Ilford FP4 and Pan 50 questions

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by jrong, Dec 16, 2003.

  1. jrong

    jrong Member

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    I'm going away for a longish break to somewhere hot and sunny right after Christmas. :smile: I will be bringing, perhaps ill-advisedly, a couple of rolls of film I've never tried before - most of my BW film experience has been with Fuji Neopan Acros as well Agfa Scala slide film. The new films I'm trying out are:

    1) Ilford FP4 ISO 125
    2) Ilford Pan 50

    Can anyone enlighten me as to the characteristics of these films? I.e how are they for high-contrast situations, what is the grain like, etc etc?

    Thanks in advance!
    Jin
     
  2. Annemarieke

    Annemarieke Member

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    Jin, my favourite film is FP4. It is very fine-grained and very easy to use. It is also very forgiving.
    I develop it in D76 1+1, 9,5 minutes, 20°C.

    Good luck and have a good holiday!
    Anne Marieke
     
  3. Grady O

    Grady O Member

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    I also like FP4. I rate it at 100 and develop it in D-76 1+1 for 9 min 20*c. Pan F is nice, and from what little experience I do have with it, can tell it can be pretty contrasty.
     
  4. jrong

    jrong Member

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    Thanks for the tips!

    I haven't got any darkroom experience yet - something I've got to learn next year, once I get the initial set-up sorted - but then I'll be playing with test rolls and not my holiday shots. :smile: I hope an average minilab will do a reasonable job with these.
     
  5. efikim

    efikim Member

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    An 'average' UK minilab isn't going to have a clue what to do with FP4 and Ilford Pan - though if your minilab can cope with Neopan Acros they are well above average, and should be OK!

    my local minilab struggles with C41 :surprised:
     
  6. jrong

    jrong Member

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    Since I've always used slide film since getting back into photography, I am sadly totally ignorant about darkroom processes *blush*. I know that certain developers go with certain film types. What happens when you send your roll in to a minilab just to process negatives? (I've long given up hope of minilabs ever reliably producing half-decent prints, that's why I started using slides). Do they use one-developer-fits-all? Will the quality of your negs be affected adversely by sending the film to the wrong minilab?

    I usually send my film rolls to pro labs to get them processed but it is getting too expensive, so I am looking into learning how to develop my own negs early next year. I have millions of questions. Still, I guess I've got to start somewhere.....

    Jin
     
  7. efikim

    efikim Member

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    Most minilabs do C41 only which is for colour print and a few chromogenic black and white films (Ilford XP2, Kodak T400CN, Fuji Neopan 400CN, and one or two others). Its no good for FP4 or Pan though.

    I use peak imaging for develop only at about £3 per roll. I only use them for C41 films, but they can do conventional black and white too. They are more expensive if you want prints done as well.
    They're at http://www.peak-imaging.com/ which is a UK site
     
  8. jrong

    jrong Member

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    Yep, I used Peak Imaging until earlier this year when the postal service in my area went awry and I lost 2 packages in the post (including one special delivery), and a set of BW prints from Peak. I was compensated for the loss, but of course, that made me queasy about sending any film in the post again. :sad:

    So I use pro labs (Metro Imaging and Primary UK) in London, but they cost an arm and a leg!
     
  9. Cheryl Jacobs

    Cheryl Jacobs Member

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    Personally, I LOVE Pan 50. Wish they made it in 220. I almost never shoot 35mm, but when I do (provided there's sufficient light) Pan 50 is always my first choice. Gorgeous tonality, and extremely smooth tones.
     
  10. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    Love your pics at geekgirls!
     
  11. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    Ok now I have a longer moment to elucidate on the cosmic ponderings vis-a-vis B&W films and what they mean and the context they have in our perceptually narrowed universe.

    Pan F - great film, fine grain but can be a bit contrasty depending on development. Not very happy with sloppy exposure calculations. Can be very nice in 120 format but not worth the hassle in 35mm.

    FP 4 - one of my favorites and if it wasn't for Agfa APX 100 it would be what I use 80% of the time. Absolutely a religious experience when developed in HC110 at 1:31 or PyroCat HD. IMHO (ok so I'm not so humble) a much more "photogenic" film than Pan F, especially when dealing with 35mm.

    You are really limiting yourself if you are using 35mm. Ditch it for at least a 6X4.5 system with interchangeable backs. That way you can match the film to the situation and if you have enough backs, also the development needed, ie: + or - etc.

    I got rid of my 35 stuff (well most of it) ages ago and have never looked back. My MF kit weights about the same as my old 35mm kit did and with the deals available these days on MF gear there is no excuse to not upgrade.

    I was doing some color enlargements yesterday for a friend who uses 35mm. She has tier 1 gear, very good glass, uses a tripod all the time and uses Pro film. We shot some of the same shots, me using a Blad. Even at 5x7 enlargement the difference is incredable!

    The oracle has departed.
     
