ISO 400 B&W Films.

Discussion in 'UK All Regions' started by Keith Tapscott., Mar 23, 2009.

  1. Keith Tapscott.

    Keith Tapscott. Member

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    What are your favourite ISO 400 B&W films and what is it about them that you like compared to others in the same speed group?
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Delta 400, great tonality and sharpness with good grain structure. Just wish it was available in LF as I much prefer it to HP5 and want to buy Ilford films. Tmax 400 is another film I've usedwith great results.

    Ian
     
  3. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    There are so many good ones. I have used many, but I had to finally just settle on one for sake of simplification: Ilford HP5 (in Ilfotec HC). It is a great film, and I want to support Ilford's efforts to salvage and advance black and white film photography. Oh, how I wish it was the American company who was making such attempts known, but it is not. All of my favorite films and papers by Kodak are gone, except for Tri-X and Supra Endura. Now Fuji is at it again too, getting rid of my favorite of their remaining emulsions: T64 (while offering three different varieties of Velvia.........)

    I sometimes use Delta 400 or T-Max 400, but I don't like their look as much as HP5. Before that, my preference was Tri-X 400 in 35mm, and Tri-X 320 in larger formats. I still shoot Tri-X sometimes for landscapes, though not generally for people. I usually only shoot it now when I want to use 220 black and white film. It is a little more open in the shadows, more dead in the highlights, and greens and blues appear a tiny bit lighter on the print. It (the 320) was the first film I totally "zoned" (4x5 and 120/220 in D-76 1:1), so I still have all my notes and such. All I need to do is run a wee seven negative test when I want to use it.

    I also used a lot of Agfa APX 400 when it was cheap at Freestyle. It was a nice black annd white film that got the job done, but it never really did it for me as much as Tri-X and HP5. Not sure why.

    As for Fuji, they are good IMO, but still don't have the style of HP5 or Tri-X. I use them only in 4x5 when I want Quickloads.
     
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  4. Aurelien

    Aurelien Advertiser Advertiser

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    As I have a great preference for old style films, I do not like at alll the TMAx films. Grain is for me the spirit of pictures.
    So , I use triX, HP5 or neopan 400 when I want sensitivity. When no more than ISO 320 are needed, I use Fomapan 400, which I love. And I have a stock of Fortepan 400, which is the grainiest of all. Like it too :smile:
     
  5. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    One of my favourite films is the HP5. I just like the look of it.

    Jeff
     
  6. mcgrattan

    mcgrattan Member

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    I've had consistently the best results from Neopan 400. In just about every developer I've tried the negatives have been at least usable, and they usually have a combination of relatively low grain and good tone and contrast.

    I've also had good results from HP5, Fomapan 400 and Tmax 400, but they've not performed quite as consistently for me as Neopan.
     
  7. MikeSeb

    MikeSeb Member

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    Tmax 400 is my favorite, followed by either Tri-X Pan (320) or "regular" Tri-X.

    I'd say that, by upgrading several existing color and B&W films, and introducing at least one new one, within the last few years, Kodak has demonstrated significant commitment to film photography. They probably deserve better than a knock because someone's personal favorites didn't make the cut.

    Far better I guess to operate unprofitably and simply go bankrupt, so that then you can't offer ANY films.
     
  8. John Bragg

    John Bragg Member

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    My current film of choice is Neopan 400. It has a look when developed in Rodinal that just fits the way I see things. It was always Tri-X before that and I started with Neopan to work up a credible alternative in case of availability issues. I ended up liking it more and made the switch, although either is a great choice....
     
  9. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Subscriber

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    I work almost exclusively with Neopan 400 in 120. It is a great film. I develop in Xtol 1:1 with great results and Rodinal from time to time also. Neopan is also less expensive than other 400 speed black and white films. And, I know it's nit-picking, but it dries perfectly flat (120) and also has no purplish hue as some other films do.
     
  10. white.elephant

    white.elephant Member

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    I'm an HP5 man, and I like it because to my eye it has a weight that Tri-X doesn't match. My personal taste.
     
  11. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    I think this is a really good description of the difference between them. At least my eye sees it similarly. I don't have a consistent preference---some subjects work better for me with the "weight", others without.

    Fomapan 400 is underappreciated, I think. I rate it at 400 in PC-TEA (I would assume it would work in Xtol 1+2 as well), and while the results are never going win any prizes for fine grain, dang if it ain't sharp.

