Adox Scala 50

ADOX was founded in 1860 as the world’s first photochemical factory, and over the next 150 years the brand would be used by three different companies (Fotowerke Dr. C. Schleussner, Dupont, and Fotoimpex) to produce photographic material. Adox Scala 50 is an ultra-fine grain, superpanchromatic black-and-white slide film with has a clear film base, a very high resolution and provides excellent sharpness and a very high Dmax. As a side note, this film is also known as Adox HR-50, however it becomes Scala when developed as a slide film… if you use Adox’s proprietary chemistry for that purpose, or send it to a specialty lab. Not every lab has the ability to process this stuff as a reversal film.

This is something I wasn’t aware of when I purchased this film, however. Finished the roll, opened my Massive Dev Chart app to discover zero applicable chemistry formulas. Crap. So now, if this is essentially HR-50 then surely I can use developers that will process that film and get the same results. D-76 is my go-to, but it’s not really the best for this sort of film, however I also have HC-110 on hand (the original version, not the 2019 version… which I haven’t tried yet) and that works fine.

If you process this at home I’d recommend processing it in HC-110, dilution H (1 part developer syrup to 62 parts water… just get a kitchen scale and put in 5 grams of syrup and 310 grams of water at 20 degrees Celsius for a roll of 35mm).

The results? Mixed. It’s a very fine-grained film, fairly sharp, and with high contrast. Some of my photos looked great, others seem to lose a bit of the mid-range details. I suspect there’s not as much latitude with exposure with this film as there is with other modern B&W films, and I tend to overexpose my films by a full stop when shooting, which might account for my shots in open sun to look a little blown-out, while my more shaded shots have better tonal range. It could stand for a little experimentation to see what will bring out the nest results, and at $7.50 per roll (B&H prices) it’s a fairly affordable film to experiment with.