Is slow speed, fine grain film dead?

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by Curt, Mar 4, 2006.

  1. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    Well in all of the excitement I lost count, do you feel luck, well do you punk?

    Has the larger sizes pushed the smaller slow speed films off the table?

    After all with a 20x24 who cares about the speed and grain is not a problem. How much does the Digital community pay the film producers to keep a fine grain small format film off the market?
     
  2. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    Well Curt the quality of a 40x48 print from a 20x24 negative must be seen to believed. You can not begin to image the finess of the grain in a 40x48 print when projected from a 20x24 enlarger from a sheet of Imagelink HQ film processed in D25. Even when closely examined with a 1X loupe the grain is very hard to see.

    I seriously doubt that you have ever seen an original print from this combination.
     
  3. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    A 1x loop?
     
  4. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Well there's still Efke 25 and the various microfilm/low-contrast developer combos, but if you want fine grain, I believe a bigger camera is really the answer in most situations.

    Meanwhile, TMX grain is comparable to the ISO 25 films of old, thought the tonality is very different, and in color, films like Provia 100F and Astia 100F are also much better than many older ISO 100 color transparency films, as is Portra 160NC.

    In another thread, HelenB mentioned that Dale Labs in Florida will process and print Kodak Vision 2 stocks shot as still film. You can get Kodak 50D for as little as 12 cents a foot from Film Emporium--

    http://store.yahoo.com/filmemporium/524550d.html
     
  5. NikoSperi

    NikoSperi Member

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    Kinda explains why the grain is hard to see. :wink:
     
  6. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    There's now a Vision2 version, 5201, of the older EXR (extended range) 5245 50D. Presumably short ends of that will appear.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  7. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    Listen you callow fellow of course a 1x loupe. If the loupe is of very high quality...meaning frightfully goddamned expensive so that only the likes of Helen Summilux B. can afford one..it will be as good as looking without a loupe..no need to make things look worse than they are. Not having the funds of capital or talent of the forementioned HSB I try to find dual purpose useage of the items I steal. For instance I use my Burris 1X handgun scope as a 1x loupe.

    As an aside this is very helpful when I am uncertain if a negative is bulletproof. Usually a hand swaged heavy jacketed wadcutter will put a nice neat .429 hole in the negative. When this fails to do the trick multipe shots using a factory 300 grain load from a 454 Casull will at least scratch the living hell out of the negative unless I both overexposed and over developed. In that case I fondly wish I had a Holland&Holland 4 guage rifle...but unless you are HSB you cannot afford one.
     
  8. NikoSperi

    NikoSperi Member

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    Dang it, Callow... she has a gun!

    Run! Run for your life good man... RUN!
     
  9. mark

    mark Member

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    I was more interested in the 20x24 enlarger.
     
  10. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    It is manufactured by the same people who bring you skyhooks, wallstreachers and 1x loops.
     
  11. avandesande

    avandesande Member

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    If everyone has a 20x24 why the heck are they so expensive?
     
  12. Earl Dunbar

    Earl Dunbar Member

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    How did this get off track so quickly? I, too, would like a choice in slow, fine-grain, small format films. I've never tried Efke 25, and I'm not sure I'm interested in working out exposure and processing protocol for something that may or may not survive; and I'm not sold on the quality control.

    So that leaves Pan F+. A fine film, and I'll gladly use it. But I'd really love to have a big stash of Agfapan 25, maybe Panatomic-X (though I never had much success with it) or a variety of other emulsions from which to choose.

    The market for slow, small format film is really small. That, I fear is the bottom line. Yes, modern emulsions are often as good or better than slower films of old. But with the advances made, it would be interesting to see someone take a whack at a great panchromatic 25 speed film.
     
  13. Ryuji

    Ryuji Member

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    I understand your desire for the improvement, but I see a very good reason why no one wants to make an extremely fine grained b&w film at 25 speed.

    The last major increase in speed-to-grain ratio happened in 1990s. (Another technology, called two electron sensitization is beginning to be used in commercial products, which further doubles the speed of emulsions of same grain size.) At that point, they could make a 100-speed b&w film that exceeds the resolution of good, fixed focal-length lenses for 35mm format, and the grain could be already very fine. Fuji Acros and Kodak TMX are two films that give this level of excellent resolution, both with excellent fine grain and reciprocity failure properties. Since most people use zoom lenses, or shoot with suboptimal conditions (handholding, mirror vibration, film flatness issue, etc.), there is really no need for films to increase the resolution any further, unless there is a revolution in optical design. Color films, on the ohter hand, are always inferior to b&w films of the same speed in terms of resolution. Indeed, crystal sizes used in color emulsions are much larger than b&w of the same speed. So there is still lots of desire for color emulsions to improve.

    If there's any problem in this design spec issue, the camera optics are usually designed to meet the resolution of slow color films. When people argue the equivalent megapixels of 35mm format, they are of course assuming the typical MTF characteristics of a slow color film.

    So, as David said earlier, I also think using a bigger format is the real solution for improved image quality.

    My desire goes to more variety in enlarging papers... I think we have enough films.
     
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  15. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    They're sold by the ton.
     
  16. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Actually, a new slow ultra fine grained film has just been announced. SPUR, sorry that I don't have the URL to hand. This is the film that CZ used to get 400 lp/mm with.
     
