Agfa APX 400 Black and White Film

APX 400

APX 400 provides remarkable performance and reliability even in bad light. Another benefit: this highly sensitive film can be pushed as high as a speed of ISO 1600/33°. This means that the applications for APX 400 are almost limitless: action, sports reporting, fashion and advertising. Films from the AgfaPhoto APX range are professional black-and-white films with high resolution and fine grain. They meet every requirement for precisely detailed documentation or stills of high aesthetic quality. But AgfaPhoto APX also expressively reproduces scenes of rapid action or moments of quiet. The arguments for this film are convincing: an even image on homogeneous surfaces, extremely sharp outlines, no breaks in critical areas of the motif, flexible speed and contrast, exemplary grey balance.

User Reviews (16)

Showing 1-10 of 16  
hacaden   Intermediate [Mar 21, 2004]
Strength:

produces beautiful prints easy to print great tonal structure

Weakness:

it's really ISO 200 can be hard to find. I have to order it.

This film is NOT as sensitive as Agfa claims. I expose it at ISO 200 and develop in FG-7. The results are gorgeous. Shot and developed like this it does not have nearly the grain as when developed in Rodinol, and the tonal qualities are superb. Thenegatives have a snap, a sparkle, to them. and they retain full shadow detail without wiping out the highlights. I've enlarged 6x4.5 negatives to 16x20 when handled like this and the grain is not objectionable. ISO 200, while not 400, is still a very convenient speed to shoot at, especially outdoors, which most of my shooting is. They're also very easy to print when handled this way.

Customer Service

never needed any

Similar Products Used: Tri-X, T-Max, HP-5
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Charles Sallee   Casual [Jun 15, 2003]
Strength:

By far the best skin tones of any of the B&W films I tried. Beautiful grain that's perfect for people pictures in 4 x6 prints.

Weakness:

Tended to be slightly underexposed. I'm setting ISO 320 now.

I feel competent shooting landscapes but am relatively new to photographing people. I'll most often use a 100mm f2 prime lens with an ISO 400 B&W film and shoot candids or at least not-posed shots indoors, or outdoors in shade, or outdoors on a really overcast day. After side by side comparing color with B&W, I found B&W to be by far the more desireable. Then I tried a half dozen or so B&W emulsions. My films are processed by a good lab, the best in town. After seeing the results I've picked APX 400 as my standard people film for these people pictures. It just looks better than the rest. Although the appearance of grain in water or sky can ruin a photo, the grain in this film adds texture to skin and clothes and simply looks great. It's not objectionable in the blurred backgrounds either.It may be objectionable in enlargements but for 4 x 6 prints, it actually improves the photo.

Customer Service

not used

Similar Products Used: Tri-x,TCN-400, Tmax and delta emulsions
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
mfc   Intermediate [Jun 13, 2003]
Strength:

- great definition, very sharp - great tonal gradation and contrast - price - easy to process

Weakness:

- grain (again, for me this isn't really a weakness, but for others it may be) - avaliability (it wasn't hard to find in Portugal, but I believe their agent changed and now... it's nearly impossible to find it in portuguese market - have to order from internet)

It was already mentioned here that Agfa APX 400 is being seriously underated and I really support that point of view. APX 400 yields images with a definiton above normal, sharper than its fellow competitors and with a great contrast and tonal gradation. It's probably also grainier that Kodak's Tri-X of Ilford's HP5+ (specially when developed on Rodinal) but, at least for me, that's not much of a downside because I love a little "good looking grain" on dim light portraiture.

Customer Service

never needed

Similar Products Used: Kodak (Tri-X, T-Max), Fuji (Neopan), Ilford (HP5+, Delta)
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
donald cardwell   Professional [Mar 12, 2002]
Strength:

Tonality is classic, grain is regular and clean, easy to work with. As good as Verichrome Pan. Rewards good technique.

Weakness:

Is it a weakness that it isn''t a push-film ? It won''t push like Tri X, but it''s two stops faster than films with it''s tonal signature.

APX 400 has a short toe, long straight line and a gently shoulder, translating into good shadow detail, strong midtone separation and gentle compression in the high values making it next to impossible to ''blow out'' the whites [this is with Rodinal and Diafine and Xtol... other developers can give stronger whites if that''s what you want]. The TONALITY is everything with this film. People look great with APX 400. You can shoot classic white on adobe shots, and moody Paris-scape. It''s got a classic look that is very easy to manage... quite different from other 400 films.

Customer Service

Data õ

Similar Products Used: Agfa 100, Kodak Tri X, TMX, TMY, Plus X. Fuji Neopan 400, Ilford FP4+, HP5+, Delta 100 & 400.I
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
blue celtic   Professional [Jan 30, 2002]
Strength:

Cost, APX400 is about 30% less than Tri-x pan. Nice tonal gradation. Sharp with a resolving power of 110 lines/mm. Consistancy of film speed and emulsion between formats.

Weakness:

Availability. Agfa film is available locally but not as available as Kodak. I order through Calumet several hundred rolls at a time and they usually are able to fill my orders completly. If one plans ahead and keeps a stock of film on hand this isn''''t really a weakness. Not available in 220 rolls or 4x5 sheets.

In today''''s world I feel all the films made are of very good quality. Every film has it''''s own unique characteristics and qualities; so choosing a film is a personal choice like picking a friend. I switched to Agfa from Kodak because the cost of Tri-x increased to the point that the film wasn''''t worth the price. Over the past 10 months I have exposed well over 200 rolls of APX 400 in both 35mm and 120 formats and have found it to be a very nice film. My subject matter consists of studio still life, location portraits, and scenic images. APX400 has a beautiful gradation of tones and maintains highlight detail and separation very well while doing the same at the low end of the scale. The grain might be slightly more than Tri-x or HP5 but not enough to be concerned about. The sharpness of APX400 is also high and in my opinion is slightly higher than Tri-x. I expose APX400 at an EI of 320 and develope in Xtol 1:1. I have been very happy with the Agfa products and am glad I switched. One nice thing about APX400 over Tri-x is the ISO and emulsions are the same on the different film formats. This eliminates confusion when shooting and processing. With Tri-x when you go from 35mm (ISO 400) to 120 format (ISO 320) you change emulsions and film speed.

