Ilford Ortho Plus – A good match for a Box Tengor 56/2.

By Tony Warren

A slightly outdated 120 roll of Ilford’s orthochromatic film left over from an earlier exercise seemed a good match for my recently purchased Zeiss Box Tengor. The Massive Development Chart recommends developing the film in my usual solution, Rodinal, at 1:100 for 10 minutes rated at 40 ISO. This gives slightly thin but fully toned negatives. The camera’s 1/40th or so shutter speed and smallest aperture of f16 therefore meshes nicely with ‘Sunny 16’, with two stops in hand for filters or duller conditions.

comparison of filters on ortho
From an earlier film using a Flexaret IV – comparison of filters on ortho

This type of film is not sensitive to red light so my favoured red filter for good sky tone would produce an almost blank negative. My earlier tests shown here suggest yellow or green being the choice for skies and to lighten foliage. Summer foliage is quite dark without a filter so either yellow or green will ‘lighten like’ and improve results for those subjects. Autumn colours are darkened though because of the lack of red sensitivity. Using a 2x Yellow filter and f11 in sunny conditions gives good exposure for skies and decent depth of field.

A recent, very useful article on this site, Spectral Sensitivity of B&W Film by Sroyon, goes into this aspect more extensively.

Sharpness and grain are both exceptional. The film was originally used mainly for copying work, both very necessary attributes for that purpose. My favourite subjects, townscape and record, suit it well as a result.

Mainline locomotive in modern extension.
Mainline locomotive in modern extension.
Modern entrance extension.
Modern entrance extension.

My chosen location here was the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum here in Dunedin, New Zealand. It is housed partly in existing, historic buildings suitably converted and in modern extensions. The collection includes a range of exhibits from steam locomotives down to the smallest domestic items, reflecting all the things that that have gone into producing today’s community. On a sunny day it offers a variety of possibilities for a slow film in my Box Tengor.

Entrance door in modern extension
Entrance door in modern extension – White outline location of enlarged detail.
Detail showing grain and detail possible
Detail showing grain and detail possible

I try to be very selective when there are only 8 frames available but I duplicated the main entrance shot because I was not sure how the strong reflection of the sun off the polished marble would be rendered head on. The lettering still being legible on both demonstrates the film’s flare resistance, to be expected from such a thin emulsion I imagine. The enlarged detail, outlined in white on the full frame, is approx. 6mm or 1/4” square on the negative. It shows the film’s fine grain and detail capability, even with such a basic lens. The magnified image was made with a reversed Micro Nikkor on extension tubes.

Entrance door in modern extension
Entrance door in modern extension
The Edwardian entrance to original museum building
The Edwardian entrance to original museum building
Art Deco facade of New Zealand Railways Road Services bus terminal and garage now converted to museum space
Art Deco facade of New Zealand Railways Road Services bus terminal and garage now converted to museum space
Art Deco detail above entrance to New Zealand Railways Road Services bus terminal and garage now converted to museum space
Art Deco detail above entrance to New Zealand Railways Road Services bus terminal and garage now converted to museum space
Smoke box end of NZ Railways Double Fairlie locomotive from late 19th century - "Josephine" - an example still runs on the Ffestiniog Railway in Wales, UK
Smoke box end of NZ Railways Double Fairlie locomotive from late 19th century – “Josephine” – an example still runs on the Ffestiniog Railway in Wales, UK

The other frames are also very satisfactory, the camera proving interesting to the couple walking towards me in the penultimate shot. There was a dramatic sky but my inability to use a red filter didn’t fully do it justice. Applying “Clarity” in Affinity brought out more detail without its usual emphasis of grain in this case.

For fairly accurate record work in monochrome, retaining the maximum detail, this film is one of the best. I think I prefer the results from the extended red sensitivity films from Rollei I have been using recently for a more pictorial result. Nevertheless, a very good film and I am constantly amazed at the quality the Box Tengor can produce.

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About The Author

By Tony Warren
In my 60 or so years of serious involvement in photography I have seen the demise of the viewfinder, the rise of the SLR and the eclipse of them all with the meteoric development of the digital camera. Through it all, however, and above all else, the image is what it is all about so I now use film alongside digital. Whatever is the most appropriate or practical. My contributions will hopefully be useful for anyone interested in using film and also how a died-in-the-wool antique like me is continuing his life-long addiction in the digital age, using both platforms. The major benefit of an extended retirement is that I can spend most of my time nowadays with photography and writing about it.
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Comments

Dan Emerson on Ilford Ortho Plus – A good match for a Box Tengor 56/2.

Comment posted: 30/06/2023

Hi Tony, Great tonal gradation plus you reminded me about Yello filters. How do you find Rodinol's useful life once the bottle is open? How do you manage your Rodinal once opened? Regards Daniel
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Tony Warren replied:

Comment posted: 30/06/2023

Thanks Daniel. Filters are essential for the best output. Rodinal lives forever! Mine is almost black now and still works perfectly. The opened bottle sits in a box in my garage summer and winter coming to no apparent harm other than getting darker in colour. Have used it for years, the current bottle has been going for at least three years since opening it and it was old stock then. Very economical and flexible, and not too bad grain-wise. I use it on 110 quite acceptably. Can't speak highly enough. Tony.

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Richard Noll on Ilford Ortho Plus – A good match for a Box Tengor 56/2.

Comment posted: 29/06/2023

Please... go into detail the mod you have on that step ring for the camera? Looks like some kind of snap ring or squeeze clamp attached with pressure cushioning.
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Tony Warren replied:

Comment posted: 29/06/2023

Hi Richard - the holder is a clip on Nebro accessory I think originally that I have modified and epoxied a 55 to 52 mm step down ring onto. The orange bits are pieces of self adhesive foam I stuck onto the clamp arms to protect lenses from scratches and make it more secure. It opens with a squeeze action and clamps on to a lens as you surmise. These were popular accessories at one time and come in various versions. I also have a Handcross which is quite deluxe by comparison and have seen various others advertised. If you are making one, the insert can be made from a clear plastic 35mm cassette tub more easily which is a snug fit to the Tengor. The black ones are just a tad too large to fit without a bit of work.

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Ralph Turner on Ilford Ortho Plus – A good match for a Box Tengor 56/2.

Comment posted: 29/06/2023

More superb results from that wonderful Box, Tony. Great stuff! thanks for sharing.
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Tony Warren replied:

Comment posted: 29/06/2023

Thank you for your kind comment Ralph.

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