  17. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    "there is really no need for films to increase the resolution any further, unless there is a revolution in optical design." Ryuji.

    Look to the latest generation of lenses from Leica and Zeiss.

    Make a film with the color rendition of APX 100, but with superior acutance to TMX.

    Yes, and work on papers.

    I'll leave a light in the window.

    .
     
  18. Earl Dunbar

    Earl Dunbar Member

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    Don: Not sure I understand "color rendition of APX 100" reference. Are you asking for a colour film that has the resolution/grain characteristics of APX 100?

    Ryuji: I agree with DF regarding the lenses. I don't own any of those yet, though I have owned some Leica glass in the past. I do more handholding that I like, but I do use a tripod whenever I can, and will increase that habit when I get another one that better meets my needs.

    I've never used Acros and my only attempt at TMX didn't work so well. I should give them another try, though I've generally preferred the look of traditional films.

    I agree regarding papers. I wish the French producer of the original Zone VI Brilliant papers hadn't ceased production.
     
  19. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    I think that 100Tmax, Acros and Delta 100 are all nice films and we are lucky to have them. I am one of those dinosauers that uses only fixed focal lengths..I have never owned a zoom. I use a very heavy tripod made for 8x10 and use a rope from the center column and a foot pad to add to stability, mirror up etc.

    As nice as 100tmax is and irrespective of the finess of its grain and high contrast MTF characteristics it falls at least 20% behind Panatomix-X for low contrast MTF performance.

    Panatomic=X was my favorite b&w film in 120 roll film, 35mm and sheet film. kodak did this user no favor in discontinuing it.
     
  20. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    Another dinosaur here. The new Leica lenses ( 35/1.4 ASPH, Apo-Summicrons, etc ) absolutely press the best films out there. And if the lens is used at a high speed and large aperture, it is apparent to see the revolution HAS happened. On a tripod, they are a revelation. The new Zeiss lenss seem... exciting.

    Earl: I'm wishing for a B&W film that sees color as did APX 100, which was its distinguishing characteristic. Sob.
     
  21. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    There were basically 3 stages in B&W and color film evolution between the 70s and today. This would effectively allow a 200 speed film today to equal a 25 speed film of the early 60s.

    However, there are always tradeoffs in speed, grain and sharpness. For example, if you took an 800 film and doubled its speed using 2 electron sensitization to 1600, it may have worse keeping due to radiation (cosmic and heat), and so the tradeoff is to keep the same sensitivity to radiation at 800 speed and design for better grain. (this was hypothetical but appears to be the case for the new Portra 800).

    In color film, every layer is sensitive to only 1/3 of the spectrum range and therefore effectively, a given color grain has about 2 stops less speed than a comparable B&W emulsion. (just a rough analogy as turbidity and other factors enter into this equation).

    There are practical limits to what can be done then in either color or B&W. A 25 speed film made with today's technology should be extremely sharp and fine grained, but it actually is not as improved as one would expect from theory due to other factors such as the turbidity that I mentioned above. Overlapping grains and other physical phenomena tend to also degrade and limit a film from reaching its theoretical limit.

    So, in the final analysis, I think that an ISO 100 film is probably a compromise in overall keeping, speed, grain and sharpness giving us an optimum position for all of these that is equal to or even better than an ISO 25 film of 50 years ago. I just don't know for sure, and don't have the film to make the comparison test. Anyone out there make any tests? Panatomic X vs one of the new B&W ISO 100 or 200 films? Even an old Panatomic X pic reshot on a modern film and processed the same as the old film might help us all judge things better.

    We might come out of this feeling all the better when we see the results of a test like this. IDK, just a thought experiment.

    PE
     
  22. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    Approx. 4 years ago Dr. Robert Chapman wrote an article on formate developments in b&w tedchnology..I may have mispelled that. This would allow approximately 2 stops of speed gain while not losing any other intrinsic quality. He guestimated that the fils would be hitting the market at about this time.

    Anyone know what is happening?
     
  23. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Formate development has been mentioned here before. It was done jointly by Agfa and a French researcher. This has not been commercialized.

    At the time, he didn't know about 2 electron sensitization coming from EK. So, he is right but for the wrong reasons.

    PE
     
  24. Ryuji

    Ryuji Member

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    Radiation sensitivity is largely governed by the grain volume. If two-electron is applied, the efficiency of fog center creation will also increase, but if the crystals are made smaller, the overall shelf life may be comparable. Konica, who made true ASA3200 color negative films, did an extensive research on this topic and some results are published.
     
  25. Ryuji

    Ryuji Member

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    Check out the following US Patents:

    6,436,625 Photosensitive silver halide element with increased photosensitivity 6,344,311 Photosensitive silver halide element with increased photosensitivity 6,277,549 Photosensitive silver halide element with increased photosensitivity 5,985,536 Photosensitive silver halide emulsion containing a metal carbonyl-complex as a dopant

    The original idea was to dope the emulsion with formic acid, but this approach is not very practical outside a research lab, because it's not easy to incorporate formic acid into the grain and keep it there stably. So people have studied alternative ways to implement the same concept. Some appeared in patents, some appeared in scientific literature. They generally use some metal complex dopants.
     
  26. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    Thank you both for your thoughtful response. PE I apologize for missing the previous posting.