As my stocks of 35mm Efke IR film in the fridge are dwindling, another IR film is needed! Efke film is now no longer made so the challenge is to find a replacement. Efke IR came in two flavours – normal and ‘aura’ where the anti-halation layer was removed to give a glowing effect around highlights.
Efke IR film was capable of some stunning results, but the processing and slow speed was a bit of a problem. The soft emulsion attracts dust like crazy when drying – something which has ruined several shots for me. So to compare what was available and what is available here we go. All shots – OM1N with R72 filter, all developed in D76/ID11.
What IR monochrome is all about – excellent DR, glowing foliage and a fairytale image.
Second Efke shot – those delicate greys are lovely (even if my cropping missed a bit down the left).
The obvious replacement emulsion is Rollei IR 400. I really like Rollei film, especially ‘Blackbird‘, and the addition of a few stops is welcome.
So, what’s it like? Well well good is the short answer. Much easier to process with a much harder emulsion, and the extra speed results in no more grain – not that it would be a problem as the classic IR film – Kodak Hi-Speed IR – was about as grainy as it’s possible to get. It’s also OK to load the Rollei film in subdued light while the Efke film needs darkness.
So first Rollei IR shot – not bad at all. There’s a hint of grain in the sky but it looks to have better grain than Efke.
Second shot – you may have seen this before – and a very good result.
All sorts going on in this one – internal lens reflections, complex clouds – the lot.
All in all an excellent replacement – not that there’s much choice! It hasn’t quite got the fine subtlety that Efke IR film had, but it’s easier to process and isn’t a dust magnet. With a bit more practice it should be fine – and better than my best digital alternative which is a converted Fuji F810. Having said that, I’ll really miss the Efke film!
Hope you find this useful and thanks for looking.
p.s. found this from Martin Zimelka who’s done a similar comparison. His other film tests are pretty good too!