Films, Uncategorized

Testing Svema DS-5M // Свема ДС-5М

Svema (СВЕточувствительные МАтериалы, or Light-sensitive materials) first saw the light in this world in 1928 and by 1931 was already a company (by the Russian standards). Its portfolio included many types and formats of films, proudly used to keep cameras rolling in productions like the epic War and peace, heart-breaking The Courier or Queen of Spades.

DS-5M type of Svema film I was playing with was introduced in 1966. Its sensitivity was quite shy in nowadays standards — GOST 50 (ISO 50). Since mine was canisterized in 1970, I tested its light appetite:

test strip Svema DS-5M @ F/11
test strip Svema DS-5M @ F/11 (click to enlarge)

The negative developed well (on proper development process see below), with orangeish color of the emulsion. A little bit more details on it I found in an old Russian photo materials handbook:

Svema DS-5M tech specs
Svema DS-5M tech specs (click to enlarge)

It says the emulsion is good up to 45º C. So why not try some cross-processing in C-41? Guilty as charged — I let my couriosity on a trip and below are the results of this flirt with the disaster, variola vera texturized.

Svema DS-5M

Svema DS-5M
Svema DS-5M in standard C-41 (click to enlarge)

Next stop was “cold” C-41 at temperature 24º C. Another hooliganism, but this time the poor emulsion did survive, thou colors’ revenge is obvious:

Svema DS-5M
Sunny day at the beach
Svema DS-5M
Sand dunes, red scarf and Mamiya RB67
Svema DS-5M
Spring poppy
Svema DS-5M
Sand dunes

I know people are normally lazy short of time and that’s where they turn to the McDonald’s of photography and order the C-41 menu (don’t get me wrong, that was the cutting edge of analogue picture technology, commercially viable for decades). But the gourmet of film processing obliges you to cook gazpacho in this case, not consommé.

Here is the proper recipe for developing Svema DS-5M:

Svema DS-5M developing kit recipe
Svema DS-5M developing kit recipe

Recipe and process steps translated in English are available here.

Svema DS-5M in its original chemistry
Svema DS-5M in its original chemistry

So here are my results when I developed DS-5M in the Russian chem set:

Svema DS-5M

Svema DS-5M

Svema DS-5M

Svema DS-5M

Svema DS-5M

Svema DS-5M

Svema DS-5M

Svema DS-5M

Colors still shifted, but not apocalyptically catapulted.

Once a fellow photographer noted in a facebook group “Svema never gives up”. Can’t agree more, but you shouldn’t give up on Svema, too.

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One Comment

  1. Vesa

    Many thanks for this article and testing data / info on Svema Films. As I have batch of DS-4 sitting on ther freezer, Developer & developing recipe will be very handy!

    Reply

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