Ilford Films (In General)

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by brofkand, Jul 26, 2009.

  1. brofkand

    brofkand Member

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    So I am on the lookout for some new films to experiment with.

    I have completely ignored Ilford films up until now. I've tried most Kodak films, the Foma stuff, and Agfa (sniff). Now I am ready to try Ilfords films. The thing is they have quite an assortment, and I don't really know where to start. Buying 5 rolls of each type is an expensive endeavor, especially if I don't like the film.

    So, I am hoping of someone could tell me what each film is (in terms of is it like Tri-X, etc) so I can whittle some down.

    I shoot mostly landscape and "fine-art" work, so good tonal range is very important. I love grain (I guess I could clarify I love Plus-X grain). I am looking for a good film I can shoot hand-held with my Mamiya 645 (80mm lens fitted), obviously in good lighting conditions.

    Which Ilford films have nice grain, tonal range, and respond well to pushing? Is there an excellent film in Ilford's range that I should be shot in the foot for not using yet?

    I usually develop my film in D-76 because I know how it works, but I am currently starting to use Rodinal as well. I just haven't wrapped my head around Rodinal like I have D-76.

    Thanks everyone!
     
  2. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Pan F is closest to Pan X
    FP4 is closest to Plus X
    HP5 is closest to Tri-X 400 (not Tri-X 320)
    Deltas are closest to T-Maxes
    XP2 is closest to BW400CN
    SFX stands alone as a pan film with extended red sensitivity
    Tri-X 320 stands alone as a "pro" version of Tri-X 400 (a totally different emulsion; not just pro handling of a consumer emulsion). Tri-X 400 is not available in sheet sizes. Tri-X 320 is not available in 35mm. Both are available in 120.

    Neither of them are close enough to be considered identical, but those that I listed as "closest to" are certainly designed to fulfill the same purposes as the film from the other company.

    Also: Go to http://www.ilfordphoto.com/home.asp. Bring up the drop-down menu under "Products", on the right. Click on "Competitor Equivalents". They have PDFs for Kodak, Agfa, and Forte. :smile:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 26, 2009
  3. brofkand

    brofkand Member

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    Well, those PDFs certainly make it easy :smile:

    Thanks for that!
     
  4. trexx

    trexx Member

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    I like the ilford conventional grain film, Delta not so much.. Compare
    PlusX ~ FP-4
    TRI-X ~ HP-5

    My prefs are Tri-X for 400 and and PF4 tor 125. Those I have found I can substitute based on speed fairly easily.

    As for modern emulation I have yet to embrace Illford offerings , Delta and this is completely subjective , preferring T-Max particularly new stuff.
     
  5. takef586

    takef586 Member

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    If you do not mind the speed, try Rollei Retro 100 (ex Agfa APX 100) a wonderful film.
     
  6. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I would try HP5 and work from there.

    Jeff
     
  7. arigram

    arigram Member

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    I rarely use anything else than the triad of Ilford PanF+ - FP4+ - HP5+ even though I have plenty of variety in my film storage.
    They are consistent, you can rely on them and I love the final image.
    I treat them more or less like one film (even though PanF+ is notoriously contrasty) with just different ASA depending on the lighting conditions.
     
  8. Vincent Brady

    Vincent Brady Subscriber

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    My personal favourite is Delta 400 dev. in stock ID11 for 9.5 mins.
    __________________
    TEX
     
  9. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    I went through this years ago and here were my conclusions. Your taste in film sounds similar to mine so it might be a good starting point:

    XP2+ - just fine if you need color precessing. Grain was non-existent if properly exposed and very ugly if not.

    Pan-F - like it, little grain, a little finicky in processing (contrast) but not as bad as the forums would lead you to believe

    Deltas - I only really used Delta 400 and it was my primary 35mm film until new Tri-X came out. The grain was nice and tight and latitude was good.

    FP4 - Absolutely lovely film. The best of the range IMHO. I used it mostly souped in HC110 but it looks great in xtol or just about anything. This was Barry Thornton's favorite who believed that a good grain structure was necessary for good apparent sharpness and I agree. I am a fan of Tri-x and this always seemed like a fine grain, lower speed version of Tri-x to me.

    HP5 - never really liked it. It always seemed "flat" compared to Tri-X. There are talented folks using it so I think that I just never figured it out.

    FYI -- I did finally settle on two films....Tri-X for 35mm and Acros for 120 in Rodinal. I've made it up to Ilford by using silly amounts of their paper :smile:
     
  10. brofkand

    brofkand Member

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    I think I'll try Pan F and FP4 (because I love Plus-X) first, and work from there. Delta 3200 will be good when I'm looking for a low-light film.

    I don't see the use of the other films to me. I normally don't use 400 speed film, don't need color processing, and I don't much care for tabular grain films. I like grain in 99% of my photography.

    For the 1% that I don't want grain, I'm in the studio, shooting landscapes, or etc. and slow film doesn't matter much.

    Do these films work well in D-76 (or ID-11)? How about Rodinal?
     
  11. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Yes, they do, and quite well. PanF+ does very well with D-76 or ID-11 1+3. Delta 3200 seems to like more development than recommended for a given exposure index. I don't use much of the fast stuff, but it seems to me that I'm happier when I follow the recommendation for developing one stop underexposed that I've actually done. Expose at 3200 and develop for 6400, that sort of thing. Everything else works very well at the Ilford recommended times. Tweak it a bit from there if you think it's necessary. I doubt you will if your thermometer is close to spec and your agitation technique is close to the recommended norm.

    Don't like Rodinal for general use with these or most other films.
     
