How to test vintage analog film - by example ORWO MA 8

From box-of-random-analog-photography-stuff that I've collected recently, I've looted canister with roll of ORWO MA 8. There are few other treasures that I've looted from this box, but for now let's see.... 

OWRO MA 8 - documenting microfilm

Spoiler: it has a lovely lovely green mask. Does no matter if works or not, I love this colour.

Uncle Google says it is documenting microfilm. If I understand it correctly - it was used to copy documents before xero-age: photograph it and then print it on documenting paper (I must try it some day!!). So it should have limited grey scale and very low ISO. Let's see.... 

First - canister was closed properly, no ugly smell from it and rather nice plastic/metal one. Good sign! Lights off! DARK ROOM ON. Inside canister, properly lightproof papier and film closed in it. Inside - I think quite full roll, without any sign of moisture or fungi. 

It is classic perforated 35mm film. 

Preparing the film

Then - I've took a film and loaded it into

  • 60cm into one SL cassette to test with Certo SL110, and
  • 30cm into one demountable 135 cassette back from OWRO NPxx from late '60s to test with Practica L 

Then.. DARK ROOM OFF, lights on and I have found... it's green! wow!

Then... I went for a walk.

Test shots 

I have found my object and I measure aperture for ISO 100 and time 1/125, so I got benchmark to know EV adjustment and then I've shot

  • with Certo SL110, as it has 6 different combination of time and aperture - from 1/125 s & 16 (11EV) to 1/30 s & 8 (15 EV) - I've shot same object on every combination, so I have 6 shots per object from below


  • with Practica L and Helios 50/2 lens I did 8 shots per object, from 1/125 & 8 ( via > 5,6 > 4 > 2.8 > 2 > 1/60 & 2) to 1/30 & 2, plus extra 1/30 16 and 1/30 11 (just to test camera - it should looks the same as 1/125 8 and 5,6) - so I have 10 shots for object as below

So. then developing - as this is old vintage film - I've used golden method as described in Guide to expired films

Results? Tomorrow! :D

Results? WOW! Exceeded my expectations!

Day After! :D

Look at this! This is film from Practica L

and this is film from Certo SL110


Looks great, isn't it? I didn't expect it. No smoke, contrast looks very good! Grey and shadows as well. Happy Happy Day. 

So, summary for exposing times and adjusting EV for vintage old analog film ORWO MA 8. 

  • Cetro SL110 - by Camerapedia, analog Certo exposing params representing pictograms are as follows. I did a shot on every pictogram, from cloudy ro sunny. Unfortunately I lost Certo SL110 lightmetter benchmark :( so I can't say what is adjusting EV but I can say that 1/30 f.8 for sunny day was perfect. Don't worry - Practica L will tell the rest!


  • Practica L -  Lightmeter said, ISO 100, 1/125, f.8 (see above for red jacket screenshot!) and testing ... hmmm looks like something around +3EV? maybe +4? Hmmm not really sure by looking on negative, so need to print it so check but! Definitely it looks great and confirming it is working film


Then last step to make sure what adjustment in EV we should use for this ORWO MA 8 old vintage analog film.... 




[TESTED] MA 8 [35mm] vintage analog film by ORWO, '90s

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