making shuffle development in trays a risky endeavor due to scratches in the film surface.

I don't like the look of T-MAX so that leaves Kodak Tri-X, which I use for 4x5 enlargements to emphasize grain, Ilford FP-4, Ilford HP-5, or Bergger BPF 200 for 8 x 10 contact prints.

My current thinking is to use Bergger BPF 200 developed in ABC Pyro.

What film are you using now, and when your supply of Azo is gone, what chloride paper will you use?

I'm thinking of preordering Michael Smith and Paula Chamlee's chloride paper. Hopefully it will become available and be a future source for a decent Azo replacement.

David Roberts
9-May-2006, 17:27
I've used the film extensively for Azo printing in similiart circumstances as you describe. Yes, I used the same reciprosity schedules as Bergger 200 as that was the film I used before Efke and the schedules seem to work well. I've just finished a commission to photograph a cathedral. One of the images was a shrouded crucifix in a dark place (as cathderals tend to be). My EI is 80 and the exposure was 3 1/2 hours yet there is beautiful detail in the darkest bits of the shroud.

I haven't heard about the quality demise of Efke. This would be a sad thing.

Scott Killian
9-May-2006, 21:20

Thanks for the kind words about my work. In response to your questions, I'm really not sure what I'm going to do now with film and paper. I'm in the middle of a book project and for the second time, I've been burned by a defective batch of Efke. This time it ruined many important negatives from a trip so I won't be setting myself up to have this problem a third time. Since then, I've been experimenting with Delta 100 and Tri-X. I think great results can be obtained with just about any film and developer so rather than jumping around to different combinations, I think it's better to simply stick with one thing and learn the unique characteristics of the materials inside and out. From heavy use, I knew how to get the most out of Efke so this is the part that disappoints me the most, but I'm sure I can learn how to get similar results with another film. As for paper, I should have enough Azo to finish my book, but I'm certainly looking forward to the new Lodima Fine Art paper from Michael A Smith and Paula Chamlee. I'm quite certain that anything they produce will be an outstanding product, even if it's different than Azo in some way.

In the meantime, best of luck to you in your own work.