Characteristics of 120 ASA 400 BW

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by ToddB, Apr 11, 2013.

  1. ToddB

    ToddB Member

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    Hey guys,

    I developed some ASA 400 BW film last night. Is the characteristics of the 400 tend be a little grainy? I would of figured being larger format, it would been a finer. Still happy with the results, just curious.

    ToddB
     
  2. Jim Taylor

    Jim Taylor Member

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    Hi Todd,

    Generally, faster films tend to be grainier (is that even a word?) but how grainy (real grain or apparent) depends so much on developer combo, processing conditions and temperature, even things like scene contrast.

    I guess MF sizes vs. 35mm should show less grain for the same enlargement factor - but again, depends on which MF size (therefore how much bigger the negative is vs. 35mm) and all of the above, including additional things like enlarger type, lens, paper etc...
     
  3. Dan Daniel

    Dan Daniel Subscriber

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    Which film, developer, etc.? What makes you say that it is grainy? Did you enlarge it, or did you scan it?
     
  4. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Which film? It does vary. Ilford HP5+ is more grainy than say Delta 400 or TMax 400 which is amazing for a 400 film.

    In MF and unless you are looking at the negative under a high powered magnifier I am surprised you see grain.

    Even in a print, most 400 MF films will show little grain up to say 11x14 but essentially faster films tend to produce grain clumping.

    pentaxuser
     
  5. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Are we talking 645 or 6x12? "Medium Format" spans quite a range of neg areas.

    In my experience with 6x7, HP5 will show grain at 12x16" from 6x7, whereas TMY2 will show practically none at 16x20". Fomapan 400 is far grainier than both.
     
  6. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    There is grain. Sometimes it's not enlarged enough to be visible to the naked eye. It varies greatly from film to film, though, where TMax 400 is by far the finest grained one, and HP5+ and Foma 400 at the other end showing similar grain. If you scan your film, grain will be accentuated by aliasing in most scanners.
    But don't be either discouraged or encouraged by grain. Just let it be, live with it, and embrace it. In the words of Neil Gaiman: "Make good art".
     
  7. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Are you looking at a print or a negative?
     
  8. ToddB

    ToddB Member

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    Which film, developer, etc.? What makes you say that it is grainy? Did you enlarge it, or did you scan it

    Photo Ware Ultrafine Extreme series 120 ASA 400. Scanned on my Epson V600 scanner. developed D-76 1to1 68 degree for 12:00 min Noticing grain in bald sky.

    ToddB
     
  9. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    Well your first issue is not using Kodak/ilford film :tongue: hahaha

    I know some of the B brand film is sometimes known to be other film, but if you want quality, buy quality films like tmax400 or Delta400 which are fine T-grain films. Tonality may be different than "traditional grain" films but will be much finer than 400TX or HP5+

    Test a few out, spend $20, buy 1 roll of each and test each out to see.

    Also work on your developing technique, the more extreme the agitation, the grainier it may be, if you're more gentile and less agitation you'll have a finer grain.


    ~Stone

    Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1, 5DmkII / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic | Sent w/ iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  10. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    It is what it is. You would get less grain with TMax 400, if it's important to you.

    Scanning film and looking at it on screen will give you the impression of more grain than looking at a print made with an enlarger.

    Personally, I really enjoy the grain and think it adds nice character to the prints. You may not share my opinion, but the fact remains that no matter how hard you try to minimize it, the grain will always be there.
     
  11. ToddB

    ToddB Member

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    Yes on the grain look , it does have a interesting look. Keep in mind it's not sever but it's there. I was curious about thier film and was inexspensive. I prefer the Ilford Delta 100. But wanted to try it. Next roll I'll try less agitation and see what happends.

    ToddB
     
  12. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    Scanning does tend to exaggerate grain, especially if the negatives are a little thin. I'm not familiar with the film and nobody seems to be quite sure what it is---possibly some version of the HP5+ or Kentmere 400 emulsion on a different base, if you believe online discussions of the question, but there's no consensus. That level of uncertainty makes it pretty hard to say anything with confidence about what behavior to expect from the film, IMHO.

    The silver grains don't know what size image they're in; a 35mm-size crop from your MF frames should be exactly as grainy as the same film in 35mm, and the full frame should be correspondingly less grainy for a given print size, if you see what I mean. And in *general* faster films tend to be grainier, but there's a lot of variation between films of the same speed.

    If you're finishing in d*g*t*l, and you don't like what your scanner does with the grain of this film, then I guess there it is, but if you're also targeting wet prints it would be good to judge the apparent graininess of those results separately.

    -NT
     
  13. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    We are once again back to the issue of an OP trying to judge or make comments about negs from a hybrid process involving scanning. I sympathise with anyone unable to print in a darkroom but trying to draw meaningful conclusions about a neg's graininess from scanning is very difficult.

    OP, I appreciate that your question was not: "How do I minimise grain?" but simply: Is there a relationship between grain and different films?"

