Kodak 125 Plus X Best B&W Film All Time

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Andre Noble, Jul 25, 2012.

  1. Andre Noble

    Andre Noble Subscriber

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    I was distracted with other things and missed the cancellation of Kodak 125 Plus X in 120 format. Serious Bummer.

    What I liked best about Kodak 125 Plus X is the subtle gradations from the midtones to the blacks. It's a film with "meat" - a "colorful" black and white film, for those who know what I mean. Good prints from Pyro or regular developers.

    So what film currently available in 120 is most similar to Kodak 125 Plus X in terms of midtones to the blacks tonal reproduction?

    For those who might reply, "Ilford FP4+" - I agree FP4+ is a really good film, but no.
     
  2. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Yes, FP4+.
     
  3. munz6869

    munz6869 Subscriber

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    I've moved (from Plus-X, which I LOVED) to Fuji's Neopan 100 (let's see how long that lasts), and I like the results, but I think it's a bit punchier, contrast-wise than Plus-X...

    It's inexpensive too, but only if you order from the US - in Japan (I discovered last month), it's not much cheaper than any other 120 film!

    Marc!
     
  4. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    I figure you mean Acros? Great film, I love it but absolutely nothing like Plus-X. Shanghai GP3 is rumored to be based on the Plus-X formula if actually not Plus-X itself from back when Kodak cooperated with film production in China. I use it a lot having securely a load of it in my travels to see my wife's family there. However I've heard it too might not be around much longer either. Otherwise while not quite the same FP-4 is a wonderful film.
     
  5. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    I never used Plus-X all that much. I used Pan-X outdoors or Tri-X in low light. When Kodak discontinued Pan-X I switched to Ilford Pan-F. Plus-X always seemed to be a "jack of all trades, master of none" film, either too fast or too slow for the subjects I was filming.
     
  6. NB23

    NB23 Member

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    Foma 100... Can't say why except that it has serious character and enough "meet". I loved Plus-X and I love Foma 100 probably for the same reasons.
     
  7. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    The general consesnsus here in the UK was always that FP4 was a much better film than Plus X, that was my own experience as well.

    Ian
     
  8. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I agree, still shoot fp4 in all formats.
     
  9. wblynch

    wblynch Member

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    Nothing else is like Plus-X.

    Substitutions, sure, but no replacements.
     
  10. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    FP4+ is the closest in terms of gradation and image characteristics, although in my experience it is slightly better than Plus-X on all counts. It is every bit as "colorful" a B&W film as Plus-X, works with every developer out there, and stains beautifully in Pyro. Gradation from shadows through midtones, and the rest of the scale for that matter, is second to none.
     
  11. jm94

    jm94 Member

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    Agreed with above, FP4+ is the way to go for your purposes. FP4 is pretty much a good all rounder. It is also very forgiving, much more so than other films of a similar type.
     
  12. Keith Tapscott.

    Keith Tapscott. Member

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    If you ever get to see an original John Blakemore print from a 5x4 inch FP4 negative made on the old Agfa Record-Rapid, you might change your mind. :D
     
  13. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I've used Plus-X and FP4+ side by side, and I really don't think that the prints are much different at all. They can easily go side by side, and there will be very little distinction between the two. That's my experience anyway. They are more similar than they are different.
     
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  15. graywolf

    graywolf Member

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    Some would argue that Agfapan 100 was the real loss to the world.

    To me almost anything was/is better than Plus-X. But I guess it is sort of like ice cream, there has to be a reason they make 97 different flavors, of which I only eat about 5.
     
  16. Andre Noble

    Andre Noble Subscriber

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    Yes, Ilford FP4+ is a very smooth film. But I don't think it has the subtle dark tone gradation of Plus X, nor the midtone presense.

    Most B+W films "give up" or "surrender" in the shadows. Not Kodak Plus X.

    No sense in crying over spilled milk though. I will probably go with FP4+ and Tri- X (even though at ASA 400, unexposed Kodak Tri X won't keep as long as Kodak 125 Plus X frozen).

