KISS LF Film recommendations solicited

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by laz, Sep 9, 2005.

  1. laz

    laz Member

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    Alrighty, I've spent a few weeks getting to know the camera, studying the LF literature (buying lenses!) and the kid is good to go (I know 50 ain't no kid, but I feel like one.)

    I am ready to trot down to B&H and buy sheet film and actually expose it in my 8x10. I like to keep things simple to start; is there anything that might be particular to LF that I should consider? I will be shooting landscape and contact printing. As far as developer goes I'm open.

    Thanks in advance folks, you LFers have been great in you patience with this newbie to the world of LF!

    -Bob
     
  2. mmcclellan

    mmcclellan Subscriber

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    Bob,

    KISS is a great approach to LF -- and the best way to do that is one film, one developer, one lens, etc.

    With 8x10, you want all the speed you can get. Just shoot Tri-X Prof (the only TX still available) and develop it in HC-110 and you won't go wrong. Test for film speed and development time -- a good way to spend a Saturday -- and then you can spend the rest of your life shooting and making images and not futzing around with film/dev combinations, tests, etc.

    Choose a good printing paper and experiment with other papers all you want in order to get the desired prints, but the most important starting point for beautiful prints is good negs. Master one film and one developer and don't even think about using others until you see that there is some deficiency in your results that needs to be addressed and THEN find something else to solve that problem. In the meantime, if you're satisfied with what you have, then just keep shooting and spend your money on books by Strand, Adams, Weston, Atget, and other greats and put your time, energy, effort, and money into making good images.

    Good luck and great approach! :smile:))
     
  3. photobum

    photobum Member

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    I agree strongly with MM for 50%. Buy, then test that Tri-X and use it forever. Me I'm a D-76 fan. 40 years ago I started with Tri-X and D-76 1+1. Then I went wandering in the desert searching for the fabled silver bullet. Now and then I would return to Tri-X & D-76.

    Let me tell you the Lone Ranger is long dead. His supply of silver bullets is long lost to history. When I retired I told myself no more searching. I have only used Tri-X & D-76. My printing has improved considerably. Stick with one "normal" film and "normal" developer and learn to use it well.

    BTW, nothing wrong with HC-110, ID-11, Rodinal. Or using FP4, HP5. Just stick with one film and developer combo. Boutique or designer type films and developers will just keep setting you back.
     
  4. mark

    mark Member

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    I would order Efke PL100 from JANDC. Soup it in pyrocat and smile.

    I agree that you should stick to one combo until you get to know it in and out.

    Nothing wrong with BPF 200 in the the same developer. You are going to get a million combinations
     
  5. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Sorry - I can't resist it any longer!

    Pick one film - and make sure it's FP4+. At present it looks like it may be available for a bit longer than the Tri-X... In my experience it has a bit more latitude than Tri-X, which is always useful.

    One developer too - your choise. When you have a special case that needs a special developer, ask for advice on apug again. Don't try to take pictures of the sun (with sunspots) and expect to see details in the foreground if you use any kind of normal developer - so don't try it.

    As for shooting - DoF is very small, and hyperfocal focusing leaves everything marginally sharp. A good tripod is important, as is good footing for it. It's amazing how much a tripod leg can sink into the mud in 1/10 second...
     
  6. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    Hi Bob, welcome aboard the LF express :smile:

    Find out what film/developer, paper/developer/toner combination the famous LF photographer who's work puts a fire in your belly and you respect the most uses. Why not hit the ground running without having to jump all the technical/asthetic hurdles your chosen photographer probably spent a couple decades tripping over?

    Murray
     
  7. colrehogan

    colrehogan Member

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    What film have you used in the past that you are familiar with and like? I would think that if that film is available in sheet size, then go with what you know.
     
  8. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    My personal vote goes to HP5 Plus, I have up to now always developed this in ID-11 diluted 1+1 or 1+2. Purely for convenience, I am just about to do some tests developing this film in Ilford PQ Universal (probably diluted 1+39), just so that I can fill a 15-liter tank with a one-shot developer economically. Many people swear by pyro developer, I would feel it would be better to learn how a "normal" developer behaves before trying pyro.

    Finally, just one point that Ole makes. I would think it is impossible with 8x10" to get adequate depth of field just by stopping down, even with hyperfocal focusing - Scheimpflug camera movements are a must (and you may then find you can take a picture at "only" f16 or f22).
     
  9. ChuckP

    ChuckP Subscriber

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    If you go with Tri-X read up on the curve shape differences between the sheet film version (320) and the 400 kind. If you like lots of drama in your landscapes Tri-X is the way to go. Personally I like HP5 with its more general curve shape. Tri-X for when things need more highlight contrast. Tmax 400 for long exposure speed in windy conditions. Are you going to be running formal film speed and development tests or just seat of the pants stuff? Hard to messup an 8x10 contact print with film or developer. Usually it's some other kind of problem.
     
