Unknown low ISO film + unpredictable Lomo camera = an experiment!
While browsing online, I spotted a few very low ASA films, such as Rollei Ortho 25 and Adox CHS 25. The one that was cheapest was Adox CMS 20, in a 120mm size. I placed my order, and promptly had to wait 4 weeks for it to arrive from Germany.
Once it did arrive, it sat in my fridge for a few months until my BelAir arrived; I didn’t want to trust such a low ISO film to a Holga. Once Calrton the Belair arrived, I set him to ISO 50, and went shooting on a bright Sydney Day.
Before I get to the results, a word about Adox CMS 20, as I don’t see much of it shot on Lomography.
If you hear it from Adox themselves, CMS 20 is “the highest resolving film in the world!” and an “orthopanchromatic & monodisperse ultrahigh resolving document film with a silver halide recording material with an anti-halation layer between base and film base” that boasts “800 lines per millimetre!”
I didn’t know what any of that meant.
After snooping around some developer forums, I saw people swapping horror stories of their developing Adox in anything but Adotech (now discontinued). Apparantly the latitude of the film was so finicky that the type of water used in developing (distilled vs. tap, calcium content in your area) can potentially affect the results. Some recommended shooting it at ISO 12 or 6. Gulp.
So I loaded up Carlton the Belair with his Square mask and went shooting. I have no idea what the lab used to develop these (the lab tech’s response was “Where do you GET this crazy stuff?”) but I had them pull it one stop.
Out my office window:
And a cloudy sunset as I headed home in magic hour:
I think my favourite shot of the roll is this one, of some people playing on the swings:
Look, I don’t see these shots winning me any awards, but it was certainly a learning experience. I reckon if I see any Adox on a shelf, I’ll give it a go, though I’ll shoot it at 20.