By the Side of the Road

My first shots with RPX 25 in 35mm and Pec Pads!



4/1/20232 min read

Pec Pads

First, a big thank you to throopd who suggested I try Pec Pads for cleaning my film strips. It worked pretty grandly, thank you!

Pretty much ever since I began developing my own black and white film (I think it's been 2 years now?) I've been plagued by streaky, gritty schmutz on my emulsion. This schmutz has always been worst with the developer I started with, Cinestill Df96 monobath. I really like Df96, not just for its convenience, but also for its contrast and clarity but I grew so weary of the incessant sludge on my film that I quit using it for a time.

Recently, reader and photographer throopd suggested I give Pec Pads a try and they worked even with Cinestill. Pec Pads are little (although I think they come in different sizes) squares of absorbent microfiber cloth (I think!). They're mostly soft, but they have a coarseness to their surface such that I was worried they might scratch the emulsion, which they didn't, at all as far as I can see. I used them as sort of mops to soak up the water on the film strip after I'd given it a quick finger squee-gee. I think they worked quite well! Any inconsistencies are almost certainly due to user error. There is some odd damage to some of these photos, but I'm sure that's from the Lab Box that I usually use for 35mm film. On occasion I still get a variety of interesting artifacts from the Lab Box.

The Photos

It was a mostly clear and sunny but cool and breezy day here in the high desert and I had just gotten in a few rolls of Rollei RPX 25 in 135 format, which I'd never used before. RPX 25 is one of my very favorite films in 120 format. I love that it's slow for shooting pinhole cameras and I love being able to go from high to super high contrast depending on how I expose and develop it. I suspected that I might like it and I do! It's a film that suits me just fine and it's perfectly, perfectly, perfectly flat after developing! This film laid so flat after cutting that it practically put itself into the scanning holders.

Even though I should have been grading yesterday (and should be right now, but I need a break) I thought it might be nice to go for a ride to the foothills west of Reno. These shots are from that ride, mostly just things I saw by the roadside. I have a few more shots of buildings from this roll, but I think those will go in another post.

One thing I've noticed in going from 120 to 35mm with this film, is that in 35mm, RPX 25 doesn't have anywhere near the acuity of Adox CMS. I didn't really expect it to though, and that's fine with me. These were taken with my Voigtlander (Cosina) 21mm f/4 Color Skopar and Leica Ic.