I’ve been experimenting with a lot of films for some time now. I have two or three favourites but am still always curious as to what others can offer. I’d had my eye on Adox Silvermax for a while but my lab suggested Scala as it’s essentially the same film but reversal processed.
Black and white slide film? I’ll have a play with that, please!
So I loaded some up in my trusty Olympus OM-10 and set the ISO for 160. Usually I overexpose my film by a stop but it was recommended to expose this at box speed. For once, I did as I was told. It was sunny out but I also wanted to see what it could do indoors as well.
I’ve not shot with B&W reversal film before, so it was rather nice to get my film back and hold it up to the light to see what I’d got. Straight away it was looking promising and after scanning I was even more pleased.
I found a lot of nice tonality in Scala 160. I usually like my photography quite contrasty but still keeping a nice gradation of tones, so I did tweak the blacks and white a bit in Lightroom. But overall I didn’t need to do much – the mid-tones remained very nice.
I found it gave an almost vintage documentary feel. The grain is apparent in some shots but in a very pleasing way. There is also some lovely detail and precision to it.
Adox bought up Agfa a while back and (as far as I’m aware) Scala is basically the same as the original Agfa Scala. I’ve seen some people get misty-eyed about Agfa Scala and now I can see why. It reminds me of ILFORD Pan 400 (which I’m a fan of) but with some of the tonality of Kodak Tri-X 400.
Scala is definitely worth a try if you like a vintage-styled documentary look to your shots. Now I wonder what it looks like when not shot at box speed….?
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This series is being produced in conjunction with Hamish Gill's excellent 35mmc.com. Head on over to read the other half of these stories there.
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