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ORWO Negative/Reversal 100' Spools

Bill DiPietra

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You can reverse-process almost every black-and-white film, exception are the so-called direct reversal stocks like Eastman 7361 (discontinued). Downright reversal films must be reverse-processed or you won’t see a thing due to the black subbing they have.


Only to repeat what comes up here and then time and again, negative stocks like Orwo UN 54 have a grey base that acts as anti-halo protection. The lightest parts of reversal positive images therefore are hidden behind the grey veil. In other words: white clouds, for example, aren’t white but grey.

Edited by Simon Wyss
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The nice thing about Orwo is that it runs in either the Reversal or B&W negative baths just like Kodak where Foma has a softer emulsion and needs a change of settings on the film processor to keep the emulsion on the base.


B&W reversal problems are almost always to do with the bleach and we run a mix of Kodak and Clayton chemistry similarly to what Spectra does, we helped them out with their bleach at one point.

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Thank you for this post. I have often wondered about the results of Orwo UN54 processed as a negative. Spectra recently processed 2 loads of Orwo UN54 as positive and I was very pleased with the results. I have seen too many examples of poor processing from other vendors and will stick with these guys. Just a question on what might be the advantage of telecine process on the negative versus the reversal?

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I always process ORWO as negative, have not even tried reversal processing with it because all my films go to telecine/scanning and negative is so much easier to work with.

One of the benefits of lower contrast negative is that technical grade transfer is much faster to do and therefore cheaper. the film is also more compatible with low end + mid range systems which have difficulties of capturing the full dynamic range of the reversal.


if you are working with, for example, a Spirit, it may save lots of time in transfer to use negative instead of reversal. you also have more options to manipulate the grain texture and contrast with special processing + varying developers if you are using negative, the reversal process is more restrictive in this regard

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