J&C Pro 100 -- any progress?

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Donald Qualls

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I've just finished scanning my first roll of J&C Pro 100 (120 size).

Great film for the price -- good contrast, scans well, plenty fine grained, and has good latitude (especially for an ISO 100 B&W).

Unfortunately, I won't be using any of it in my better cameras, from which I might expect images destined for large prints, especially optical prints that can't be digitally retouched. I've read of emulsion defects, and bought the film anyway, and though I don't have any of the reported pinholes, I do have a number of defects that look very much like the bubbles I saw reported in Fomapan 100 13x18 sheets a year or so ago -- in the positive, they look like a negative image of a galaxy in the night sky, a dark elliptical spot with a surrounding area slightly less dark, dimension a couple millimeters the long way.

I bought this film primarily to shoot in my box cameras anyway -- this roll was exposed in an Ansco Shur-Shot Jr. -- so the defects aren't a huge problem; none of this film will be enlarged above about 4x6 or 5x5 size, and the marks will be barely visible in prints, probably less so than those caused by dust on the film at exposure. In my better cameras, though, such marks could ruin an exposure that would otherwise be a wall hanger.

Is there any progress in correcting this issue for future runs of the film? If I could trust this film in my Moskva-5, Reflex II, or Spotmatic, I'd probably shoot a lot of it, because it's 1/3 the price of the Kodak film I've been using.
 

ElrodCod

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I bought a few rolls to try in my pinhole cameras (but I haven't yet!) and probably won't buy any more. Agfa APX100 can be had for as little as $1.85 per roll. Not as cheap as JandC Pro100 but after factoring in the cost and heartburn associated with ruined shots due to defects, its a bargain.
 

eric

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Same here. Bought a bunch for my Holgas, Dianas, Isolas and Clacks. I'll wait until I run out of the lot I bought and unless the pinhole issues resolved, its back to APX 100 for me.
 

jandc

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Donald Qualls said:
I've just finished scanning my first roll of J&C Pro 100 (120 size).

Great film for the price -- good contrast, scans well, plenty fine grained, and has good latitude (especially for an ISO 100 B&W). ..........


This issue needs to be looked at from the perspective of the current reality in the film business.

I've seen several posts saying "I am going to buy brand x, y and z film which costs almost the same yet is more reliable". What is not being considered here is are brands x, y and z viable at that price point? In all the cases mentioned they are not. What is being sold is old stock with price increases on the way.

The Pro 100 film on the other hand is viable at this price point for a long time.

If you want a premium film then you have to pay for a premium film. We sell APX 100 as well as Pro 100. The $1.85 price points you are seeing is because of dumping of Agfa film by Agfa to generate cash. If you place a big enough cash order you get very low prices. All the big players get these prices from Agfa right now. Some chose to pass it on to the customer and some keep the profit. This is why you see such varying price points. Anyone want to guess where this dumping is going to lead?

The cheap price point for Forte 100 (edu) was based on the false premise that Forte bought into that volume is everything. That's not happening anymore at Forte.

Ilfords dumping of bulk rolls to be cut elsewhere to anyone with cash at a fraction of the cost of Ilford branded film hurt them immensely. Does anyone think this will continue forever?

The Pro 100 film was put on the market to serve those on a budget and those wanting to learn the processes. It certainly is not a cheap can do everything replacement for the best the premium brands have to offer. That just doesn't make any sense. You wouldn't go buy the cheapest car on the market and expect it to perform like the exotics or even the middle of the road cars out there.

The point is that the Pro 100 film has a sustainable price point. All the other films being discussed do not and will rise in price or go away. A year from now these other bargins will not exist. Sure you will see the occasional film sold for near cost to create a loss leader to a retailers other products. But again, this is artificial and can not be sustained over the long haul.

With regards to the problems reported. We have seen emulsion unevenness. There is nothing that can be done about this because these films are being made on machinery much older than most of us reading this. If they upgrade to the latest greatest then you have a higher price point.

In all of the rolls and sheets I have developed I have never seen the pinholes mentioned. I have even examined many unexposed rolls and sheets for these imperfections and found none. I would suggest developing these films at 68 degrees and not using an acidic fixer which usually is the culprit with pinholes and soft emulsion film. I realize that some have posted that they don't use acid stop bath but still see these. I can't tell you what the issue is. Perhaps it's very random. But I have opened up a lot of rolls and sheets from various places in the lot and never seen this.

I think it's a great film for the price and will be even more so as the other films around it's price point go away or are repriced higher. It has it's purposes for general applications and students and others on a very limited budget. If you're planing a once in a lifetime shot it really would be unwise to trust any budget film. We and other retailers sell many other films at higher price points that are better films than the Pro. If the Pro doesn't work for you then use something that does. The film serves a market niche and performs well there in that niche. We've sold many thousands of these films in both sheet and roll. The overwhelming response from hundreds of customers is very positive with multiple reorders in quantity.

The film is what it is and is not likely to change over time either in performance or price. If you love it great if not thanks for trying it. There is not much else I can say about it than that.
 

Nick Zentena

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jandc said:
If you want a premium film then you have to pay for a premium film. We sell APX 100 as well as Pro 100. The $1.85 price points you are seeing is because of dumping of Agfa film by Agfa to generate cash.


If that's 120 format it's only a little below what it's been selling for north of the border for years. With the current weak US dollar APX 100 is selling for about $2 US. At the peak of the US dollar it was around $1.65 US. In local terms the price hasn't changed in years.

This is the first time I've seen US prices on Agfa film cheaper then Canada and even then it's only some items. Agfa Optima looks to be 25% more expensive then the local price after you take into account the exchange rate. If the US dollar wasn't so weak it would be even worse.

So from this side of the border the $1.85 US for APX doesn't seem that low.
 

roteague

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jandc said:
I think it's a great film for the price and will be even more so as the other films around it's price point go away or are repriced higher. It has it's purposes for general applications and students and others on a very limited budget. If you're planing a once in a lifetime shot it really would be unwise to trust any budget film.

Thanks for your well thought out response.
 

BruceN

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I've been through about 40 rolls of the Pro 100 and haven't seen any of the pinholes or other phenomena. I'll be switching back to APX 100 now that JandC carries it, just because I think the quality is higher and it's on a sturdier base so it doesn't tend to curl up like the Pro. That said, I agree that the Pro 100 performs well for the price and I'll probably keep a few rolls around just for goofing off.

Bruce
 

david b

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I am a die-hard APX 100 user. But I bought 10 rolls of the J&C stuff.

The paper backing is so bad that it leaked into at least 3 of the negatives of 3 of the rolls I've shot so far. Since I am shooting with my Mamiya 7II and I am only getting ten shots, the film now only gives me 7 shots and I don't know which 7.

But the 7 good negs look great. I just can't take the chance.

So, I will stick with APX 100.
 

Ed Sukach

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david b said:
... I But I bought 10 rolls of the J&C stuff.

The paper backing is so bad that it leaked into at least 3 of the negatives of 3 of the rolls I've shot so far. Since I am shooting with my Mamiya 7II and I am only getting ten shots, the film now only gives me 7 shots and I don't know which 7.

I don't understand "The paper backing leaked ..."

What "leaked"?
 

apratsunrthd

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Ed Sukach said:
I don't understand "The paper backing leaked ..."

What "leaked"?

I'm guessing light leaked. But hey, I've had light leak through the backing with Fuji and Kodak 120 films. On occasion, it's going to happen with any film.
 

david b

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the paper backing the wraps the film is a cheap type of paper and it leaked light onto the film. Check the other threads here for the same problem.
 

MattCarey

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>I would suggest developing these films at 68 degrees and
> not using an acidic fixer which usually is the culprit with
> pinholes and soft emulsion film.

I have run a number of 4x5 sheets through processing without any problems. I use 68C and water only as a stop bath.

I have another 12 sheets to develop tonight (if my boy falls asleep easily, I'll have the time!). I'll watch closely for any pinholes.

Matt
 

Paul Howell

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kaiyen said:
does it leak to the entire roll or just the edges?

allan
It leaks around the edges and on a couple of rolls several frames were streaked, camera back is good no problem with Tri X.

Regards

Paul
 

kaiyen

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Paul Howell said:
It leaks around the edges and on a couple of rolls several frames were streaked, camera back is good no problem with Tri X.

Regards

Paul

Intriguing.

