400 speed film with fastest real EI

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Tomf2468, Feb 20, 2009.

  1. Tomf2468

    Tomf2468 Member

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    What 120 film or film/developer combo will get me the fastest real shadow value speed? I'm calibrated using the standard AA routine of 0.1 over FB+F for zone 1.

    I've primarily been a larger/ultralarge format still life shooter. Subjects didn't move and camera was on a tripod. Nice!

    Now I'm working on a project carrying my "small" camera (Pentax67) around a crowded downtown. Usually too crowded and too fast moving for a tripod. Shooting Tmax400 developed in HC110 at an EI of 200. I could really use a bit more speed!

    The combo is what I like in large format for alternative process prints. This project is being printed in silver. So I'm very open to changing film and/or developer. In fact, a bit softer shoulder than Tmax400 would be nice.

    Any sugestions on good combinations to try?
     
  2. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Hmm, how about neopan 400?
     
  3. gerryyaum

    gerryyaum Subscriber

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    Iford 3200, can be rated at 800 I believe.
     
  4. E76

    E76 Member

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    I have had great results with Ilford HP5+ at 400, developing for the recommended time in D-76 too! Ilford films are the only films I've ever used that deliver near perfect results the first time with little or no testing, but, of course, YMMV.
     
  5. Tomf2468

    Tomf2468 Member

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    Wow, that was a fast bunch of replies! Thanks.

    I shoot HP5 a fair bit, because I can get it in 11x14. In HC-110 it isn't any faster than Tmax400. Perhaps being a studio shooter has "spoiled" me for shadow detail!

    Neopan is certainly softer in the shoulder. But, is it any faster?

    I had no idea that Ilford 3200 was available in medium format. I will buy a roll or two.
     
  6. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Yes. Well, at the very least it certainly isn't slower. How much faster you call it will of course depend on where you place your exposure on the curve.
     
  7. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    If you want to stay with HC-110,
    use 1+63 (Dilution H) and reduce your agitation to 10 seconds every third minute. You will probably
    be able to develop long enough to get EI 400 without moving your highlights to N+1.

    Cool, huh ?

    Xtol will probably give you EI640 - 800, diluted 1+1 or 1+2: with reduced agitation you'll be N, or not quite N+1.

    Softening your print developer from Dektol to LPD will give you a full Ansel scale, but will help print highlights from an over-scaled subject.

    TMY is a real pussycat in the field if you pick the right developer and give it half a chance.
     
  8. MikeSeb

    MikeSeb Member

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    You really need to go with Xtol or D-76 if you want "full" speed---as has been said. You could also consider Delta 3200 at 1250-1600 in Xtol straight; or Tri-X in Diafine at about 1000-1250.
     
  9. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Something without much of a "scoop" in the lower tones of the characteristic curve would give you the most shadow density at a given exposure. In all practicality, the shape of the curve in this region is more important to how much density you get in the lower tones than is the exact 0.10 over FB+F speed. It doesn't do you much good to calibrate to a zone I if by doing so you make zone II placements fall too low. T-max or something similar in a developer that is advertised as maintaining or increasing box speed would be a good choice of what to use to start your testing. Manufacturer's data sheets will give you factory curves so you have a starting point for picking a film to use. Kodak's data sheets are very detailed, and often give curves for different developers and/or different times.

    I would be tempted to outright suggest T-max 400 in its purpose-made developer, or barring that, in X-Tol, but I hate just giving opinions without explanation.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 21, 2009
  10. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    I usually tend to give film more light rather than less e.g. I usually use HP5+ at EI 200. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I used Delta 400 at EI 800 and I think it would have held up well with an extra stop of pushing too.

    I would like to see comparisons between Delta 400 pushed to EI 1600 and Delta 3200 at EI 1600 as I'm not sure how they would differ.



    Steve.
     
  11. SamWeiss

    SamWeiss Member

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    For that very reason, I'll second Keith's recommendation of Neopan 400. I'm using it in 6x7 (Pentax) and what quickly jumped out at me is how nicely it opens up shadows. Using it at 400, I'm not really seeing grain on 8x10 prints (using most of the frame.)
     
