Locked up

Thanks to a generous gift from a reader, I have a couple of rolls of original Agfa APX 100 in 120 to shoot. It expired in January of 2008, but has always been stored frozen. I attended a work event in the Broad Ripple neighborhood of Indianapolis recently, so I loaded a roll into the Pentax 645 and brought it along. I walked the area for a little while afterward making photos. The padlocks above are on a former railroad bridge over the Central Canal.

The Bungalow - polka dotted chair

The Pentax 645 has a 75mm f/2.8 SMC Pentax-A 645 lens attached to it. It feels about like a 50mm lens on a 35mm SLR in terms of its field of view. It’s just fine for walking around in this urban area.

Canal bridge

I developed this film in Rodinal 1+50 and scanned it on my Canon CanoScan 9000F Mk II. The original APX films are said to look terrific in Rodinal, and that’s been my experience. The same reader sent me a couple rolls of original APX 25 in 120 as well — I’m looking forward to seeing how that film looks in Rodinal too.

Broad Ripple fire station

Broad Ripple was out in the sticks a hundred years ago. It was essentially its own little town, accessible by streetcar or the Westfield Road. But Indianapolis grew to encompass it and it’s now just part of the city.

Kimmel's Shoe Repair

Right now, the main drag through Broad Ripple is all torn up as the street is improved with new stormwater drainage, wider sidewalks, and a 12-foot-wide multi-use trail. That should make it a lot nicer to bicycle through Broad Ripple!

Broad Ripple comb

The 645’s grip made this heavy camera relatively easy to carry on my walk through Broad Ripple. I normally reach for a light, compact 35mm SLR for this kind of photography, but I’m getting used to the bulk and heft of the 645 on these kinds of walks.

Mpozi memorial

Original APX 100 is a wonderful film with good tonality and contrast, and the ability to make shiny subjects really pop. I’ve shot a few rolls in 35mm in the past, and am happy to now try it in 120.

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14 responses to “Agfapan APX 100 in the Pentax 645”

  1. Andy Umbo Avatar
    Andy Umbo

    I’m a long time lover of APX 100 in the 120 format. Never a fan of Plus-X, and a long time user of Ilford FP-4 until Agfa became more prolific in my area. We tested it when I was running a large retail advertising photography department, and found it to have a long scale and good look for our needs, so it became our go to film for fashion photography for newspaper ads. If you can believe it because of todays film pricing, in the mid 90’s, we were paying $1.80 a roll for 120! We bought literally thousands of rolls over the years until digital became viable. A film sorely missed…

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Lost and lamented.

  2. sonny rosenberg Avatar

    Nice shots and beautiful film!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thank you!

  3. Mike Connealy Avatar

    Medium format and good b&w film bring new dimensions to this kind of subject. Perhaps the effects can be reproduced in digital, but only if the photographer is conscious of the possibility. Nice work.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks, Mike. It’s always very satisfying to get results this good.

  4. JR Smith Avatar

    Love APX 100. Miss APX 100. APX 100 + Medium Format + a photographers eye = nice results!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’m very happy with how these turned out!

  5. tbm3fan Avatar

    That first photo is a great example of rich, dark black against a much lighter color. Not quite a creamy white but close enough. I keep going back to that one to admire the black and the composition just seems to lock me up.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I was very happy with how that one turned out. I enhanced the blacks a little in Photoshop — the image as scanned brought in a tiny bit of detail from behind the fence.

  6. Theron Carr Avatar
    Theron Carr

    I’ll echo what everyone else says about the film and tonality. Nice eye and good compositions…I want to shoot B&W again!

    How’s the metering on the 645? Any more issues?

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’ve avoided using the 645 indoors, so I’ve not encountered any more metering issues. That’s where I always had trouble.

      I did have a battery leak into the battery compartment. :-( I cleaned it up, but the liquid did make the battery direction labels fade. Fortunately, the camera still works fine.

  7. Joe from the Resurrected Camera Avatar

    These look excellent, so the film has definitely held up well! My aunt was a wedding photographer and shot AGFA film almost exclusively. That padlock shot is just wonderful.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’m very happy this film held up. I just love how these images turned out.

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