Four years ago, I began wondering if a new film stock at the time, Bergger Pancro 400 had done the impossible; given me a BW film that looked like my beloved Kodak Eastman Double-X 5222 in 120 medium format. It got close but now, in 2021, how about we try the real thing? Available for the first time in medium format, say hello to CineStill BwXX 120 aka medium format Kodak Eastman Double-X film.
Understandably, CineStill is quite proud to release this classic cinema motion picture stock in true 120 format for the first time. Double-X has been in use continuously with little change since 1959. This release marks the only availability of this film in this format as of May 26th 2021.
In short, if you want medium format the frankly stunning Kodak Eastman Double-X film, right now, CineStill is your best, and only bet. If you’re not aware of Kodak Eastman Double-X, please allow me to make an introduction by way of:
The Lighthouse (2019), Raging Bull (1980), Schindler’s List (1993), Stranger Than Paradise (1984), Malcolm & Marie (2021), Memento (2000), Kafka (1991), Casino Royale (2006), I’m Not There (2007), Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003), Manhattan (1979), Cinderella Man (2005), Aferim! (2015), Frantz (2016) and American Horror Story (2011-2017).
By way of a visual example:
About CineStill BwXX 120
As Kodak Eastman Double-X, CineStill’s BwXX 120 is a variable speed, panchromatic black and white negative film for both outdoor and indoor/studio use. Close in feel to the legendary Kodak Plus-X, it is an excellent choice if you’re on the lookout for a classic film stock with excellent performance and versatility in a variety of conditions.
It has a variable base sensitivity of ISO 250 under daylight (5500K) and ISO 200 under tungsten (3200K) lighting conditions and can be rated PAST to EI 1600 with the appropriate processing compensation. It is ideal for low light situations and delivers exceptional blacks and and wide range of tonal steps, while also providing very high sharpness, crisp micro-contrast, and a fine grain structure.
Check out these real-world examples:
As you will expect, contrast varies based on developer and method, but as a rule of thumb pushing (higher EI) increases contrast, and pulling (lower EI) lowers contrast. CineStill recommends you develop with D96 developer for better control. For lower contrast, they recommend you shoot and process at EI 200
Please do reference CineStill’s film development time chart for a variety of processes used for at-home or lab development.
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