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How do I go about shooting with Ilford SFX 200?

Discussion in 'Everything Film' started by KierFX, Mar 1, 2016.

  1. KierFX

    KierFX Well-Known Member

    Probably not a great choice of film to shoot with for a first real time shooting film, however I have a bunch of rolls of it and would like to be able to shoot it with a Nikon F that a very kind member of the forum has just gifted me. I've read online that I should be using a true red filter, as to only allow infrared light in. Is this right? I also read that the reason for using the red filter is to lower the exposure down to ASA 12 or something like that. I don't really have a clue how to shoot this film so if anyone could be of any help then that would be great.

  2. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    You can shoot with it as you please. It has extended red sensitivity, but you can use it as a normal film quite happily, use a red filter or a low-wavelength IR filter. I always liked the tonality of it as a standard film, to be honest, or with a normal red filter.
  3. KierFX

    KierFX Well-Known Member

    Okay thats great; i'll just shoot it normally since I don't have a red filter at the moment.
  4. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Kier,

    The effect without a filter will be much like HP5. To get a reasonable IR effect you need a very deep red (visually all but opaque) filter and this drops the speed to around ISO 6 at most. At that point you can't see through the lens and there's a focus shift anyway...


  5. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    SFX 200 is not a cheap film. Same results can be obtained using Rollei R80s or R400s for about a third of the price. Just remember that you will need a chainsaw to cut Rollei film - can't remember what the plastic is, but it's strong, stronger than the wind-on mechanism of your camera! Push the lever too hard at the end of a roll and the camera will die before the film.

  6. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Steve,

    I fear you may have missed two fundamental points here. One is that he already has the SFX, so it's much cheaper than buying new film. The other is that he's planning on using a Nikon F, which will cheerfully shred any film before the wind-on mechanism breaks. And yes, I have used "Rollei" film in Nikon Fs.


  7. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member


    Nope, hadn't missed that, just pointing out the cost/benefit analysis for future reference in case he likes the extended sensitivity.

    And I dare you to try R80s vs a "F".

    Note this isn't a bet, I'm too broke in case the "F" wins!

  8. hotwenxynt

    hotwenxynt In the Stop Bath

    It is a long time since I used SFX and the effect was better than I expected using a Kokin IR filter that came as a freebie with the film. The grain is... to be polite.... a bit chunky... but that is part of the charm. The ISO setting of 6 is about right but it may be better to use a seperate meter than first metering with the camera on Manual and fitting the filter. Older manual lenses all came with 'extra' focusing points for IR but with the all encompassing (almost) digital era this facility seems to have been forgotten and consequently only rarel appears on any lens..

    Oh to bring back Kodak High Speed Infra-Red
  9. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Well not so much that it's forgotten, more that you have to convert digital cameras to use IR so it's not a standard function; that there are multiple different filter strengths possible allowing different wavelengths of light to pass, so you would need multiple different IR marks; and that many zoom lenses have optical make-ups that would require different marks for different focal lengths.

    Amen to that.
  10. Paul Manuell

    Paul Manuell Member

    2 years late to this thread, but have recently had my first roll of SFX developed and want to add my experience of using it.

    I read plenty of forums before using this film, and having gleaned the general consensus, I opted to shoot it with an IR72 filter and at 4 stops slower than the metered reading I got without the filter added. I bracketed a few of the shots, but for the majority I stuck with the 4 stops slower. I was convinced I was just going to get a roll of blank photos back, such was the opaqueness through the viewfinder with the filter attached, but what I actually got back was an amazing (for me anyway) set of photos. Not all had the trademark black skies/white foliage look, but even those that didn't had a very different than ordinary b&w look about them. Those that DID have that trademark look really did look exceptional IMO. The 4 stops overexposure seemed to be spot on, but if looked at in isolation the bracketed ones (at 5 stops and 6 stops over) would have been acceptable too, but weren't as good in comparison to the 4 stop ones.

    My working practice with it, if it helps anyone considering using this film, was set camera (without filter attached) on tripod, frame up and focus, select small aperture (I chose f11), which ensures decent sharpness without having to try to work out different focussing for infrared, manually select 4 stops slower speed than that metered at your selected f stop (I was getting 1/250th at f11 for virtually all my shots, which were in bright sunshine, so manually set it to 1/15th), attach filter and press shutter, preferably with a remote or cable release, or even better, mirror lock up and remote/cable release. And that's all there is to it :)
    Done_rundleCams likes this.

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