Film Shootout: Adox Silvermax 100

Film Name: 

Adox Silvermax 100

Type: 

Black and White

ISO: 

100

Grain: 

Fine

Sizes Available: 

35mm only :-(

Size Tested: 

35mm

Development: 

Following MassiveDev chart, using Kodak HC-110B developer. Seven minutes development time, 1 minute stop bath (Ilford), 5 minutes of fixing (Ilford), 10 minute rinse and Kodak Photo-Flo. 

 Developing a roll of 35mm Adox Silvermax 100. I measure all of the chemistry first and use the MassiveDev app on my iPad as a timer. Film is loaded into a Paterson tank.

Developing a roll of 35mm Adox Silvermax 100. I measure all of the chemistry first and use the MassiveDev app on my iPad as a timer. Film is loaded into a Paterson tank.

 Rinsing is a critical step in development. I always rinse for at least 10 minutes in a heavy flow of water.

Rinsing is a critical step in development. I always rinse for at least 10 minutes in a heavy flow of water.

Fact Sheet (Provided by Manufacturer): 

ADOX SILVERMAX is an orthopanchromatically sensitized B/W film with classical grain and a sensitization optimized for greyscale separation. The film is made from two separate emulsions in a single layer coating and yields a very large exposure latitude.

SILVERMAX has an increased silver-content compared to regular negative films. This enables him to built up a DMAX of >3,0 if reversal developed or reproduces up to 14 zones in our dedicated SILVERMAX Developer if developed to a negative.

This way SILVERMAX catches it all for you: brightest highlights and deepest shaddows. SILVERMAX is incredibly sharp due to it ́s anti-halation layer between the emulsion and the base.

The detail contrast is enhanced by this as well. SILVERMAX features an extremely fine grain, comparable to tabular-crystal films. This speed and covering effect comes from the high silver content. SILVERMAX is coated onto clear triacetate and can be reversal processed in the SCALA process or any other reversal process. 

Packaging:

Packaging of a 35mm roll is a black plastic case with a textured grip cap.  Expiration date is printed on the bottom of the label. Label contains information in both German (the film is made in Germany) and English.

 The exterior of a roll of 35mm Adox Silvermax film

The exterior of a roll of 35mm Adox Silvermax film

 Canister guts left over after extracting the film for developing

Canister guts left over after extracting the film for developing

 The exterior of the film canister. I liked this film so much that I purchased another 10 rolls of the stuff before my first had even finished drying. Sadly, it's harder to find in the states than it is in Europe.

The exterior of the film canister. I liked this film so much that I purchased another 10 rolls of the stuff before my first had even finished drying. Sadly, it's harder to find in the states than it is in Europe.

Scanning:

The 35mm film was scanned on an Epson V700 scanner using the provided film trays and Silverfast 8 software. I scanned for internet and printing, so the files were not the absolute best the scanner can achieve, but I don't need a million DPI either. I set the scanner to 900dpi using a RGB color profile. 

User Review:

Adox is a German company that only makes a small selection of films. From what I've found on the internet, they are less commonly found in the United States - the film is also several dollars per roll more expensive in the states than in Europe! I'll be stocking up before I move back home.

Adox claims that this film has an extra silver content, which allows for extreme latitude in the exposures and, if developed in their special developer, the film will offer an incredible 14 zones of dynamic range. Holy crap! My digital SLR offers less than half that many stops of dynamic range! Unfortunately, everyone in the UK who sells the developer was sold out at the time of writing, so I had to resort to HC-110B, a popular developer from Kodak. As soon as I can get my hands on some of the Silvermax developer, I will put it to the test.

My first roll of Silvermax was shot during a long weekend trip to the Lake District in northern England. I also shot several popular Kodak and Ilford films that weekend, but the negatives from my Silvermax roll are by FAR my favorites. There is more contrast, more definition between blacks and more "umpf" than some of the other films. By comparison, those films were very blah grey- they didn't have the same contrast and grab of the Silvermax. 

I absolutely adore this film. It took one roll for me to be hooked, and I haven't even finished testing all of my other black and white films! Yes, Ilford has some nice films, but this was in another league, in my opinion. I loved it so much, I ordered another 10 rolls before the first one had finished drying following development!

Most film photographers will recommend that you find one film and stick with it so that you can learn the nuances of that film. As soon as I finish all of these reviews, Silvermax will become a permanent resident in my Leica 35mm camera.

I have two complaints about this film. First, in the United States it isn't as widely sold and it costs far more in the USA than in Europe. Second, they only make it in 35mm. I would LOVE to shoot this film in 120mm sizes, but Adox is saying that they will only offer it in 35mm and Super 8. Bummer. This means I HAVE to be a two film shooter, and I don't like that.

Even without using the Adox developer, these negatives show incredible dynamic range in the shadows and highlights.