I’ve been absent from the blog of late due to increased work load. I am a schools and teams photographer in the independent sector and this is our busy time with end of year photos and Summer teams. This is all digital these days for speed of producing prints to sell via our website, printing being entrusted to a lab with 40 years in the business. I can transfer digital files across the country and get prints back in the post in a day or 2. We have our own framing workshop and mount the photos in-house. All this takes time with around 650 frames sold each year and keeps me from the analogue side of photography this time each year….but I am back now and you will see more posts over the coming weeks as the day work slows to a manageable pace.

I don’t very often deviate from Ilford film but every now and then its good to look at what is out there and try something different. Recently I purchased a couple of rolls of Adox Silvermax and the accompanying developer by the same company so with a roll loaded into the Nikon FM3a I set out to shoot this film in some relatively high contrast conditions ie late spring sunshine.

Shooting at the box speed of 100 iso I took the Nikon with me to the RPS analogue group meeting at the Victoria & Albert museum in London on what turned out to be one of the hottest days of spring.

Arriving early morning I had opportunity to get some photos whilst walking from Victoria coach station in the bright early morning sunshine then after a cup of coffee an hour of shooting in Hyde Park where I came across a group of Veteran Serpentine swimmers. Now there’s a brave bunch, although already quite warm the water must have been very cold at 8 o’clock in the morning and it did lead a good few photos.

As this was my first use of this film and dev so I didn’t want to deviate too far from the recommended dev times and dilution so this is the procedure for the first roll.

The dev was Adox Silvermax at 1:29 with water at 20°c in a  Paterson 4 dev tank.

I use my own stop bath, citric acid, from concentrate stock diluted 1:9.

Fix is Ilford rapid at 1:4 followed by Hypo Clearing Agent which is again a home mix at 1:9….see The Darkroom Cook Book by Steve Anchell.

Finally a wash in water followed by use of a wetting agent, again Ilford used at 1:200.

Development was 11 minutes with 30 secs initial agitation followed by a slap on the tank to remove any air bubbles which might adhere to the film. Subsequent agitation was 1 inversion every 30 secs.

Stop bath was 1 min with agitation followed by fixing taking place over 5 mins with agitation for 30 secs then  5 secs every  30 secs.

Hypo clear was 2 mins of continuous agitation then washing for 10 mins and finally a wetting agent use for 30 secs with agitation.

On this occasion I did not pre wet the film prior to development, something I always do with 120 film, but I may well do next time.


This is an iphone shot of the negs on my light box and clearly not great for detail but gives some idea of the contrast. Most of these shots were taken in full sun with some shot contre-jour deliberately so I will expect much adjustment in printing but the idea was to see how this film would cope in the situations.

The resulting negs seem well-defined but I will reserve judgement until I have printed a few. They certainly seem of higher contrast but how well they print we will see in my next post.



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