CatLabs Film 80 X
Old 05-16-2019   #1
Uncle Bill
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CatLabs Film 80 X

There's a new film out there in 120 by Cat Labs jp. It crossed my radar on Instagram a month ago and I ordered two bricks worth. Film 80 X is as per Cat Labs assertion a new emulsion replicating the look of Panatomic X but with a faster ISO (80 instead of 32). I have no idea if they hit the mark or not as I never shot Panatomic X myself but as a super fine grain black and white film it hit the mark. Looking at negative scans in Lightroom on a 27 iMac with a Retina screen Catlabs with their manufacturing partner delivered. I have no idea who is actually making the film, it is cut and finished in China, hence the Shanghai backing paper, dont let that deter you. What I can tell you, this ain't Shanghai GP3 film.

The below shots were taking on my Series E Rolleiflex with the 3.5 Planar lens, and developed with a four minute water pre-soak at 20c, and developed in ID-11 1+1.

Around the Light Beacon by Bill Smith, on Flickr

Sue 1 by Bill Smith, on Flickr

Getting the Masts Back Up at the OYC by Bill Smith, on Flickr

So far I've only processed with ID-11(British D76), my next roll will be with HC110. My friend Alex Luyckx on the Classic Camera Revival is doing some extensive testing with different developers.
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Old 05-29-2019   #2
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Very interesting! I saw CatLabs film on B&H and came here to see what I could learn about it. China, eh? I like the Shanghai film, up to a point. Could it be Lucky film? HHphoto/Skiff seems to be out of town, otherwise he'd have probably posted some particulars already.
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Old 05-29-2019   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by css9450 View Post
Very interesting! I saw CatLabs film on B&H and came here to see what I could learn about it. China, eh? I like the Shanghai film, up to a point. Could it be Lucky film? HHphoto/Skiff seems to be out of town, otherwise he'd have probably posted some particulars already.
Lot of discussion over at Photrio (old APUG) on this film. CatLabs is being very coy, saying only that that the film is finished by a third party. They don't say who coated it, but the general feeling is that it's Lucky, Shanghai or some Chinese manufacturer. People are reporting all kind of Shanghai film stickers, cassettes, etc. I'll pass until I learn more about who is actually coating it.

Jim B.
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Old 05-30-2019   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by css9450 View Post
Very interesting! I saw CatLabs film on B&H and came here to see what I could learn about it. China, eh? I like the Shanghai film, up to a point. Could it be Lucky film? HHphoto/Skiff seems to be out of town, otherwise he'd have probably posted some particulars already.

1. HHPhoto and Skiff are different persons. I have met both at the last rff Photokina meeting.
2. I've just today finished a direct comparison of the "new" Catlabs film and Shanghai GP3. I've done sensitometric tests = evaluated the characteristic curves of both films. Real effectiv sensitivity / speed and the shape of the curves are identical. The Catlabs films also have the GP3 sticker on it.
Because of my test results I can confirm the results on photrio which also come to the conclusion that these films have the same origin and small differences are due to normal batch variation.
We shouldn't forget that film manufacturing is really difficult and only real film manufacturers can do that. Catlabs is a distribution company for cameras and lab equipment. They don't have any knowledge in making film emulsions or coating.
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Old 05-30-2019   #5
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Interested in trying it. Ive mostly stuck with TMY and Acros the last decade but have been trying out new films now that I have more time, and more than one working film camera, to shoot.

I gotta give CATlabs credit for being adventurous and helping keep MF/LF shooters going, in the spirit of Adox and Ilford but on the equipment side of things. Real shame the pack film revival didn’t work out.
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Old 05-30-2019   #6
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Originally Posted by Laterna Magica View Post
.....We shouldn't forget that film manufacturing is really difficult and only real film manufacturers can do that. Catlabs is a distribution company for cameras and lab equipment. They don't have any knowledge in making film emulsions or coating.
Thanks for pointing this out. Some folks seem to think that CatLabs is coating this film in their back room. They're not. As you point out, they're repackaging Shanghai film and calling it their own.

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Old 05-31-2019   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laterna Magica View Post
1. HHPhoto and Skiff are different persons. I have met both at the last rff Photokina meeting.
2. I've just today finished a direct comparison of the "new" Catlabs film and Shanghai GP3.