  12. gerryyaum

    gerryyaum Subscriber

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    I had been shooting Trix 8x10 when shooting my sex worker white background images, this recent trip I shot both HP5 and Trix. So far have not noticed much of a difference using these films under my lighting conditions and using the same development chemistry (D76)/times (same tank also). The Ilford neg looked a tad denser and a bit less contrasty than the Tri-x negative. When neg scanning I noticed no differences (have yet to print the negs). I think I am heading towards Ilford as you are, cheaper film, 25 sheets to a box not 10 and better customer support. Ilford seems to give a damn about their customers.
     
  13. brofkand

    brofkand Member

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    That is exactly why I am considering moving to Ilford. The film is a little cheaper (not much in 120 or 35mm, but every little bit counts), but the big thing to me is customer service.

    It's the same reason I shop exclusively with Freestyle for film and supplies; even though it takes a week to get here in NC, I want to support manufacturers and resellers who support traditional photography.

    They are both advertisers and have a presence on APUG as well, which means they are really committed to traditional photography, they just don't talk about it.
     
  14. Venchka

    Venchka Member

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    YES!
     
  15. WGibsonPhotography

    WGibsonPhotography Member

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    for the last 6 to 8 months, my film and developer of choice has been HP5+ and Rodinal 1:50 (printed on Slavic Unibrom Grade 2 paper). I have two scans of prints on my flicker if you want to see how it looks (I know, scans arent perfect, but it's the best I can do :D ). I'll be printing more in the darkroom at school tomorrow. Hopefully I'll get some more scans up in a few days.

    Despite claims to the contrary, I dont find the grain to be overbearing, but it is there. If you're not opposed to a bit of grain, I think HP5+ and Rodinal 1:50 is a good combo, and it looks better in medium and large format (Yeah, I shoot 35mm :smile: )


    http://www.flickr.com/photos/37189220@N08/3483855325/in/set-72157617447740080/


    http://www.flickr.com/photos/37189220@N08/3483855315/in/set-72157617447740080/
     
  16. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    You will like the Ilford films. They are different from their Kodak "equivalents". In some ways they're better, in some worse. I tend to prefer them to Kodak, although that may be in part because Ilford films were the first black-and-white films I tried. (The friend that got me interested in photography used FP4 and HP5, so they were a good place to start and the results were good enough that I didn't try any alternatives for a few years.)

    Pan-F Plus has become a bit of a sleeper film for me. I would never have told you it was my favourite film (until recently) but I keep getting good results from it. I find now that I tend to prefer it when I can work with its slow speed, which is a good chunk of the time. FP4 Plus and HP5 Plus take up a good amount of the rest of the work I do.

    The Delta films are also nice and I have had good luck with them but I have come to really like using PMK as my main developer and it works better with the non-T-grain Ilford films. I have a bunch of Delta 100 in the freezer and I am going to give it a good kick with PMK to see if I was, perhaps, clueless with it on the first go. :smile:

    Delta 3200 is great although I usually shoot it at EI 800. Fresher is better. It builds base fog quickly, and it's noticeably foggier at expiry than it is when fresh. If you can get it fresh and use it quickly, it's at its peak and it is delicious.
     
  17. aldevo

    aldevo Member

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    In very general terms:

    - I find conventional-grain Ilford films somewhat sharper than their Kodak counterparts
    - I find coventional-grain Ilford films equivalent in grain or slightly grainier than their Kodak counterparts
    - I find convenitional-grain Ilford films to have slightly lower overall contrast than their Kodak counterparts
     
  18. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    FP4 is close enough to Plus-X that you can use either.
    HP5 is close enough to Tri-X that you can use either.

    Delta 3200 is lovely lovely film. The rest I never really investigated. That's all the advice I can offer, plus that you may not get to know the inns and outs of each film until you've used it exclusively for a good long time. It can be false impression to base what you like / dislike based on a 5-roll affair. Of course you'll get a first impression, but have you asked yourself why you're using all these different films? All it will do is make printing a lot harder for you.
     
  19. wogster

    wogster Member

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    You can probably gauge a film with only a couple of rolls, if you like it, you like it, if you don't, you don't. So you pick a film you like, and then you copious amounts of it, and really learn it, and just when you think you really, really know it, the manufacturer will either:

    a) discontinue it.
    b) reformulate it, so you need to start all over.
    c) change all the brand names so you don't know what is what.

    :rolleyes:
     
  20. mikebarger

    mikebarger Subscriber

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    I use HP5 in 4x5 because Kodak doesn't have Tri-x 400 in that niche market. With my cameras, shutters, developers, I can only get 200 out of HP5 in 4x5 or 120.

    I know others shoot at 400, or faster, but it doesn't work with my stuff/habits. Nice film, but Tri-X 400 its not. (some will say that is a good thing) :smile:

    Mike
     
  21. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    You know, I've never found it all that difficult to adjust when a manufacturer changes a film. When Kodak reformulated Tri-X and Plus-X a few years back, the changeover was no big deal. Development time for a given developer changed a little bit, but not enough so that if you used the old time it would have been bad. Then they reformulated TMY into TMY-2, and that changeover was just as easy. I did exactly what I was doing with the old TMY, and got better results.
     
  22. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Very interesting. I have both TMY and TMY-2 in 35mm, and there is a subtle difference in sharpness and grain, but the difference is so small I really don't notice much difference in 6x8" or 9x12" prints. And processing is, for me, exactly the same with both.

    - Thomas

     
  23. Iain Maclachlan

    Iain Maclachlan Member

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    Pan F+ works beautifully in Rodinal 1+100 stand developed. You could also use 1+50. I have only used it for landscapes and initially struggled with the contrast and blown highlights. At higher dilutions Rodinal acts as a compensating developer. I think Barry Thornton recommended dilute 1+3 Perceptol which is also compensating.