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Ilford SFX 200 basics

Discussion in 'Everything Film' started by Penguins140, Sep 16, 2008.

  1. Penguins140

    Penguins140 New Member


    I am new to this site and I have a question that I know has been talked about before but I would like help from the beginning if possible. I have acquired a Canon EOS 3 and would like to use Ilford SFX 200 film with a R72/89B deep red filter. After reading many forums I am confused...

    Do I need to shoot at ISO 6 or 12 with the filer on?
    Do I need to also set exposure compensation as well/instead?
    What is best way to focus, manual or automatic?
    I intend to shoot landscapes/panoramic so would normally go for F11, is this the same for SFX 200?
    As well as the answers above an explanation would also be appreciated.

  2. bench_ubbster

    bench_ubbster Well-Known Member

    Do I need to shoot at ISO 6 or 12 with the filer on? No. I rate it at ISO 200 (DX default so no need to change camera settings) and use a deep red filter (Hoya 25A) and let the camera take care of the exposure.
    Do I need to also set exposure compensation as well/instead? Nope, leave it to the camera.
    What is best way to focus, manual or automatic? Using a red filter I can see enough to focus
    I intend to shoot landscapes/panoramic so would normally go for F11, is this the same for SFX 200? Yep

    Strictly speaking, SFX is not a true IR film but is more sensitive to IR wavelengths. The EOS 3 will fog true IR films because of the IR counter it has, but SFX is perfectly safe to use.

    Here's one I produced with my trusty Nikon FM2:

  3. Mojo_66

    Mojo_66 Well-Known Member

    Your filter is an opaque IR filter, it has a filter factor of 16 and using it with SFX200 means you'd need to increase exposure by about 4 stops giving you an effective ISO rating of ISO12. Your best bet might be to check the composition, exposure and focus without the filter in place then open up/decrease shutter speed by 4 times when you add the filter. At such slow shutter speeds (generally between 1/2 and 1/15sec at f11 in normal lighting conditions) you'd probably be using a tripod anyway. f11 should give you enough leeway for any small focussing errors in most situations. SFX does have a fair amount of lattitude but it's wise to bracket one stop either way. I use it with an Ilford SFX filter which has the same filter factor as yours and I've found the best results tend to come from 4 to 5 stops over the meter's recommended exposure without the filter in place. It's a lot grainier than you'd expect from an ISO200 film but this just adds to its charm, it's a wonderful film and looks good souped in DDX. A lot of additional info can be found here. (pdf link).
  4. Penguins140

    Penguins140 New Member

    Thanks for your reply, very helpful but I am being stupid I think so maybe you could clarify something for me;

    You are not telling me to manually change the ISO on my camera to 12, correct?

    You are saying that I should compose as if I was taking a normal shot, pop in the filter and then decrease the shutter speed by 4 stops and also bracket by one stop as well, correct?

    Or could I manually change the ISO to 12 and take the shot as the camera sees fit whilst also bracketing for safetly?

  5. Mojo_66

    Mojo_66 Well-Known Member

    It depends on how you want to work. You could set the ISO on your camera to 12 and meter without the filter, which would give you the correct exposure once it's in place. Whenever I've used SFX I've used a hand held meter set to ISO12 so if you set your camera the same it's effectively doing the same thing. Alternatively you could leave the ISO at 200 but you'd need to remember to increase exposure by 4 stops. Either way will give you the same exposure, it just depends what you find easiest. As a guide in bright sunlight outdoors you'd be expecting to use exposures of around 1/8 to 1/30 at f11. As your filter's opaque your camera may not be able to meter through it like it would a standard red filter in all lighting conditions, and it would be more or less impossible to compose and focus through it. As mentioned above if you do set the ISO to 12 leave the exposure compensation alone, you shouldn't need it. Any more queries just ask.
  6. Penguins140

    Penguins140 New Member

    thanks, i'm actually waiting for the film and filter to be delivered but can't wait to experiment now i know what i'm supposed to be doing... thanks again...
  7. Mojo_66

    Mojo_66 Well-Known Member

    You'll have to stick some pics up in the Appraisal or Exhibition Gallery, I love SFX.
  8. John_K

    John_K Well-Known Member

    used my 1st roll of SFX with a true Infa red filter last week. Not sure of the exposure so set meter on 12 ISO and opened up 1/2 stop for a total of 3 exposures. Didn't need to the basic exposure was right every time. Not as effective as good old HE Infra red by Kodak (RIP) but a cheaper alternative. Once I have used the SFX I will try the Rollei branded IR film sold by one or two of the specialist shops.

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