    I got some interesting portraits on Agfa APX 100 in soft lighting developed Rodinal. It was a "hard", unsophisticated film. I don't understand it's allure.

    Oh, and I have two rolls of Agfa APX 25 in the freezer. (For some reason I marked on pkg. "Expose at ASA 6"??)
     
  17. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    There was a time many years ago when I was not happy using HC-110. It just seemed the 2-3 films I tried just did not have the look I liked and I wondered why people loved it so much. In particular the Tri-X I developed in HC-110 was a real let down for me. So I started using other developers and films. One day I saw a portfolio of gorgeous B&W images. I mean they were almost perfect! The tonality just what I was after. Amazing. I then found out it was Tri-X film and that the photographer used HC-110 exclusively. Imagine that. The problem was with me.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 26, 2012
  18. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    FP4 can do the job you want - you may just have to learn how to get it to do what you want. It might be that slightly different development (in terms of time or agitation, or in terms of development choice) might be required.

    I do my traditional emulsions in PMK, and I always found that Plus-X had much too high general stain compared to FP4 - so I prefer FP4 . Still, I am going to miss Plus-X. It has its own charms. Thankfully I still have a few rolls left.
     
  19. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    x2. I had the good fortune of buying a bunch of PX-120 unwittingly just prior to cancellation (and the sharp rise in price). I'll miss it when that stash is gone.
     
  20. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    Me too. I won an auction of 88 rolls a couple years back from a pro clearing his freezer as he went digital. Paid only about $90! But I'm running out I use it! (of course!) Cannot decide which I treasure more: my remaining stash of 120 Neopan 400 or 120 Plus-X!
     
  21. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    None of the 100-125 ISO B&W films I've used over the years has "given up" or "surrenedered" the shadow detail, that's down to how we as photographers control our film's tonality by exposure and development. That includes FP4, Tmax and Delta 100, AP/APX100 and more recently Fomapan 100, lus a few rolls of Acros.

    It's a case of learning how different films respond and making necessary adjustments to achieve the resul;ts you#re after. only the Foma films in my experience need significantly different development times.

    Ian.
     
  22. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    My point exactly. I've learned since my first developed roll at age 11 or so back in 1973 is that chasing a magic bullet or giving up or forming an opinion on a film after only 1-2 rolls is senseless. I love trying different films and developers just to see what I get and I have an experimental nature. But through many, many films and many, many developers the one thing I've learned is almost ANY film is capable of terrific results.
     
  23. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    I agree with the people who say it isn't the film.

    I liked Plux-X, but one of the things I liked about it was how well it worked in Diafine. I could shoot it at box speed in D76 (or whatever) or, if needed, at 400 and develop in Diafine, and carry one film. None of the other medium speed films I've tried have responded as well, and that includes FP4+ which does get an effective boost, just not as much. People who have tried Shanghai GP3 in Diafine say it is definitely not Plus-X, in this way at least.

    But that's fairly minor. I have good 400 films I can use at box speed any time I want. I switched to FP4+ for medium speed (have a few rolls of Acros to try though) and like it a lot. The differences between the two, while probably not non-existent, are simply going to be drowned out in the noise compared to the differences in photographers.
     
  24. Andre Noble

    Andre Noble Subscriber

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    True Except for Ektar 100 :smile:
     
  25. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    A lot of times I hear exclamations that allude to not completely comprehending how two films should be compared: you can only compare their tonality AFTER they have been exposed and processed such that they have the same contrast. Then, and only then, can you tell the relative difference between them. Any other comparison simply doesn't justify the qualities of either film.

    I have prints in the same series that are from FP4+ and Plus-X negatives. I dare anyone to tell them apart.
     
  26. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    An example would be Tmax 100 and AP/APX100 both in Rodinal both superb films and final results are indistinguishable in 35mm through to LF, the only major difference was the Agfa films were rated at 100ISO and Tmax 100 @ 50 EI, dev times were identical.

    Some of my series span longer periods typically 25 years+ and I have no issuse putting prints from Tmax100 and AP/APX100 alongside those shot more recently with Delta 100 and even HP5 (LF) although I have had to reprint on current papers but that's another issue.

    Ian