Developing Adventures · film photography · Film Processing

Developing Adventures- Pushing AgfaPhoto APX 400 to 800

AgfaPhoto’s APX 400 Professional Black and White Negative Film is a high speed black and white film… The film exhibits a high nominal sensitivity of ISO 400/27° and can effectively be pushed to ISO 1600/33° for use in low-light conditions and with fast-moving subjects… The film also responds to push and pull development; however testing is recommended prior to shooting.”

– B&H Product Description

I first shot a roll of AgfaPhoto’s APX 400 film a year ago, and had it processed by a lab. My results seemed high in contrast, but still had a lot of tonal range. I liked the dramatic feel to this film. I don’t know why it took me a year to buy another roll, but better late than never.

Nikon F Prism AGFA apx 400
Nikon F AGFA apx 400

In my research I found that this film is not made by Agfa, in fact the trademark license for the logo has been contracted out to different companies over the years such as Ferrania, Fujifilm and now Harman Technology. It is said to look similar to Kentmere 400 film, but in my experience I would compare it more to Ferrania P30.

Nikon F Prism AGFA apx 400
Nikon F AGFA apx 400

I like the tonal range because that allows for a lot of wiggle room when adjusting exposure in post. While you have to be careful with shadows because they render black, the film handles blown highlights well.

Nikon F Prism AGFA apx 400
Nikon F AGFA apx 400

Pushing APX 400 to 800

If you follow me regularly, you know that I have been experimenting a lot with pushing different film stocks to find a film to shoot everyday photos of my life and family handheld. Initially, I enjoyed my results so I thought I would try pushing this film as well.

Canon 7 Agfa APX 400 AT 800
Canon 7 Agfa APX 400 AT 800

I shot this roll at ISO 800 in my Canon 7, and then processed it in Kodak D-76 stock solution for 12:30 minutes. Agitation was continuous for the first minute and then for 10 seconds every minute after that.

Canon 7 Agfa APX 400 AT 800
Canon 7 Agfa APX 400 AT 800

My results have a lot of grain, which I was a little surprised with because I used D-76 and this film is supposed to be a fine grain film. I didn’t expect there to be this much grain just pushing it one stop. However, the contrast wasn’t much more than it was when I shot my first roll at box speed.

Canon 7 Agfa APX 400 AT 800
Canon 7 Agfa APX 400 AT 800

While I did notice that pushing this film even just one stop did start to blow the highlights, I also found that the negative retained a lot of info so that I was able to fix it in post. Check out the comparison below.

Canon 7 Agfa APX 400 AT 800 UneditedCanon 7 Agfa APX 400 AT 800
Left: Unedited
Right: Edited

Final Thoughts

While I do like the look of this film at box speed, I don’t think I will be pushing it again for my particular purpose. If you like that old fashioned black and white look, kind of like an episode of the Honeymooners, I think this film may be for you.

My pushing experiments will, of course, continue. I hope you will sign up to get my articles in your inbox so that you’ll know when I post the next one.

Until next time, stay motivated and keep shooting.

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3 thoughts on “Developing Adventures- Pushing AgfaPhoto APX 400 to 800

  1. I wonder if reducing the agitation down to just 15 seconds initially instead of a full minute would result in less grain and maybe slightly less contrast. I only agitate for 15 seconds initially when I develop and always agitate gently using a slow figure eight inversion method.

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