Adox CMS 20 is one of the sharpest black-and-white 35mm films in existence, the fine grain and low light sensitivity means that prints can typically be enlarged to over 2.5m diagonally without loss of resolution or detail!
ISO 12 (up to 20 depending on development process) means you will need lots of light or a steady hand/tripod - but you will be well rewarded with a super-premium look
To understand more about the details above you can check out our film guide or if you want some inspiration then head over to our page on choosing your next film. And if you want the full details about the film, including technical information, read about Adox CMS over on EMULSIVE.
Adox is one of the oldest photographic brands in the world, established in Germany in 1860 by Dr. Carl Schleussner - who worked on early wet-collodion plates and X-ray plates. The company started marketing their own cameras in the early 20th Century, and introduced a line of B&W films in 1952 that became renowned for their sharpness of resolution. A difficult end to the last century saw the brand change hands multiple times - and now Adox films are produced by Fotoimpex across manufacturing plants in Germany and Switzerland. Their products remain very high quality with a focus on emulsions that resolve incredible levels of detail and contrast.
For more information about the brand check out our bio of Adox
All sample photos (c) Dennis Skley
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When you buy your camera film from us we can ship it across the UK, Europe, USA, New Zealand, Australia and Canada (more countries planned soon!) So buy your Adox CMS Film 35mm B&W ISO 12 today and dive back into the fun of 35mm film photography!
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Beware! This is great film, but ....
If you want the ultra fine detail that the blurb says that this film is capable of then you have to develop it in the special Adox developer. That means developing at home or sending it to a specialist lab and paying extra for them to develop it in Adox chemistry. If you do what I did and send it for normal black and white development then you will get negatives with an INSANE amount of contrast and zero shadow detail.
I was initially very disappointed but, on reflection, the results are quite pleasing. Deeeeep dark shadows like a hole in the world, some fine detail in a narrow band of mid-tones and burning white highlights. More like screen prints than conventional photographic images.
Not great as a beginner film.
I would definitely use this film again but would approach the shooting differently in order to make use of its unique character.
dont watch Paul's review or read any notes. so developed this is a very weak rodinal mix ( 1-100) i think or similar ... lets just say, you need to invent a new term for how much contrast this produces :D ... i also shot it at asa20 on a sunny day :D .. i think i had to scan it in at least 2 if not 3 stops lighter . and then do some lightroom and photoshoping dummery to get it to this point ... fyi i dont really care about digi scans i just use it to proof what i want to darkroom print .. i am all about the old school... shoot to print .. or shoot because i want to make a print .... :D .. dealth before digitall .. O it was also shot on a hassie 500cm using the 35mm roll hack so its a 2-1 panno 56mm*24 and the scan was around 130mb ... yupi cranked that puppy up to the red line ..
will use this by the bucket load once the wonderlanders get it in ... very impressed with it , think it has vast potential especially on the hassie and developed using the adox chems and scanned in on a nikon cool scan , think it will be cutting your eye balls through the screen... :D or more importantly darkroom printed !!!!
To get the best from this film does require more effort than a regular film such as the ever popular HP5 but those who venture into the world of CMS 20 will be rewarded with detail, sharpness and contrast like few other films.
On the downsides is the need for a special developer, Adotech IV, and one bottle is only good for 6 rolls! Other developers can be used but at the expense of tonality, expect black and white but not much between! Also the dynamic range is limited, in the range of 6 stops. So very high dynamic scenes are not suitable unless you intend to use this creatively such as for silhouettes. Those used to shooting slide film should have no problem with this.
So why bother? If you like punchy, attention grabbing images with biting sharpness and clarity then you are in the right place. On 35mm my 30 megapixel scanner can get no where near to resolving the detail available. Want 20 by 30 inch prints with no grain? For the right subject this film just makes sense. Detailed architecture or any subject with great texture. Probably not one for portraits unless of a characterful face long lived
I'm a bit of a fan of Adox films in general, but this one really blew me away.
OK, it's a low ISO film which is very contrasty. So you need to be very particular in how you meter. I shot it in my Olympus OM10 which only goes down to 25iso, but the lighting conditions meant I should have been metering at 12iso. So that meant every shot had to be manual - not a big issue, but if you don't like shooting manual then keep that in mind. Because you will want to take a couple of readings of your subject.
But if you get all that right then it is a stunning film. Loads of lovely contrast but not harshly so. There are excellent gradients between the tones and bags of detail.
Now, if only they did it in 120.......!!!!!!
This film is about as totally opposite to an all-rounder as you can get... though it is something truly different for the adventurous among you. The name of the game here is contrast control, i'd advise shooting at ISO 12 unless you really want that contrast to dominate the image.
My sample shot was taken on an overcast day (low-contrast) at ISO 20 and developed in half-strength caffenol-CL for double the usual time (that you would use for full-strength) to try and control the contrast. The recommended developer may be better but is expensive and has a short shelf life, so I would only purchase that if you were planning to shoot this a lot in a short period, which for the type of film this is... I don't see anyone doing with any regularity outside of one project perhaps.
As I alluded to in the title, the results will haunt your dreams of past films shot with it's near total lack of visible grain and incredibly fine detail and acutance.