Ilford SFX 200 exposure recommendations

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by tim_kohlman, Jun 6, 2009.

  1. Just wondering if you can provide some suggestions on how to meter this film. The doco that I've searched for has basically suggested trial and error. I'm wondering if you can post your experiences with this film.
    I have a red 25A filter which I'll use. Using TTL metering what should I set the film ISO to. From google searches people tend to suggest use ISO-200 and bracket. Another sources suggests to rate it at ISO 100.
    It sounds like that at iso 200 you risk underexposing. Ansel adams recommends twice the normal exposure and less development to reduce the exterme contrast, though I don't know if that's referring to proper IR films like Kodak HIE. I think I'll have to bracket regardless. So perhaps start at iso 100 and bracket 1/2 stops on either side.
    The pictures I'll be taking will be mountains/volcanoes. Also, how well does this film penetrate fog/haze? this and separation of midtones is the reason why I've thought to give this a go.
    Also, with focusing, do I use the IR mark on the lens to focus or do I put it somewhere inbetween the normal focus and the IR mark (since it's semi-infrared film)
  2. Red 25A works with Kodak HIE that has (had) much much more sensitivity than SFX. Your results won't be very different from normal b&w + 25A. Focus normally. There shouldn't be great surprises in exposure but giving some extra is ok as usual with neg film.
    Bracket through a test roll, dev normally and go from there. It's no use being all over the map with variables. Half stop is hardly bracketing at all with b&w, give it more, emphasis on overexposure side.
    R72 is the normally used actual ir-filter. It eats so much light that handholding will be so-so.
  3. Reading more carefully this time... ;)
    So you're not after much ir-effect but just want to cut the haze? Can't offer much help there, I tend to like my fog, but SFX was designed as surveillance film so I guess filtered shots should do just that at least to some extent.
  4. Ilford SFX 200, RolleiflexT, hand metered at 40, red 25A filter, HC-110h 18minutes:
    You won't get much IR effect with a red filter, but didn't want that so this film is one of my favorites for sunny days. I lose more shadow than I would like, but I still like the look.
  5. great pics John. Yes I don't want the "full on" IR effect (ie. glowing white foliage and black skys). I just like the characteristics that I've seen, in particular the midtone separation. I love the shadows of the tree on the building are rendered in your top pic. I see what you mean about it being good for sunny days.
    I've heard IR film is good at cutting through clouds/fog/haze, is that also true with SFX200? I've always had trouble taking photos of distant mountain ranges particularly in warm/humid climates where it's hard to get a clear day as there is often fog, so I though i'd give this a go.
  6. Here are my test results. Much easier for me to post link than F/Stop and shutter speeds.
  7. Shop online for a Hoya R72 and don't worry about an EI setting. With the sun on your back shoot at f/6.3 @ 1/100 and bracket - / + 2/3 of a stop from f/6.3 @ 1/100.
    You're going to find yourself doing a lot of trial and error. Develop film in D76 stock. Or something else like HC-100 or Rodinal. Xtol isn't the best choice for SFX200.
    Here in Seattle, Bellevue, North Bend and Snoqualmie, I find that there is a lot of IR info to record. As opposed to Los Angeles, there isn't- so exposure times will be completely different.
    Just get yourself a Hoya R72 and shoot in Manual. Find yourself an Ankor point and bracket from there. You'll find what works best for you and in what area.
  8. Stephen makes some very good suggestions with his posts. I'd second the use of a Hoya R72 filter, as it will give you a good IR effect, tho you won't get the softness and dreamy look at HIE gives you. As for exposure, Ilford recommends an additional four stops of exposure with SFX 200 and a Hoya R72 filter. However, in using Rollei and Efke IR films, the general consensus is that you need at least 5 stops of extra exposure, if not more, so I tried using an extra 5 stops as my base, but most of the shots were overexposed, so perhaps try starting +4 and bracket from there. Are you shooting in 35mm or 120? In 35mm, SFX is grainy like Tri-X, so perhaps I'd choose stock D-76 or Hc-110, but I'm not sure I'd using Rodinal unless it was the 120 version of this film.
    Anyways, the way I've shot SFX is to meter at 200 and adjust exposure from there, or just set your meter to 12 from the get go. Always remember to meter with the IR filter off the lens.
  9. Tim, thanks, you are right about the haze cutting. It is really great. Landscape that are distant just pop. And as you say there is good separation so your landscapes are not flat. Look at Stephan's images and you will see.
  10. When I use a camera with TTL metering I rely on the on-board light meter for exposure. My thinking is that it is reading the light after traveling through the filter. I've also found that the light coming through the eyepiece can affect exposure. I will usually get set up with focus & exposure, then plug the eye piece then remote fire the shutter. Plugging the eyepiece can better determine exposure, especially if your camera can set up the exposure by manipulating either or both the f stop - shutter.
  11. I've had good luck with a B&W 092 filter and my aperture set at f/11 and shutter at 1/2. Look into what objects reflect
    large amounts of IR light (foilage, sand) and what objects reflect minimal IR light, and bracket +1 and -1 when the shot
    contains a lot of these objects. I develop in Ilford ID-11 for 10 min at 68 degrees.

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