Links and Data:
  1. Low speed Orthopanchromatic sensitised film

  2. Very Fine Grain

  3. High Edge Sharpness

  4. Fantastic Tonality

  5. Average exposure latitude

  6. Single layer emulsion

  1. Development Data by

  1. Sample Images: Flickr Set

  1. Manufacturer’s website

My experience with Rollei Pan 25 was very short lived, since just after I first tried it, it was discontinued. In it’s place, the Efke 25 was sold as the closest equivalent. I can’t vouch for the accuracy of that statement, as I’ve not shot enough of the Pan 25 to conclude the same thing, but that is what Maco told me. My initial impressions of Efke 25 were very good, with very fine grain, with very good definition and exceptional tonality. Being Efke, the lower quality control standards soon made their appearance, which brought my impressions down a bit. It’s unfortunate, but emulsion defects can occur, and especially with roll films, one can experience annoying scratches. It doesn’t help either that all Efke films have a very soft and sensitive emulsion!

The problems sound worse than they really are, but enough to hamper confidence. As usual, problems occur in batches, and it’s not very often one get a film that is too problematic. Usually there are only a few black pinholes to be seen, or an occasional spot here and there. In general, it’s a fairly trustworthy film, but it’s a tricky situation when photographing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.... is it worth the risk?

The negative aside, this film is capable of spectacular results. Being a single layer emulsion, it responds very well with high definition surface developers, offering a high level of edge sharpness with beautiful tonality. Developing it in Rodinal 1:100 is an absolute favourite combination for me! I assume developing this film in Diafine could easily produce the same excellent results! The above image was developed in Rodinal 1:150 (with ± 0,5gr of borax), using a 60min semi-stand developing procedure, with three gentle inversions at the 30min mark. The above 1600ppi crop shows the fantastic level detail from the 6x7cm negative. Mouse-over the crop to view the level of visible grain. On the note of visible grain, results can vary with the degree of exposure; A good exposure will produce very little grain, however, poorly exposed negatives can increase the level of grain considerably. The film also doesn’t respond well to overexposure, since light scatter decreases perceptive sharpness, and it also tends to increase visible grain. I assume this has something to do with the thickness of the film, and it being a single layered emulsion.

Efke 25 is an othropanchromatic sensitised film, which means that it is less sensitive to red than a panchromatic film, and in that sense quite similar to Fuji’s ACROS 100 film. The Efke 25 film has a higher contrast than most films, but this can be well controlled with compensating developers. With Rodinal 1:50 or 1:100, the developing times are not too long, so it’s not a disincentive to develop accordingly. As I mentioned, Rodinal 1:100 is a fantastic choice for this film.

I’m quite intrigued by Efke films, as their look can be very flattering and different to the rest. They are a film type that produce better results the more one gets to know them, and they are capable of truly exceptional results! Efke 25 is one of my favourite films, but it demands a degree of dedication to fine tuning. The recommendations out there should be considered as starting points, and certainly not as absolute! This is something many people fail to realise, especially with the Efke IR820 film, which is capable of producing unimpressive results if not done right.

My experiences of this film are an ongoing process, so watch this space in future as I plan to update my review. I plan to publish my perfect semi-stand combination, as well as my experiences with developing it with Diafine.

Click the image to see it large

Personal Review:

All images remain the copyright of Martin Zimelka