Low ISO, which way to go....

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by PKM-25, Jan 24, 2008.

  1. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    OK,

    So about 4 years ago, I started stocking up on low ISO films starting with Techpan before it disappeared for use in projects in the distant future. I have about 200 rolls of TP in 35 and 100 in 120. I also have 100 rolls of APX25 in 120 only. I have tested a roll of each in both formats to make sure it is good and it is fine ( brilliant actually ).

    Here is the thing. To shoot for now to get my darkroom and black and white shooting skills really up to snuff, I have a good supply of Pan-F in 35mm and 120. Now while I like this film a lot, even APX 25 is noticeably less grainy ( at least in Rodinal 1+50 ). In fact, it is truly a tragedy that it is gone because it might be my favorite film yet.

    I have heard good things about Efke 25 and I have heard bad things in terms of quality control. So we now have ADOX 25, Rolliepan 25 and even a brand new Rolliepan ATP V1 technical pan film coming out in 120.

    If one were to try to replace APX 25 or even Techpan in 120 with a super sharp and tight grained variety to shoot along side of Pan-F, what might it be?
     
  2. P C Headland

    P C Headland Subscriber

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    You may also want to give Fuji Acros 100 a try. It gives sharp, grain-free results, but obviously has a totaly different look c/w Efke 25. I process it Rodinal 1+100 or PC-TEA 1+50 and get lovely results. I always shoot it at box speed, but some people prefer to shoot it at a lower EI. The prices in the US are pretty good for Acros.

    If you really want the slower speed film, go with Efke/Adox 25 as it is readily available, and not too expensive either.
     
  3. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    I don't know how grain can be a problem with PanF 50. I like this film very much, and there's no question that quality control is miles above anything you'll get with one of the Eastern European films. Try it in D-76 1+3 to keep the contrast from going over the top. Don't like that? Try TMX. The grain is even finer that what you'll get from PanF 50. Quality contol is first rate as you'd expect from Kodak. Is the tonal scale different? You bet it is. It's also nothing that can't be handled with some skill and patience during printing or digital editing.
     
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  4. Snapshot

    Snapshot Member

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    Another possible answer to your question is to consider Adox 20 CMS. It is reputely a very fine grained film, exceeding that of Efke 25. The maker of the film have claimed Adox 20 CMS is able to resolve up to 800 l/mm. However, in practice you'll never get much more than 300 l/mm. A Zeiss lens, however, has been reputed to obtain nearly 400 l/mm with this film. Adox 20 CMS is orthopanchromatic, which means it can distinguish between colors but with reduced red sensitivity.
     
  5. noseoil

    noseoil Member

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    I use Efke 25 and have never had a problem with it in the quality department. It is a soft emulsion compared to today's films, but has a very nice look. Since you are into stocking films, this would be an excellent candidate. It responds very well to pyrocat and dilute development. One problem some people have with it is the rapid development with "normal" strength processing. Slowing things down will allow you to take advantage of it's wonderful tonality. Great for general shooting or portraits, has a look that is unique. tim
     
  6. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    Thanks so far.

    I actually have about 50 rolls of CMS20 in 35mm, it is cool stuff and aside from needing Adotech to soup it, it is a good replacement for Kodak TechPan as far as grain goes. But unless things have changed, it only comes in that format.

    But what I am really looking for is the next best thing to APX25 in 120 format for landscapes in my Hassy. I love the tone and sharpness of Pan-F thus far, but in looking at APX-25 along side of it tonight, I feel like I should put the feelers out there some more and use the Pan-F for a book project of local portraits I am about to start working on. I was just blown completely away by how much fine detail was rendered with the APX-25. I have 100 rolls of it and now wish I had 1,000!!

    I have plenty of film backs so I can have a proverbial "Whitman's Assorted Sampler" of films at the same time.
     
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  7. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    If you are really nuts about sharp and grainless, go ortho.

