Film test: ORWO NP 20 from the year 1970 or 1971

1 Oct

Film Test – ORWO NP 20

Orthochromatic Black and White Film

DIN 20 / ISO 80

Made in Germany by  ORWO

(German Democratic Republic)

Estimated year of manufacture 1970 or 1971

Expired 1974

Used in 2011 (at the time of improvised test the film was 41 to 42 years old).

Test camera – Zenit E

Orwo NP 20 black and white film test year 1970, expired 1974 and used in 2011

Orwo NP 20 black and white film test year 1970, expired 1974 and used in 2011

This test – if one can dignify the wanton and indiscriminate wastage of film with the almost scientific sounding appelation “test”. This destruction of a roll of Orwo NP 20  occured  concurrently with the mindless sactifce of a NP 27, which I’ve depicted and described here along with a longish story about ORWO , its now (not yet) extinct manufacturer. Oh I worship ORWO.   Everyone should.  Because I am not going to repeat all the incoherent thoughts I jumbled together in the Orwo NP 27 entry, I’ll just stick with the images ORWO NP 20.

Orwo NP 20 black and white film test year 1970, expired 1974 and used in 2011

Orwo NP 20 black and white film test year 1970, expired 1974 and used in 2011

The film comes from the same batch of the late 1960s, early 1970s stock I got from a German old junk dealer. This film is by one year newer or younger than the NP27 and was probably made in the year 1970. It is also a slower film, rated by its manufacturer as DIN 20 or ISO 80.

Sad Monster - Orwo NP 20 black and white film test year 1970, expired 1974 and used in 2011

Orwo NP 20 black and white film test year 1970, expired 1974 and used in 2011

Lower sensitivity, slower films are supposed to last longer than older high speed emulsions which, as the common wisdom goes, should become pretty much unusable by the throw-away date that is stamped or printed on their retail packaging. In this case, though the film was procured from the same source and dates from the same era (and it is beautiful, the packages are gorgeous, shiny, with a few exceptions the whole batch looksand smells like new though even by standards of human life never mind the expected longevity of photographic emulsions this stuff is firmly in its middle age zone and approaching just aged. Ancient in fact.

Nikolai is painting - Orwo NP 20 black and white film test year 1970, expired 1974 and used in 2011

Nikolai is painting (1) Orwo NP 20 black and white film test year 1970, expired 1974 and used in 2011

Anyway, the NP 20 film did not keep as well as NP 27 from the same source (which was older and faster at its inception), which is surprising. The film was shot at ISO 25, is usable but barely – in a sense that the images it produces have the look of  old worn out  newspaper illustrationsrather than of real black and white photographs.

Orwo NP 20 black and white film test year 1970, expired 1974 and used in 2011

Orwo NP 20 black and white film test year 1970, expired 1974 and used in 2011

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One Response to “Film test: ORWO NP 20 from the year 1970 or 1971”

  1. george campbell November 19, 2011 at 02:12 #

    ORWO is available in the US now, http://www.orwona.com!

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