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Thread: Super XX clone?

  1. #11
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Super XX clone?

    Mark - I belive you are incorrect about why Super-XX was discontinued. After all,
    it was the preferred black-and-white film of most photography schools for many years due to ease of use. But it was quite grainy, and as smaller formats gained popularity, was pushed off its pedestal by the newer T-grained emulsions. It was also a very proprietary thing requiring a tradition of highly skilled personnel and not just a formula. Nor did all three separations match well. The "blue bump" of the blue separation being unable to rise to the same contrast level as the red and green separations was infamous among dye transfer printers. Bergger 200 has the same problem. In fact, both 100TMax and 400TMax are far more cooperative in this respect, and in my opinion are actually better for color separations than Super-XX ever was, though there's a new learning curve involved with the developers. I don't
    know about schools everywhere, of course, but here at UCB, 400TMax is the new
    "standard" sheet film, with reliability and great versatility. (And yes, there are still
    plenty of students interested in view cameras.)

  2. #12

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    Re: Super XX clone?

    I agree with Michael and Dakotah. Bergger 200 was a sub-par film that was market hyped as a substitute for Super-XX, when in fact it lacked the most important characteristic of Super-XX, i.e. the ability for expansion development. And yes, this lack of ability to be expanded is exactly why it appealed to many people who don't understand how to control contrast. With BPF 200 you got the same contrast, almost irrespective of how long you developed it.

    I used Super-XX for many years before it was discontinued. With the possible exception of a fairly straight line curve BPF 200 was nothing like Super-XX, and this in spite of the BS marketing that told us that it was.

    Sandy King
    http://www.sandykingphotography.com/
    For discussion and information about carbon transfer please visit the carbon group at groups.io
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  3. #13

    Re: Super XX clone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Mark - I belive you are incorrect about why Super-XX was discontinued.
    Super XX was discontinued primarily because of the fact that the associated chemistry to product it became environmentally impossible and costly to comply with recently enacted EPA regulations. It had a vibrant following in LF/ULF circles for which sales were very consistent. This came straight from the folks that know.

  4. #14

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    Re: Super XX clone?

    I tried Bergger 200 specifically because of the comparisons to Super-XX. I was underwhelmed by its performance. I never used Super-XX because I took up photography seriously in the mid 1990s, after it had gone off the market, but I really wanted a film that would respond to Zone System controls. What I got was a waste of both money and time.

    --Gary

  5. #15
    IanG's Avatar
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    Re: Super XX clone?

    The marketing hype of Fortepan/Bergger 200 was correct but people are comparing it to post WWII Kodak Super XX.

    Most Kodak emulsions changed significantly over the years but the company never made a distinction by altering the product names. So while Super XX was in production for just over 50 years and Tri-X has been around for over70 years there's no distinguishing the generations and step changes.

    In comparison Ilford over the same period (late 1930's onwards) renamed their films going from Fine Grain Panchromatic & Hypersensitive Panchromatic, through FP2/HP2, FP3/HP3, FP4/HP4, HP5, and now FP4+/HP5+.

    Even those here in their 60's or 70's would have been using 3rd generation versions of Super XX & Trix-x in the 1960's and the Forte emulsions were based on the first generation launched in 1939. This is why comparisons show marked differences despite the common roots.

    It's also worth remembering that even in the late 1960's there were still significant differences between some Kodak films depending on where they were made. Kodak UK developer data-sheets gave different times and recommendations for Tri-X depending on whether it was made in the UK, Canada or the US.

    Kodak were still using older technology when their Hungarian factory began coating Super XX so it's unlikely to have been identical to the UK and US made versions.

    Ian

  6. #16
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Super XX clone?

