IR film update

I'm going to write out a proper entry about my exploration of IR film as part of my series black and white and how I explore it. But I'm in the midst of information to share, so I'm going to share my thoughts and news now and worry about writing out a proper chronology of exploration later.

Efke IR820c

The Chapel

California Bay Tree

A tree from Rancho San Antonio

I've shot three rolls of Efke IR820c so far, all in 120 format. I have a roll of 35mm that I haven't gotten around to shooting yet. I'm definitely ordering more!

The first roll was with Melinda, and that came out just great for a trial roll.

The second roll was more-or-less ruined. The exposure was off on most of the shots (I think I got cocky about that) and I managed to fog part of the film, I'm not sure how. I loaded it with my back to the sun, which may have been problematic. The rolls of film I shot in the camera / back combination immediately after and before came out fine.

The third roll, I went on a stroll and alternated between the 29, 89, and 87 filters and got excellent results, no fogging. I'm still working on exactly how careful I need to be when loading and unloading, because I made sure it was loaded and unloaded with a drape over the film back insert.

For a 25 or 29 filter, I meter TTL with the film speed set to 100 and it works out perfectly on my Canon TX. I'll check this as to what the filter factor / effective ISO this ends up being. I suggest you run your own tests here, because it's very likely you will end up shooting a different speed than I do. I haven't done a test of 25 vs. 29, but with 29 you get the Wood effect (light-toned leaves and grass) and smoother skin, but you don't seem to have the sky turn black by very much. I would classify the 29 (and maybe the 25, I still need to check) filter as where you start to move away from looking like a standard panchromatic film and start looking a little like infrared. You can barely get handheld exposures with a 25 or 29.

With an 89 filter, the ASA is 3-6. With the 89 filter, you get all of the usual IR effects... Wood effect on healthy leaves and grass, black sky, smooth skin, etc. You do not get the halation halos that Kodak HIE has, of course.

With an 87 filter, the ASA is 1.5-3. I need to do further experimentation, but I tend to like the results from the 87 filter a little more than with the 89 filter.

I'm pretty sure that my plastic developing tank works quite well with no added precautions for developing. The first roll I shot being extra careful about excluding all potential sources of IR light. Right now, I'm handling the film as any other film I shoot and there doesn't seem to be any problem at all.

A question was raised about fixers. I'm using Ilford Rapid Fixer, which is a rapid, non-hardening fixer with no ill effects so far. It does take a while for it to properly fix the film and remove all of the dyestuff (3 minute clearing time, so 6 minute fix) but I'm also a few rolls away from mixing up a new batch of fixer. Pretty much any rapid fixer contains ammonium thiosulfate and will fit the chemical specifications that the old Maco datasheet calls for, since nobody's importing LP-FIX Supra. What I think they meant to say is that Efke IR820c is murder on your fixer bath as if it was a T-grained film.

Overall, I intend to make IR820c a part of my black and white photography from now on.

Kodak High Speed IR film (HIE)

Apparently one of the Kodak PR folks posted on APUG and indicated that contrary to rumors, High speed IR hasn't been discontinued after all. Like everything else Kodak's been doing lately, there's no official word one way or another about the film, so I'm very skeptical.

I've got 7 rolls of HIE already in my freezer and I intend to gradually stock up even more, to soften the blow if they really do discontinue it.

Efke IR820c is not a replacement for HIE. It's just the closest available IR film available. There's some questions out there about how available IR sensitizing dyes will be in the future. Otherwise, there's some hope that another player will release a new film that has sensitivity down past 820nm all the way to 1000nm and potentially leave the anti-halation layer off.

Kodak Ektachrome IR (EIR)

The same post also indicated that EIR is gone, with only the stock at hand remaining, maybe a few months worth.

I have a #12 Wratten filter and one roll of EIR. I'm going to finish it off this weekend and get it developed. The results from that will determine if I'm going to stockpile a few rolls or a bunch of rolls.

From what I've been told, once it's gone, it's highly unlikely that there will be another film like it.

Ilford SFX

I'm still excitedly waiting for the SFX I ordered to show up. It was supposed to show by now, but it seems to have been delayed. Freestyle is the first to list it, so I'll get it shortly after they get it.

If you check Freestyle, it's the least expensive film with any manner of IR sensitivity. I'm not expecting an Ilford-branded HIE replacement out of it, but at least there should be a nice assortment of different IR sensitivities at different cost levels, with SFX being both the least sensitive and the least expensive.

Note that there's a difference between a Wratten #87 and a Wratten #87C. The #87C will only let light above 810nm through, which means it'll probably barely work with Efke IR 820c, at some fractional ISO equivalent. The plain #87 works like a charm.

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