Characteristics of Black and White Film Brands

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by jlconferido, Feb 7, 2008.

  1. jlconferido

    jlconferido Member

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    Hi. Its a good thing that there are still a lot of 35mm black and white films available. I noticed of all the brands that are available its Fuji's Neopan 400 is the cheapest here in the Philippines. I have used this and for me its sharp. I also used the Kodak T400CN which can be developed using the C-41 process and I think the contrast range is a little bit tight. I have not used the T-Max 400 or any Ilford films. My question is what is your opinion about the different black and white films? What can you say about the performance of the Neopan? I just want to ask since this is the cheapest(in my opinion at least) there might be a difference in the performance of the film. Thanks a lot.
     
  2. Photo Central - AT

    Photo Central - AT Member

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    In my experience, there really is no such thing as a "bad" black and white film. There are, however, lots of "different" films. When people are in my store and asking for suggestions, I will generally ask them what particular characteristics are important to them (and yes, price is certainly a common one that comes up, along with grain, ease of developing, latitude, etc). However, given all the possible developer/film combinations, it is very hard to comment on a particular film. If you are going to be developing the film yourself, and you are only beginning, I suggest picking a film, any film, and using it with a particular developer until you have a consistent system down pat. Once you know how to control all the variables of developing in your environment and process, then you can start experimenting effectively.

    Neopan 400 is a very nice film, and for the price I would definitely recommend the Fuji products. You might have a slightly harder time finding developing times for it, as there is much less of it used than, say, HP5+, but this forum should have you covered.

    If you are not developing your film yourself, perhaps find out what kind of developer your lab uses. Let us know, and we can steer you in the right direction as far as a good film goes.

    I know I've been vague, but I hope I have helped.

    Cheers.

    A
     
  3. jlconferido

    jlconferido Member

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    @Photo Central - AT

    Thanks a lot. :smile:
     
  4. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    I use Fuji Neopan 400 (NP400) quite extensively. I also use Ilford FP4+ and HP5+ a reasonable amount as well; I have used Tmax100 but not Tmax400.

    Of all of those films I prefer NP400 as my go anywhere use anywhere film. It also has a very good tonal range for portraiture. It is one of the best B&W films that I have had the pleasure of using. I have been using it extensively for about 5 years now and have gotten to know how to get the best out of it for me. If lack of light is a bit of a problem this is the film I use.

    Ilford FP4+ is usually second choice of film, it is also has a beautiful range of tones and it has a snap factor which makes it a very, very nice all round film. If you have good light or can use a tripod in bad light, then this is my preferred film.

    If you are able to get NP400 film cheap, then you are indeed quite lucky; I would not hesitate to use it.

    In my country, Ilford B&W films are the most expensive, Fuji B&W are in the middle and Kodak B&W film is the cheapest.

    If you wish to develop you own B&W films then tell us and we can give you guidelines as to the processing times.

    Kodak T400CN is not a film I have much experience with, but I do know that the processing of this film will be alright and it can be processed in almost any mini lab very quickly, as it uses the same system as colour negative film.

    Mick.
     
  5. toadhall

    toadhall Subscriber

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    I would caution using cost as a guideline for quality in film; where you live on this planet, and where the film is manufactured, will effect the price of film (and chemicals) more than most other variables. If Fuji is inexpensive where you are may be a direct result of minimal tariffs and/or trade restrictions on items from Japan. Ilford films, on the other hand, are going to have to travel a much greater distance - whether by air or sea - to reach you, and that cost will have to be reflected in the price. I am sure freight, and additional overhead, also play a factor in why Ilford films tend to be more expensive in North America, and (I would believe) the inverse in Great Britain. And Rollei films ... perhaps EU regulations, German fanaticism in manufacturing, and, most significantly, marketing.

    Just my $.02 worth ... :smile:

    John
     
  6. RedStarRevels

    RedStarRevels Member

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    Neopan 400 is like my brand of cigarette or my beer of choice- I got used to it because I liked the results and it was easy to get everywhere. It is slightly cheaper too-which is a good thing! If I ever stray from NP400 it's only as far as NP100 ACROS, but again, that's only because I'm sticking to what I'm used to. I got the same good advice that PhotoCentral just offered-pick one and perfect it before moving on. I just never bothered to move on. Maybe one day!

    In terms of developing times, I use Rodinal Special and that has a list of Fuji times in the packet. I dilute it twice as much as is recommended and double the dev times, works like a charm and gives really nice negs.