November 27, 2008


Paddington, Sydney   2005   Agfa Scala   Canon EOS 5

Scala was a B&W slide film made by Agfa. It was essentially a B&W neg that was optimised to be processed to a positive in certain chemistry. There were a limited number of labs in the world that signed up to run this process. There was only one in Australia which luckily for me was in the Sydney suburb of Artarmon & reasonably convenient.

From memory the film had a nominal rating of 200 but Agfa said it could also be rated at 100, 400 or 800 & give good results with adjusted development time. I did try it at a few speeds with good results. I can’t remember what ISO this roll was rated at, probably 200. This was late one summer afternoon in a side street off Oxford St. The building has been remodelled so I couldn’t get the same shot if I went back.

I used 6 or so rolls of Scala & really liked the results. In late 2005 I was planning to buy a lot of it in medium format until I heard that Agfa had gone into liquidation. The lab at Artarmon was told there would be no more chemistry by December & they closed the line soon after. So I never shot any more Scala. It can be processed as a B&W neg but that didn’t interest me.

There is a lab in Denver, USA called dr5 that will process most B&W neg films to positive. I have tried them and got some very nice results with Ilford HP5 rated at 3200. It’s just not as convenient as driving to Artarmon. dr5 has a good website with examples and information about this process and results to expect from different stocks.


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