  10. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    I'll agree with Photobum 50%. I'd also go with Tri-X for now, but would use Xtol for the next year instead of D76. Xtol is a very good developer that can be diluted and still get good grain and sharpness and it has good shelf life if caution is taken in storage. But it is funny actually, as I've been buying D76 and using it mostly because it comes in smaller packages as well as larger. If I were to continue with D76 for whatever reason, I'd probably start mixing my own. Btw, I contact print 4x5 Ziatypes from Tri-X and PL100.

    The reason for the Tri-X is the speed of course. It helps in using smaller apertures and decent wind stopping shutter speeds if its needed. I suspect that you'll be contact printing? So the grain won't mean anything per se', but with Xtol you'll have a developer that will work good with any other formats you shoot in b&w better then D76, especially 35mm if you shoot it.

    After a 1/2 year you might try Pyrocat HD with some stand or semi stand developing.
     
  11. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

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    Bob,
    You've got lots of good recommendations. Pick any one of them and run with the ball.

    I feel very comfortable with PL100, Tri-X or FP-4+. Speed IMHO is only neccesary if you're shooting on a windy day or very low light. If that describes the majority of your shooting Tmax 400 or HP-5+ would fill the bill, otherwise a 100-200 asa film will work like a charm.

    There really isn't anything wrong with budget film. While I haven't tried Lucky(which is a really cheap film) Stuff like Arista .edu and Photowarehouse performs quite nicely.

    D-76 is cheap, predictable, is available everywhere and works very well. I'd stick with it until you feel the urge to move on(don't be surprised if you don't get the urge to move on!) If you don't like mixing powder, Nacco sells it in liquid form.

    Buy a 50 sheet box. When I started out I sorely lamented Kodak's move to 50 sheet boxes. Why? It was more expensive (of course---its Kodak!) and I was curious about trying different emulsions. As you've already realized, it takes awhile to really get to know a film and what you can expect from it. A 50 sheet box is a good start---and besides, Kodak dosen't have a lot to choose from (film-wise) anymore.

    My thoughts, YMMV of course.

    Have fun!
     
  12. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I like the idea of starting with an old standard combo like Tri-X and D-76 or HC110, (or FP4+ or HP5+ if that's more to your taste), and once you've got that under control, try other things as your curiosity leads you.

    Efke PL100 and J&C 400 are beautiful films and are quite affordable, but if you are processing in trays, and if you are doing it for the first time, I'd start with a Kodak or Ilford film, which will be much less prone to scratching. On the other hand, if you process in deep tanks, rotary drums, or tubes, and if cheap film frees you up to shoot more, then by all means, consider Efke or J&C.
     
  13. laz

    laz Member

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    Thanks folks, I'm much more comfortable now and will soon be swiping my Metrocard and heading down to Adorama or B&H.

    I'll keep my choice of whose recommendations to take to myself, I've seen those bloody threads of the Rodos vs. the Pyros! :D :D :D
    From what I can tell 5th post down is quite a long wait for you, don't be so shy of posting...... :D

    But Jim Galli told me that the 355 G-Claron I got from him can do anything including cook me a great breakfast before a day of shooting!

    Thanks again folks!
    -Bob
     
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  15. matt miller

    matt miller Subscriber

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    TMY is my choice in 8x10 for several reasons. It's a fast film, the reciprocity characteristics are much better than traditional films like tri-x & hp5, and it has seemingly endless expansion and contraction capabilities. It is quite expensive though. Efke100, my second choice, is slower, has annoying reciprocity characteristics, but has expansion & contraction capabilites close to TMY's. I prefer the tonal scale I get from Efke, but can't stand the long exposures I get with the light I shoot in and the ease with which it scratches when developing/washing in trays. Pyrocat HD does all I need, so it's the only developer I use.

    Have fun, it can be mind blowing.
     
  16. roteague

    roteague Member

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    I would get a box of Velvia, or failing that Provia F100. The results will amaze you. And, unlike all the rest of the suggestions you have gotten so far, the colors won't be missing. :D
     
  17. matt miller

    matt miller Subscriber

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    I have some 4x5 transparencies that I made a few years ago. It's always a thrill to put them on the light box when I haven't seen them for a while. Big tranny's really do knock your socks off. I'd love to make a few 8x10's someday.
     
  18. jbj

    jbj Member

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    I concur with the previous post in that J&C 100 is an excellent film and a bargain. As jdef pointed out, making photographs is ultimately what gets you to where you want to be, and more film equates to more photos.

