Film Photography

Arista EDU 200 at EI 125

Before I started developing film at home, I really liked Fomapan 200, which I usually buy from Freestyle Photo rebranded as Arista EDU 200. I shot it at box speed and the labs I used always returned scans with good contrast and dramatic dark tones. And the images always looked so smooth, with almost imperceptible grain.

But I wasn’t so thrilled with the film when I developed and scanned it myself. It just lacked the punch I was used to, with muddy middle grays and blocked up shadows. In Rodinal, sharpness was pretty good, but not in HC-110.

A couple of you mentioned in the comments that this film does better when shot at EI 125 or 160 and developed normally. So I loaded my last roll of this film into my Olympus XA2, set it to EI 125, and shot it around the neighborhood.

It would have been a better test if I had developed it in Rodinal, but I used Adox HR-DEV instead, diluted 1+35 and developed for 9:29 at 22.9° C. And so I don’t know whether it was the extra exposure or the developer that gave these results. But these are the results I was used to getting from this film when I shot it at box speed and sent it out for developing and scanning!

Retention pond
Over the retention pond
Vinyl village homes
Lots of cars
Vinyl village homes
Vinyl village homes

I used the HR-DEV because I have no idea of this developer’s shelf life and I have a lot of it left. I found a recipe for this film and developer on the Massive Dev Chart, so I went ahead and used it. I’m sure I’ll buy more of this film one day, and when I do I’ll shoot it at EI 125 and develop it in Rodinal to see if I keep getting results like these.

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17 thoughts on “Arista EDU 200 at EI 125

  1. Roger Meade says:

    I would not be very happy with those results. When blown up they are both grainy and lack sharpness compared to handheld shots I took 60 years ago with a Kodak Ektar 44mm on Plus-X Pan. The grain looks similar to what Tri-X would have given me back then.

    • I think my scanning is the weak link here. I have yet to figure out how to get crisp, smooth scans from my CanoScan 9000F Mk II, on 35mm negs. I can get good scans on 120 all day.

  2. Roger Meade says:

    I should have added I developed the Plus-X in FR X-22, a single shot developer that came in 1 oz, bottles and could be used twice if the time was extended for the second roll.

  3. I have been developing film for only 3 years now and have learned that I still know very little. Fortunately, the story behind a series of images or the subject of a single image is still the most important factor.

    • You’re right, the story behind the image(s) is the most important thing. Still, I’d like to figure out how to get dev/scan results closer to what the labs I used to use delivered!

      • P says:

        Jim, getting the “dev” results to match the labs you were previously accustomed to is fairly straightforward. Just get some F76 Plus as that’s what they used, dial in your times/temps for each film stock, and stay extremely consistent with them.

        The “scan” portion is where I think your biggest “problem” lies, and I think you are aware of that too.

        The fact is, Noritsu scanners behave very differently than pretty much all other film scanners out there, pro and consumer alike. The images they output have an aesthetic that is uniquely their own. Scans from the same negatives, first scanned on a Noritsu and then scanned again on any other system (Frontier, Plustek, vintage dedicated film Canoscans or Nikon Coolscans, newer flatbeds like yours, etc.), will look distinctly different. There’s just no getting around it.

        That said, the aesthetic of the images output by different scanners is a personal preference. Even though Noritsus can produce beautiful scans (when operated correctly), they are actually far less accurate in how they render out film grain than many other scanners out there. At least that’s my opinion, and what I’ve concluded after evaluating scans from many, many different scanners.

        And don’t get me wrong; this isn’t a problem or technical shortcoming with them — not at all. It’s pretty obvious to me that Noritsu wrote some pretty sophisticated image processing code to create this look. The result is super smooth images with most film stocks when developed normally, without much noticeable grain present in the scans at all. But again, at the same time and for the same reason, the actual grain structure present in the negatives tends not to be translated as realistically/directly as a scan from, say, an old high-end Nikon Coolscan.

