Monday, August 17, 2020

 More on Ilford SFX 200

I've found that setting my Mamiya 645 at f8 for 1 second or f11 for 2 seconds gives me the best depth of field and sharp focus as mentioned previously. The manual cameras allow you to set the focus on the lens barrel to match up with the red infrared mark also on the lens. Again, bright sun shinning on your subject and little if any breeze which will show up as a blur with a slow shutter speed. 

My brief discussion here centers on what I do in my darkroom with this film. The developing time in my film tank gives me the best prints when I process to 8 seconds. This is 2 seconds more than the Ilford suggestion but I like the negatives to be on the strong side, if you will. Using MultiGrade RC paper takes anywhere from 10-30 seconds depending on the f stop I prefer to yield a finished print. For special occasions, I've used Ilford Art 300 paper which is a double weight 100% cotton RC material. Great for greeting cards.

Please post any comments/suggestions you may have about these Ilford products. Thanks!


Tuesday, August 11, 2020

 Ilford SFX 200

This infrared film is one I'm quite pleased to use. It loads and unloads as any other B&W film in subdued light unlike Kodak HIE of years ago. My choice of format is 120 which I shoot in my Mamiya 645. This film format is easier for me to handle in my darkroom and I need not expose 36 frames as with 35mm to complete the roll. 645 yields 15 exposures allowing me at least 2 frames per subject just to be safe. 

I have found that using a consistent exposure of f8 @ 1 second, SFX produces a great negative from which to then develop a great print. You may chose to bracket around f8 or the 1 second shutter speed if you like. Of course, I'm exposing in "sunny 16" lighting which means very bright sun and deep dark shadows. The sun light is behind me and shinning directly on my subject. This enhances the IR effect on blue skies and green foliage. The sky turns dark and the greens turn "Twilight  Zone" white. 

My Beseler 23C allows me the option of printing with variable contrast filters. My favorite is the 3 1/2 contrast when using Ilford MultiGrade RC paper. My developer for film is ILFOSOL 3 (one shot) and for paper it's Ilford Multigrade. Stop baths are any variety. Ilford Rapid Fixer works for both film and paper as does Ilford Wash Aid (like Kodak Hypo) but Ilford Ilfotol (like Kodak Photo Flow) is only used with film.

I trust this brief discussion will prove helpful to anyone exploring Ilford SFX 200!

If I can help in any way, post me a comment. I don't have all the answers but I'll do my best.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Why Infrared Film?

My interest in this type of film dates back to the 1980's when I first discovered it. The best film available then was a Kodak product, HIE Infrared. Great film once you got the hang of it since it was quite sensitive to a number of factors like heat, humidity, loading and unloading in absolute darkness, and the brightness of the light falling on your subject. However, with practice you got what you wanted. I always took 2 or 3 exposures of the same image to be sure I had a great workable negative.

Then came along a Konica product, their 750 Infrared. Much easier to use than Kodak's film and would yield negatives as good. Sadly, both films have been discontinued. Now we have Ilford SFX 200 and Rollei Infrared films. Good products but not true infrared films. Kodak and Konica films would work very well with a 25 red filter whereas Ilford and Rollei require an extreme deep red R72 filter, so dark you can't see through. That's why I use the UUrig RFS adapter as explained in my previous blog post. Handy accessory for Infrared photography. When printing the new negatives I use a 3 1/2 contrast filter to increase the blacks vs whites in the final print.

I just like the deep blacks and twilight zone whites only available with Infrared film.

The print below, "Sugar Shack" from the Infrared Scenes of my website, was captured using my last roll of Konica 750. Other images were done with Ilford SFX 200; I'm starting to work with the Rollei Infrared to compare the finished print with my results from Ilford. 

Some of my customers really like the infrared look for their home decor because it does make an entirely different presentation as opposed to standard B&W. They claim the infrared is eye catching on their walls. 

Do any of you use infrared film in your photo portfolios?