New film, new emulsion

Apparently there’s a new film coming to market, called Santa Rae 1000. It is an ISO 1000 black and white film and from what I understand, it is a completely new emulsion. Juho, who you might remember from Camerarescue.org sent me a 24 exposure roll to test out. I don’t know much about the film, other than it’s available in 35mm format and one mysterious roll of it was was dropped into my mail box couple of weeks ago.

The film was completely different from what I was expecting and honestly quite a positive surprise! I was expecting it to resemble Silberra films or Street Candy ATM 400, but it actually has quite unique characteristics. Definitely not a generic film — really fresh look-and-feel.

Really sharp and fine grain

One of the biggest surprises was the sharpness and fine grain. Santa Rae is extremely fast film and I was therefore expecting much larger grain — something what Ilford Delta 3200 would provide. But no, the grain is really smooth. The images are also distinctively sharp. The grain pattern is really neat and pleasing, that will result in clean and tidy images. There’s none of that messy messiness of, for example, Fomapan.

I typically shoot Kodak Tri-x and Ilford HP5+ that I push to either EI 800 or 1600, depending on how horrible time of the year it is. I live in the Nordic countries, which means, winter days are not perhaps the longest or the brightest. A fast film is usually a must during the darkest times. A film like this would be a valuable addition to the low light arsenal. I’d love the idea of a nice looking, fast black and white film, that wouldn’t look like sand paper. I’d prefer Santa Rae 1000 over, for example, Delta 3200 any day.

If you think about it, ISO 1000 is actually a pretty darn fast film. I was comfortably shooting in dim light and indoors at something like f2.8 and 1/30. It didn’t feel like a struggle. You can easily hand hold something like that. High speed usually compromises other qualities, but in the case of this film, everything is nicely balanced.

Other observations

I only had 24 exposures at my disposal, but from what I experienced, the film seems to be pretty contrasty. Hard to say from one roll though.

I’m not too sure about the exposure latitude. Judging from few outdoor shots, it doesn’t seem to hold up to over exposure very well. But again, too early to say for sure. I took few outdoor shots, that displayed some over blown skies, that I would have not expected from, let’s say Ilford HP5+ or Kodak Tri-x. The ability to gather shadow detail on the other hand was really impressive. I took few shots from a bar and got surprisingly rich mid-tones and shadow details from a very dim lighting.

The film base is very very thin. It was easy to load onto the development tank’s spiral.

Before developing, I tested the fixing time, which was something like 30 seconds on fresh Ilford Rapid Fixer… another surprising feature.

I developed the film in Kodak D-76 at 1:1 dilution for 13 minutes and 15 seconds, which is the same time for Tri-x at EI 1600. This was the advice I was given, but if you ask me, a slightly longer development time would have probably been in order.

The film dried really fast and didn’t cup or curl almost at all.

There’s more information available at www.santa1000.com.


Example photos

Here are few example shots. As you can see, the images are extremely sharp and rich with delicious shadow tones. I shot these with my Leica M6 and Voigtländer Nokton 50mm f1.5 ASPH. I didn’t do much editing, other than slightly cropping and/or adjusting the curves just a bit. I used my Epson V330 to scan the images.

Check out the insane sharpness and shadow tonage! I love just how well the skin texture is preserved on the other hand. The other one how ever is slightly over blown, but this image is metered from the shadows.
Shot at very limited light at a bar. This photo is by the way cropped but even that doesn’t bring out the grain too badly.
Another shot from the same bar. The film captured the mid-tones quite effortlessly even in compromised lighting conditions.
Candid portrait.
Attempt at landscape… not perhaps the greatest shot, but I had to try this film outdoors as well. Here the skies blew out pretty badly, which I wasn’t expecting. But on the other hand, just check out the sharpness in the textures!
Another go at nature shots.

I’m excited to see when Santa Rae 1000 will hit the markets. At the moment it isn’t yet available anywhere else than www.santa1000.com.

I’ll be posting more sample shots to my Instagram account at instagram.com/attempts_at_35mm.