|Flat Negatives Are Your Friends|
Photographic film negative curling is an issue if you develop film yourself. During the digitizing or printing workflow your negatives will need to be scanned, photographed or used in a darkroom enlarger. Having film negatives "flat" is important. Even the slightest curling / cupping of the negative can make the film difficult to put into a scanner holder, keep flat on the scanner glass or keeping the entire photo in focus. You WANT your negatives to be as flat as possible for good results.
Different film stocks "curl" / "cup" to various amounts or remain flat while drying. How you dry your negatives (i.e., hanging with a weighted clip on the bottom) or your drying conditions (i.e., humidity level) will also impact how much a negative does or does not dry flat.
Here are a couple examples of flat and slightly curled negatives. Your results may be similar or much more cupping / curling.
|Fomapan 400 dries flat|
|Fujicolor Superia X-TRA 400 has a moderate curl. This negative has been back-rolled|
There are DIY ways to flatten curled negatives. You can cut your negatives, sleeve them and put them under a weight (like a book). You can back-roll the negative before cutting and keep it back-rolled for a few hours until flat, etc.
Again, what ever process you use, the simplest is to use film (WHEN POSSIBLE) that dries flat.
To help you decide, here is a list of films I've (or others) have used and how they "typically" end up when dried. Please note, this list covers just 35mm film. 120 film curls more or less the same but if it curls it tends to curl more than 35mm. AGAIN AS A CAVEAT, your experience may vary.
- ADOX HR50 - flat
- Agfa APX 100 - flat
- Agfa APX 400 - slight curl
- Arista 100 / 200 / 400 - flat
- Berger Pancro 400 - slight curl
- Camera Film Photo (CFP) 500T The Film - flat
- CFP Kiki Pan 320 - flat
- CineStill BWXX - slight curl
- Dubblefilm Jelly - flat
- Eastman Double-X (5222) - flat
- EFKE 100 - curls
- Fomapan 100 - flat
- Fomapan 200 - flat
- Fomapan 400 - flat
- FPP Mummy - flat
- FPP RetroChrome 320 - curls
- Fujicolor Pro400H - light curl
- Fujifilm Provia 100 - curls
- Fujifilm 200 - slight curl
- Fujifilm Fujicolor Superia X-TRA 400 - curls
- Fujifilm Fujicolor Superia 800 - flat
- Holga 400 - flat
- Ilford Delta 100 - flat
- Ilford Delta 400 - flat
- Ilford FP4 - flat
- Ilford HP5 - flat
- Ilford Ortho 80 - flat
- Ilford PAN 400 - flat
- Ilford SPX 200 - flat
- Ilford XP2 400 - flat
- JCH Streetpan 400 - flat
- Kentmere 400 - flat
- Kodak Ektar 100 - flat
- Kodak EliteChrome 100 - curls
- Kodak EliteChrome 200 - curls
- Kodak Gold 200 120 - curls
- Kodak Kodalith 6556 - flat
- Kodak MAX 400 - curls
- Kodak Plus X 125 - slight curl
- Kodak Portra 160/400 - flat
- Kodak Portra 800 - flat
- Kodak T-Max - flat / slight curl
- Kodak T-Max 3200 - flat / slight curl
- Kodak Tri-X - curls
- Kodak Ultramax 400 - flat
- Kodak Vision3 250D - flat
- Kodak Vision3 500T - flat
- Kodak X-Pan 125 - slight curl / flat
- Kono Moonstruck - flat
- Kosmo Foto Agent Shadow - slight curl
- ORWO UN54 - flat
- Rollei Retro 80s - flat
- Rollei Retro 400s - flat
- Rollei RPX25 - flat
- Shanghai GP3 = curls
- Silberra Ultima - flat
- Ultrafine 100 - flat
Thanks Steven, that is helpful. I’ve never seen a list like that before.ReplyDelete
In the 'old days' of available light in dimly lit folk clubs, our last resort for highest ei -Kodak 2475 Recording film with maximum curl Estar base. Many frustrating hours in a non a/c darkroom trying to hold it flat for a print deadline. The data insert amused by referring to the subject as 'the suspect'ReplyDelete
Thanks for the great research. I recently tested some 120 films because I was having so much trouble seeing picture numbers through the red windows of my Holgas. The main problems were with Ilford (and Kentmere) with their faint numbers.ReplyDelete
Here is what I found for 120 films:
Catlabs 320 Pro the best. Flat and a dream to scan. Cheap too.
Rollei Retro 400S and Rollei Superpan 200 - flat but more expensive.
I found Fomopan 200 curly but still very easy to scan.
Arista EDU Ultra 200 -curly and trouble.
Glad I found your site,