Here is my experience with black and white negative film ORWO NP-22. In production from 1965, this film was available in many formats — 135, 120, 127, 620, cut sheet film… The stash I have is in 6.5×9 cm cut sheet in boxes of 25 films expired in 1991.
NP stands for Negativfilm Panchromatisch and numbers indicate sensitivity in DIN standard. ORWO made other NP films — NP-10, 15, 18, 20, 27 and even 30 (ISO 800). Low speed ORWO NP are considered fine grain and ultra fine grain general purpose films.
This film goes well in many developers — I’ve used ORWO A-03 (wrote about this developer here), ORWO A-49, Kodak D-76, etc. Depending on your developing mode, you may get from very fine to visible grain.
I shot this film with Mamiya RB67 Pro S and Mamiya Sekor lenses 65 and 127 mm., using film holders type J for 6.5×9 sheet films.
For all types of cut sheet films I shoot, I keep a reference piece of them out of the box to remind me emulsion orientation. Most of the other films have marks on the package (Kodak, AGFA APX, etc.), but ORWO does not. So here is what the emulsion side mark looks like.
For slow shutter speed I applied ND filters on some of the shots. All examples below were shot at ISO 100.
So let’s have a look the the results.
All the negatives are developed with ORWO A-03 for 10 minutes at 20° C. As the saying goes, when taking photographs you do not only record a piece of reality, you tend to recreate the reality in your own way. So I decided that I will overdevelop my negatives slightly to get more “crispy” images. Hence, I lost some of the light gray areas to whites, but these scenes do not suffer such deviation.
Loading the film holders type J calls for patience and composure. Films easily get scratched or twisted during the process, so at least first attempts you should do in no hurry. Also, make sure your hands are not sweaty — you may need to push slightly the film till the end of the holders.
But as most of the things with Mamiya RB67 are slow, I easily got accustomed to the process.
Walking around with Mamiya RB67 is a quite of an experience. It’s heavy, slow, precise and quite unforgiving to any lack of attention to all steps before you push the button to let photons feast.
My conclusion for ORWO NP-22 cut sheet film:
- if kept properly during the years, this is an excellent fine grain cut sheet film;
- try it in different developers for various results. If you do not overdeveloped it you will be rewarded with fine grain;
- goes very well with yellow, green and red filters.
More links, examples and information you may find here: