SFX and other infared films...how to filter etc.

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by jtk, Mar 26, 2018.

  1. jtk

    jtk Subscriber

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    Are Ilford SFX and other infared-like films useful without red filters?

    How and when?

    I'm assuming they're useless without tripods. Yes?

    Rangefinder cameras and large format cameras might be better than SLR-types. Yes?.
     
  2. paulbarden

    paulbarden Member

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    I use SFX and Rollei IR in my Minolta Autocord, which is a twin lens reflex - a camera that is ideal for such films because it allows you to place a filter over the taking lens, leaving the viewing lens unobstructed.
    Without a filter, this film is very flat and uninteresting. I see no point in choosing this film unless you want to make use of its unique spectral sensitivity traits, which you won't see much of unless you filter. A #25 red is OK, but an opaque IR filter like the R72 or similar gives much better results.
    If for whatever reason you want to use the film without any filters, then its a fairly fast film (200ASA0 and can be exposed without a tripod under normal daylight conditions. If you use one of the special IR filters (like the R72) then the speed drops to about 5ASA, which makes a tripod necessary, yes.
     
  3. cramej

    cramej Subscriber

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    I've used SFX with a R25 filter on a SLR and was satisfied with the results. You could say that the images had a bit of a 'silvery' look to them. Not so much 'infrared' but different than regular pan film with a R25.

    I did not use a tripod and I remember I was shooting with a N80 and 50mm 1.8d.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2018
  4. Paul Manuell

    Paul Manuell Member

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    This is something that interests me as I want to give the SFX200 a try this summer. As the r72 filter is virtually opaque, how many stops of light do you have to compensate for? Do they come with conversion tables, such as those with some ND filters?
     
  5. mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

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    I love Kodak HIE but of course that's been discontinued (10+ years!) and most of my stock is pretty fogged. I kind of like shooting SFX200 with a red filter - it's not exactly infrared with it, but I like the look of it. However, my new favourites are the Rollei films (infrared, 400s, 80s) which are nice black and white films (but can be contrasty) on their own, but also allow you to shoot infrared on the same film (although again I use a red filter as I don't often have a tripod with me for R72 filter).

    This is old, but it's a good comparison of different infrared films (some discontinued) without filter, and with different filters.
    This is another site with some good information about the Rollei films and their infrared effects.
     
  6. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    This series was a few years back, and not as exhaustive or precise a test as it might have been, but offers some ideas. As a pragmatic sort, I personally would not pay the nearly $2.50 additional cost over ordinary pan film for SFX to just use it unfiltered. But I was impressed with what it could do. With the Wratten 89B -- a cutoff believed to be around 695 nm -- there was definite Wood effect.
     
  7. iandvaag

    iandvaag Subscriber

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    I've had good success with Rollei Superpan 200 (aka Rollei IR 400 aka Rollei Retro 400s). Put on a Hoya R72 filter, expose at iso ~6-12. It's a bit grainy, but quite sharp. It even works great in reversal processing, and makes for some stunning slides!
     
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    jtk

    jtk Subscriber

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    Thanks for the many experienced responses... will explore with the 85A and an orange filter, which I happen to have but never use... will report back and post photo or photos here :smile:
     
  9. Svenedin

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    I have taken quite a lot of pictures with Rollei 400 IR film and a R72 filter. It worked well for me. I've also used SFX but perhaps due to me rather than the film, I didn't really get much of an IR effect. Rollei recommends that at least one shot per roll is taken without a filter so that you can check developing and everything else is OK (since IR exposure can be quite hit and miss). The other advantage of Rollei IR is it is much cheaper than SFX. The black sky effect doesn't always happen, likewise the wood effect effect is unpredictable (but seems quite consistent with grass). The haze penetrating ability is really handy in hazy high mountain conditions. Early on in my use of Rollei IR (and SFX) I used a filter with a cut off that was too high (too far into the red) and nothing came out at all. All of the shots below are hand-held. Some on rangefinders, some on an SLR.

    In terms of exposure I set my hand held meter to EI 25 for Rollei 400 IR and an R72. Others use lower EI. It depends on the filter and the proportions of the various wavelengths of light in your scene. Using my SLR (an OM4-Ti) it can meter TTL with an R72 and the meter set at box speed (400). Many SLR's cannot meter accurately with very deep filters. Remember you may have to adjust focus for IR with some lenses.

    It's good fun. I hope you enjoy using IR film!

