First roll impressions: Tura 125

Cowl Induction

Early this year a reader sent me a Minolta Maxxum 5, which I reviewed here. In the box were four rolls of film: two of the original Agfa Vista 400, and two of a film I’d never heard of: Tura 125. This is a black-and-white film from a German company that made some of their own films and papers and white-labeled films from other manufacturers. They primarily rebranded Agfa and Ilford films, I gather. Tura appears not to have made it after those two companies declared bankruptcy in 2004 and 2005.

I dropped a roll of the Tura 125 into that Maxxum 5 during my birthday week in August and brought it to a local car show. On advice of the fellow who sent it to me, I shot the film at EI 100.

At the car show

There’s not a lot of information about this film on the Internet. The fellow who sent me the film gave me his development time for the stuff in D-76, but I don’t keep D-76 here. I’m HC-110 and Rodinal all the way. Persistent Googling finally led to a long-ago forum post where someone said he used the times for the original Agfa APX 100. The Massive Dev Chart didn’t have an HC-110 time for this film at EI 100, but it had a time for the similar Ilfotec HC, so that’s what I used. It worked beautifully.

At the car show

This is a beautiful film with rich tonality. I especially enjoy how it renders blacks, and how silvery the film looks overall. This matches my experience with the couple of rolls of original APX 100 I’ve shot, so I am inclined to believe that Tura 125 is that film. I’ve heard speculation that Tura 125 is Kentmere 100, but I’ve shot enough of that film to know that it doesn’t look this good.

Mustang

This car show is an annual event at the local American Legion. It’s a “bring what you got” kind of show that draws cars mostly from this county. Entries run the gamut from newer supercars to old pickup trucks to true classics like this 1927 Buick.

1927 Buick

These cars were a great trial subject for my first roll of Tura 125. The 35-70mm f/4 Maxxum AF Zoom lens attached to my camera brought out this film’s sharpness.

Explorer

As you can see, this film’s grain is imperceptible in blog-sized images. When you look at the scans at full resolution, the grain is barely perceptible. And the grays on this truck’s tailgate are positively creamy.

Chevrolet

This 1950s Ford F-1 truck was painted in a bright metallic blue. The Tura 125 did a great job picking up the metallic flecks in the paint. The chrome trim looks so rich.

F1

Even if Tura 125 isn’t rebranded original APX 100, it’s still a gorgeous film and I’m glad I got to try it. I have one roll left, and it’s worth saving for something special.

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Comments

19 responses to “First roll impressions: Tura 125”

  1. toucheditingfast Avatar

    beautiful photography

  2. Andy Umbo Avatar
    Andy Umbo

    These are great looking images…nice long scale with plenty of snap, great blacks, yet with plenty of shadow detail too! I’ll bet, as well, that this is APX 100. As stated before, APX 100 ended up being the last medium speed film I specified for my advertising department fashion photographers to use, before everything went digital, and we liked it better than any other medium speed offerings from the other companies. At the time, $1.80 a roll of 120! Those days are gone….

    1. tbm3fan Avatar
      tbm3fan

      I happen to have 18 rolls of the 120 APX 100 in deep freeze along with 14 rolls of 135 Tura and 12 rolls of Agfa 400 color. Way back between 2000-2004 when any film showed up on eBay, cheap as it mostly was, I bought all that I could get of any brand. I pretty much knew what was going to happen down the line. One, film discontinued, and two, what was left would go for ridiculous prices on eBay in later years. So a large stock of 135, 120 and decent amount of 220 is in the thousands now.

      1. Andy Umbo Avatar
        Andy Umbo

        You are a smarty TBM! I actually can say I knew there would be a “shake-out” in film and print paper suppliers, but I never imagined Agfa would be one of the victims of digital. I thought they’d be one of the boutique suppliers that would survive. Almost every advertising photographer I worked for early in my career, was printing on Agfa paper, and considered Kodak to be “meh”. Our local pro shop had a big stock of it, and then Ilford started really coming into it as well. The few Kodak papers we really liked, like Polycontrast “J” serface, got discountinued early.

        1. tbm3fan Avatar
          tbm3fan

          I just looked at what Velvia 50 now costs on Adorama. Holy cow, and I have a bunch of the 50 and 100 in stock. $35 for one roll of slide film is hard to swallow especially since it was the only way I shot color between 1972-1990.

        2. Andy Umbo Avatar
          Andy Umbo

          TBM, that would be a prohibitively large amount of money for film! Since my age was advancing and my professional work waning, I felt that I could shoot transparency film way into my dotage, and my clients would bear the expense for the quality; hence I shot transparency into 2010. I’m not sure 35 dollar film would have made it “work”.

          What killed it was that the same day (really 90 minute) professional “chrome” labs closed, and there wasn’t one within 100 miles of me. E-6 even today, is a tricky film to process and you really need a “lab rat” that’s been doing it for years to do it “right”. We only had the services until the volume users like retail ad departments went digital, not really caring about the quailty, since it was all knocked down to be used on the internet anyway.

          I will tell you that Fuji always claimed that they were going to be the “last man standing” in color transparency manufacturing, and I had the fortune of reading a culture magazine in 2010 that had a break-down about professional photography in Japan. This article stated that Japanese photographers only really shot digital based on lower quality needs and rapid turn-around. Large format ad people were still mostly shooting sheet film transparency. I’m sure by 2015 or so, this all changed. The quality level of digital, especially 16 bit color digital, combined with sharp PhotoShop practices and saving off files as lossless .tiff files, made the quality difference moot. It might explain tho, why you can still get a fair amount of Fuji…

      2. Jim Grey Avatar

        That was a smart move. I wish I had done the same starting when I got back into film photography in 2006. I’m sure good prices could be had even then.

    2. Jim Grey Avatar

      It developed and scanned so well. I imagine this stuff looks dynamite when properly printed.

  3. sonny rosenberg Avatar

    Great shots and beautiful film, nice work!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thank you! It developed and scanned so well.

  4. Kurt Ingham Avatar

    Looks pretty good!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks! This is nice stuff.

  5. Katie Yang Avatar

    125 seems like a sweet spot for B&W film. My favorite results, before I ever met Kodak XX, came from Ilford 125. Your results do remind me a little of it.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Are you talking about FP4 Plus? That’s a gorgeous film.

      1. Katie Yang Avatar

        Indeed I am. Unfortunately it wasn’t always readily available here in Taiwan, I did not get to shoot a lot of it. Your photographs are gorgeous as well.

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          FP4+ is my favorite still-made ISO100-125 film. It’s just gorgeous. I still haven’t gotten my developing technique down with it yet, but when I’ve sent it out to pro labs I always get stunning scans back.

          https://www.flickr.com/photos/mobilene/albums/72157715628276621

          1. Katie Yang Avatar

            Thanks for sharing! Now you’ve made me want to put a couple of rolls through my cameras.

  6. bodegabayf2 Avatar

    Sure does look like APX 100 and somewhat like properly exposed and processed Kodak Plus-X when you could buy and shoot fresh stock. Nice work here Jim!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks! I would be surprised if this film isn’t the old APX 100.

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