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ORWO UN54 35mm FILM

I have had two rolls of ORWO UN54 (1oo) 35mm B&W Film for some time and have been waiting for a time where I can shoot the film and feature it on the SFLaB channel.

Like any other photographic films I am not used to I have to do a little research, mainly it’s characteristics and other users reviews also. And the big question, if I like it where can I buy it!

What I know so far

It’s a Black and White Panchromatic Film manufactured in Germany by a company called ‘Filmotec’ and is manufactured for motion picture cinematography. The company says it can be processed as black and white reversal film and be used to produce direct positives.

You can’t buy it from the factory as 35mm film rolled into cassettes for photographic cameras. It is sold in bulk reels. So you either need to find supplier that has bulk loaded the film into 35mm cassettes for photography or buy a 100ft reel, as seen above, and bulk load yourself, if you know how and to be honest, I don’t. So if I like the film I will have to look for someone that has pre rolled into camera film cassettes. I found online there are a few suppliers one being ‘The Film Photography Project’ which sells the rolls for $7.99. And also Nik and Trick here in the UK for £6.60.

If you do want to buy a 100ft reel and bulk load yourself then they seem to be more available and I can get a 100ft reel here in the UK from Nik & Trick for £61.99 inc VAT. I guess I can get 18 rolls from that 100ft reel so I can shoot a 36 exp roll for £3.44 with a bit left over for fun. Then of course you need a bulk loader and empty film cans. I’m sure if you hunt around you can buy these for pennies in bulk but if you’re like me I save a lot of my 35mm film cassettes with a small strip of film hanging out, in case I ever want to bulk load.

It’s easy to save your used cassettes for bulk loading. Just don’t crack the cassette open when you develop your film. Load the film onto your spool whilst it’s still inside the cassette and when you come to the end just cut the last frame leaving some hanging from the film. You do, however, need to rewind the exposed film carefully inside the camera so you leave the leader hanging out of the film. You can usually hear the film come off the advancing cogs inside the camera as you rewind back. Thats when you know the film has been rewound, light tight and just the leader hanging out.

Used film cassette with film hanging out for bulk loading

Some cassettes are have twist-off lids which are great for no fuss bulk loading. Not so popular to find though.

So, with this research out of the way I’m off to shoot the film. And you can see me shooting the film and developing the negatives and some prints on the SFLaB YouTube channel.

I have already made a developing test using my Replenished Kodak Xtol developer and I found best results for my development is 6 minutes at 20°. This is a stock solution. I could not find a stock time on the massive dev chart. Only 1:1 for XTOL.

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