How Many ISO'S?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by hdeyong, Nov 1, 2013.

  1. hdeyong

    hdeyong Member

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    I would really like to simplify life, and photography's a big part of my life.
    So, I would like to be able to process films in batches, with similar times and dilutions in HC-110.
    Incredibly enough, I'm not as concerned about absolute quality as many are. I'd much rather have a decent negative of a good picture than a perfect negative of a lousy picture.
    I use 7 cameras, which include an AE-1 with a 50/1.4, a Konica Autoreflex with a 50/1.7, two OM-1's with a gaggle of glass, a Canon EOS500N with an adapter to use the same OM glass, an Olympus Trip 35, and a Rollei B35. So, two are pocketable, two have only good, fast 50mm lenses, and three can use an assortment from 24mm-135mm.
    I would like to stick with two films, three max, running from 100 ISO to at least 1600, so I can take interior shots. Probably a range like 100, (shot at 64), 400, (shot at 250), 400, (shot at 800), and maybe 3200, (shot at 1600). Right now, I have FP4, Foma 100, HP5, TRI-X, and Delta 3200 in the fridge.
    I am absolutely open to, and grateful for suggestions. But remember, I'm looking for simplicity.
    Is it possible?
     
  2. Regular Rod

    Regular Rod Member

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    Why HC110?

    If you change to a compensating developer like DiXactol, 510-PYRO, OBSIDIAN AQUA, Caffenol... You can develop multiple films all at once with any mixture of ISO. Your negatives will be just as good as if you had developed the rolls singly.

    RR
     
  3. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    Tmax400 is what I use for 90% of my B&W shooting. It's a little more expensive for LF, but it's average priced for MF propacks.
    I FP4+ for when I need a slower film for shooting wide apertures in bright summer light.

    I can use them in 8x10", 4x5", 120, and 35mm. I even have some 14x17" FP4+. I get box speed out of the films using pyrocat hd; available as liquid extract and almost as convenient as hc110.
     
  4. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    why not use something like tri x with a 7 stop latitude
    you can pull it or push it all you want and only need 1 film.
    universal developers can be helpful too ...
     
  5. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    If you're looking for simplicity, shoot nothing but TMax 400. It is as fine grained as regular 100-speed films, such as FP4+, and is an amazingly flexible emulsion.


    If you need slower shutter speeds, just employ a two stop ND filter, and you have a system that acts as if you were using 100-speed film. TMax 400 can also be used at 800 with minimal degradation in picture quality. Even at 1600 it looks pretty good. But at 1600 you have to start push processing to make up for lost ground and you lose shadow detail whether you like that or not.


    Like this you can also get away with using much fewer cameras.


    Unlike you I am also interested in picture quality, but never at the expense of content. I see in my future two 35mm and one medium format setup and one single emulsion.


     
  6. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    One iso 400 film: TriX or Tmax or HP5 plus - what you like best. If price is an issue - then buy box of 120 meters of Double X. HC110 or Rodinal. And that is it. Shoot this same film at iso 200, 400 or 1600 and develop it for that iso in same developer. It can not be more simple than that.
     
  7. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    If you want to keep it simple, I'd essentially echo what Thomas said. TMax 400. You can easily shoot it at lower EIs if you want. It has a very long exposure scale. With respect to grain, it is finer grained than virtually anything except TMax 100. The only thing I'd add to what Thomas already said is to maybe also keep the Delta 3200 around for when you need more film speed. That may be more of a personal preference on my part because I don't believe in pushing film. Others may disagree and are happy to push TMax 400 to 800 or 1600. So I guess I'm recommending 2 films rather than 1, based on the needs you described. One developer is fine. HC-110 will work fine, as will virtually any other general purpose developer.

    Less cameras might be something to think about if you want to keep things simple.
     
  8. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    mary ellen mark used (and perhaps still does?) nothing but tri-x. When she spoke here in Ogden a gazillion years ago she said that tri-x was a good solid all-around film and by using nothing but that she'd learned how to get the best out of it.

    The point is not to endorse tri-x, but to emphasize that specializing on one film is better than flailing around, trying all sorts of different combinations, seeking out that "best" result. I shoot nothing but fuji acros in my Rollei for this very reason.

    35mm? I like to use pan-f for some stuff, but the 40 rolls of Arista premium 400 that just showed up (tri-x relabeled) is a pretty solid commitment.
     
  9. Wolfeye

    Wolfeye Subscriber

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    This week I printed a 6x7 negative shot with Tmax400, a BW400CN 35mm negative (onto Panalure), and an Orca 100 negative in 110 format. Each image is distinctly different and it would be difficult to get the same look and output from one film, one format. It's not simply about ISO. I eschew reductionism and simplicity in my photography and I love to experiment with new combinations.

    That said, if every B&W film on the planet except Tmax400 and Acros disappeared, I could still be happy. I like t-grain film. If I need more grain I use a 110 camera. :smile: Michael and Thomas are quite correct that Tmax400 is the most versatile B&W film in the world today.
     
