If you buy an Agfa film today, Agfa doesn’t make it. The company got out of the consumer market in 2004.
They licensed their brand to other manufacturers, which use some of the old Agfa film names even though the emulsions are different. It’s confusing. One such film is Agfa APX 100, a black-and-white negative film. Photographers who’ve shot both tend to agree: the new APX 100 is adequate, but the original Deutsche APX 100 was wonderful and special.
And so I was greatly pleased when three rolls of the original emulsion, expired in July of 1998 but always stored cold, were gifted to me. It didn’t take me long to drop a roll into my Pentax ME and take both on a walk in Downtown Indianapolis. That’s the Indiana Statehouse there at the end of Market Street. I made this photograph standing on the Soldiers and Sailors Monument at the city’s center.
I confess that I’ve already shared the best photos from this day with you in a series of posts a couple weeks ago; see them here. But there was hardly a bad image on this roll. This film captured rich blacks without ever washing out whites. It absorbed strong reflected sunlight, returning good definition and detail.
My 50mm f/1.4 SMC Pentax-M lens was attached as I walked around Monument Circle. Above is Meridian Street looking north towards the Circle; below is Circle Tower.
I had an objective: to make my way over to Roberts Camera and buy a 35mm f/2.8 SMC Pentax-A lens I knew they had in their used inventory. I mounted the lens to my camera before I exited the building. One of the first shots I made was of Leon’s, a tailor shop just down the street from Roberts. Leon’s made the suit I got married in.
I walked away from Roberts and Leon’s down St. Clair Street enjoying my new lens’s wide view. Had I been three seconds faster, the walking fellow would have been in a much more interesting spot on the frame below.
Here’s the same building in the whole. Leon’s is behind it, and Roberts is barely in the photo behind Leon’s.
Spinning around about 90 degrees I made this photo of Central Library, with my car in the foreground. The Scottish Rite Cathedral lurks at left. One day I’ll make a subject of that stunning building.
Central Library is at the north end of the American Legion Mall; the Indiana War Memorial stands at it south end. I scaled its steps to make some photos, including this one of the Minton-Capehart Federal Building. The flag is at half staff because on the day I made these photos, a Boone County deputy killed while on duty was laid to rest. That’s the county to the northwest of Indianapolis.
From the War Memorial, here’s the view of the American Legion Mall, with Central Library at its other end.
I adore the War Memorial as a place to make photographs. I’ve been here many times and always seem to find something new to see.
Growing tired, I made my way home. I stopped in the neighborhood at 56th and Illinois Streets to finish the roll.
I love the surrounding neighborhood. Margaret and I wouldn’t mind living there. But the homes sell fast, which has driven prices high. We could probably afford the payment, but at our age we’d be making it until we are 80. It makes us sad, but we have to say no thanks.
And oh, look, I’ve told you more about my walk than I did about Agfa APX 100. It’s because I have no criticism to offer. Letting the Pentax ME control every exposure on this bright, sunny day, APX 100 managed the light that fell onto it with great balance between shadows and highlights. APX 100 is a lovely black-and-white film and it’s a shame it is no longer being made.