Unsolicited editorials on cameras, lenses, film, developer, and black and white photography in general.

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Location: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

Monday, January 15, 2007

Bergger 200 in Prescysol

One has to have a compelling need to use Bergger 200 as it is one of the most expensive silver halide black and white films around. The last time I checked B&H in New York, Bergger 200 was $5.50 a roll. For some reason, if you buy it in the 10-pack, it costs just under $5.70 a roll. That's pretty expensive cellophane holding the film boxes together.
I have heard good things about Bergger 200. Someone told me that it had more silver than most modern emulsions. I heard that it was similar to Kodak Super XX, a very popular black and white film dating back to before I was born. I also heard some not so good things, namely that it was simply rebranded eastern European film that can be purchased for half the asking price of Bergger, and that it was very grainy. So I bought a 10-pack (I wanted to see that cellophane wrapper). I shot a roll in and developed it in my newly-discovered wonder developer, Prescysol. And the results are grainy, but it's kind of a good grainy if you want your images to be richly gritty. If you're looking for a good developer to use with Bergger for that look, Prescysol is a winner here.
This is a thick layer of old mud from a Katrina-ravaged house in the lower 9th ward. The subject is gritty and depressing, and so is the film. Like Agfa APX 400 in PMK Pyro, if I were going to film a day in the life of a coal miner, this might be my film. I'll probably shoot the rest of the film in Holt Cemetery.
Am I going to buy more of it? Not unless someone pays me for the finished images. Nearly six bucks a roll for this much grit and only 200 ISO doesn't make much sense.