In a hall of mirrors, I am sure... But on a serious note, I ordered some CatLabs film and will be receiving it in a few days so I can shoot side by side with GP3. I've never seen any GP3 with "stickers" on it; maybe that is a 4x5 thing. The 120 rolls are secured with plain masking tape and no identification at all besides the box it comes in. I like the film.... I prefer it to the Foma 100 but that is based on MY processing and scanning abilities; others may have different results.
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Old 06-03-2019   #8
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I received my CatLabs film today. I'll agree with the others: This is Shanghai GP3 in a different box. Same black backing paper, same masking tape at the beginning of the roll, same plastic spool that doesn't match anyone else's. A couple improvements though over all the other GP3 I've seen: There is now a sticky adhesive label at the end of the roll to seal it when you're done (previously, there was just a paper tab with no adhesive). The label is marked "Shanghai GP3" and is obviously the sticker Jan mentioned. Also, the numbers printed on the backing paper are more distinct. Previously, they were tough to see through most ruby windows.

This film also has the pretty blue anti-halation layer like all other GP3 films. How do I know? I stripped one roll and sliced it down to 127 size to use in my Baby Rolleiflex or my Ricohmatic 44. So I got a quick peek at the adhesive label, the spool and the cutoff pieces of film even though I haven't even loaded it into my camera yet.

Interesting that B&H sells the GP3 for $9.95 a roll and the CatLabs version for just &5.55.
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Old 06-03-2019   #9
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I used to shoot the GP3 in 120 format and develop it in full strength Mic-X. The grain was more or less just gone. Loved that film. Lots of fun in Rodinal too, and even in that at 1:25 you had to look closely to see any grain. That's on the negs, on the prints there's none at all.
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Old 06-05-2019   #10
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Originally Posted by css9450 View Post
In a hall of mirrors, I am sure...
No. We`ve just had another rff member meeting at the latest analoguenow festival. Both were there.

But I can confirm your results that GP3 and the "new" CatLabs film are identical. I have tested both films side by side under identical conditions and they are indeed identical. No significant difference.
I will not continue to use them, neither of them. The quality, especially the finishing quality, is much worse compared to the real manufacturers like Fuji, Kodak, Ilford, Adox.
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Old 06-05-2019   #11
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We`ve just had another rff member meeting at the latest analoguenow festival. Both were there.
That sounds like fun. Perhaps someone can post a group portrait or selfie of the four of you? Its always nice to know the faces behind the names.
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Old 06-06-2019   #12
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Its always nice to know the faces behind the names.
Says the guy with the wonderful realistic portrait of himself in his avatar.....
Yes, the rff member meetings are indeed fun. You are very welcome to join the next meeting. Then you can do make excellent portraits of all members at the meeting. We prefer classic portraits, smartphone selfies are not ours, we are not 16 years anymore........
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Old 06-06-2019   #13
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Says the guy with the wonderful realistic portrait of himself in his avatar.....

I posted a self portrait here, probably ten years ago. Maybe its time for a new one. But the monkey portrait is easy to remember, as am I. I don't have four screen names.
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Old 06-11-2019   #14
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Yes, the rff member meetings are indeed fun. You are very welcome to join the next meeting.
+1.
By the way, the next rff member meeting will be on 28th September. At the Leica headquarter, when Leica is making its big film days event.

But back to topic: More and more news are coming in from photographers who have tested this catlalbs film (more evidence that it is Shanghai GP3):
https://www.photrio.com/forum/thread...0-film.167589/

Cheers, Jan
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Old 06-11-2019   #15
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Some interesting reading there certainly! I have Catlabs film loaded right now but seeing as we all know by now its really GP3 in a different box, I should mention that the only issues I ever had with GP3 was the one roll I shot which was missing its tape entirely. The film wasn't taped to the backing paper! Ever since, I pre-check each roll in the darkroom before loading. Its usually a moot point because most of the GP3 I shoot gets re-loaded either onto 620 spools (for my Brownie) or sliced into 127 size, and both of these processes require unspooling it in the darkroom first.


I am tempted to unload the rest of the Catlabs film I bought while the curiosity about it is still high.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #16
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Some pics from my first roll of CatLabs film, mostly shot on some old cars:

I should mention I threw caution to the wind and sliced the film down to 127 size and used it in perhaps my most-quirky camera, my Ricohmatic 44. Developed in Rodinal 1:50. No surprises here, it behaves just like GP3.



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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #17
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I just last night loaded up a couple of 4x5 sheets of Shanghai 100. I think I will try it in D23 or Microdol-X
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