  12. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    I use Neopan 400 at EI 400 and develop in Xtol 1:1 and get great shadow detail...
     
  13. philipp.leser

    philipp.leser Member

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  14. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    I find neopan 400, HP5+, delta 400 etc all pretty close. TriX is perhaps a hair behind. In Xtol diluted or DDX they all produce box speed easily and under flat conditions I can rate them at up to about 640 (without it being a real push).
     
  15. mikebarger

    mikebarger Subscriber

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    I think the only answer to this question is for you to buy a few samples and test them.

    For me Tri-x tests to 400, but HP5 to only 200. I've read others that are just the opposite. Water, chemical mixing, meters, development method, and shutters may all be a little different and require a different EI for you than what I have found that works for me.

    No harm in asking, but as you can see you're getting a pile of different opinions. To find the best answer for you, you'll have to test or guess.

    Mike
     
  16. Tomf2468

    Tomf2468 Member

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    As Mike said, it is time for me to go experiment. I didn't expect "one perfect answer", there are too many personal variables. I've spent so long in the studio dealing with getting film to stretch to the density needed for alt process work. For this project I wanted (and, thank-you, have gotten) some starting point suggestions. Xtol seems a common suggestion for getting highest speed out of a film, Neopan seems often suggested and I didn't know that Ilford 3200 existed. All of those will be bought and explored next week.

    Personally, I'm "hoping" the comments here and elsewhere on the web about Xtol work for me. If I could get films I already "know",Tmax400 or HP5, to give me an EI of 320, 400 or 500 with normal contrast..... I would be a very happy fellow.

    Thanks to one and all!
     
  17. Tomf2468

    Tomf2468 Member

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    I know you've all been waiting for me to report back?!?!

    Again, thanks to everyone for the suggestions. If "my solution" wasn't your suggestion, well that is the joy of having so many good options!

    What worked best for "me" was my existing film (Tmax400) in a new developer (suggested by many of you), Xtol. As (I think) DF suggested, I got my best results diluting the Xtol and giving a long development without too much agitation. My numbers came out to EI of 320 developed in Xtol 1:3 for 16:30 at 70 degree F with agitation every 3 minutes. I know 68 degree is "normal", but I often can't get 68 degree tap water during the Los Angeles summer!

    That gives me a 2/3 stop speed increase, nice :smile:

    Highly diluted HC-110 gave "me" less speed and more mottled midtones (not awful, just not as good as Xtol). Neopan gave "me" slightly less speed and less highlight separation. Strictly personal preference, I like the tonal values in TMax400 better than Neopan. The Ilford 3200 film was a tad grainy for 11x14 prints, but will be added to the camera bag and used on occasion.

    Tom
     
  18. mikebarger

    mikebarger Subscriber

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    Thanks for reporting back Tom.

    I do like to read what others are actually testing and using.

    Mike
     
  19. dynachrome

    dynachrome Member

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    Why not try Tri-X? It has very nice tonality and is probably the easiest 400 speed fim to use.
     
  20. Tomf2468

    Tomf2468 Member

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    Why didn't it test Tri-X? Habit really. I never liked Tri-X for my alt work, so I didn't think of it for this project. By most/all reports it isn't any faster and is perhaps a tad slower than the newer t-grain type films. Thanks for the thought, I think I'm going to be very happy with my old film / new developer combo :smile:
     
  21. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    I am rapidly going off TriX in 35mm due to the epic gulf in resolution between it and Neopan 400, which is still a traditional film. In 120 its not an issue most of the time. I agree there; its dead easy to use and has a certain look, but Neopan 400 is not exactly finicky in std devs. Negs look more contrasty due to the v clear base, but otherwise it is pretty robust. Touch more modern looking (but still fairly traditional) and in xtol the tonality is tremendous.

    After messing about with so many films, my favourites are narrowing and Neopan 400 is impressing me more and more. Seems to be able to do everything. TriX will still hang about for the grain and 'the look' but Neopan is the jack of all trades for me.