Customer Service

Never had to use. The Agfa web site has the film data sheets available.

Similar Products Used: Tri-x. TMax, HP5
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Casey Veranth   Intermediate [Mar 28, 2000]
Model Reviewed: Agfapan APX 400 ASA B&W
Strength:

A "standard" technology film with similar charactersitics to Tri-X. Very smooth even grains when developed in D-76 1:1

Weakness:

availability of all agfa films is weak in many parts of the country

I have only begun to experiment with this film (3 rolls) For a 35mm film, I am very pleased with the grain structure, at 8x it appears like canvas, whereas t-max 400 appears to have a random grain structure (due to the shape of its tabular grains)
This film appears weak in shadow detail however and provides less margin for underexposure than the T-grain films. It cost about 1.80 less a roll than delta out this way though!

Customer Service

none needed

Similar Products Used: tri-x, t-max 400, XP-2, delta 400, APX 100
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
John Pearson   Intermediate [Oct 23, 2000]
Strength:

None

Weakness:

Looks like i put a diffusion filter on my lens...... but i didn't!

i hate this film. I shot 3 rolls at first to try it. It was all diffuse. So i tried a couple of t-max 400 to see if there wasn't anything wrong with my lens: Crystal clear and sharp! So i got a couple other Agfa 400 from 4 different photo stores and i got the same results as i did the first time! I will never use that film again. It's not even worth it when it's on sale.

Customer Service

i called, they put me on hold for too long, hung up.

Similar Products Used: Kodak t-max 400
Ilford 400
T-max 3200
Ilford 3200
Neopan 800
OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
3
Gilbert Dumont   Intermediate [Oct 29, 2000]
Strength:

Very regular coarse grain ? ?

Weakness:

Ver coarse grain compared to other conventional 400 ASA films like Tri-X and HP5+. Blocks up in shadows and highlights when pushed.

Waste of money unless you want coarse grain.

Similar Products Used: HP5+, Tri-X, TMY 400, XP2, T400 CN.
OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
1
David Romano   Expert [Nov 15, 2000]
Strength:

Old style emulsion. Reponds well to Zone system N+2 to N-2. Works well with Pyro developer. Nice even grain pattern.

Weakness:

Higher than normal Film base + Fog density. Not a big deal

I love this film. I do work for Agfa, but that alone doesn't make me love it. I like to shoot people and outdoors with it. My favorite developer for it is Edwal FG-7 used without the sodium sulfite. Rate the film t at 125 (35mm size) and develop for 6 minutes for N or rate it at 160 (120 size) and develop for 6 minutes for N-1. Both at 72 Fahrenheit. The results are stunningly sharp and beautiful.

Customer Service

Never needed it

Similar Products Used: Ilford and Kodak films
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Andy Piper   Professional [Dec 05, 2000]
Strength:

* nothing stands out

Weakness:

* grain compared with other manufacturers' 400 films.

I’ve used Ilford Delta 400 for a couple of years, but now that I’ve discovered Xtol developer I went back to take another look at the competition, including the film reviewed here.

I did a comparison of 35mm Agfa APX 400, Kodak T-Max 400, Tri-X, Ilford HP5 and Ilford Delta 400. G2; Zeiss lenses; TTL exposures at 400 with brackets at 200 and 800. Processing in Kodak Xtol for Kodak’s recommended times minus 10% (which has been my standard for Delta in the past). Negs were examined as a 2700 dpi scan (equivalent to a 37”x56” enlargement on screen) for graininess, sharpness, overall tonality and the proverbial highlight “blocking.”

TMax and Delta 400 were very slightly sharper than the “traditional-chemistry” films, resolving extremely fine detail like distant tree branches or clothing threads just a tad better than the others. They had grain that was extremely fine, but also very visible.

Tri-X and HP5 had the smoothest (almost invisible) grain, but resolved a little less fine detail, almost as if they had been slightly blurred by a PhotoShopâ„¢ filter - maybe just their thicker emulsions acting as diffusers during the scan?

The Agfa 400 had the most grain, and slightly less sharpness than TMax/HP5, but it was not as grainy as Tri-X developed in D-76, and certainly acceptable.

All the films exhibited SOME compression of highlight tones, but this is typical of my scanner. The TMax and Delta 400 highlights were slightly more compressed, but not all that different.

The biggest difference I saw was in shadow separation - Tri-X and HP-5 were clearly better than the others at drawing out shadow details, with AGFA APX 400 right behind them. Based on shadow detail, I’d have to rate TMax and Delta 400 at 200, Tri-X and HP5 at 400, and Agfa 400 at 320 using this developer/meter combination.

Conclusion: At print sizes of 6x9 inches or 9x13 inches you will probably see very little difference in sharpness or grain among these five films. The best of these films with poor developing (especially overdevelopment) will look a lot worse than the worst of these films with good processing, especially with Xtol.

Delta 400 and T-Max will have either a little less highlight detail or a little less shadow detail depending on exposure, while the “old technology” films will have somewhat more tonal detail at the cost of a little sharpness.

Customer Service

n/a

Similar Products Used: Kodak TX400, Tmax 400, Ilford Delta 400, HP5
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
4
Showing 1-10 of 16  

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