Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by stradibarrius, Mar 1, 2011.
I was curious if LF shooters use 400 speed film as much as MF or 35mm shooters do?
Admittedly, I have not. But the answer is yes! The inherent graininess is not a big deal with large format and for the slow lenses that accompany LF, I'd say it can be of vital importance.
In my case apart from a box of HP5 back in 1976 I didn't use anything faster than FP4 125 ISO until I began shooting hand held 3 or 4 years ago, and 5x4 is my main format.
I used to use Tmax400 in 120 but Kodak film's much harder to get (for me) and much more expensive so I began shooting HP5 (Delta 400's not made in LF sizes).
Ironically I shoot with it here in Turkey where the light is usually up at the meters maximum because I can work hand held at 1/200th @ f22 (my 1932 Compur has the older speed settings) lens cells are newer
In the UK last year I found HP5 too fast, I like longer shutter speeds - movement in grass etc, so it was back to Delta 100.
Quality wise the 5x4 HP5 negatives processed in Pyrocat HD are outstanding extremely sharp no grain even on very large prints, 30"x24".
For years virtually the only film I shot in my 4x5 Super Graphic was Tri-X (ASA 400).
95+% of my work is using HP5
f22~32 + 2 stops for a filter mean even in bright sunlight I am shooting 1/8s tops
Grain isn't an issue for me - I can only go up to 20x24 print size
I prefer the tonality of FP4 but need a bit more speed.
I can see the difference in sharpness and grain on 20x24 prints between HP5/FP4 & Delta 100 - but only if I use a strong Lupe
I use some Tri-X in both the 8x10 and Crown (hand held). Generally, though, I have not been using it. Field camera? Not really. I don't see much point, once it is on the tripod.
Color? Not a bit.
I use HP5+ most of the time, because I like its look, especially of its grain. Having said that, Tri-X in 4x5 is also very nice.
Yes! The films have different tonality, sharpness, grain, and can give you extra shutter speeds and/or extra D of F. These two things can be important with any format, but can be a make it or break it consideration in LF, with its relatively slow lenses providing more restriction on the availability of motion-freezing shutter speeds. LF users are lucky that fast films are are there to use today.
My main sheet film until fairly recently, when I moved to a Mamiya RZ for shots that do not need movements, was TXP in D-76. It is absolutely gorgeous, and easier to work with than a 100/125 film, especially when shooting people with hot lamps or in shade.
For my 4x5 use, I use about 95% TMY2 at iso320, but it is a 400 speed film. There is not need to go slower unless you need long shutter speeds for an effect. People say similarly nice things about the current Tri-x.
I sometimes shoot handheld outdoors with my speed graphic and appreciate the speed. Indoors I sometimes use lenses which don't have flash sync, so the extra speed is handy.
I've settled on the same film for medium format. I haven't successfully learned to like the acros 100 or tmax100, and I don't want to have to change films in my TLR when light conditions change to where I need a 400. Those tgrain 100 films are of such high sharpness it begins to show shortcomings in my cheap medium format lenses and focusing. 400 tmax is real good too, but doesn't make lens shortcomings so obvious, and I can print onto 16x20 paper without grain being objectionable.
Grain is not a problem at large film sizes since you don't magnify it much when you print. A 16x20 print which is as big as I have trays for is a 5x enlargement from 4x5, or about the same as a 5x7 print from a 35mm.
Indeed different film speeds have different inherent tonality. 400 has traditionally been a little crispier and slow film a little more midtone-rich. You used to be able to look at a print (especially a color one) and guess from the contrast and tones what speed film was likely used.
This is starting to be an antiquated notion though for people who develop and print themselves. I have been able to get any tonality I want out of tmy2 film though. Different dilutions of Xtol and using PMK pyro developer let me do this. Developer choice on a per image basis based on the scene's lighting. A flexibility provided by sheet film you don't get in roll film unless you have interchangeable rollfilm backs.
HP5+ 7x17 contact prints and 8x10 small enlargements to 20x24. No visible grain.
I have used a lot of Tri-X in MF and have started using HP5 I like both of them. I was just curious if LF folks were into 400 speed film as well as 100? My favorite film is Adox CMS20 but they do not make it in 4x5.
I prefer 100 speed film for MF and 400 for LF. Especially with 8x10 and using strobe you need a lot of power in one flash for people photography and the extra speed means and extra f stop. With MF I don't need f32, only f11.
In 8x10 400 is all I use.
I always use TMY.
I wish you could get D3200 in 4x5.
Yes, I shoot mostly 400 ISO color and black & white 4"x5". Grain is not a problem and I want the greater depth of field.
400 speed film "almost" exclusively in LF. I started with Tri-X in 4x5 back in the early 80's and have kept with it. I purchased a box of FP-4 in 4x5 back in the mid 80's and guess what.....it is still in my freezer.
For 5x7, 8x10 and 7x17 I shoot TMY exclusively and contact print the negatives. Some of my favorite subject matter is moving water and I prefer that it not look like cotton candy....so I am usually shooting my lenses wide open. Any slower film just won't cut it. If your subject is landscapes shot at infinity on bright days or if you prefer fuzzy water, then a slower film will do.
As always, YMMV
Sure. But there are precious few ISO 400 options in LF, so people also do nutty things like push the holy hell out of slower films. The extra grain makes very little difference when you contact print or make minor enlargements. in fact the extra grain might actually be beneficial; I've seen cases where in my opinion it is. And I have seen 100 speed films pushed many stops (2 or 3) that nevertheless yield tonally smooth images. Personally, I've pushed hp5+ a stop or two in 5x7 format and really liked the results.
Better sense, I don't think I've gone to 3200 yet, in LF, but why not. I'd recommend trying hp5+. I bet you'll be surprised how smooth the print is.
Some time back I made some simple arguments about the relationship between format size and tonality that may (or may not!) interest you:
These arguments suggest that you can push to your heart's content in LF before you start to see a lot of grain, assuming of course that you will contact print or make minor enlargements.
Note also that there is a Fuji instant film, fp3000b45, that is an honest to goodness ISO 3000 LF film yielding very smooth images.
I tend to use slower films (FP4, and copy film when I could get it.) I like the extra contrast slower films have -- and I take advantage of the extra contrast one gets due to reciprosity failure. I carbon print and the more contrast, the better, for the ways I work the process.
I use 8x10.
I use FP4+ at 100 ASA in all my 4x5 cameras, except the Razzle, when I use hand held; then I use HP5+ at 320 ASA.
Since Retro 400s isn't in sheets, I'll be shooting Rollei IR400 unfiltered @ 400 when I can get my hads on it.
The new Adox version of APX400 should be available in sheet film fairly soon and it's supposed to be an improvement of Agfa/Retro 400
I loved APX100, but only shot it in 35mm. I will be anxious to try APX400 in 4x5! I am about to order some more 4x5 so I am going to get some 400 and give it a go.
I am enjoying all the information this thread is producing.
My only B&W film is TMY-2, aka 400Tmax.
I prefer 25 and 100 speed films for nearly everything I shoot in all formats. I do occasionally shoot TMY2 4x5 and I have half a box of Tri-X 320 stashed in the freezer for my 4x5
I tend to shoot Tmax 100 almost all the time. I do, however, usually have at least two holders with Tmax 400 with me, just in case circumstances favor it over 100.
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