Why Doesn't Everyone Love Copex 50?

Around Reno with a Roll of Agfa Copex Rapid


sonny rosenberg

7/22/20231 min read

I suppose I can answer my own question well enough. Even though it mystifies me that not everyone loves slow, high contrast black and white film, it's probably the truth. I have to say though, that for some people (cough, cough) ISO 50 is not that slow, at least in comparison to the ISO 12 that I often shoot CMS 20 at.

Copex really does have a lot going for it. As a microfilm, it has very high acutance and a naturally high contrast. I've read that there are developers made to tame that high contrast for photographic use, but to my knowledge those developers are not widely available. It's definitely not suited to every developer out there. I've destroyed a roll trying to develop it in Cinestill monobath (even though I suspected in the back of my mind, that it wouldn't work. Sigh.), but I've had good luck developing it in Caffenol, Artemisianol and recently Clayton F-76+ 1:19. I suspect a range of developers would work fine as long as they were dilute enough.

It also doesn't hurt that Copex is relatively dirt cheap (no reason to become irate, I said relatively...) at about $6.00 a roll from the few places that sell it. I don't know of too many films that cost less.

I just read an online review wherein the reviewer was diparaging the film's curliness. They must have changed the formulation or something because I haven't found it curly at all. The drying filmstrip gets a very slight bend in it, but it lays nice and flat in the scanner holders.

Anyhow, these are from both a bike ride and a walk around town.They were shot with my old Leica Ic wearing the Chroma Double Glass 24mm and developed in Clayton F-76.