        If you want to see what I’m talking about for yourself, get a darkroom loupe and take a look at the grain structure of some of your negatives on a light table that you also have Noritsu scans of. I think it’ll very quickly become evident to you that, despite being beautiful, the “grain” of your Noritsu scans doesn’t actual match the true grain structure you can see in under the loupe.

        This is a topic I find incredibly interesting.

        • Thanks for the perspective, P. I’m not excited about using F-76 for a whole bunch of reasons. But I think we both agree that the scanning is the most important variable here.

          I am wondering whether I should save my pennies for a Plustek for my 35mm. I understand that it delivers results that are sharper than flatbed, requiring less unsharp masking in Ps. The unsharp masking gives me a pretty mottled look in open areas such as skies. It makes the grain look like noise. I’m not a fan.

        • P says:

          First off, wow, did I botch that second-to-last sentence badly, or what? That’s what I get for trying to “type” on a phone.

          It should read, “…the ‘grain’ of your Noritsu scans doesn’t actually match the true grain structure you can see under the loupe.”

          Sorry, I couldn’t let that stand as it was. Moving on. :)

          Plusteks are quite capable little machines and I wish I could afford one myself. Either that or a modern PrimeFilm (like the XEs). Sadly, they’re both way out of my budget. However, I want to stress again that if you’re wanting the ultra smooth Noritsu look, you’re likely never going to be completely satisfied with any consumer film scanner, even the rather expensive ones. So keep that in mind.

          That said, you can always post-process your “raw” scans to look however you want. Of course, there will be limitations based on the quality of the scanner, you’re output file type and bit depth (hopefully 16-bpc TIFF), and the negatives in use. But to get them to look similar to the output of a Noritsu is frustratingly going to be far more extensive than just moving a few sliders, adjusting a couple of curves, and applying an USM in Photoshop. And it will likely take A LOT of time and effort to dial such a process in for every film/developer/scanner combination you use.

          Regarding USM in Photoshop, I’m not sure exactly what your procedure is, but the amount, the radius, the threshold, how many passes you’re applying, and when you’re doing it (generally, it should be the final step after all other edits are completed, including re-scaling the image to its final output resolution) can all make monumental differences in the final result. This just goes to show that even something as seemingly simple as sharpening becomes incredibly tricky with film scans as each stock has different size/shape grain, so there’s just not really a one-size-fits-all solution.

        • This is helpful. I’m unsharp masking first, so I’ll switch to doing it last. Thanks for the confirmation that the Plustek will be a good scanner. I don’t know that Noritsu smoothness is my goal, but I know I’m not happy with what my current post-processing flow is doing to the grain (or lack thereof). And I am disappointed in my CanoScan’s straight-off-the-scanner sharpness.

        • P says:

          I know you follow fishyfisharcade. About a year or so ago, he upgraded to a Plustek from his Epson flatbed for scanning 35mm. If you like the look and quality of his newer 35mm scans, then you’ll probably be very satisfied with a Plustek. He takes great photos and does a wonderful job scanning and post-processing them. And for his 35mm work, the huge boost in scan quality once he got his Plustek was immediately evident.

          The other option is a PrimeFilm, likely the XEs. They’re also very capable, probably even more so than Plusteks, technically speaking, but I’ve read a lot of accounts of quality control issues with the hardware leading to them breaking, which is a real shame. The general consensus seems to be that Plusteks are built better, and last longer.

          P.S. Argh… I see another typo in my last comment. I used (or rather the autotype feature on my phone did) “you’re” when it should have been “your.” I miss pencils and sheets of paper…

        • I do follow that fellow, and I didn’t know that he had upgraded his scanner. It’s good to know that the quality of his scans increased when he got it. I officially now put one of these Plustek scanners on my list.

  4. Dion B says:

    I was unaware that Arista EDU 200 is a rebranded film. I recently received my order of this film and I’m definitely shooting one roll at EI 125.

  5. Paul says:

    Jim,
    I’ve gotten nice results with the film at EI125 in 1:50 Rodinal and HC110 1:63 (Dilution H), with the nod going to Rodinal. Be gentle with agitation and strict about temperature control from development to final rinse and you should be fine.
    Paul

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