Ilford SFX Magic


I tried an expired film that I got from eBay in a mystery bundle. I was surprised at the great results and amazing detail!

I received a mystery bag of film. The whole box had around 10 rolls of random films, but 35mm and 120. YAY! I love mystery boxes. (I could not resist the Lomography christmas one either)
In it was the Ilford SFX. This film stood out from the rest in that it had its own box. It had expired in 2009 and I was intrigued. I know nothing of Ilford films and I had no idea that it was close to being infrared with out being a real infrared.

I shrugged and shoved it in my pocket on my way to work. I was cleaning up as Smena 8 which needed TLC so it would be a good sample film.

I ran the roll through this little camera and then I released I had a problem. The Smena 8 does not rewind film and so I had to find somewhere to roll it back manually… My husband pointed out that the locker room at work was almost totally black due to no windows. AWESOME. I was excited to see if the camera had worked not thinking too much on the film itself. I dropped it off at the local film developer and passed through a few days later. Alas, I had a note on the canister that they would not develop this film. WHAT?! Why? I was now intrigued. What had frightened my local film place. I did a search on line to find somewhere close to home or work. I found a specialist place who looked at it, told me it was ordinary B & W and processed it for me.

Credits: woosang

I looked at the Negs and my jaw dropped. The detail in the negative was astounding. As I scanned it, I saw even more detail, creamy tones in the photos not a harsh black and white. It is simply beautiful.
Intricate features on the rocks and Building are clear and little grain.

Try this film, it is as special as its name suggests.

Credits: woosang

written by woosang on 2011-02-22 in #reviews #film-camera #ilford-sfx #smena-8 #sharpness #lomography #black-and-white #sydney #user-review #film


  1. fivedayforecast
    fivedayforecast ·

    You didn't seemed to have used an infrared filter did you?

  2. itsdebraanne
    itsdebraanne ·

    how do i purchase these "mystery boxes?" (:

  3. the_detourist
    the_detourist ·

    you're doing it wrong.

  4. woosang
    woosang ·

    @fivedayforecast no, it was not what I was after.
    @itsdebraanne ebay or here on Lomo
    @the_detourist there is no wrong I loved my photos so they are right.

  5. willyboy
    willyboy ·

    Lovely shots. Now I finally get why GolfPunk called her cat Ilford.

  6. nicolas_noir
    nicolas_noir ·

    @the_detourist Not doing it wrong! It's not true infra red film - only film with heightened infra red sensitivity so you can use it with a infra red filter as @fivedayforecast suggest, but from reviews I've found it's infra red capabilities aren't as good as others.

  7. nick_a_tron
    nick_a_tron ·

    The optimum setup would be a red 25a filter as Ilford suggests, this will give you the IR filter required, a full IR filter is not really required for this film since the film does not reach into those wavelengths. With a 25a you will get dreamy looking white foliage and dark angry skies.
    Without the filter it's more or less a regular black and white film, it's sharpness is more owing to the quality of any Ilford b&w film than the fact it's a near infrared film.

    For what it's worth the Smena 8m does rewind film, perhaps you're saying your camera is broken? But if it's not it certainly does rewind film. Just hold down the shutter release pop up the winder and wind it back. I admit I didn't realise this myself initially, and thought it was broken.

    With the right filter this film produces amazing results, and it's far more cost effective to use this film and a cheap red filter than a $100 IR filter, together with film that is becoming increasingly hard to find. Just remember that you should load it in the dark, and never let it out the cannister in daylight, since the IR waves can penetrate the cannister with ease.

  8. woosang
    woosang ·

    NO the Smena 8 no the 8M I am well aware of how the 8M works. The 8 had two separate cartridges. as all older cameras do. There is no rewind as there is no need. The film was stuck to the original cartridge
    I own a Smena 2, a 6 two 8s and an 8M. Also many may other russian cameras and Most of the Kodak Brownies and I fix a lot of them

    Not really interested in IR per say and YES Iflord makes lovely film.

    Thanks anyway for the comment. :-) I am sure the IR info will help someone.

  9. nick_a_tron
    nick_a_tron ·

    Wow the Smen 8 sounds like a pain the ass! No problem, hope it helps someone long the way.

  10. woosang
    woosang ·

    @nick_a_tron lol its not so bad when you roll your own 35mm canisters. I had not done so this time and commercial films need cutting. :-)
    The 2, 4, 6, 7, and the 8 are all the same in this respect. IF you want a pain in the arse, the 2 need you to push a button before you wind on. ARGHH I always forget and strip the sprockets

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