    ADOX and Rollei Ortho 25 films are simply astonishing. It's not cheap (10$ / 120 roll) but it's good. It's on sale at Freestyle.
     
  8. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    I would suggest Pan-F or Efke 25 as I've never cared much for the document films. With Pan-F, you'll get a good film with quality control, although it took me awhile to nail down dev times and EI's.

    Efke is a great emulsion with superb tonality. I nailed it on the first roll with Pyrocat HD. However, the QC stinks. I had light leaks with the 120 rolls and pieces of emulsion missing in places. Be prepared to take 2-3 shots of everything and to crop out the light leaks. I've NEVER had QC problems with Kodak, Ilford or Fuji, only with Efke.
     
  9. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    Try a little of everything. Be certain to try Fuji Acros. I have gotten great results in Xtol, Rodinal, Beutlers and PMK.
     
  10. AgX

    AgX Member

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    PKM-25,

    as you indicated, a size-120 highest-resolution film is going to come. And there are at least four developers on offer for this film, three of them specially made for this very film by three diffferent laboratories.
     
  11. Uncle Goose

    Uncle Goose Member

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    I once ordered 10 rolls Adox 25 120 film and had excellent results with them, the only thing is that I don't use them often since I work most of the time in very low light conditions. My standard is 100ISO but still have a few rolls left which I gonna use soon. I never had any quality problems with those rolls.
     
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  12. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    An alternative. Pick a developer which is known to
    knock a stop or so off the speed but known to
    produce exceptionally sharp fine grain results.
    Microdol X, IIRC, is one. Dan
     
  13. Jacques D.

    Jacques D. Member

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    There is a lot of choice, what is good for you will depend of your taste... :

    Adox CMS 20
    Adox CHS 25
    Adox CHS 50
    Adox PAN 25
    Adox ORT 25
    Rollei PAN 25
    Rollei ORTHO 25
    Rollei ATP
    Rollei RSD
    Ilford PAN-F Plus 50
    Gigabit
     
  14. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    Not all of those are in 120. That is the niche I am trying to fill. I ordered a lot of those yesterday, one roll of each to try out when I have time.
     
  15. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I think you would do yourself a favor to continue shooting Pan-F, or whatever you have a lot of currently. If you're already used to it, I mean. You stated that you wanted to 'get your shooting skills up'. Doesn't swapping films that often sort of sabotage your objectives? Thing is you will never find a replacement for APX25, and yes it's fantastic film, it used to be my favorite film too. But it was unique in its grain structure, contrast, and tonal rendition, and simply sang like Pavarotti in Rodinal.
    But again, I would just shoot with Pan-F until you find you're happy with what you're shooting. My question is - do you think your photographs will be that much better because you're using APX 25? And I don't mean from a resolution standpoint - I mean aestetically, how they impact you emotionally, how you and other people react to them?
    - Thomas
     
  16. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Agfa at Cut Throat Prices

    While Kodak was selling Tech Pan at over $5 a roll
    and Pan X was going for better than $3 Agfa was
    charging $2.09. Their other films likely were well
    under the other's prices. No more Agfa. Dan
     
  17. Jacques D.

    Jacques D. Member

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    For the best results, its better to stick to what you are already used to. On the other hand trying out something else, new or old, is part of the fun of photography imho.

    Jacques
     
  18. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    Developers that "knock a stop" off speed generally don't produce "exceptionally sharp" images although they are good at producing "fine grain results" in general.

    The same thing that makes image detail sharp makes grain sharp. There is no way around it.

    With a really slow film, making the grain really sharp isn't much of an issue because it still isn't large enough to be visible or distracting (depending on image size of course).

    My best results with slow films have been with developers that aren't known for minimizing grain: Rodinal and PMK.
     
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  19. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    I'm not really married to Pan-F yet, I have only just started on the 120 journey anyway. I have 100 rolls of APX-25, not enough for a lifetime, but certainly enough to make some great images on or for a project, show, etc.

