Infrared 120 or 220 films : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

I am looking to take some pictures using infrared film. I went to my local camera store but they didn't have any and told me that it would have to be special ordered and that it would take 2 weeks. I saw some photos taken on infrared film and would like to try it. What should I watch out for and is there a good book out there?


-- Richard Boswell (, November 01, 2001


Ilford SFX 200 is semi-infrared film. I have only very limited experience with it. Sometimes it produced images with that infrared "look" and sometimes not.

-- Don Karon (, November 01, 2001.

Konico IR 750 comes in 120 but you'll be hard pressed to find some. Apparently it's made once a year and except for a recent msg in a newsgroup from some in Konica claiming it will be produced this year, everyone thinks they won't make it. I'm down to my last roll so have bought some Maco 820 which is new and available. Haven't processed any yet though. Kodak HIE doesn't come in 120 but I think I read somewhere that you can get rolls created out of cut down 70mm stuff (might be pricey!)

-- Nigel Smith (, November 01, 2001.


I can recommend Maco 820c and you can order it from B&H in NYC. When used with a 87 IR filter it produces a strong IR effect, though not quite the same as Kodak's HIE. HIE is not available in 120 or 220, but there is a person on the NET selling repackaged 70mm Aero IR, which is the same as HIE ( The nice thing about Maco's film is that it does have an antihalation coating, so it does limit the highlight "bloom" that is a trademark of HIE. Also, I have successfully loaded 820c at mid-day, in the subdued light of a car trunk, which is something I doubt could be done with HIE.


-- Pete Caluori (, November 02, 2001.

Richard, There are several good books concerning B & W Infrared Photography.

The Art of Infrared Photography by Joseph Paduano Infrared Landscape Photography by Todd Damiano and two by Laurie White All are published by Amherst publishing Co. In addition there is a good web I also found a wealth of information by going to Google and typing in Black and White Infrared Photography Howard Dvorin Mt. Laurel, NJ USA

-- Howard Dvorin (, November 02, 2001.

The Maco IR 820 is a very good film. It has the finest grain of all IR films and by far the best tonal rendition, but unfortunately also the lowst speed of all IR films on the market. Not even without filter does it reach the stated speed of ISO 100 when developed in the recommended Laborpartner chemistry. Even the new recommendation to develop 10 minutes instead of 7 does not change this. With an 89B filter you will get around ISO 8, with an 87c filter the speed was down to ISO 0,25! I use a very exact ORWO 585 inrard filter with a cutoff point at 780nm. The very low filmspeed I get indicates that the film probably is not sensitized all the way up to 820nm, what the name obiously is intended to mean. The negs are fabulous though. One has to accept that this film can only be used in combination with a tripod. The film is based on the Efke 100 panchromatic film with an added dye that "catches" infrared ratiation and transforms it to a wavelength which can be recorded on film. The often stated infrared effect, which is especially visible on foliage is not only based on the higher reflection and emittance of IR radiation. The colour sensitation of Kodak IR film is not very uniform: this film has a higher sensitivity towards green. The emittance of IR radiation in combination with this high green sensitivity gives the characterstic "IR look". You can easily see this if you use different filters. It does not matter if you have a Wratten 25 or a Wratten 87C on the camera, the resulting white foliage will be very similar, although the rendition of other "colours" will change due to the changing mix of visible light and IR radiation. This is very visible with the Maco film. The denser the IR filter the more different the result. With high density filters the "IR look" will be achieved since visible light is banned. With red filters foliage still will show structure. I think that the Maco is far more versatile than the Kodak IR film. The only problem is the low speed. For more information check the following article in the Italian foto journal "fotografare", which an be accessed on the following site:

-- Volker Schier (, November 02, 2001.

I received an email from Maco stating that they recommend using either Ilford Microphen or Tetenal Ultrafin Plus as developers to compensate for the low speed. They especially recommend these two developers, because they are available in the US. They say that the tonality will not be as good as with the Laborpartner product, but that the acutance should be very good. I have not tried this combintation and therefore cannot comment on these claims. I simply pass the information on in case somebody is interested. Maco will come out with a ISO 400 speed IR film sensitized up to 750nm next year.

-- Volker Schier (, November 10, 2001.

I like the Maco film as well, but PLEASE don't be a dope like me and forget to pre-wash/pre-soak the film before developing to get the anti-halation layer off. I forgot this twice (duh!) and I can guarantee you won't like the results.

I did read somewhere that you CAN pre-wash the ant-halation layer off the film, dry it, and re-roll it before shooting if you DO want the HIE clouding effect. That's a lot of work for 120, though. I might have more patience for that in 35mm size, I guess. But then why not just HIE!

-- Bill Lange (, November 11, 2001.

Correct, you have to remove the very effective anti halation layer AND you will have to fix much longer than with most other films. Extra fixing will also remove the last traces of the layer. I guess that the first films coming out of Zagreb had a too tough antihalation layer. The one I got were not problem. 30 secs to 1 min will remove it. Try fixing for 5 minutes in speed fixer, otherwise you might have milky negs. If they still look a little milky when they come out of the tank do not worry too much. It disapears after drying.

-- Volker Schier (, November 15, 2001.

MACO 820 is a great film. I expose at an EI of 4 through a R72 filter and develop in diafine. Great results and I can blow up 6x7's to 16x20 with moderate grain.

-- Gene Crumpler (, November 19, 2001.

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