Neopan 400

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by wintoid, Mar 25, 2008.

  1. wintoid

    wintoid Member

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    Hi there,

    Long time lurker making a first (somewhat nervous) post. I've absorbed some understanding of the science of photography (have tried to read BTZS and a Fred Picker? book), but still don't have it all straight in my head.

    I've been developing my own for 3-4 years now, and after starting out with many films and many developers, I seem to have settled on Neopan 400 as my film of choice using Adox ATM49 1+2 as my developer, and have been developing at box speed. This choice was based on falling in love with the darker tones and grain characteristics in Neopan, and then reading something on APUG which prompted me to try ATM49.

    I've found that my darker tones are very black at 400, but I've also found that the highlights will often seem to "flare". I have tried reducing my development time to try to tame the shadows and it's fine for indoor lower contrast shots, but once I get outdoors with sunlight etc, I still cannot control the highlights. Furthermore the shadows are still quite black.

    I had been considering dropping to a lower EI, like 200 or so, to try to get *slightly* more shadow detail but am concerned that this will make my problem with the highlights even worse.

    Would the general advice be that I should start doing BTZS graphs etc, or can someone say categorically "yeah Neopan is fussy like that, it's the wrong film to use if you're after controlled shadows AND highlights"? I'm quite close to switching films, but I like the results so much from indoor shooting that it seems worthwhile persisting with this.

    Many thanks in advance, and apologies if the question is badly posed.
     
  2. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    I recommend that you test your film and developer, there are many ways to test, ZS, BTZ, but the issue appears that you get good shadow detail at box speed so you need to reduce your development time to control the highlights.
     
  3. r-brian

    r-brian Member

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    I have not use Neopan 400 so I can't give you any specific advice on it. However, I highly recommend you get a copy of 'The Edge of Darkness' by Barry Thornton and read it. It may open your thinking to about exposure and development. I bought a used copy off Ebay and the only section underlined by the previous owner dealt with exposure and changing the EI to suit conditions.

    Thornton recommended shooting at box speed and developing normally for low contrast situations. For higher contrast situations, reduce the film speed by 2/3 stop and reduce develoment by 15%, for very high constrast situations, reduce the film speed by 1 stop and reduce development by 20%.

    This is good advised to try out. If done it and don't have any complaints.
     
  4. Mark Antony

    Mark Antony Member

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    I use Neopan 400 quite a bit and dev it in Microphen (stock) or Rodinal (1:50).
    For me it seems capable of lovely detail in both shadow and highlight detail is one of Neopans strengths.
    Have you considered your exposure?
    I meter for the area where I want detail in the shadows and then close down 2 stops, I find that with developers like Rodinal at 1:50 that if I avoid vigourous agitation say one or two slow/rolling inversions per min I get great shadow/highlight.
    This is Neopan 400 in a very dark cathedral, with bright spot-lit pillars deved in Rodinal 1:50
    [​IMG]
    Shadow and highlight preservation is one of the reasons to use Neopan IMHO
    Mark
     
  5. RoNinHeart

    RoNinHeart Member

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    "The Edge of Darkness" is my favorite photography book. The easiest to read and most moving photography book I've yet to read.
     
  6. Andrew Moxom

    Andrew Moxom Member

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    Neopan 400 is my standard 400 emulsion of choice. While I do not practice zone system or BTZS, I find it is a superb film. MY developer of choice would be Pyrocat HD. This film and dev combination is truly a great match. I rate it at box speed, but it can tolerate some over exposure for making sure you get all your shadows exposed. That said, during pyrocat HD development, I have yet to have highlights block up or flare. All my negs are developed for printing on a Dichroic head enlarger, and they also work well for graded paper printing.

    This film has tremendous latitude, and with Pyrocat, you will not be disappointed. It's simple and consistent which is what matters most to me as thinking about all of the technical aspects will detract from the actual image making process. IMHO..
     
  7. Andrew O'Neill

    Andrew O'Neill Subscriber

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    I used this film for a few years when I lived in Japan so I do have some experience with it. 400 isn't the correct EI for this film and developer. You must test your film/developer combination. Try an EI of 250 and cut back by about 20% on your development time. Print using maximum black minimum time method. You'll then be able to decide which direction to go from then.
     
  8. wintoid

    wintoid Member

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    Many thanks for all the input. Lots to think about there.
     
  9. PVia

    PVia Member

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    Mark...is that a print scan?

    Beautiful tonality...
     
