Tag Archives: foto

ORWOCOLOR NC 19 – a historic test of a historical film

26 Jan

ORWOCOLOR

Old tangerines, well past their prime

Old tangerines, well past their prime

Orwocolor was made by ORWO at Wolfen in Germany (in the part that was free of American imperialism and Nazism) and is related to Orwochrom and original Agfacolor which was also developed at Wolfen. Wolfen, now a place abandoned and more or less vandalized. I think that destruction of ORWO after Anschlüß was deliberate. Ironically ORWO might have outlived Agfa in film format.

A block of ORWO color film

A block of ORWO color NC19 film

I ran a field “test” on ORWOchrom already and in it I wrote about the origins of this color process.

Below are scans from a roll of Absolutely no post processing was done on the first three. No curves tweaking. No colors added. No burn or dodge. Just actual scan with no processing. This is how it came out. I would assume that’s how it would print in a lab. I have all those images in my flickr stream but I deleted the vegetable supernova (the last photo) because it is so dissonant.

Orwocolor package - the film canister made of metal (!) , instructions insert, the film itself

ORWO color package - the film canister made of metal (!) , instructions insert, the film itself

Scanned as Agfa Optima (Agfa being closest relative and of course the scanner does not have an option for Orwocolor).

German Orwocolor NC19 is a negative film. Although ORWO made   C-41 film in the 135 format before it was destroyed by the enemy the NC19  ctually uses old Agfa and own ORWO technology (I mixed the chemicals and developed the film according to ORWO’s formula). This film was made in 1987 or 1988 and expired in 1991 (that’s the expiration date).

Box from Orwocolor NC 19

Box from Orwocolor NC 19

The film was amazing, it is astounding film – and it is easy and forgiving to use, has enormous latitude and apparently – if this picture can serve as evidence.

Three Apples. I’ll be posting a few more stills – I shot only one roll of this fabulous film.

Three apples, a still life in ORWOCOLOR

Three apples, a still life in ORWOCOLOR

The actual scan is 84 mb, and the detail is just dramatic. These are tiny scans for the web (click on the image to see it larger but they are still very small).

ORWO Orwocolor NC 19
Chinese close-up lens 1 to 2
Rollei SLX
self-made chemical solutions (raw chemicals bought from Calbe Chemie, in its past an ORWO enterprise).

Results above

A little hooliganism with Orwocolor, vegetable are rioting

or Vegetable supernova. I might delete it later.

Vegetable super nova

Vegetable super nova

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Film Test: Svema Foto 32

19 Aug

Film Test

Today is the Anniversary of the so-called anti-Gorbachev putsch or coup which failed because organizers of the coup were yokels or possibly did not want to win.  The coup to preserve the Soviet Union was followed by another constitutional coup of Elcin (Yeltsin as his name is spelled phonetically) and two other accomplices, that led to the dissolution of the USSR and in the words of Vladimir Putin to the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the twentieth century.  I was even more catastrophic that conventionally assumed because the causes of the disaster were so foolish.

Svema Foto 32

Svema Foto 32 (Russian Soviet film, made in 1989 or 1990, expired in 1993

A few weeks ago I was lucky to buy not 30 rolls of Lucky but  of Svema Foto 32, Russian black and white film made in the old Soviet days. My batch was made probably sometime between 1989 or 1990 and expired in 1993 (after Soviet Union’s self-caused dissolution).

There is a strong sentiment in Russia, especially in two of its consumerist centers, Moscow and St. Petersburg (Leningrad in Soviet days though that  toponymic appears and sounds so awkward   to my eye and ear ) that can be expressed as “we cannot make anything”, what they mean that Russians cannot manufacture anything and whatever they make is vastly inferior to comparable foreign stuff.  And there is truth to that, as inhabitants of Moscow and St. Petersburg, the Soviet Nomentlatura and the Thieving Classes indeed cannot produce anything of any value. So when they say “we cannot make anything”,  it’s true as they cannot make anything while other people can.

Svema Foto 32 (Russian Soviet film, made in 1989 or 1990, expired in 1993)

Svema Foto 32 (Russian Soviet film, made in 1989 or 1990, expired in 1993)

One discovery for me was the Kiev 60 camera which is an exquisite piece of photographic equipment but even now you hear from predominantly Muscovite human  garbage that the camera is not worth its weight in pig iron.  That it is totally worthless, unreliable,  incapable of producing any sorts of photos except for childish snapshots and even Pentacon Six is a better piece of equipment. As I discovered it is not. Pentacon Six is less reliable but the finish is a bit better while design is… I would rather stick with square-ish looks of a Kiev.

As of Soviet photographic film, the stories I hear was that the film was just awful. Horrible grain.  Cracks. Human hair sticking out of emulsion.

Enough of folklore.

Svema Foto 32 Soviet film made in 1989/90, expired 1993, film used in the summer 2011

Svema Foto 32 Soviet film made in 1989/90, expired 1993, film used in the summer 2011

Oh though wait a minute. The film is ASA/ISO 32 (odd Russian rating but it corresponds to the GOST value, so the film speed was supposedly ASA 32, not more conventional 25 or 50). It was made by two factories.  Svema and Tasma. One group of old timers say Tasma made somewhat better emulsion while others say that Svema produced film was superior though quite possibly the film was identical. While researching the history of black and white film production at Svema and Tasma, I discovered that they shared technical staff.  So engineers and chemists from Tasma would travel to Svema facility for production runs and emulsion cooking and vice-versa which tells me that the film they produced was more or less similar.

Svema Foto 32 Soviet film made in 1989/90, expired 1993, film used in the summer 2011

A motorcycle rider, Svema Foto 32 Soviet film made in 1989/90, expired 1993, film used in tSvema Fotohe summer 2011

While Tasma survives in a zombie-like state by making chemicals and special application industrial films, the Svema factory is long dead as it went extinct together with the Soviet Union.  I found a small series of photos taken in the ruins of the Svema plant last year, though text is in Russian and is perhaps not accessible to those who neither read the language nor are capable of using translate.google.com, black and white images serve as a visual witness of what has become of this film manufacturer.

I shot two rolls of Foto 32.  This was not a scientific test. Far from it. I ran two rolls through a Kiev 60. There are no artistic merits to  those photos,  I just walked around and shot the Svema Foto 32 film to see what if anything comes out of it.

a sailboat -  Foto 32 Soviet film made in 1989/90, expired 1993, film used in the summer 2011

a sailboat - Foto 32 Soviet film made in 1989/90, expired 1993, film used in the summer 2011

Although 20 or 21 years passed since the film was manufactured the fogging is insignificant, the grain obviously increased as it should have had but  I can’t say it is all that horrible. In fact I am satisfied with the results and can well guess what this film was like when it was fresh.

a mask -  Foto 32 Soviet film made in 1989/90, expired 1993, film used in the summer 2011

a mask - Foto 32 Soviet film made in 1989/90, expired 1993, film used in the summer 2011

It was exquisite.

When the stuff was fresh it was beautiful black and white fine grain film that was probably comparable to Ilford PAN-F 50.

birds - foto 32 Soviet film made in 1989/90, expired 1993, film used in the summer 2011

birds - foto 32 Soviet film made in 1989/90, expired 1993, film used in the summer 2011

Very good stuff.

Delicious.

Developed in Tetenal Ultrafin and fixed with an old ORWO fixer.

sailboat 2  - foto 32 Soviet film made in 1989/90, expired 1993, film used in the summer 2011

sailboat 2 - foto 32 Soviet film made in 1989/90, expired 1993, film used in the summer 2011