    However, if I may add the following. If scanning from negs is all that you will have the facility to do then you might want to consider chromogenic B&W film such as Ilford XP2+ where the negs are formed with dye and lend themselves to scanning in an easier way than trad B&W negs and the scans are closer to what a print from a trad B&W darkroom print will look like

    pentaxuser
     
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  15. baachitraka

    baachitraka Subscriber

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    Me personally like Rolleicord Va + Fomapan 400 + Rodinal 1+50 and print on Adox Varioclassic.
     
  16. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    I have to agree, I've just shot some Tri-X Pan Professional from very long ago, and the grain was no where near as bad as people claimed compared to current 400TX, I could hardly tell the difference. Now I know Pan Professional was a 320 and was slightly finer than the over-the-counter "amateur" Tri-X but still...
     
  17. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    ??
     
  18. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    As a very general rule of thumb, the more sensitive the film (higher ISO) the more apparent the grain. This is a characteristic of the emulsion, not a characteristic of the format.
    There are many other things such as exposure, type of developer, etc. which will effect the final grain size.
     
  19. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    It's all relative. Depends on your specific developer and degree of enlargement. HP5 was a very different looking than TMY, which is quite different than TriX. Acutance-wise, TMY is the clear winner,
    but you might like the look of one of the others better. I generally develop in pyro, which gives HP5 a
    very smooth watercolor grain, while TMY comes out with crisp grain. I've always hated the salt and pepper look of Tri-X, but other people have done wonderful work with it. Any of these films are going
    to have visible grain from 120 even in an 11X14 print (TMY the smallest, but still potentially visible
    to the naked eye). And 120 film is used in a variety of formats, so 6X4.5 will require significantly more
    enlargement than 6X9, for example.
     
  20. revdocjim

    revdocjim Member

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    I have experienced issues with grain over the past six months as I traveled around the U.S. and shot a variety of ISO400 films including Tri-X, TMax, HP5+ and Arista. I experimented with different developers including D-76, Ilfosol 3 and HC-110. The reason I was experimenting with different developers was precisely because I was having problems that I never encountered back in Japan where my default developer is Fuji Super Prodol. The first problem I encountered with D-76 was uneven developing. It appeared that not enough developer was getting to the center of the film. So I increased the agitation but then grain became rather pronounced. Like you, I noticed it most often in the sky, especially if I needed to darken the sky in PP. I found that the problem persisted with all of the films and all of the developers, although I was most pleased with HC-110.

    But my final conclusion was that while all of those developers require more agitation than Super Prodol, the key is to do sufficient agitation, but not too vigorously. In other words, increase the frequency but keep the agitation gentle. In particular D-76 seems to require more agitation than others to avoid uneven development. Kodak literature suggests very fast agitations; something like one full inversion every second. I find that to be way too vigorous with resulting skies being quite grainy. I try to agitate much more slowly; doing about 4 inversions in ten seconds. (One inversion = 180 degrees two times)

    Of course I realize that others may have very different results so this is just my experience. I do all of my developing with stock solution or in the case of HC-110, dilution B.
     
  21. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    If it's that bad, you might try 2 inversions every 30 seconds instead of 4 inversions every minute, same amount but more frequently to avoid the uneven development and to quiet the grain through slow inversions?
     
  22. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    If you look at Michael Kenna's work, it's beautifully grainy. His prints are about 8x8 inches shot with a Hassy or Holga and he shoots mainly Tri-X.
     
  23. PaulMD

    PaulMD Member

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    Ultrafine Extreme 400 is rebadged HP5+ from all the reports. Traditional (cube-grain) films are going to be grainy, you can try to fight it by using a developer like Microdol (Mic-X) to soften the grain (or at avoid grain-enhancing developers like Rodinal), or you can switch to a tabular (T-grain) film like Delta or Tmax. Do note that T-grain should be fixed for roughly twice as long as cube-grain.

    Personally I think grain is part of the 400-speed film "experience", if you want perfectly smooth grain shoot 100 speed or slower. Acros (T-grain) is practically grainless even in 35mm and subjected to Rodinal.
     
  24. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Ilford does not sell the 'Ilford' emulsions to be re-badged. They have even publicly stated so. If you have the cash, though, they will happily make film for you, but it will not be HP5+ and rebranded.
     
  25. PaulMD

    PaulMD Member

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    From what I've read, it may not be HP5+ itself but it does seem to be both made by Ilford and at least based on HP5+ (a tweaked version wouldn't strictly violate "no licensing an Ilford emulsion"). The development times are the same, the base is pretty similar (dries flat like HP5 but has a blue tint), the packaging is Ilford right down to the fonts.

    The odds of two independently developed films being *that* similar seems staggeringly low. Ilford can protest however they like, but if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck...
     
  26. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I believe it when I see evidence.

    As stated before, Ilford has stated publicly that they don't do OEM re-branding of existing emulsions. But it may very well be a film specifically made for Photo Warehouse.