Catalog Number : 019
Reviewed By : Faiz Tajuddin
Film Name : Orwo UN54
Format : 120 / 135 / Instant : 135
Speed (ISO) : 100 Color / Slide / BW : BW
Processing (C41 / E6 / BW) : BW
Color Exaggeration (R/G/B) : None
Availability (In Production / Back Stock / Discontinued) : This film is readily available, but in bulk rolls only.
Contrast : This emulsion has a relatively high native contrast when compared with other ISO 100 emulsions such as Fuji Neopan SS (recently discontinued but the film that most shooters in India would be familiar with). However, this high contrast does not lead to blocked shadows or blown highlights; it just means that one does not have to actually add a contrast curve in post-processing in all cases.
Uniformity (High, Mid, Low) : High
Personal Comments : Monochrome film shooters in India were recently dealt a hard blow by the discontinuation of Fuji Neopan SS, one of the world’s cheapest ISO 100 panchromatic traditional emulsions. With both Kodak and Fuji increasing the prices of their remaining products, and Ilford relatively hard to come by in India, this has become a bit of a problem . Enter Orwo, a company with European heritage that has recently been reinvented as a provider of bulk rolls of traditional emulsion ISO 100 (UN54) and ISO 400 (N74+) film. Available in flexible sizes (100 ft, 200 ft, 400 ft), the price point for UN54 is very good (it costs about 60% of what Neopan SS went for) and this has led to a number of users enthusiastically embracing it as a viable option.
The film processes well in most developers. If processed in HC-110 (Dil. H), you get a very nice contrast curve with deep shadows that hold a lot of detail. If one uses semi-stand processing in highly dilute developer, one is left with excellent tonal range, with highlights and shadows well in control. The resultant image can be processed in a variety of ways, including high-key, low-key, high-contrast and low-contrast. Grain is well under control and is as expected from a classic emulsion.
Being a new emulsion, the conversation about UN54 is very much in the present, and those interested in trying it can directly add to the knowledge base about this film and its behaviour in different chemistry and varying conditions. This can be quite exciting and is something missing with traditional, well-settled emulsions that have been around for years.