    I have like, 4 120 backs for my recently aquired Hassy kit, it's not unrealistic to keep the backs loaded with different films for different things either.

    For now, I have a variety of flavors of low speed black and white 120 films coming. I'll take some time out to see how they do and then stock up on the winners.

    I just love shooting black and white, I'm sure I'll come out fine.
     
  20. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    APX 25 was the worst film ever made, absolute crap! I wouldn't let my dog use that stuff! Send all 100 rolls to me an I will dispose of it for you!
     
  21. Gigabitfilm

    Gigabitfilm Member

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    I speak not about other films with brand-names, but I speak about a low speed microfilm like Agfa Copex HDP, it has even in the best low gamma developers no overexposure-latitude, because this emulsion was changed in 2000 from Copex Pan to Copex HDP with enhanced gold-sensibilisation. The reason was, that a lot of not well-trained users were working with too strong used developers, and speed of developed films was lost. A higher gold-sensitated film in bad old developers will not loss its speed. But too much gold ruins the latitude, not for documentation, but for a (not from the emulsion people planned) pictorial use. Microfilms have always a low silver-coating, you cannot get higher density than Dmax = 2.2 Only microfilm are not an answer for better films in a better future of AgHal-photography.

    Thats the reason, why Gigabitfilm use films with higher degree of monodispers distribution than microfilms, that means, there must be a better resolution than in microfilms, when you compare in the same wavelenght. And we use films with more silver on it, for a Dmax = more than 4.0. Now you can make diaslide. And we use a sensibilisation up to 700 nanometers, because nearly 30 % of all users had used in past red or orangefilters for more dramatic landsapes.

    I found it very well, when Rollei will bring the TechnicalPan successor in 120 rollfilm. Gigabitfilm try to build up a production for the 320-film, a film in the length of the 120, but without paperbackside for better planety. This 320 is like a 220 except, that the film will have the lenghth of a 120. Since two month I am waiting to get the first cutted rolls for internal testing.
     
  22. Doug Webb

    Doug Webb Member

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    If you want detail and no worries about grain you could always get a larger format camera. I would have to say that even moving up just to 4x5 was liberating in a lot of ways for me after trying to take a 6x7 medium format camera to the limit. Before you have used up most of that stockpiled film you may find yourself leaning in that direction. That said, if you want to stay in medium format, Efke 25 is a great film in so far as detail and grain. I have only used it in 4x5 though. I know some people say they have had problems with it, but I haven't had problems with quality control or soft emulsion, but then I don't try to develop in a tray, so that may have something to do with it.
    Good luck on your quest
     
  23. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    If grain is an issue, I wouldn't use Rodinal. Don't get me wrong, I like Rodinal, but when I use it I accept the fact that it enhances grain. You will get smoother results (less grain) from a less acute developer. If you pay attention to the other factors influencing sharpness, it will be an excellent trade off, assuming reducing grain is what you want. ( That's what I gathered in the OP.)

    Much of the "quality control" issues surrounding the Efke films is that they are very soft emulsions, and require extra care when they are wet.

    On the 120 format, you might consider PMK or Pyrocat, as the stain tends to mask grain.
     
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  24. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    This is all good info, thanks!

    I am not trying to get large format quality out of 120 ( that is what TechPan is for, LOL! ) I am just trying to home in on the best combos for landscape and still life and people imagery from 120.

    I just got my sample bag from Freestyle, Acros 100, Efke 25, Rollie Pan 25, Rollie Ortho 25, Adox Ortho 25 and even some IR 820. I also picked up some 1D-II and D76.

    I just need to try out these films when time permits and see what grabs me. I also have 50 rolls of HIE in 35mm coming that I want to shoot in Iceland and Greenland this Summer, so between that and the Kodachrome Project, I might be putting 120 on the back burner anyway.

    I am driving my girlfriend nuts either way, when I told her of the HIE, she looked at me stone faced and asked: " And where it that going to live?"