View Full Version : ERA Sheet Film

Neil Purling
22-Jun-2008, 01:48
Is the stuff as bad as some suggest?
This is actually marked "Panchromatic Portrait Film" on the box.
I thought I would buy a pack and find out for myself and save the Foma 100 for something decent.
Has anyone with actual experience of shooting & processing ERA 100?
I wondered about dev times for Rodinal or will the time for FP4 sheet work fine?
Now I heard that one of the Chinese sheet films was quite curly, but I don't know if it was the ERA or the Shanghai.

The only Chinese made film I have shot so far has been Lucky 35mm. That was strange stuff I wish I could get in 4x5 because it wasn't back coated and you got halation around highlights.

22-Jun-2008, 09:39
Hi Neil !
I use Era film in 4x5. I process it in HC110 (dil H) so I can't comment about Rodinal.
No, it is not curly. Not it is not a bad film at all. It's main drawback is the poor packaging and it's low contrast. I think it's the reason why it is given for portrait.
If you plan to exercise and practice your camera skills, it may be a good bargain for you.
I won't commit important work on it even if I think it's decent. Paranoid, who said paranoid....

22-Jun-2008, 09:43
My experience is it needs to be developed for slightly longer than the Ilford equivalent. Here are some images using the Razzle 4x5 with Era 100 in Suprol.





Neil Purling
22-Jun-2008, 09:52
How low do you rate the contrast compared to your actual first rate film (whatever that may be)?
If the contrast is somewhat low then perhaps re-rating and a corresponding change in development time may be called.
Does the development time of the HC110 and the dilution correspond to the time of a Kodak or Ilford film.

22-Jun-2008, 10:35
Era's low contrast shouldn't be an issue. It gives you a huge tonal range, then when you scan or traditionally print your negative you can decide just how high the contrast should be. Better to have the tone and lose it, than need it and not have it.

Neil Purling
22-Jun-2008, 11:19
Does the carton come with any development reccomendations?
The ebay listing of the film suggests perhaps the same time as for FP4 sheet.
Have you found this to be true?

22-Jun-2008, 12:15
Neil. Read my first reply. I stated that I found it needs slightly longer than the Ilford equivalent.

22-Jun-2008, 19:32
I've been playing with the 4x5 and ran a box of 8x10 through Pyrocat HD and got (for me) good results. 2:2:100 in a Jobo and 8minutes rated at ISO 80. This might be a little bit off as I don't have a UV channel on the densitometer but after some experimenting to find zones I and VIII on contact prints seem like reasonable results.

I have some Rodinal (F09) times but they aren't handy to me right now. I believe the film is listed in the massive development chart.

Packaging is a bit wonky, single box, then a kunky foil pouch (very hard to get folded just right to fit back in the box followed by an inner thin black plastic bag. I do like the interleaved sheets though. And if I remember correctly there is NOT the "U" shaped cardboard wrap around the film like Ilford and Kodak so be careful about flexing and squishing the bags.

22-Jun-2008, 20:48
I have had great luck with ERA processing it in my PhotoTherm SSK using Tmax dev 1:5.
I am using the FP4 times and the contrast is great for landscapes.
I bought 5 packs from the guys of ebay. The first box i used had at least 10 bad sheets. They are very scratched and dusty. It got better when i went to the second box. They seem to be all keepers.
I put a clip on the bottom of the sheet when it drying so i dont get any curl.

I really love this emulsion. Its one of my favorites next to HP5.
The packing is a bit weird. The bag is too tight around the film. I transfer them to another dark bag after i open it.

Neil Purling
23-Jun-2008, 00:00
Sorry Ash.

The Massive Developement Chart suggests a time slightly less than as for FP4, so if I try the FP4 time I ought to be OK.

Ian: How did you find the 10 defective sheets in the first box? Was it when you loaded the holders or when you took the negatives out of the last wash?

23-Jun-2008, 00:20
Hi Neil:

You can only tell after you dry them. They looked like a cat rolled in the emulsion when the coated it. They are also very scratched.
It got better as i went through the first box and by the second the defects are mostly gone.
I drum scan most of my stuff at the office so the Kami fills in many of the scratches. Some are still visible though.

I do find that the FP4 times work very well. I find that if i process them for 5-10 seconds longer, the contrasted is boosted slightly.
Sometimes i find it more pleasing for my landscapes.

Neil Purling
23-Jun-2008, 00:41
So don't use the stuff for anything of any importance?
I have the Foma 100 for that. I wanted this stuff for lens testing.

23-Jun-2008, 01:47
Not exactly. I shoot lots of important stuff using era.
You just need to keep it in the back of your mind that you might need to do extra work on the neg.
I personally like the look so i take the risk. The film doesn't look like anything else i have tried.
It is reminiscent of the older style emulsions. They did have occasional hiccups in manufacturing.
I feel that if the photographers of those days could work with something like this than i can give it a go.

23-Jun-2008, 10:58
It's not inexpensive for 8x10 -- $50 for 25 sheets + $18 for shipping

Neil Purling
25-Jun-2008, 10:15
I have loaded some holders with the first sheets. The stuff seems to have a natural curl. Perhaps due to a box a little on the short side?

25-Jun-2008, 11:10
I have loaded some holders with the first sheets. The stuff seems to have a natural curl. Perhaps due to a box a little on the short side?

I to remember a touch of the curl and it seemed like it was packaging related. I did a little re-organizing of boxes and bags and was able to remove most of the curve.

All in all, nice stuff and I have some more on its way to me.

Neil Purling
25-Jun-2008, 11:52
I might have read too much into other people's experiences of the stuff, but is the quality really hit n mis? I mean £9.20 for 25 sheets, you shouldn't expect too much.
As long as it allows me to test some lenses it'll have done what I asked of it.
I have got a 5" W.A.R. on it's way back to me that i'll need to properly evaluate before taking it on a shoot. This is what I bought the ERA film for, so I don't need to use anything better.

25-Jun-2008, 12:08
Neil, you have already seen my shots from the stuff, if you use it and trust it, you will get amazing results. I enlarged those images to well over 12x16, probably a few inches on all sides and printed onto 12x16 paper with no issues, hardly any artefacts and good grain and sharpness.