Efke 100 | Bill Smith

Efke 100 was an old school single layer silver rich black and white film from the 1950s made in Croatia by Fotokemika. Production ended in 2012 when the factory closed after an old coating machinery broke down and couldn’t be repaired. Fast forward five years, I was hanging with fellow members of the Classic Camera Revival Podcast, and Peter Lee told me there was an Ebay seller with bricks of Efke 100 in 35mm expired in 2015 for sale for about $75 Cdn, shipping included. How can I say no to that?  I bought two bricks a few weeks apart. 

Fans of this emulsion will wax lyrical about the range of tones you could get, I shot a lot of Efke/ first generation Adox CHS 100 a decade ago. I haven’t tried Adox Silvermax yet or the second generation post Fotokemika CHS 100 on a polyester base; I have no means to compare. Now, to make life even more interesting, I was hearing rumours from other Canadian film photographers receiving ruined shipments of film due to Canada Border Services cranking up the X-Rays looking for fentanyl smuggling. That’s a good scare out on my part, the last thing I want is ruined film. I shot a test roll from my first brick to make sure it was good. 

For the images here I shot on my Minolta XE-7 with MC Rokkor 50 f1.7 lens. I rated the film at box speed (it’s only two years past expiry). I shot around my neighbourhood in Oakville, Ontario Canada at the end of March 2017.  The objective is to find out if the film was still good, and to get used to handling the film again. 

Efke 100 like all Efke films requires babying. I chose HC110 B. as my developer to roll with and processed for 5 minutes 30 seconds at 20 Celsius. I used water for a stop, fixed for 7 minutes in Ilford Rapid Fixer, rinsed for 15 minutes, and did my usual Photo-Flo bath. I used my fingers to gently remove the water. A regular squeegee will wreck the emulsion. 

One thing I did forget, Efke once dried curls like crazy, once sleeved I leave the film under a coffee table book to flatten out before scanning. 

The big question, should I grab some? I say yes, the price is right. If you shoot with older 35mm SLRs and rangefinders from the 1960s, you have a chance to play with a film that was created in that time period and remained in production until a few years ago. I have 18 rolls that became my victory lap with this film. 


Bill Smith, an Ontario-based film photographer, specializes in landscape, street, architecture and portraiture. Follow Bill on Twitter or Instagram.