Scala 4x5 Users Experience? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I was wondering if anyone on this list has used Agfa Scala B/W transparency film in 4x5. If so, what are your experiences. Is the manufacturers ISO accurate or are you de-rating to a lower EI? How are you sending your film off to be processed? Are mailers available like the 120 and 35mm filsm?


-- Mike Kravit (, May 03, 2001


I think it's a great film though it's kind of a specialized product. You can make prints from it but I'm not really sure what benefit (if any) you'd get from that over printing from B&W negatives. This tends to leave Scala as a film that's used for B&W product shots, fashion, etc. that is intended for publication.

I was mainly playing around with the film in 4x5, using it for backlit displays. I've also used it a couple of times when I knew I was going to use an image electronically. Scala scans very well.

In my opinion, it really excels in medium format. 6x7 shots with Scala, projected on a screen, are absolutely stunning! As I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm using it in 6x7 for images I make for alternative process prints. It's nice to be able to judge the image straight from the film on a lightbox then enlarge to an 8x10 negative in a single step. I've only done cyanotype to this point, but I'm hoping that my process can be made to work for Platinum printing as well.

As for your other questions: I've only shot Scala at EI 200 and the results are very nice. I haven't felt the need to adjust the rating. Mailers are not available, to my knowledge, for 4x5. I simply put my sheets in an empty film box and apply a label that includes any and all information that I can possibly think of about the contents of the box; film type, number of sheets, rated speed, name, address, phone#, etc. It's probably overkill, since I'm sending the film to a professional lab, but I use a half-sheet label (about 5 inches by 8 inches) that serves the dual purpose of covering as much of the film box labeling as possible (since the film often gets shipped in something other than a Scala box), and sealing the box from accidental opening. I then wrap my check and the order form around the box and secure with a rubber band. The box goes into a bubble wrap mailing envelope. To this point, I've had no problem with this method. I always use small film boxes (10 or 25 sheet) rather than the larger 100 sheet boxes. I once received processed E6 by return mail that was shipped in one of the larger boxes and it arrived crushed enough that there would have been light leakage and hissy fits if it had contained unprocessed film.

-- Tim Klein (, May 04, 2001.

I really like Scala. Most of the time, I take only two or three types of film for my 4x5" travel photography: Velvia and Scala, and either a color negative or a less saturated color slide film. Scala has an exposure range of -3 to +3 diaphs. This is to compare to the -2 to 2.5 diaphs of Velvia for example. There are very few scenes that will not fit into this 6 diaphs range.

I also like it a lot for night photography, though the reciprocity failure is quite strong. This film is also well suited for scanning. I have very nice digital prints on glossy paper taken from Scala slides.

You can use whatever EI between 100 and 1200 ISO without problem, especially in 4x5 where the grain is not so much a concern. The contrast tends to go up after 400 ISO, though.

-- Pierre Kervella (, May 11, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