  10. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    OP is shooting 35mm only.

    For my purposes, TMY-2 is plenty good for all uses, even landscape. In the sense of keeping things simple, one film is better than two, for sure. But some feel they need more, and that's ok too.

     
  11. Pioneer

    Pioneer Member

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    IMHO the best solution is BW400CN or XP2. Since these are black & white films that are developed in color chemistry you can get away with quite a range of lattitude in the same developer and time.

    For myself I work mostly with two black and white films in 35mm. TMX100 from ISO64 to ISO200 and Delta 3200 from ISO800 to ISO6400. While that does simplify my film stocking unfortunately it doesn't help you much. I still develop at different times depending on the ISO I used, particularly with Delta 3200.
     
  12. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Ansel Adams advice was to completely master one film before using a second. Doing so would solve your problem. Personally I have found no real reason to use anymore than two films, a fast one and a slow one.

    Using a divided developer like Diafine is another way to solve your problem.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 1, 2013
  13. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    But XP2 or BW400CN is not a good option for darkroom printing. I tried it couple of times, it is possible, but not a good idea.
     
  14. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    Prescysol has the same development time for any film.


    Steve.
     
  15. Dali

    Dali Subscriber

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    First,speaking of simplicity, I would stick with 1 camera, maybe two (1 rangefinder + 1 SLR). Then, I would use 2 films and 1 developer. This is what I try to do with Diafine and Arista Premium 100 and 400 which gives me a 100-1000 ISO range.
     
  16. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Precysol is a clone of Sandy King's Pyrocat formula, which makes it a very fine developer.
    With Pyrocat-HD I remember using a developing time of 13 minutes for all films, except Foma, which required about 20-30% less developing time for some odd reason. Maybe this is an exception?
     
  17. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    With Prescysol, the time isn't really a variable. I once took a phone call from someone I hadn't spoken to for thirty years whilst developing a film. The film was in the developer for at least half an hour but didn't look any different to films developed for the normal 10.5 minutes.

    If I remember correctly, the ratios of part A and part B can be varied to change its characteristics but time, as long as it has enough, makes no difference.


    Steve.
     
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  18. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Before we even get onto film and development, if you really want to simplify life, stick to one or two cameras, then we can discuss the other factors for simplification.
     
  19. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Kodak's recommendations for developing T-Max 100 and T-Max 400 (TMY2) in HC110 are essentially identical for "box" speed.

    And they provide a good guide for using T-Max 400 at EIs of 1600 and 3200.
     
  20. MartinP

    MartinP Member

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    BW400CN has an orange mask, similar to a colour-negative C41 film - this makes it awkward to print on standard black -and-white paper.

    XP2 does not have this mask and prints beautifully in my experience. What exactly do you find a problem with XP2 ?
     
  21. NedL

    NedL Subscriber

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    I think someone already mentioned "universal developers", but surprised nobody mentioned diafine specifically. 3 minutes + 3 minutes for most films ( 4+4 for acros ). That's pretty simple. But my recommendation is to listen to some of the good advice coming from these good folks.

    Oops. Now I see Gerald Koch did already mention diafine.

    I'm following his other good advice right now and have settled on one fast and one slower film and I've tuned my HC-110 times to these two films. That's for 120 and 135, so four development times dialed in for my printing, which is more than plenty.

    Like to play with other films and developers sometimes for fun, but getting pretty settled in with 2 films.
     
  22. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    Hi Martin,

    Yes, XP2 is much better for printing than other C41 films, I was just in darkroom, and I did one print from XP2 to see it again (last time I used XP2 long time ago). Somehow comparing to standard films like HP5+ or FP4 it lacks some micro contrast, some edgy sharpens, hard to explain in words. But not bad as I was remembering, it is totally printable.

    Also - I am not sure about archival standard for C41 films - are they good as classic B&W films?

    regards,
     
  23. hdeyong

    hdeyong Member

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    Thanks, folks.
    When I run out of HC-110, I will definitely look at a more universal developer, but, I love my HC-110. I also love TRI-X, and the idea of simply shooting the same film at 200-800-1600, sounds pretty good. I can always wait 'till I have two rolls to develop shot at the same speed.
    I think, considering I usually shoot with some kind of coloured filter, that would take the place of the ND that Thomas suggests. Something I'd never thought of before.
    Darko, your ideas are beautifully simple. As MichaelR1974, and a few others have said, and again something that had to be pointed out to become obvious, I think I need to cut down on the number of cameras.
    I think the best thing to do, is use up most of my film, and re-order only one, or two, like TRI-X and Delta 3200, and if that's all I've got, I'll make the best of it. And I think that when you're making the best of what you have, sometimes you make the best pictures.
    When I get it sorted out, I'll post what I think worked out the best, (for me, anyway).