Film review: Agfa APX 100

I have been meaning to try this very easy to find low ISO black and white film, all I needed was a bright and sunny day. Here are my impressions of Agfa APX 100 film.

This film is super easy to find in Germany, most pharmacy type shops (DM, Rossman) stock them for just over 4 euro, really quite a steal for a solid black and white film. Agfa is another well known film company, established in 1867 in Berlin. Its name is derived from 'Actien-Gesellschaft für Anilin-Fabrication", and it focuses on developing chemicals and films for the photographic industry. It actually has a long and fascinating history, more on that here

According to Agfa:

AgfaPhoto APX 100 Overview

AgfaPhoto's APX 100 Professional Black and White Negative Film is a medium speed black and white film for producing prints using a traditional black and white printing process. The film exhibits a nominal sensitivity of ISO 100/21°, making it ideal for everyday situations, including architecture, landscape, documentation, and still-life photography.

Standard development in black and white chemistry yields a very fine grain texture with high resolution and tonal latitude. The film also responds to push and pull development; however testing is recommended prior to shooting.

I loaded up my Leica M6 with a roll of film and headed off with my 35mm Voigtlander f1.4 lens attached. I shot these a few weeks ago on a rare Sunday when we had some sunny weather.

Always look up is one of my photography mantras. I really like how sharp this shot is, albeit a bit underexposed but that is my fault (either in how I shot or how I scanned the negative). Either way, I like the shot!
Funny name for a small plaza. 
This film renders really well with the right lighting, in this case with the sun behind me. It is very sharp. 
Frankfurt City Hall. I actually waited around for ages as there was no wind and I wanted to flag to have some movement.
Hard job, hard life!
Frankfurt's own booze train - a tourist filled tram that goes around the city with pretzels and local cider.
Looking out over the River Main towards the ECB. Very grainy but likely due to the lens, which renders an "old school" look, which I quite like!
They are pretty confident of their "awesome" and "brutally delicious" cake at this coffee shop!
Despite the grain in the sky, I am really impressed by how clear and sharp the statue is.
Frankfurt's old town district.
For those of you that speak German, the irony of the street name will not be lost on you. 
The centre of the Old Medieval Town.
I love how this lens renders scenes to make them look from a time gone by. Interesting contrast in this shot with the old original Frankfurt facades and the new skyscrapers in the background.
The more traditional skyline shot of Frankfurt.
Looking into the Medieval Old town with the Alte Nikolaikirche on the right. At one time in its history, Frankfurt was said to have Germany's largest timberframe old town. It was in fact known to be the most beautiful example of Gothic-styled, half-timbered architecture in the entire country. Unfortunately, this was completely destroyed during the War, but with a decades long construction effort, city authorities have completely redeveloped this part of town to recreate the old style architecture.
Another shot of my friend with the hard life. Look at how clear the details in the statue are, despite some challenging lighting in this shot. Impressive.
A traditional car shop with a German car in front...I just had to take this shot!
The seat of the first freely elected parliament of Germany (1848), however this only lasted a year.
At a later date (1949) and with Germany being split into West & East, Frankfurt was going to be the provisional capital of West Germany. It was always intended to have Berlin be the capital of Germany again if it were to be reunited, however there was a worry that if Frankfurt were to become the capital of West Germany it would remain so, due to its size. As a result, Bonn was chosen as a temporary capital city.
Yours truly (if you look carefully!)

Overall observations

I really enjoyed trying out this film. I was really impressed by how well it performed given its excellent price point! It is super sharp (under the right lighting) and makes for a fantastic summer daytime black and white film. It seems to produce some really well balanced contrasty images, with good detail in the shadows and no overblown highlights for the most part. The few grainy images are most likely due to my lens and where I was in relation to the sun. 

There are a few other ISO 100 black and white films it competes against, but given it is so easily available and so reasonably priced, this is a real winner! Next time I will try it out with my super sharp 50mm Leica lens, I am sure it would produce some stunning street portraits. 

Thanks for stopping by, I hope you enjoyed this review of Agfa APX 100, and you also got a short lesson in history too! 

See you next time!

Neil