I recently had a fun morning at Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles trying out a roll of Ilford SFX 200. This film is sensitive to infrared light. I used an R72 IR filter for some frames and a Red25 filter for other shots to enhance contrast. This was also a good time to try out the PC-Nikkor 35mm Perspective Control lens adapted to my Fuji TX-1 (aka Hasselblad XPan).
The Fuji TX-1 and PC-Nikkor 35mm
But first, a brief story about my Fuji TX-1, a camera that shoots panoramic photos on two (2) frames of 35mm film. This is one of those amazing camera show finds. December 2017, at the Camera Show in Pasadena, California… I saw this Fuji TX-1 for sale in one of the booths. I wasn’t really looking for this camera, and prices were already high then as the camera was in good demand and had a cult following. But let’s just say the seller wanted about half of what it sells for now. Well, we only live once, right? Carpe diem… I made an offer for a $100 less, and to my amazement he agreed! I immediately bought a roll of film on-site to try it out. Other than seeing the film results, everything was working as it should. I was now a happy and proud owner of a Fuji TX-1, known to the rest of the world as the Hasselblad XPan.
When I first acquired my Fuji TX-1, it came with the 45mm Hasselblad branded lens (which is actually a Fujinon). Later on, I got the Fujinon EBC 90mm lens. To complete the trio, I needed the rare 30mm wide angle lens. But whoa, even back then, this lens alone was already $2,500-3000! I started my search for alternatives and that’s when I read about the PC-Nikkor 35mm lens. This perspective control lens that had enough circle of view to cover the panoramic frame of the TX-1 and a field of view that’s close to the Hassy 30mm. It attaches to the camera with a Nikon F to XPan lens adapter from eBay. I have to say I found the most helpful info on this combo here at 35mmc – Hasselblad Xpan with a Nikon 35mm PC shift lens – FAQ
My Five Frames with the Ilford SFX 200
Now, back to the Ilford SFX 200. This was my first time shooting this film and I was amazed by the images from my scans! I had shot IR film before and wasn’t too happy with the high contrast grainy results. These SFX 200 images had just the right amount of grain and contrast for me. These two (2) images from the Ilford SFX 200 were shot with a Hoya R72 IR filter.
As good as the Ilford SFX 200 looks on these IR images, it is after all, a black and white film. That means you can use it as regular black and white as well as Infrared! These two (2) images from the Ilford SFX 200 were shot with a Red25 filter for enhanced contrast
What About The PC-Nikkor 35mm Lens?
I am also happy with the performance of the PC-Nikkor 35mm lens on the Fuji TX-1. It is an affordable alternative to the expensive Hasselblad 30mm lens. There isn’t much to complain about the Nikkor other than some very slight vignetting and being uncoupled with the TX-1 rangefinder. I just use a Medis external rangefinder to focus, and fix the vignetting or crop as needed in post. When used correctly, the Nikkor is sharp enough, renders well and is very usable for wide angle shots on the TX-1.
I will definitely be stocking up on the Ilford SFX 200 in both 35mm and 120. It’s an amazing, flexible and easy to shoot film. Shooting it on the Fuji TX-1 and PC-Nikkor 35mm combo was a lot of fun. And I can’t wait to try it in 6×6 with my Mamiya 6 and Bronica SQ-B cameras. I hope you will check it out and try this film too. You all be safe, and happy shooting!