I received a couple of rolls of Agfa APX 400 from Andy Brennan in Australia and having never shot this film before I went online to see for myself what others say. There was a mixed bunch of reviews mostly good.
I shot both rolls. One just before sunset at a boat marina. The lighting conditions was light overcast. And the roll I shot the next day in mid afternoon sun around town.
I developed the film in Ilford ID-11 at 1:1 for 16 minutes with inversions for 5 seconds each minute.
This photograph was from the first shoot in light overcast. I used the Nikon F90 X in Aperture Priority mode.
The first thing I noticed was how low contrast the film was. I had to push the contrast in Lightroom. But not too much. It just needed a bit of punch.
The highlights hold very well and there is plenty of tonality in this photograph.
It appears to be very fine grain too. The grain is there but it’s not ugly grain.
This particular roll I split into two and shot half at 400 and the other half at 1600. I cut the two halves from the camera in the darkroom and developed separately. The second half which was pushed to 1600 I developed for 27 minutes. I wasn’t quite sure if this was a film to push.
I couldn’t seem to get a clean photograph from the push and the grain is much harder. I wouldn’t push it again or at least not in ID11. I imagine Microphen or other compensating developer would work better.
The next day I shot a roll in the midday sun producing a higher contrast. This time I used a Chinon CE5 35mm camera with a Pentax 50mm lens. Again, developed in Ilford ID11 for 16 minutes. I had better results. I did have to punch the contrast again in Lightroom but that’s no different to what I would do in the Darkroom with Filters.
So my first impressions I would say this film lacks punch but delivers good tonality and a lovely smooth grain. It handles highlights very well and I’d say is a good allrounder. I’d also say this would be a good film for a beginner with it’s flat looking contrast leaving room for scanning and editing contrast without blowing highlights.
It appears to be a relatively in expensive film probably on par with Kentmere, taking of which reminds me very much of! Could it be Kentmere in disguise? Who knows. There is no branding on the actual film itself. Not even frame numbers.
I did notice that the fog and base of this film was quite heavy. I don’t have a densitometer but that probably contributes to it’s low contrast.