    -NT
     
  12. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Yup. I agree. Tri-X is a bit "lighter" (not tonewise, but contrast/mood wise) in my experience, due to the spectral sensitivity's effect on the shadows in daylight. I love the look for some things, and when I want it, I still use Tri-X, even though I have switched to HP5 as my general purpose film. I think HP5 flatters skin more than Tri-X, so usually use it for portraits, when I must do them.
     
  13. Nicole

    Nicole Member

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    Hi Keith, it depends on what I'm photographing but currently I switch between TriX400 and Delta400 for 120mm and same including Neopan 1600 for 35mm - and develop mostly in Xtol. Delta usually for a lighter tone, softer grain and Xtol for when I like it dark and moody, but again, it all depands on the circumstances.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 24, 2009
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  15. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Tri-X 400. But switching to Tmax 400 because I want the same emulsion in all formats. In sheets, Tri-X 400 isn't available.

    A little less grain, but I believe I can achieve a similar tonality to Tri-X, or close enough.

    I don't think I've ever tested an ISO 400 emulsion that I didn't like - Ilford HP5+ (wonderful 'light' tone, sharp), Ilford 400 Delta Pro (nice grain, very sharp), Tri-X 400 (wonderful 'bite' in the prints, well defined tonal shifts), Tmax 400 (smooth grain but very very sharp), Foma 400 (I have to rate this film at EI 100-160, so doesn't really count, but beautiful tonality, love the grain), Forte 400 (fantastic grain), Lucky SHD 400 (like old Tri-X but without antihalation, nice grain), Neopan 400 (crisp, sharp, beautiful highlights), and I'm sure I'm missing some...

    But I am doing away with all of them, except for TMY-2.

    - Thomas
     
  16. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I also like T-max 400.

    Jeff
     
  17. Simon E

    Simon E Member

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    I've always liked HP5 Plus.

    I am sure the others have great characteristics (I remember being suprised at the lack of grain in TMY) but I'm not unhappy with what I have so I'll just keep using it. Tried Neopan 400 and it seemed fairly similar... or was it that I couldn't tell the difference?
     
  18. mikebarger

    mikebarger Subscriber

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    I use Tri-x in 120mm and HP5 in 4x5 since Kodak doesn't make the 400 in sheet film.

    My limited expreience with Foma 400 in 120 would make me go over to the darkside if that was all that was available. For me, it curled like a soda straw, Tri-X is always flat.

    Mike
     
  19. Keith Tapscott.

    Keith Tapscott. Member

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    Thanks for the replies. :smile:
     
  20. mhanc

    mhanc Member

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    TMY-2 followed closely by Tri-X. I have only returned to B+W within the past year so do not have the breadth of experience as others posting here. Previously when I had a darkroom most all I shot was Tri-X - loved it then and love it now. However, now I prefer TMY-2 for its great tonality and "lightness" versus the more "somber" Tri-X. Perhaps, this is an age thing or maybe it better suits my tastes at the moment.

    I will also say that, I greatly prefer 400 ISO B+W films and shoot them exclusively right now (save the 3 rolls of Adox CHS 100 that I am trying out now. Postings here of this film show a really interesting look and feel.)
     
  21. JDP

    JDP Member

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    Nobody has mentiond Ilford XP2 Super. If you like fine grain, lots of detail and smooth tones it is worth a punt. Also benefits from a wide exposure latitude, and copes with contrasty scenes well (keeping highlight and shadow detail well). Pics from 35mm are so smooth they almost look like medium format.....

    It is C41 process, though, which some may not like.
     
  22. mhanc

    mhanc Member

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    You are right, never thought about the c41 B+W films. I think XP2-Super is a great film and have liked the results. Also, in my experience it is a much better film than the Kodak bw400cn.
     
  23. Keith Tapscott.

    Keith Tapscott. Member

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    I never mentioned either, but I never really cared for the tonality and look of it. Lots of people do though.:smile:
     
  24. Mark Burley

    Mark Burley Member

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    Personally I would plumb for Neopan 400. It has been hugely kind for me. It also seems to impart a lovely silver glow to my prints - which I don't get with other film stock, (at least not so far anyway).

    Mark
     
  25. white.elephant

    white.elephant Member

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    I never understood why it would be that way, and I appreciate the info. I haven't shot that many portraits, but I'll have to try it.
     
  26. Vincent Brady

    Vincent Brady Subscriber

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    My film of choice is Delta 400 (35mm) and I dev. it in ID11 stock for 9.5 mins.