Infrared film - Ilford sfx 200, Rollei superpan 200 or Rollei IR 400

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by mikheilrokva, Feb 23, 2018.

  1. Well, the title explains everything, but I still want to elaborate. As far as I know (please correct me if I'm wrong) all three have near-infrared sensitivity and can produce IR effect if used with 720 nm filter (that's what I'm about to use too), but does anyone here have experience with all three films and can suggest which one is the best?

    I was about to go for Rollei IR400, but they are quite pricy and almost always on backorder. Rollei superpan 200 on the other hand is significantly cheaper, always available, but I'm not so sure about its advantage over IR 400. And as for Ilford SFX, it also has a substantial price tag and I'm not a fan of Ilford. I'm confused and can't decide, so any objective opinion is very welcome.

    P.S. It's going to be a 35 mm film, not medium format, if it matters for the subject.
  2. I've used Rollei IR400 and SFX200.

    Honestly, after getting my hands on a roll of HIE both are a pretty big let-down especially for the price and the amount of trouble involved in shooting IR film.

    With both, use a GOOD R72 filter. I'd stick to Hoya or B&W. I bought some cheap ones on Ebay and ran absorbance spectrum on them-given that these films really only have "slightly enhanced" IR sensitivity, you need an honest to goodness IR filter with a sharp 720nm cut-off and no "holes." Since this is a pricey filter, get the biggest size you'll need and step rings.

    I found I liked the Rollei SLIGHTLY better but was not blown away by either. One thing I will caution is that the film base is quite thin on the Rollei and I tore a roll in-camera one time.

    I hate to say it, but since getting an IR converted D80 I haven't had much of a desire to even play with IR film. CCDs in particular have crazy IR sensitivity. Generally, CCDs have a hot mirror filter in the filter stack, and if you replace that with an R72 filter you have a superb IR camera. I still shoot a LOT of film, but this is one area where, IMO, digital is so much better that I don't see myself using film for IR again.
  3. First of all, thank you for your time!
    I agree with you regarding HIE. It is most unfortunate that it's discontinued and the ones that are on the market sell for ridiculous price tag + they are expired.

    Not so sure about what you mean by "holes", but I'm with you on this one as well, to me Hoya is the best.

    I hope that my Oly OM-4 will transport the film carefully. If not, there's always 120 format. But I hope things won't get to that.

    This is the saddest news. Because I already have Olympus Evolt DSLR converted into infrared camera. Did it all by myself. I was hoping that film would yield much better results, since contrast is low and each image has to be adjusted in photoshop. I guess I was wrong and it's better to stick with digital, unless I miraculously find some freshly made HIE dirt-cheap. Too bad.
  4. I don't have a ready example to show what I'm talking about, but I regularly check new filters(regardless of what they are) in a UV-Vis spectrophotometer. I do this at work(I have ready access to several) and basically what I do is see how much light is transmitted at every wavelength over a specified range. For photographic filters, I generally check 300nm-900nm.

    In any case, for a good quality R72 you should see high absorbance(~10 or greater, or 0% transmittance) between 300 and 720nm, and then should see a sharp transition to 0 A(100% T) at 720nm. My Hoya filter looks great looking at it like that-it looks exactly as I described, and the transition from 0 to 100% happens over a just a couple of nanometers.

    What I've seen with some cheap R72 filters is that they can have wavelengths shorter than 720nm where they transmit. Often this will show up as still fairly high absorbance still(2-3A) and in narrow "spikes" in the 400-600nm range. Still, the visible sensitivity of these films(even HIE) is quite high-much more so than the IR sensitivity-so these areas can cause problems. That's what I'm referring to with holes.

    As for the torn film-it was my own stupid fault. It was in a Nikon F3. I wasn't paying attention to the frame counter, and inadvertently advanced past the last frame. Fortunately, I knew as soon as I'd done it, so I could take the camera to the darkroom. The F3 film advance is on ball bearings and has almost no resistance, so I should have caught it.
  5. . . . Yep. Some people are living a dream, while I'm cooking film developer in the kitchen.

