Some thoughts on Adox Silvermax

Recently, I have been trying out a black and white film called Adox Silvermax. It’s an ISO 100 film, although I have heard some people say that it is better rated at ISO 400. I have just left it at its box speed. The film has a higher silver content than most black and white films. This means that there is more tonal range within the images.

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I haven’t been able to print the film traditionally in the darkroom (the enlarger and what not is in my attic in (very) long-term storage). But, I have obviously scanned it. It scans very well, better than Kodak Tri-X to me as the film is inherently less contrasty and holds more details in the shadows. I am using a Epson V850 scanner at the moment with the standard Epson software. I have a Plustek 8200AI scanner with the dedicated Silverfast HDR suite as well, which produces much better ‘RAW’ scans as it has a great multiple exposure mode). But, I have loaned this out to a friend so that they can scan some of their film work (it’s much more portable than a flatbed!).

Whilst it’s a slow film, it’s quality is very good. I have been really impressed with the amount of information that the 35mm negatives contain. You can zoom in on the images and pick out a lot of detail.

The images here are from a recent trip to London during photo week, where I originally went with the aim of seeing Zhang Kechun‘s excellent large format work done along the Yangtze called ‘The Yellow River’. After visiting the exhibition, I just wandered around making photographs, eating and drinking a lot of coffee. I am hoping to go to London in October to see the exhibition of William Eggleston’s work, which no doubt will involve some street photography afterwards – probably in colour!

It’s a film that I really enjoyed using, so much so that I have ordered more of it. It doesn’t have the speed and flexibility of Tri-X or HP5+ but in good light conditions, it produces lovely toned and detailed images. Definitely, one for where the extra quality is needed over speed.