Expired Efke R50 Test Roll

Fotokemika was a Croatian company that produced Efke photographic negative films until 2012. They ceased operations when their old machinery broke down beyond repair. The films were based on old Adox formulae from the late 1940s. Here is an archived Fotokemika product information page for Efke R50. 120 format roll films kept the prefix “R”, while 135 format kept the prefix “KB” (for klein bildt).

At the time of writing, I have some R50 rolls left, likely manufactured in 2005. This makes the film almost 20 years old, well beyond its expiry date. Slow films tend to keep rather well though and the film has been stored reasonably well over the years. For example, I’ve previously shot 10 year old FP4+ (an ISO 125 film) that behaved like new stock.

The test roll was run through a Bronica RF645 camera at EI 40 and developed in Adox D-76 at a 2+3 dilution for 11 minutes at 19°C. The negatives turned out a little thin. I guesstimated the development time based on experience with other slow material but it seems that 15-20% longer development time would have been beneficial. The negative base density seems reasonable, not excessive as is typical of badly expired film. But I don’t have the equipment to quantify this properly.

What can be said about the film itself? There are some quality defects in the form of pinholes that result in small black round holes in the positive image. This was a well known problem with Fotokemika produced films from this time period, and my rolls suffer the same defects. Apart from that, the emulsion is soft and requires careful handling, especially during processing. Finally the film curls like crazy after processing, and this is what will keep me from using up the reminder of my stash. I don’t shoot much film any more and have more reliable options available to me when I do. Rather then tossing them away, I’ll try to find a new home for the remaining rolls with someone curious about this material. It does have a unique look I think.

The film digitized well but I had expected finer grain of an ISO 50 film. Some grain increase could be due to aging. The grain size seems similar to that of an ISO 100 film, or even an ISO 400 one. Despite that, I like the result and think it shows some attributes that make film photographs beautiful. Such as how fine details seems to melt with the background as if painted with graphite.

The photos are digitized at 23 MP resolution and processed in Capture One. Most of the photos are downsampled to 4800 pixels. The exception is 120-46-15 which was cropped to a square format and thus kept its original dimensions. So this image file shows the grain pattern of a 645 negative digitized at 23 MP resolution. Some of the digitized negatives can be found in the expired Efke R50 test roll gallery.

Published: 2024-01-02
Revised: 2024-01-03