I've had leaks around the edges on forte film when I didn't roll very, very tightly (and I now use the plastic canisters anyway). But never had streaking in a frame.

haven't tried this film yet, though. just curious.

allan
 

Mongo

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I've been through about 20 rolls of 120 and about 45 sheets of 4x5 Pro 100 so far. No pinholes to report, and I've been happy with the quality of the images I'm getting. (So far I've only used Pyrocat-HD with this film...although my nephew got great results using Rodinal.) The paper backing on the 120 is a weak point (as is the complete lack of tape at the end of the roll), but I found that out when I opened my first roll and have been careful to load and unload in shade (usually in my car) or indoors, and the light leaks I've had so far have stayed out of the image area. I've taken to carrying a small roll of masking tape with me to seal up the rolls after I unload them. I just received my first order of the J&C 120 canisters, and will start using those.

The emulsion is easily damaged when it's wet...probably about the same as the Efke films. It's a film that you have to baby a bit...but for the price I'm not going to complain.

I'd pay more for the 120 to get a better backing paper and real tape on the ends of the rolls. But as far as the emulsion itself, I don't think of it as being anything other than another good film in my arsenal.

(Two points: I have no connection with J&C other than being a happy customer, and my development routine, all at 68F, is pre-soak 3 minutes, develop, water rinse 3x, fix, water rinse 3x, hypo clear, rinse as per Ilford "water saving" instructions. Something here might help someone who's getting pinholes since I haven't yet...and, yes, I know I rinse a lot. Works for me.)
 

djklmnop

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I think there may be a manufacturing issue at hand. It looks like the type of scratch that a roller would cause. Almost like tire skids. I have developed nearly 10 negatives for EI testing I get the scratches at the exact same spot. About 4 out of the 10 has em. I've attached two shots where the scratches are identical.

I developed these with a Jobo CPE-2 at 68 degrees for 15 minutes. Microdol-X 1:3, with water stop bath and standard fixer for 10 minutes.

Andy
 

Mongo

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djklmnop said:
I think there may be a manufacturing issue at hand.

Perhaps I got lucky by ordering all of my film very early on. I got my 120 quite a while ago. and my 4x5 right after it became available after the mis-sized film problems.

This, of course, does open another avenue that J&C might want to look into...the film could be damaged when it's being cut rather than when it's being manufactured. It's my understanding that the film is made in China but cut somewhere else. Given the softness of the emulsion, perhaps the film's being damaged during the cutting and packaging operations. (This is _pure_ speculation on my part...nothing more.)
 
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Donald Qualls

Donald Qualls

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jandc said:
With regards to the problems reported. We have seen emulsion unevenness. There is nothing that can be done about this because these films are being made on machinery much older than most of us reading this. If they upgrade to the latest greatest then you have a higher price point.

In all of the rolls and sheets I have developed I have never seen the pinholes mentioned. I have even examined many unexposed rolls and sheets for these imperfections and found none. I would suggest developing these films at 68 degrees and not using an acidic fixer which usually is the culprit with pinholes and soft emulsion film. I realize that some have posted that they don't use acid stop bath but still see these. I can't tell you what the issue is. Perhaps it's very random. But I have opened up a lot of rolls and sheets from various places in the lot and never seen this.

I've never heard of problems with other films in an acid stop, when using highly dilute HC-110 developer -- however, I'll certainly try my next roll with water stop; one of the reasons I use Dilution G is so my stop time doesn't need to be so precise. Also, you mention "soft emulsion" -- would it be advisable to consider a hardening prebath, or adding hardener to my fixer, in order to protect the film? Or would I gain by changing to an all-alkaline process using TF-4 or a C-41 alkaline fixer? Scratches, at least, can be avoided with appropriate treatment (and I did find a couple scratches on my roll, too, though with one roll through a WWII vintage camera I don't have any basis for complaint or concern), and if the pinholes and bubbles can be avoided with water stop and/or alkaline fixer, then this could become my main film for non-critical use when I don't need ISO 400 -- which would mean I'd be shooting five to ten rolls a month, as well as few bags of 4x5 a year.

It is pleasing to hear that this is a long-term sustainable offering -- I'd like to see this kind of product and price continue for decades, especially if I can master processing it without the bubbles and/or pinholes and avoiding the scratches.
 
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Donald Qualls

Donald Qualls

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djklmnop said:
I think there may be a manufacturing issue at hand. It looks like the type of scratch that a roller would cause. Almost like tire skids. I have developed nearly 10 negatives for EI testing I get the scratches at the exact same spot. About 4 out of the 10 has em. I've attached two shots where the scratches are identical.

I developed these with a Jobo CPE-2 at 68 degrees for 15 minutes. Microdol-X 1:3, with water stop bath and standard fixer for 10 minutes.

