Identify film from prints?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by thefizz, Aug 30, 2005.

  1. thefizz

    thefizz Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,131
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2004
    Location:
    Trim, Ireland
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    We do tests and talk about different films and their characteristics and decide which we like or dislike etc.

    My question is this: If you view someone elses print that you know nothing about, would you have any idea which film was used? Would you even try to identify which developer was used with that film?

    Peter
     
  2. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

    Messages:
    2,130
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Most of the time I'd have to say no. It would be easyto compare a print from APX 25 to a print from Kodak's Recording Film, but to tell APX from Pan-X, oooh, not me.

    There are so many variables: lenses, papers and developers. I might not be able to tell the difference between a Plus-X photo done in Rodinal and a Tri-X photo done in D-76 stock. I have an 11x14 from a Tech Pan neg and a friend was looking at it one day and said, "That's from 35 mm?"

    Paper could make a huge difference too. A matte finish toned with sepia could easily diguise a type of film.

    Maybe for Clark Kent...
     
  3. PeterDendrinos

    PeterDendrinos Member

    Messages:
    303
    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2003
    Location:
    Michigan, US
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I have often asked the same question while viewing someone’s work. But I am afraid it’s nearly impossible. The various methods used to develop and print are going to obscure any tells likely to assist in the determination.

    Pete
     
  4. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

    Messages:
    1,376
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2005
    Location:
    Oshawa, Onta
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I've been right in guessing only when viewing photos of people I know, have knowledge of their favourites and habits, etc. - and even then, its a bit of a lucky guess. I think someone with much, much more time in photography than I have could maybe have a decent shot at saying what type(and I mean very much in general) of film was used if he or she knew the format from which it was made - maybe have a good stab at the developer if they get the first part right - but even then, it would be a very long shot indeed. Interesting thing to ponder though, given how vehement some of us get about the various films and chemicals and their pros and cons:smile:
     
  5. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    17,980
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    There are a lot of variables, but if you've tested a lot of films and looked at a lot of prints, it's often possible to guess or at least narrow down the film type. Developer is much harder, just because there are so many possibilities, and I think the effects are more subtle.
     
  6. thefizz

    thefizz Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,131
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2004
    Location:
    Trim, Ireland
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Thanks for the input everyone.

    Peter