Adox HR-50 Review

By Paul McKay

Welcome to our Adox HR-50 review: helping you understand the unique origin story of this film and how to get the most from its creative potential. Adox HR-50 is also one of the December films in the Analogue WonderBox Film Subscription.

A Technical Film with 'Speed Boost'

Adox HR-50 was announced to the photography world in 2018 and the original announcement was full of intrigue.

Adox said that HR-50 is based on a technical emulsion: a high-resolution film that was used purely for scientific applications. But by making modifications to its chemistry and applying their proprietary “Speed Boost” technology, the company has converted it into a usable film for ordinary photography.

This would flatten the contrast curve to make it more appropriate for 'still photography' scenes instead of technical applications, and it would also accelerate its light sensitivity to be rated at ISO 50.

Adox HR-50 sample image 1 | Analogue Wonderland
Adox HR-50 sample image 2 | Analogue Wonderland
Adox HR-50 sample image 3 | Analogue Wonderland

(c) Jamie

Photographic Results

So - what does this mean for your images?

It means you should get a look that is distinct from other black and white films. We’ve recently had Foma 200, Ilford XP2, Bergger Pancro film reviews and this will be different again! People talk about it possibly looking like Kodak Technical Pan (a film discontinued 20 years ago and famous for its clarity and sharpness)

Adox HR-50 also has extended light sensitivity - a bit like Let It Snow - so this is a great film for trying different coloured filters and seeing the response you get.

From initial customer reviews it does look like the highlights can be blown a bit easier than more forgiving films like XP2. Not a huge amount but worth bearing in mind when you meter the scene.

Adox HR-50 sample image 4 | Analogue Wonderland
Adox HR-50 sample image 5 | Analogue Wonderland
Adox HR-50 sample image 6 | Analogue Wonderland

Darkroom Considerations

There are two important things to note for home developers.

1 - Adox HR-50 comes on an extraordinarily tough, crystal-clear polyester base. This can mean a bit of a wrestle to cut it loose from the canister before loading it on your reel. It also means that you shouldn't try to use the Lab Box to develop this film, as the internal knife won't be strong enough to cleanly separate the strip.

2 - Adox specifically recommends that you don’t use Kodak D-76 to develop HR-50. They would prefer you use Adox developers, particularly if you're using the film to shoot portraits but...that might be cunning marketing ;-)

You can download the official Adox HR-50 data sheet here - with developer recommendations and technical detail.

Adox HR-50 sample image 7 | Analogue Wonderland

In Summary

The unique origin story of this film can lead to some equally unique images. By taking advantage of the incredible clarity, detail, and fine grain of Adox HR-50 - along with its full spectral sensitivity - you will be able to take photos with sharp corners, dramatic shadows and lots of character!

For full tech specs, more reviews, and sample photos then head to the product pages as below:

Ilford Pan F Plus Film 35mm B&W ISO 50 - Analogue Wonderland

Adox HR-50 sample image 8 | Analogue Wonderland

If you enjoyed this Adox HR-50 review and found it informative then please do check out our other WonderBox film reviews here:

1 Comment

  • Super high resolution film and it processes quite nicely in xtol. It will out resolve a lot of medium format films, prepare to be surprised :)

    matt jones

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