Nov. 9, Adox CMS II, How do I Love Thee?

I know that I’m easily amused, but I’m always amazed at how many black and white films exhibit distinctly different characteristics depending upon how they’re exposed and developed. Adox CMS 20 II is certainly one of those films.

On the bottle of Adotech IV, the recommended developer for CMS, it gives instructions for developing CMS at three different speeds; ISO 12, 20 and 25.

The past couple rolls of it were shot at ISO 12, and to my eye, displayed a strikingly beautiful range of tonalities as well as good contrast, not to mention the extreme acuity that CMS is known for. I think it may be the current highest resolution film?

When shot at ISO 25 as this roll was, the beautiful contrast of this film comes to the fore at the expense of tonal range. Still I’m a big fan of contrast, so this is an easy trade off for me to make.

One thing that CMS has over one of my other favorite high contrast films, Washi S sound recording film, is that CMS seems to handle subdued light better than Washi S. Oddly (in my mind) the instructions for Washi S indicate that it does better in subdued light than direct. My results have been exactly the opposite. I find that Washi S really shines in bright, strong light and just looks weak in weak light. I wouldn’t be surprised though, to find out that I’m using Washi S completely bass akwards.

For this roll I was also trying an experiment. Lately I’ve been a bit fascinated by photographs taken with Holga cameras, especially those employing the Holga soft edge filter, however I feel as though I have too many cameras at the moment (can there be such a thing?) and I’m more than a little averse to acquiring more (at least for the moment). So I thought I would try a Duto filter. A Auto filter consists of a piece of glass with spaced concentric rings on it that cause the edges of the frame to be more diffuse.

I realize that it seems like an incredibly stupid thing to take your sharpest lens and sharpest film and put a dulling filter on them. Still, I wanted to try.

As it turns out, to my philistinian eyes, the effect of the Duto filter is just barely discernible. To be honest, I’m a little disappointed, I’ve seen nice effects from other Duto filters, but they may have been brands other than the Hoya I was using. I looked for a Zeiss Softer filter in the right size (39mm) but good luck on that! I may resort to making my own diffusion filter.

This roll then was shot on CMS II at ISO 25 with my Leica Ic and 21mm Voigtlander Color Skopar and developed in Adotech IV.

Butterfield Horse, this isn’t made of sticks, it’s bronze!
Nevada Museum of Art 2
Nevada Museum of Art
Tall Grass
Shaun’s Flare, this is the only shot (I think) where the effect of the Duto filter is obvious.

As always, thanks for reading!

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