Scratches in the same spot, as you're seeing, could also be due to the soft emulsion interacting with something in your Jobo system -- either during film loading/unloading on the reel, or something that happens during processing. I haven't handled a Jobo 4x5 reel -- do they have a stay or something similar that could be coming into contact with the wet emulsion while the film is in the tank? If so, you might see whether it's practical to load the film with the emulsion the other direction. Simple test would be to develop a few sheets in a tube or tray and see if you lose the "identical" scratching.
 

jandc

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Donald Qualls said:
I've never heard of problems with other films in an acid stop, when using highly dilute HC-110 developer -- .............

It is pleasing to hear that this is a long-term sustainable offering -- I'd like to see this kind of product and price continue for decades, especially if I can master processing it without the bubbles and/or pinholes and avoiding the scratches.

Pinholes from the factory occasionally do occur with all manufacturers films. While less likely from a Kodak, Fuji, Ilford and Agfa due to advanced machinery that spots inperfections in the bulk rolls as they are being cut coupled with the most modern manufacturing methods they have happened to everyone. We have had several claims regarding Foma film in both rolls and sheets over the years for pinholes which the factory has accepted as valid. We have also seen the occasional factory pinhole in other films. So while I don't completely discount the possibility that this is a factory problem our random testing from our stocks has not revealed it. In previous cases picking a statistically valid sample has found the pinholes.

From our experience with Efke film we know that pinholes sometimes occur when using acid fixers. This is why we recommend a water stop. The other important factor is development temperature. If you go past 68 degrees with these soft emulsions you run the risk of emulsion lifts and holes. You can be a lot more abusive to a modern film and get away with it. We have had several instances of people having problems and writing us that "I do the exact same thing with Kodak this or Ilford that and I have no problems". Once the process is refined to be less severe the problems go away.

Edge fogging is a problem with many films. The paper itself is opaque and does not leak. The streaks are from the edges of the film with light piping down the clear polyester base material. Some films use a gray base instead of clear and this seems to minimize the piping problem. However, you now have a gray base which has it's own problems for some people. The classic phrase "load in subdued light" applies. We are now including the plastic film canisters with each roll of Pro film. So if the film is loaded and unloaded in subdued light and kept int he black plastic canisters there should not be any problems.

I have PM'd the poster regarding the scratch issue posted above for more information. Nobody else has reported this as a problem before. Has anyone doing 4x5 with this film seen it? Once again, while scratches from the factory certainly are possible and have happened before our experience with these old style films is that usually the emulsion gets scratched somewhere in the developing process.
 

MattCarey

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jandc said:
I have PM'd the poster regarding the scratch issue posted above for more information. Nobody else has reported this as a problem before. Has anyone doing 4x5 with this film seen it? Once again, while scratches from the factory certainly are possible and have happened before our experience with these old style films is that usually the emulsion gets scratched somewhere in the developing process.

I haven't seen it in about 50-75 sheets of 4x5.

Matt
 

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Here's my two cents worth folks: From time to time, I have experienced the occassional imperfection on film surfaces. Different brands, emulsions, etc. Nothing to write home about though. But I'll relate the experiences of a couple of others who have had some problems, relevant to this thread. The first, was from a colleague who recently shot some Efke 4x5, and discovered numerous pinholes. The second report came from the owner of a local pro-lab who showed me a suspiciously looking similar problem that he's seen occurring with Ilford's XP2 Super B&W CN -41 film (more visible on 16x20's from the 120).

It seems certain that with the Efke, the culprit was highly acid stop bath, and is most likely the same cause with the XP2. The pinholes on the XP2 are a fairly recent problem that have begun to come up on other discussion groups, so I suspect that Ilford has made some unanounced manufacturing changes, with pinholes being the end result.

I don't know if that was more than .02 cents worth or not!
 

djklmnop

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The jobo reels keeps the sheet film separate the entire time. Even when you slide the negative in, they never make contact.. I have about 4 sheets that has those marks in the exact same area. If it was my rough handling or the jobo, I assume it would at least show up once on any given film, but never has.

Andy
 

titrisol

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I think JC pro is a decent all around film, and I'm happy with the images I've gotten so far.
Rodinal 1+100+Vit C did the trick for me, normal stop and fixing, hang to dry..
It tends to fog on the edges, and sometimes there are pinholes close to the edges from time to time.

I'll buy some more of this film for my Ricohflexes, the results are good enough for me.
 
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