I have a long story to tell, but I’ll give away the ending first: ARF Plus 400 and BRF 400 Plus are the same film (OrWo NP74 Plus, cinema film stock). They are relatively low contrast but have an interesting look that I might like to pursue more if I can find it at a good price in the future.
Many months ago, I made an exciting international purchase: a sampling of various films that I had never tried. I forced myself to maintain an ignorance and naiveté about it, as if I had ordered them from a Shutterbug ad via mail-order pre-Internet. I didn’t slavishly scour APUG and Flickr and Photo.net for development times, who rebadged what film…
What I did do around July 2013 was shoot a test roll of the Bergger and develop it in Diafine. I was going to post the results here, but they were just not very inspiring.
At the end of 2013 I shot the Argenti and Bergger literally back-to-back. They were the last two rolls I shot in 2013 in fact; I finished up the Bergger on New Year’s Day.
The other day I had already developed 10 rolls of Plus-X and Tri-X in Rodinal, and I had a bit more time so I tried to spool up the ARF 400. I used an old Jobo hand development tank. I couldn’t figure out how the spool worked in the dark, so I ditched that and got a steel reel and tank. I bunged that up, too, probably having bent the film when trying the Jobo reel. At my wit’s end, I grabbed a Paterson tank and was done with it. After setting everything up, I spied the Bergger roll, alone. I did some quick Internet research and decided to develop the rolls together. I would be shortchanging the ARF a tiny bit if I developed at the 7 minutes recommended for the Bergger, but it’s Rodinal and 400 speed negative film, so I figured I’d be o.k.
After drying and scanning, I kept mixing up in my head which film was which; I was working out how to write about them—the grain, contrast, etc. So I spent some time online poring over APUG, Photo.net, Flickr, etc. (what I had not done before) and realized the truth I gave away above. This is a cinema film that’s been repackaged by the respective brands.
I had found the Bergger development time online here, but later came across the film canister and found a slip of paper inside that had a different (longer) development time. I suspected I had underdeveloped them, as they were not only low contrast but rather dark. To confuse things further, the ARF development times I had found online were different as well. To add smother this enigma in even more secret sauce, the Massive Dev Chart has a much longer development time (13 minutes at 68F). I only have a couple more rolls of this stuff, so I have some decisions to make.
So mystery kind of solved, I now have a new film to think about. When I shoot some again, I will share those results with you.
Finally, here’s a side-by-side showing the adjusted image on the left (levels and contrast) and the original scan on the right (click it to big it):
Yeah, pretty underdeveloped. Better luck next time.
Have you used these films (this film)? Thoughts?