Adox SCALA 160

During a recent wildlife sanctuary photoshoot, I had the chance to try out ADOX SCALA 160 Black and White Slide film. I was impressed with the quality of the images it produced, even though the development process was a bit challenging. Overall, the final results made it all worth it.

NOTE: I’ll begin this experience report with a brief disclaimer. It’s been less than three years since I returned to shooting 35mm film after switching to digital photography over 20 years ago. I’ve inundated myself with as much film education as possible between web articles and advice from experienced film shooters. But, since my prior experience with film is decades old, this review is from a rather novice point of view.

In January, I put a 24-exposure roll of ADOX SCALA 160 Black and White Slide film in my Pentax P3n and took it on a trip to the Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in Brigantine. I purchased the ADOX SCALA last year when I started putting more effort into re-learning 35mm film photography. I had never used ADOX SCALA before and wanted to experiment a little. Once I completed the roll, I sent it off to the Dark Room for development, along with an enrollment of Rollei RPX 25 and RPX 100. Unfortunately, the Dark Room does not develop black and white slide films. The undeveloped ADOX was returned to me, and I set about finding where I could get this film developed.

I discovered that very few places develop black-and-white slide films. All my Google-foo me to dr5 Chrome. dr5 Chrome works well, but their business process is still circa 1990s internet. Instead of an online form, I had to download a PDF, print it out, fill it in, and then email the form and film back to dr5 Chrome. Once they receive it, they develop the film and invoice you via email. You pay the invoice via PayPal and then wait some more for the scanned images to arrive on a compact disk. I got the compact disk over the weekend and reviewed the images during lunch.

The following five frames are taken over the last week of January and the first week of February. My favourite is the family room image. I think it has a full spectrum of black, whites and greys.

Would I reshoot this film? NO! The images look better than I expected, but developing these is a PITA.

NOTE: I don't normally submit two entries for Lens Artists Challenge, but I had forgotten about the compact disk until I saw it on my desk this morning.

Tech Specs

  • Development: Black and White Colour Reversal Processing
  • Film Type: Reversal
  • ISO: 160
  • Exposures: 24
  • Pack Size: 1
electric meter
Metered | January 2021 | Pentax P3n | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | Adox SCALA 160 Black and White Slide Film
outdoor water meter
Winter garden | Friday 22 January, 2021 | Pentax P3n | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | ISO 160
sliding door, plant, room
Family Room | January 2021 | Pentax P3n | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | Adox SCALA 160 Black and White Slide Film
landscape wetlands
Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge | January 2021 | Pentax P3n | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | Adox SCALA 160 Black and White Slide Film
cat
Alphie | January 2021 | Pentax P3n | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | Adox SCALA 160 Black and White Slide Film

Kodak Tri-X Pan 400 Memories

Bhavna found some treasure in a box in the basement.

Early in my photography journey, shooting with 35mm black and white film was easier. I felt that 35mm colour film was too distracting and did not have the pretension "art" look I was into then.

Tri-X panchromatic (Tri-X Pan) film was popular with photojournalists and many amateurs. Eastman Kodak manufactured it. Sales of Tri-X declined in the 1970s and 1980s due to the falling price and increasing popularity of colour films. Tri-X fell out of use in newspaper journalism with the onset of online newspapers and colour print media, though it remained popular in documentary journalism for a while.

KODAK TRI-X Pan Film was a venerable classic, boasting an impressive ISO 400 rating, making it the ideal choice for various photographic scenarios. This panchromatic film performed well when faced with dimly lit subjects or fast-paced action. It excelled when I needed to capture subjects demanding a substantial depth of field and fast shutter speeds or when I wanted to extend the reach of my flash. TRI-X Pan (TX) Film 6043 was readily available in 35mm film sizes.

TRI-X Pan Film was highly recommended for push-processing applications, opening up creative possibilities by pushing the boundaries of its inherent capabilities.

Drew University, Jan Term 1988, Winter, Snow
Tuesday 12 January 1988 · Pentax P3 · SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2
Drew University, Jan Term 1988, Winter, Snow
Tuesday 12 January 1988 · Pentax P3 · SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2

Since I found only one set of Kodak Tri-X Pan negatives in my "film treasure chest", since it's over 30 years later, my memory is faulty about the dates. However, these photographs were captured around the Drew University campus using my budget-friendly Pentax P3 and SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 lens.

Drew University, Jan Term 1988, Winter, Snow
Tuesday 12 January 1988 · Pentax P3 · SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2

Drew University offered compressed courses during the six weeks between December break and the start of the Spring semester. I can tell it's winter from the photographs, and the campus seems free of people. I speculate this was one of the many "Jan Terms" I was on campus. I don't know if this was Jan Term 1987-88 or 1988-89, but it was Jan Term 1987-88. The photographs have a theme around reflections, and the pictures of the Media Resource Center make me think this was the Jan Term when I took my first darkroom photography course.

Drew University, Jan Term 1988, Winter, Snow
Tuesday 12 January 1988 · Pentax P3 · SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2

I learned about the relationship between ISO, aperture and shutter speed and how aperture affects depth of field. This is often referred to as the exposure triangle. My assignments were shot on 35mm black and white film on my Pentax P3 and SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 lens and developed in the Drew University darkroom in the campus Media Resource Center. I was supposed to think about composition somewhere between learning to use the camera and exposing film and adequately.

Drew University, Jan Term 1988, Winter, Snow
Tuesday 12 January 1988 · Pentax P3 · SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2

Digital cameras were not generally available in the mid-1980s. Today, what can be learned in minutes with a digital camera, took weeks of effort shooting and developing film in the darkroom and making prints. My first photography course was supposed to be about the "art of photography", but given the steep learning curve, I spent more time thinking about the technical considerations required to make good photos.

Drew University, Jan Term 1988, Winter, Snow
Tuesday 12 January 1988 · Pentax P3 · SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2
Drew University, Jan Term 1988, Winter, Snow
Tuesday 12 January 1988 · Pentax P3 · SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2