100 or 400

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by David Ruby, Apr 22, 2004.

  1. David Ruby

    David Ruby Member

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    I was wondering...most of my prints are 8x10 or smaller. Shooting 120 film, will I notice a difference in clarity or grain, using 100 (or 125) vs. 400 speed film?

    I've typically bought 100 speed film out of habit from my 35mm days, but the thought occured to me that with the prints I make I might be a bit overkill.

    Part of the reason I ask, is that I'm thinking of playing with my TLR Ricohmatic 225 w/ out a tripod and the 400 speed film might be more forgiving.

    Thanks all.
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Yes, they'll have a different texture. That said, the look of Tri-X in medium format and larger is classic. Tri-X/PMK is my B&W combo of choice for medium format, Tri-X/Acufine for more speed. Delta 400 is really nice in Perceptol at EI 200 in medium format, or EI 400 in D-76 for a little more grain, but an extra stop.

    I'd say, if you want to go handheld, take advantage of the speed and go with a faster film.
     
  3. Tom Duffy

    Tom Duffy Member

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    as usual, David is completely right about everything!

    Yes, there will be an obvious difference in an 8x10 print produced from 100 speed film vs. 400 speed film. On the other hand, subject movement and poor depth of field from handheld work with 100 film will look worse than the increased grain of 400 film.

    Personally, I have trouble handholding 35mm without using an EI of at least 200. In medium format handheld I often shoot Delta 3200 rated at EI 800 developed in full strength Xtol for 9 min at 68. Very liberating!
     
  4. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Both texture and gradation is different. I stick to (mostly) FP4+ in all sizes for that reason - it gives the tonality I want. HP5+ is an alternative in less-than-bright conditions, and I'm willing to use Delta 3200 if it's pitch dark. Otherwise it's FP4+ (as soon as I've used up some of my stock of APX 100, APX 400, EFKE R100, PanF and so on)...

    I also like EFKE R25 and R50. As you can see speed is not my primary concern :wink:
     
  5. David Ruby

    David Ruby Member

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    Jay,

    Hey. No, I'm by no means spoiled, but I'm getting ready to order some film, and the thought occured to me that for what I do, I might not need to buy both 100 and 400 speed 120 film. You don't need anything from Photowarehouse do you! I just found out about the $35 minimum order!!
     
  6. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    Heh, it doesn't take much film to make a $35 order!
     
  7. Cheryl Jacobs

    Cheryl Jacobs Member

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    Just depends on what and how you shoot. I'm religious about Tri-X 320 when I shoot 6x6. I just like the tones, textures, and the overall look of it. Because of the subject matter I shoot (primarily) I've had to get good at handholding MF down to 1/8th or 1/4th, so shutter speeds are a huge issue. I never use 100 films, but I'll occasionally use Pan F 50 for an entirely different look.
     
  8. Tom Duffy

    Tom Duffy Member

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    Man, you guys are good! If I needed a picture to come out I never shoot handheld below a 60th of a second. Maybe I should cut back on the coffee...
     
  9. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    A great deal depends on the lighting conditions and the subject matter that you are photographing. If you are exposing in bright light with no subject movement considerations that is one thing. If you are shooting indoors without strobes and a bunch of hyperactive kids that is another.

    Another consideration that I see is what format in medium format are you exposing? 6x4.5 is an entirely different matter then 6X7 when we consider 8X10 enlargements.

    Back when I shot roll film the rule that I tried to live by was 1/focal length for handheld shutter speed. Different lenses will allow different shutter speeds. I could handhold a 40 mm lens with subject movement at 1/60 second....I couldn't do the same with a 500 mm lens. That would require 1/500 second.

    As others have indicated the different emulsions will have different curves and different tonal characteristics.
     
  10. John Sparks

    John Sparks Member

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    Ilford discontinued all 220 films several months or maybe a year ago. I was able to get HP5+ in 220 last summer, but can't find it any more. As far as I know, the only 220 black and white films now available are Plus-X, Tri-x 320 and Portra B&W. If anyone knows of anything else, I'd like to hear about it.
     
  11. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    Can I tell the difference between 400 and 100 in a 8x10 print, definitely!

    I generally load up my M645 with 400 for general walk around, maybe handheld, maybe tripod, maybe monopod use. If I'm using APX-25 or PanF then it's onto the tripod we go!

    I haven't experimented with how slow I can hold the 645. With 35mm I know I can easily go under the 1/fl 'rule' The other day I took a couple of pics, both handheld.. I took the 2nd without thinking that I was handholding (with tripod lying on the ground)

    http://www.nlandgl.com/Film377/film377-01.jpg (1/250 @ f8 )

    http://www.nlandgl.com/Film377/film377-03.jpg (1/30 @ f22)
     
  12. Cheryl Jacobs

    Cheryl Jacobs Member

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    heh heh. jdef, they're only a huge issue because I typo'd. LOL. That was supposed to say "are NOT a huge issue."

    I either need coffee to pep me up or wine to put me out. I'll flip a coin.
     
  13. Snapper

    Snapper Member

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    I use 125 and 400 film and can't distinguish the grain between the two in 10x8's printed from 6x7 negs. However, they do look very different as there lots more than grain size to consider. In fact, I think I prefer the 400 these days.
     
  14. fhovie

    fhovie Subscriber

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    TriX in Pyrocat makes an absolute grainless 8x10 contact print - In 6x6 it makes a grainless 5x7 print. I am usually not in the mood for grain or motion blur - unless the motion is part of the subject so I am not a big fan of enlarging TRI X in roll film formats. HP5 has a kind of mottled paisley shaped grain pattern that makes enalrgements appear less grainy. TriX has its distinctive pinpoint grain that gives it that raxor sharp accutance. In 4x5 format enlarged to a 16x20 I notice a big difference in the grain of FP4 vs TriX. Although TriX is acceptable, the FP4 is noticably smoother. I do like to stop down and TriX will let me do that if there is a breeze. So I keep 2 graphlexes full of TriX and one full of FP4 for 4x5. I think HP5 pushes smoother than TriX. I find that TriX in Microdol for roll film enlarges pretty good. I have to rate it at 200 - but then I rate FP4 at 80 so it is still a pretty good difference. Of course the ultimate enlargable film is Tech Pan - I do use Pan F 50 for Portraits that will get enlarged when I must use MF. There is nothing quite like a LF portrait though and I prefer that if it is possible - it usually is not though. Sorry for the excessive rambling- I have given a lot of thought to exactly this topic. Still debate each time as well.