Adox Launches Color Mission Helios, A New Ultra-Low-ISO Color Film

Three rolls of the ADox Color Mission Helios film placed against a white background.

German film company Adox is branching out with another new color film. On the heels of Color Mission, which Adox released in 2022, Color Mission Helios is an ultra-low-ISO color option for photographers.

Adox is no stranger to making film. The company got its start in 1860, though it didn’t produce its first color negative film until 1956. It has also dabbled in camera equipment manufacturing, producing the Adox Golf (medium format) and Polo (35mm) series of cameras in Wiesbaden between the 1920s and 1960s.

Many sales of the company happened over the years, though when the production of Agfa shut down, Adox “became engaged in manufacturing again trying to save as much knowlege as possible and transfer it to a smaller level of production,” explains the Adox website. The company has since revived Agfas MCP, MCC, APX (Silvermax), and the entire Agfa B/W chemical line. It expanded its factory in 2017 and is now exploring new film stocks as well.

Adox started production of its Color Mission film in 2022 as a way to fund future research and development for color film emulsions. Since its release, the ISO 200 film has been hard to come by.

As reported by Kosmo Foto, Adox describes the new film as a “simplified color film” with only four layers of color. Adox outlines the four layers on its website in a diagram. They include single-layer emulsion red-sensitized cyan couples, green-sensitized magenta couples, and blue-sensitized yellow couplers with filter and protective layers.

Adox designed the film with a nominal sensitivity of only ISO 3 and a usable sensitivity of ISO 1.5. The ultra-low ISO makes it ideal for long exposures and “‘removes’ anything moving from city landscapes,” explains Adox on its website. The low ISO may make some reluctant about the practicality. However, Adox says that it is possible to take photos handheld, provided users shoot during the day in the sun with a fast lens.

A street scene with graffiti and red machinery.
Image Credit: Adox
A group sits on a dock while boats pass by.
Image Credit: Adox
A person is blurred from a long exposure while walking down a ramp.
Image Credit: Adox

Regardless of how users shoot, Adox does say that Helios will require a lot of light. But the result is a superfine grain with what they describe as pastel colors. In the sample images, the images are very warm with rich reds.

In terms of availability, Adox says that they are currently casting the last layers on their machine in Switzerland and hope to offer 35mm and sheet film next season. There are no details yet as to pricing.