    I had similar case with hand-loaded film and I'm careful ever since. But I'm about to reconsider this whole infrared film photography thing. Maybe I will stick to digital.
  6. IR effect is hardly noticeable... Even compared to digital, not to mention HIE.
  7. HIE is very noticeable.
  8. I do find both films to have a noticeable IR affect(white foliage on a sunny day, etc) but it's not as over the top as HIE.

    One thing about digitals-it's my understanding that CCDs are better for IR use than CMOS sensors. IIRC my early digital history, Canon either made minimal use of CCDs or didn't use them at all. Nikon was all CCD until the D2 series came out, and then phased in CMOS over the next few years.

    Off hand, here are the Nikon CCD cameras I can think of

    2.6mp- D1 and D1H
    6.1mp-D100, D50, D40, D70(s)
    10.2mp-D200, D80, D40x

    There are also the Fuji cameras with CCDs in F mount, although I don't know how they handle IR. I do know that I can get some IR effects using an R72 filter on my unconverted D70, but that the Fujis effectively have no IR sensitivity. This is likely related to the strength of the hot mirror in the sensor stack.

    I can't find a good example to show, but my D80 is wonderful. I can shoot at "normal" sensitivities and it gives a very pronounced IR effect. Left in color, the sky is brown-I often leave it that way as I like the photo, although it's quick work to fix.
  9. There's no way I'm going to try infrared film after what I've read. As I understand, HIE is gone for good and other alternatives aren't worth the hassle. That's bad.

    I guess I'll have to stick to my digital, converted to infrared. Or I might buy some smaller point and shoot which allows manual exposure and convert it, for more mobility.

    My thanks to all!
  10. I now have an actual Wratten 87 filter. Now to figure out what to do with it.
  11. Well, it blocks everything below 750 nm if I recall correctly, which means you can use it with digital. Or with Kodak HIE film, since everything else is hardly sensitive beyond 720 nm?

    Someone correct me if I'm wrong!
  12. Yes. It is a gelatin filter, which I haven't tried using before.
  13. [​IMG]

    Rollei IR-400(S), RG715nm Heliopan IR filter.
    WJT and mikheilrokva like this.
  14. To take something like that, I should first travel to somewhere with windmills. Sadly I can't do that.

    Thanks for the response. I like the effect, but the sky isn't dark enough for my taste.
  15. For the IR effect you will need chlorofyl, Green in plants or trees. The mill was just there, in Holland we have many, many mills. If you want a darker sky you have to fit an additional Polarizer filter on the lens however your effective iso rate is a factor 2x less and the Rollei IR-400(S) together with that Heliopan RG-715 filter has an effective iso rate of iso 6. Camera was a Yashica Mat 124-G range finder. 1/15s F/5,6 or so in bright sun. The interesting part of this windmill called Polaris in Dieden that it is used as a house, so all furnitures are handmade in an arc inside.
    More IR-400(S) pics:
    Fotohuis RoVo's Gallery - Rollei Infra Red Roll film
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  16. I use Rollei IR 400 with an Heliopan RG815 filter and I am very satisfied. You can see some pictures in my gallery (unfortunatly I do not update since a long time). No problem at all in obtaining very dark skyes.

    InfraRed Photography |

    Recently that film as been updated (now is called Rollei Infrared) and its infrared sensitivity is slightly increased.
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2018
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  17. Ilford SFX, 35mm Hoya R72 filter. Enough IR for me. Daylight loading and easy to process.
    mikheilrokva likes this.
  18. I'm sorry, I didn't even notice this post for this long. There's a shop here that imports film from Ilford and it's fairly cheap too, so that settled my dilemma. Ilford it is.
  19. Here is the data sheet for SFX.

    Note that they say 740nm and it is dropping pretty fast at that point.

    If you have a 720nm filter, the result is only from 720nm to 740nm.

    And even that depends on exactly the shape of the filter curve.
    If it is supposed to block everything shorter than 720nm, it might still have
    low transmission or 730nm or 740nm.

    I think I have a roll of HIE of unknown storage conditions, and obviously not very new.

    In the cold war days, it was government use that kept IR film in production, and for
    affordable prices. Not anymore.

    Also, notice that most films stop at about 650nm, even though it is commonly said that
    the visual spectrum goes to 700nm. Well, the eye drop off is not so sharp, and if it is bright
    enough, you an see way past 700nm.

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