  12. jrong

    jrong Member

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    Hiya, I am not ditching my beloved 35mm gear, although I did get a medium format (Mamiya 7II 6x7) this summer. I got the rangefinder just so it was lightweight enough to be convenient. Alas I'm still trying to get used to (1) rangefinders (2) a wide-angle lens (65mm), so until I manage to buy myself a standard 80mm lens for it, my 35mm gear will still be my main workhorse. :smile:
     
  13. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    Actually since I use mainly 4x5 gear the Blad is my "little camera". It's all relative.
     
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  15. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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  16. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Jin, first of all love FP4, have some Pan F but have not used it. My two main films at this moment are PlusX and FP4, soup is either Rodinal 1:50 or 1:25 or ID-11. If it is 4x5 then it goes into HC-110. I really like PlusX in Rodinal, though others here are not as fond of it.

    Main point is, just grab some chemicals, a small tank and reels and go to town. B&W film development is not hard and gives you so much control - plus takes up very little room.

    You won't be sorry if you do, but you will wonder why you kept sending it out to be processed by someone else.

    Good Luck
     
  17. Mark Layne

    Mark Layne Member

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    Pan F is a great film once you learn to tame its contrast. However it has an unusual characteristic. If you expose part of a roll and forget it in the camera for some time the images slowly become fugitive. When developed they will be increasingly less dense than more recently exposed images.
     
  18. snapnsam

    snapnsam Member

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    Hi Jin,

    I found Pan F to be a great film, but very contrasty. I'd suggest exposing it at ISO 32 and taking 25%-30% off the development time to control contrast.

    Sam
     
  19. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I have used FP4+ ever since it came on the market, and will continue to use it. Back when I shot 30 rolls a week I would develop it in Ilfosol S at 10% more than recommended time, and got great negatives. Now that my throughput is on a less than commercial level, I find that Ilfosol S deteriorates too fast for me. But if I had 10 rolls to process, I'd buy a bottle!

    PanF is one I use a lot now in my old folders (120). So far I've developed it in DDX, Pyrocat-HD and Beutler with good results. I actually prefer the Beutler, but haven't tried FX-2 yet. I expose it at rated speed for developing in Beutler/Neofin Bleu. Great negatives for diffusion enlarger!
     
  20. jrong

    jrong Member

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    Thanks for all the information! I've got an awful lot to digest. :cool: I'm really looking forward to putting those rolls through my camera now and seeing what pans out. Something those digital folks must miss. :wink:

    Mark - when you say "a long time", do you mean you left the roll unfinished for weeks or months?

    Aggie - yeah, I'm still grappling with a rangefinder and getting used to framing pictures within that yellow rectangle in the viewfinder. I find the 65mm too wide, so maybe I'll learn more quickly with an 80mm. It's a great camera and the successful shots I've had with it, I really liked. Too bad, I'm still getting used to the different aspect ratio (6x7).... Have you seen those rangefinder calibration devices on sale on Ebay? Do they work effectively, and is it a good idea to buy one? I've just heard scary stories of the Mamiya needing recalibration after 1-2 years of heavy-ish use.

    Sorry - I'm drifting out of point again! :surprised:ops:
    Jin
     
  21. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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  22. Leon

    Leon Member

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    I use pan f at ei 40 developed in exactol Lux 1:1:100 for 7 mins @ 21 deg - SUPERB! A lovely smooth tonality and the resolution is breathtaking. I have found it particularly good for low light, indoor type shots.
     
  23. jrong

    jrong Member

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    :? Thanks for your input, everyone!

    Well, I may get the FP4 developed in Rodinal... just because I'm learning from someone else how to do this and Rodinal's what they have. When I learn enough to do my own, I'll start experimenting. :lol:

    Aggie, another problem with the 7II is the limited DOF, for my street stuff, I have to shoot at f11 to get a reasonable DOF, and the shutter speed is often too slow for hand-holding or to freeze motion. I have to use faster film, or start rating my existing film at ISO800 or faster but again, I have no experience doing this. I used to shoot 99% of my BW 35mm stuff in Agfa Scala at ISO200. Again, although this is off-the-topic, any tips for good fast film that can be used, or good film for pushing to 800 would be appreciated! I just want a reasonably fine grain so getting ISO 3200 film is probably out of the question?
     
  24. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    Jin you should PM Les McLean. He is the street shooting wizard. Tri-X is great for fine grain at 400 asa and pushes well up to 3200.

    I find it interesting that you feel you can't get enough DOF with a 65mm WA. Interesting. But I think the combination of faster ASA and getting comfortable with the camera will go a long way.

    RF cameras are the best for street shooting as they focus a lot faster than SLR's and are easier to focus in low light.

    FP4 in Rodinal is wonderful, you will like the tonality.

    Good luck.
     
  25. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I have done a bit of "street photography" with a Bronica ETRS - a MF SLR - with 75 and 150mm lenses. Most of this was more or less shot from the hip, by adjusting the focus as I walk. Estimating distance becomes second nature quite quickly is you practice it. Then just set focus by the scale. Same with other settings - aperture and speed all set by best estimate of lighting conditions, more or less continuously.

    My "Commercial Bank of ..." was shot like that: Ilford FP4+, 1/250, f:11 I guess. I did use the waist-level finder to frame that shot, as I knew it was going to be tight.
     
  26. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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