    Here are some of my examples:

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/144059001@N05/27853088574/in/dateposted-public/
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/144059001@N05/27853739353/in/dateposted-public/
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/144059001@N05/36507573575/in/dateposted-public/
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/144059001@N05/30950730701/in/dateposted-public/
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/144059001@N05/28436672846/in/dateposted-public/

    This one is just with a yellow filter:

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/144059001@N05/28363979202/in/dateposted-public/
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2018
  10. paulbarden

    paulbarden Member

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    Here is one example of my result using SFX with the R72 filter. Taken in May under overcast skies, you still see significant Wood effect.
    [​IMG]
     
  11. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

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    With those filters you'll be wasting your time and money, as you will get nowhere near the intended effect. The Ilford instruction sheet has very clear information on how to use this film: https://www.ilfordphoto.com/amfile/file/download/file_id/1904/product_id/702/

    APUGgers came through with a lot of really good advice in 2016: https://www.photrio.com/forum/threads/questions-about-filters-for-sfx-200.141008/

    My results were pretty poor, entirely due to my own error. I completely messed up the processing by developing it in d76 1:1 at 60f (room temp in my basement) for way too long with way too much agitation. Oh, and one roll came off the reel and got mashed up in the tank. But it was interesting enough that I'm going to shoot some more using what I learned about exposing it, and will wait for warmer weather to process it.
     
  12. Svenedin

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    That has worked very well. Lovely photo. I believe that the young leaves reflect IR better than as they age so Spring photographs can be more dramatic. I had luck with gorse that seems to reflect IR very well.
     
  13. xtolsniffer

    xtolsniffer Member

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    Are Rollei retro 400s ands roller infrared the same film? Their spectral sensitivities do look the sane.
     
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  15. Svenedin

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    I’ve used both and to me they do not behave in the same way. Rollei Retro 400S was hard for me to control the contrast and my photos were too harsh. That does not mean they are not the same films as I was using them in different ways. I honestly don’t know. If I recall correctly (I haven't used either film for over a year) the developing times are quite significantly different (if this is a clue). There are lots of posts about this but I am not sure there was ever an absolutely definitive answer.
     
  16. OP
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    jtk

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    What are your respective experiences with these types of films and Rodinal?
     
  17. Svenedin

    Svenedin Subscriber

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    Ilford say R72 (very deep red) has a filter factor of 16 so +4 stops compensation. SFX is ISO 200 so that would mean EI 12. For Rollei 400 IR EI 25. Having said that you may find an extra stop is necessary i.e +5 stops. It would be wise to bracket accordingly. Some SLRs (my OM4-Ti does this) will actually measure the light correctly with an R72 in place so you just set your meter to the box speed. Others won't which means in practical terms using a handheld meter or taking the filter off, metering and adding 4 or 5 stops (tedious). For a rangefinder just set the meter to the corrected EI and keep the filter on. It is much easier to use a rangefinder because you can't focus or compose an SLR with an R72 in place -they are too dark to see anything useful.
     
  18. xtolsniffer

    xtolsniffer Member

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    This post has inspired me. I had a couple of rolls of 120 Rollei IR in the fridge. I was planning on using them in my RB67 as I can have a dedicated IR film back, but if it works well as a normal 400 asa film I might take it out in my Mamiya C220f TLR and use it to mix IR and normal images. It would be nice to have a standard film I can also do the occasional IR shot with, and a TLR should make IR shooting easier through an opaque filter. Just need to source a heliopan RG715 in 46mm mount now...
     
  19. Svenedin

    Svenedin Subscriber

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    Hoya R72 in 46mm isn’t difficult to find.
     
  20. Old-N-Feeble

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    SIDE NOTE: I do truly wish they made SFX in 4x5!!
     
  21. xtolsniffer

    xtolsniffer Member

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    No, there are lots, but a cheap one is hard to find!
     
  22. Svenedin

    Svenedin Subscriber

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    They do make Rollei IR in 4x5
     
  23. paulbarden

    paulbarden Member

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    If its the "IR look" you want, then the Rollei film is better at creating that look than SFX is, so you're better off buying the Rollei IR in 4x5 anyway.
     
  24. Old-N-Feeble

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    It's the extended red with fine grain I like about SFX. I'm not looking for extreme Wood effect, just some foliage lightening.
     
  25. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

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    How do you get fine grain? I over-agitated my batch and it came out with huge gobs grain.
     
  26. Svenedin

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    The grain is fine with Rollei IR especially with formats bigger than 35mm. I develop it in Xtol. It is an extended red sensitivity film really (unlike the true IR films that are no longer available). It is just that it is a more extended red sensitivity than SFX.
     
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