    Regarding developer I'd recommend using D76 1:1, but mixing it yourself to ensure a stable supply for years to come. D76 can be mixed easily and the dry chemicals stable for long periods of time on the shelf.

    Good luck.
     
  19. laz

    laz Member

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    Wow Jay, thanks for the time and effort that went into your carefully thought-out post!

    There are two things you said that had particular resonance for me:

    and
    UV processes are exactly where I am headed! To tell the truth I was pretty much decided on Tri-X and D-76 because I've shot Tri-X in other formats, the emulsion hardness you mentioned, and, well it seemed so KISS. (it was also the sexy film of my youth)

    But, you've given me pause. The suggestion to list and rate developer characteristics is great, as is the mix your own chemicals because after the analog film holocost that will surely come, I will need to. (of course I could build a bunker and stockpile D-76!)

    So, I'm off to do some homework and I hope it won't try the forums patience when I come back with a different question.

    -Bob
     
  20. Stan. L-B

    Stan. L-B Member

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    Hello Bob.
    There seems to be plenty of advice about film developing and printing for LF, but to get to that stage, KISS principle or otherwise, you will first need to expose the film.
    When I first started with LF I found that I was so intent on getting the film exposed that I overlooked one or two necessary settings. I eventually came to the conclusion that to get a decently exposed negative/trans. every time, I had to have a fool proof system or sequence for the operation. I now have a detailed check list that I go through before making the exposure.

    Depending on how you wish to work, the list can be for such settings as:

    Is there an unexposed sheet of film in the holder that has been loaded correctly:
    are the settings on the camera ready for the exposure, such as swing, tilt rise fall and focus:
    has the shutter and aperture been set correctly after focussing:
    is the lens shade at the most efficient setting without cut off:
    have you tested the shutter and cable for the speed to be used:
    made a final check on correct exposure and any allowance for filters and or extention:
    made sure that the camera is steady and well supported before making the exposure:
    made sure the DDS is pushed right home in the holder after the exposure and tab locked:
    remove the holder from the camera without pulling out the slide inadvertently:
    mark the exposed DDS as to subject and other useful data:

    The above is just an example, each photographer will have a custom system that works for them, however, it is still is a good idea to have a written check list attached to the equipment that cannot go missing.
    The check list is not as laborious as it seems it will give your confidence a boost and reduce your material costs considerably. Good shooting. Stan. L-B
     
  21. laz

    laz Member

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    Stan, Thanks for the good advice and good wishes! I had to smile at the above because in "real life" I am a research coordinator and data manager; my job is 95% of what you describe! I create checklists for everything and spend 1/2 my life in databases and MS Excel making sure every T is crossed and I dotted. My job is to idiot proof research protocols. But I am sure, as sure as the day is long, that I'll screw something up, the hardest person to manage is yourself!

    I'll let ya know how things go. Thanks!
    -Bob
     
  22. photobum

    photobum Member

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    I know that the pyro-heads think that their way is the only way. And yes, I have used pyro. Still, you can make very nice Pt/Pd prints with Tri-X & D-76. Or Rodinal, ID-11, HC 110 etc. It's really just a matter of using any combination until you really learn what it will do. This would include sticking with one paper too. Any good paper is very flexible. Contact-Azo, enlarging-Ilford MGIV-FB, Pt/Pd-Cranes cover weight natural white, etc.
     
  23. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I do use pyro, but still agree with photobum that it's best to learn the old standards first before experimenting (though since I use Tri-X and ABC--which is Kodak's "D-1," one could argue that that's an older old standard than Tri-X and D-76).
     
  24. vet173

    vet173 Member

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    I agree with jdef. I shoot Fp-4 and develop in pyrocat-hd. If your going to contact you will eventually drift towards the "Azo-Amidol thang" as it has the range to let you do double duty with your negs with pyrocat more so than with PMK. I, like many others here cut my baby teeth on Supper-XX and HC110, andTri-X and D-76, no complaints about it.( except for not having XX anymore) You WILL try other films and developers,WILL chase the silver bullet for a while, it's part of the addiction. Enjoy the ride, I have for 35 years. I take the pyrohead comment as a compliment.
     
  25. laz

    laz Member

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    I've ordered The Book of Pyro :D
     
  26. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

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    IMHO, You'll get more milage from cheap film and common off the shelf chemicals. There'll be time for chasing those magic bullets later---start off with the basics of composition and exposure. Play with perspective control until you can do it easily with your head under the dark cloth and go from there. The path might lead you to pyro or rodinal or some alternative process or right back to d-76, but you won't get there until you take that first step. Using whats tried and true and familiar is, like KISS, a logical first step to take. It might not be the ONLY step, but it is a very GOOD step.