Eastman SO-331High Contrast Film

Eastman SO-331-1
Eastman SO-331 Contact Sheet

Here’s a unique film that you might get one chance to buy and shoot: Eastman SO-331 High Contrast.   I picked it up from the guys at Film Photography Project and here’s what they have to say about it:

“SO stands for Special Order. It means that the stock has been produced to a special order because it does not appear in the catalog. If you request a particular film with, for example, non-standard perforations – you might ask for Color Negative stock with pos perfs it would have to be produced to Special Order. There would normally be a minimum order. Any stock that is not in the catalogue is given an SO number. If the stock has a large demand it will eventually be given a regular number and added to the catalog.”

The contact sheet has photos from Vernazza, Italy and Pittsburgh, USA.  I’ve only done one enlargement thus far, but the general consensus of the class was they liked it.  The instructor said it gives a “modern edginess to a timeless old-world picture.”  It does best with a low contrast developer, which I don;t have access to at the time, so I did what I could.

I think it has great potential for artistic use.  It’s 25 ASA, so it’s very fine grain.  So fine I had a little trouble getting it focused as well as I wanted during the enlargement process.  I also got a little fogging on a few shots – I wonder it it’s from the see-through window on the back of my Maxxum or just a side effect from being a hand-rolled film?  It’s also only 20 exposures per roll.  Good or bad depending on how you see it.

If I buy more, I might buy some different developer as well, but I want to get a few more enlargements done before I decide.   You can get it here.  There’s also Eastman 5363 High Contrast which seems like it might handle the developer I use at school a little better.

Here’s the one enlargement thus far – I’ll share the others in a later post once I get them printed.

Stairs in Vernazza
Stairs in Vernazza



One thought on “Eastman SO-331High Contrast Film

  1. Nice! I’ve wanted to try out the Eastman High-contrast film but just haven’t gotten around to it yet. Regarding the fogging: looking at your contact sheet, there is definitely a light leak of some kind, you can see it on the top row, but I wouldn’t think it’s from the see-through window. It kind of looks like maybe your film door wasn’t closed all the way?


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