Beginner ready to order film and chemistry.

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by zing, Jun 5, 2008.

  1. zing

    zing Member

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    Greetings, It's taken me a couple of years to get to this point. I have my 4x5 view camera, a medium format and assorted 35mm cameras.

    I have 99 % of the hardware I'll need for developing my film. All I need is a thermometer, a few clips and some 16oz bottles and I'll have everything on the various recommended lists. I'll order this stuff with the film.

    I was also lucky enough to pick up a 45 mx that also included everything I could possibly ever need for using paper in B & W, but that's in the future, about 6 months out at least.

    I've been looking at the B & W arista films and various d 76 developers etc and stops baths, fixers etc..

    I've been considering the less expensive arista films based on cost alone.

    Are these suitable for beginning developers like myself?

    I've been practicing my photo composition and techniques for a couple of years now so I'm comfortable that my films will come out of the camera correctly exposed, so hopefully that won't hinder my initiation into developing.

    What brands and types of films and chemistry type and brands will possibly be the easiest for me to learn with??

    Thanks

    Bill
     
  2. Aurum

    Aurum Member

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    I'd suggest going for materials that are reasonably priced and readily available in your locality.
    For Film Kodak D76 / Ilford ID11 is a good standard.They're widely used and most people can be asked about them for advice.
    Stop bath and Fixer are pretty generic, so whatever you can lay your hands on.
    I'm in the UK, so I tend to lean towards Ilford chemistry as its availability is slightly more widespread than Kodak stuff.

    Films? Again Ilford, but thats again primarily to availability of the formats I use (35mm and 120)
     
  3. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    start with the mainstream

    minimize the variables, until you understand the process. I would suggest tri-x/hp5- a conventional film that many others have used. D76/ID11 or HC110 dilution b/ilford equivalent for a main stream developer. Rapid fixer, liquid, dilute to film stregth working solution.

    Once you are in control with these products, then start moving on to more specialized/less main stream films, or developers. For the best results that you can reproduce, change just one variable at a time.
     
  4. David William White

    David William White Member

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    What films have you been using in each format so far? Lab processed?

    I second the above comments about keeping it simple, and Tri-X or HP5+ are both great choices, and are available in 35mm, MF, and 4x5 -- and probably will remain for some time.

    What will help enormously is plugging in that enlarger and making contact prints from your negatives. Even if you are scanning for output, making proper contact sheets will tell you much about your exposure and your development and get you really good really fast so that when you get around to making enlargements in the darkroom you won't struggle so much.

    D.
     
  5. rwyoung

    rwyoung Member

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    The Arista EDU.Ultra film is FomaPan. Pretty good stuff but I've found that for me, its effective EI is at least 2/3 stop slow. This may have more to do with my processing technique and chemistry than the film itself. YMMV.

    At one point, the Arista EDU (no .Ultra) were Ilford but that was some time back. I think they are now Forte (defunct now) and possibly some Agfa. Forte and Agfa B&W are no longer made so what you get today as Arista EDU may not be the same as what you get in a year or two.

    That said, if this is your first foray into developing, you might be better off with FP4+, HP5+ (Ilford) or Tri-X (Kodak) as your first batch. A brick of those (or a 100ft roll and spool your own) is a good investment. TMAX100 and TMAX400 are also good films too as are the Ilford Deltas but I personally like the "old school" look so I just don't use them much.

    Hard to go wrong, starting out with D76. Or you can start out with Rodinal and learn a lot too.

    The house branded developers from Freestyle are good value too. Arista-76 for example is formulated to match D76, and cheaper than a bag of D76. But I don't think they come in smaller than gallon size. The liquid concentrates are nice but I only tried a single bottle, years ago, before reverting to Rodinal for most of my roll film.

    By the way, I just use plain water for film stop and a mix of 1+3 5% vinegar for paper stop now. Cheaper and works just fine for me.

    Pick one film, one developer, one fixer, one HCA and have fun! Stick with it for a while until you get predictable results then start investigating the creative control you get from different film / EI / developer combinations.
     
  6. zing

    zing Member

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    Thanks for the information ! I've been using a good bit of Tmax and Portra 160. I also use Fuji.

    I haven't used the 4 x 5 view camera yet, but I have a couple of generous offers from members that live close to show me the ropes!

    Bill
     
  7. David William White

    David William White Member

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    That's good. Tmax 400 in all three formats will probably be available for quite some time and readily available. And believe it or not, using Tmax in the 4x5 and developing the sheets individually will allow you to tweak your exposure and development times and acheive super negatives quickly and thereby help you with your roll film.

    Good luck!
     
  8. GeoffHill

    GeoffHill Member

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    I'll second (or third) a film and dev from either Kodak or Ilford, so HP5 in ID11 or TRIX in D76.

    Even I managed to develop HP5 in ID11 first time, so it must be easy.
     
  9. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    Zing,
    As others have said, minimize your variables. I recommend one film and one developer for a years' use.
     
  10. rwyoung

    rwyoung Member

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    If you are comfortable with the results you get with Tmax films then by all means go with that. They are available in all three formats. The one caveat I would point out is that in sheet film, TMAX100 has a UV blocking layer, TMAX400 does NOT have the blocking layer. This means that if you decide to do some alt-process contact printing and it is a UV sensitive process, TMAX400 is your friend.

    Maybe go with the TMAX400 for a year or 6 months and when you are ready to try something else, pick a new one in 35mm size to play with.

    Have fun and enjoy the LF camera work!