ADOX CMS 20 II is a microfilm. No other film is sharper, no other film is more fine-grained, no other film resolves more lines per mm (up to 800 l/mm). If used in pictorial photography the film achieves 20 ASA of usable speed in ADOTECH developer…thus reads the product brief from ADOX.

I have tried this combination myself quite often but to me, it seems somehow “touchy”… A little too much agitation and the density steepens. So, I looked for another developer and found it: POTA, Phenidone Extended Range Developer.

POTA suits this film very well and allows for more than 20 stops of contrast to get tamed on film – ready to print. Highlights are balanced in a very smooth way that gives you a more pencil drawing like appearance, which I really like a lot but it limits the sensitivity of CMS 20 II to ISO 6. So a combination of a tripod and object which move little – unless you just want to have blurred objects.

A negative to me is not simply the result of film and camera, but light (contrast), exposure, and development as well. Nevertheless, I only possess only one analog camera: a Canon EOS 3 and adapt different lenses to it. In this case, a Soligor 19-35mm f/3.5-4.5 lens with a Yashica/Contax (C/Y) mount.

POTA development needs an extensive pre-wash of the film to get rid of the AHC layer (Google for further details). this means that even with 35mm film I can create enlargements of more than 20x – so rather in the feet range, than the inch. These are enlargements without grain and with high edge sharpness.

From negatives taken in the direction of the sun without sacrificing details in the shadows. I like the extremes that challenge me and the film. In this combination, neither contrast of the scene nor resolution of 35mm film is the limit. The limit is only the lenses of my camera and my enlarger.

The pictures were shot last winter in Duesseldorf and Wiesbaden, Germany.

~ Ruediger

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About the author

Avatar - Ruediger Hartung

Dr. Ruediger Hartung

In 2015 I relaunched my analogue activities in 35mm. Meanwhile, I took about 30,000 shots with my Canon EOS 3 camera. I am addicted to photochemical processes of all kinds, darkroom included. My first exhibition was in Vienna, Austria in 2019.


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  1. Brilliant pics and thanks for the info about POTA being usable with this film. Can you share your development times and temperatures? Also did you keep your fixation time short as recommended for Adox CMS 20 (1 min)?

  2. These are FANTASTIC! I had no idea about this film until I read this and I’m so intrigued. Thank you so much for sharing this! Another film to add to my list to try now for sure.

  3. That is remarkable. I did not know 35mm negatives could be so fine grained. Really nice tonality too. Now all I need is a film exactly like that but ISO 400!

  4. Wow, those negatives are absolutely something, Ruediger! I still have to try the Adox 20, but you sure made me want to! Thanks for this