    Sandy - here you are making a blanket statement based upon one characteristic. For
    projection printing, Bergger 200 could handle a very wide range of lighting conditions
    and still provide excellent shadow differentiation and highlight control using pyro developers, without the severe graininess of Super-XX. The midtones can also be
    marvelous. It's ability to do so relied upon a true straight line. Was it a replacement for Super-XX? Of course not. Nor is 400TMax. But for those of us who do projection rather than contact printing, these two films are remarkably versatile. Calling them "beginner" films might be acceptable if making life easier for folks trying to learn, but is a bit snide if you're implying there's anything unacceptable to advanced users in these films. I'm not belittling your persepctive as a contact printer
    on long-scale media, which is valid in its own sphere, and could use a genuine replacement for Super-XX. But for projection printing, Bergger 200 was about as good
    as it ever got. I won't go into rumors about why Super-XX was discontinued, other
    than the commercial reasons for substitutions I've already noted, but perhaps someone
    with a more immediate background to the story could. The environmental issue has
    already been noted, which also killed off some favorite old papers. I belive cadmium
    was a culprit in some cases, especially in the EU.

  7. #17

    Re: Super XX clone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Sandy - here you are making a blanket statement based upon one characteristic. For
    projection printing, Bergger 200 could handle a very wide range of lighting conditions
    and still provide excellent shadow differentiation and highlight control using pyro developers, without the severe graininess of Super-XX. The midtones can also be
    marvelous. It's ability to do so relied upon a true straight line. Was it a replacement for Super-XX? Of course not. Nor is 400TMax. But for those of us who do projection rather than contact printing, these two films are remarkably versatile. Calling them "beginner" films might be acceptable if making life easier for folks trying to learn, but is a bit snide if you're implying there's anything unacceptable to advanced users in these films. I'm not belittling your persepctive as a contact printer
    on long-scale media, which is valid in its own sphere, and could use a genuine replacement for Super-XX. But for projection printing, Bergger 200 was about as good
    as it ever got. I won't go into rumors about why Super-XX was discontinued, other
    than the commercial reasons for substitutions I've already noted, but perhaps someone
    with a more immediate background to the story could. The environmental issue has
    already been noted, which also killed off some favorite old papers. I belive cadmium
    was a culprit in some cases, especially in the EU.
    If photography could be assured as taking place within a predictable range of normal exposure and projection printing criteria then clearly your statements are on solid footing. All Sandy and several others (including myself) are adding to this post is a differing condition and perspective so that other interested parties that have differing visual criteria to express themselves have some compare and contrast information.

    Please do not take these comments as anything more than honest opinions on the subject being bantered around. If you can attain optimal expression within your photographs with this or any other film, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. There may be may others that take your comments and feel that there is commonality with how they may want to proceed. Similarly others may understand and appreciate differing opinions.

    Cheers!
    Last edited by Michael Kadillak; 22-Nov-2010 at 11:00. Reason: typo

  8. #18

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    Re: Super XX clone?

    Can T-Max 400 be developed by inspection or does it still have the magenta dye?

    BTW, I never remember Super-XX being all that popular in the 70's and 80's for general commercial/industrial large format photography. I used it for separations for dye transfer (still have some in my freezer . . . I think) but compared to the thin emulsion films it was not very sharp. Also I think I remember that it was somewhat more expensive than say Tri-X or Plus-X. The accepted reason was that it had more silver in it but I don't know if that was true or not.

    Henry

  9. #19
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Super XX clone?

    Michael - it's all academic anyway, since both of these films are unavailable to new
    purchasers. 100TMax is capable of a high degree of expansion, and will hold an almost
    straight line in certain developers (but alas, has a totally different look than Super-XX).

  10. #20

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    Re: Super XX clone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Sandy - here you are making a blanket statement based upon one characteristic. For
    projection printing, Bergger 200 could handle a very wide range of lighting conditions
    and still provide excellent shadow differentiation and highlight control using pyro developers, without the severe graininess of Super-XX.
    I considered BPF 200 a very mediocre film and stated why. It also had fairly coarse grain. That is not a blanket statement, but an opinion based on my criteria. However, the ability to do + development, which BPF 200 lacked, is not a problem only for contact printing. Anyone printing with a paper or process that has little or no contrast control, ie graded silver papers including AZO and Lodima, vandyke, etc. would be severely limited by the use of a film like BPF 200.

    That said, I used a fair amount of BPF 200, and its brothers of a different name, J&C 200 and Forte 200. But all in all I classify it as a very mediocre film, which is not to say that people who used it were mediocre photographers or that good work could not be done with it given the right conditions.

    Sandy
    http://www.sandykingphotography.com/
    For discussion and information about carbon transfer please visit the carbon group at groups.io
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