I suppose idle curiosity made me choose Adox HR-50 when the good folks at Analogue Wonderland offered me yet another roll of film to try. HR-50 is a specialty film aimed at landscape and streetscape photography, which is right up my alley. It’s also a relatively new film, as ADOX introduced it in 2018.
But then I put off shooting it for several months. As I read about it around the Internet, I got the sense that this film performs best in Adox’s HR-DEV developer. The Massive Dev Chart doesn’t even list times for most popular developers for this film. So how would my usual labs process it?
Fortunately, I was learning how to develop my own film. I figured that after I started getting repeatable results, I’d give this film a go. I bought the smallest bottle of HR-DEV to go with it. All of my preconditions met, I loaded the roll into my Olympus OM-1, mounted a 50mm f/1.8 F.Zuiko lens, and took it on photo walks over the next several weeks.
Given the film’s slow speed I looked for bright days to shoot it. Even on lightly colored subjects like this sandstone church, HR-50 returned rich, even tones.
I brought the HR-50 out on lunchtime walks through my neighborhood, as well. It kept doing a great job of capturing a good range of tones. I am especially pleased with its rich blacks.
HR-50 even does a good job rendering the sky without using a filter.
I made a few photos where the sun was not behind or to the side of the camera. In those cases, the photos came out a little dark and lacking a little shadow detail. I don’t know whether that’s the OM-1’s metering or some characteristic of the HR-50.
Even when the sun reflected off a surface, the HR-50 refused to blow out.
Despite this film’s stated use for streetscapes and landscapes, I moved in close for a few photos. HR-50 kept giving me the same solid range of tones and imperceptible grain.
I developed this film in HR-DEV diluted 1+49 per Adox’s time and temperature instructions. I scanned them using VueScan and my Canon CanoScan 9000F Mark II. These might just be the best results I’ve ever gotten from my home development and scanning. Nothing like using a film’s recommended developer to remove risk.
Interestingly, Adox does not recommend using Rodinal, my favorite developer, with this film. It also does not recommend D-76, which makes sending this film out to a lab for processing a challenge as so many of them use D-76 or one of its clones.
I like this film. I’ll use it again. Especially since I have so much HR-DEV developer left!
Like what you see? Buy some Adox HR-50 for yourself at Analogue Wonderland here.
Get more of my photography in your inbox or reader! Click here to subscribe.