  10. Tony Egan

    Tony Egan Subscriber

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    I agree. In my experience shadow detail is weak at 400 ISO and this film does not like overdevelopment. After experimenting with various ISO ratings and developers I could not get a result which equalled what I could get with Tri-X or HP5. The results were usually still too contrasty for my taste although pyro developers produced the best results.
     
  11. RidingWaves

    RidingWaves Member

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    Neopan 400 is very much helped by smoother, lighter agitation to control the highlights. Its far from the ole' "Plus-X in D-76, shake Hard" style of processing.
     
  12. RidingWaves

    RidingWaves Member

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    (I happen to like the "Plus-X in D76, shake hard" by the way,its just Neo 400 handles differently)
     
  13. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    Any film will need tweaking to make it work for you. I suggest you stick with the film. Neopan 400 is my favorite film by far. I develop it in Xtol 1:1 and get beautiful tonality. But that's what I like and that is what works for me. If you find your shadows are too dark, back your EI off to EI250 or so. If you're worried about your highlights being to hot, then decrease your development time by 10-15%. I used to do all the boring testing and get serous about it. But in the end I found out that the only way I learned is to shoot lots of film, take lots of notes, and experiment. You'll find your magic bullet. Good luck!
     
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  15. mcgrattan

    mcgrattan Member

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    I second all the recommendations to control agitation. I love Neopan 400, and have used ATM49 with it in the past. I settled on mostly using Adox ADX [their two part liquid developer] with it, but have also had good results with Ilford DD-X and I'm experimenting with HC-110 with it now.

    As with others, I think Neopan 400 [and Acros] are probably by favourite films.
     
  16. ooze

    ooze Member

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    I shall risk asking the obvious: have you tried printing on lower contrast paper?

    It may well be the case that you have, but didn't like midtone separation.
     
  17. Harry Lime

    Harry Lime Member

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    I primarily shoot Kodak Tri-X and recently made the switch from Ilford DD-X to Thornton's 2-Bath developer for all the reasons you describe.

    The 2-bath is giving me the best negatives I've made, with great shadow and highlight detail. Because of the nature of a 2-bath developer it is very difficult or impossible to blow the highlights. First you place the film in bath A to absorb the developer, and then into bath B that triggers the actual development. The developer is first exhausted in the highlights and then the shadows. The results are really remarkable and the process is nearly fool proof. You don't agitate bath B and the process works reliably over a wide range of temperatures. I'm rating Tri-X at 400asa.

    I may move to Divided D76 to gain an extra 1/2-1 stop speed, but frankly the Thornton formula is delivering excellent results already.

    I still use DD-X for push processing and Delta3200, but am looking for a high speed 2-bath developer.

    The Barry Thornton 2-Bath

    Bath A
    Metol 6.25g
    Sodium Sulphite 85g
    1 liter water

    Bath B
    Sodium Metaborate 12g
    1 liter water

    Try about 4 minutes in each bath.
    Invert bath A gently once every minute.

    Give bath B a gentle tap to dislodge air bubbles.
    Less agitation is more, with bath B
     
  18. lawrenceimpey

    lawrenceimpey Member

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    I love ATM49 with HP5/Tri-X but not so much with Neopan as I found the grain structure a bit weird (mushy). Totally agree with the comments about agitation -- blown highlights are a potential problem with Neopan so going gently on the agitation is essential.
     
  19. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    I tried neopan 400 once, several years ago, and my guestimation for development blew the highlights out so far that the nightmare of printing it has kept me from ever trying it again. Though with so many fans of it here, and since I have become a fan of Acros, I might give it another go but I am curious as there is no mention of the grain relative to other 400 speed films. How grainy is the Neopan compared to Tri-x, or HP5 or Tmax 400? Developed in Rodinal will it become total grit? I am concerned with the 120 and 4x5.
    Dennis
     
  20. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    I think Neuopan 400 is very similiar to old TriX or HP5, new TriX or Tmax 400 has finer gain, TMax 400 has a differnt curve, tones are differnt from Neuopan TriX or HP5. Last year I started to shoot Neopan 400 in 6X9 and 6X6 developed in Edwal 12 or Clayon F 76, I am not sure if Rodinal would be my first choice, may be Edwal FG7 or HC110.
     
  21. spark

    spark Member

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    I've had good results with Neopan 400/Xtol 1:1- exposed at box speed normally but going down to 250 if there is shadow detail I want. Agitation once every 2 minutes, not every minute. Film base also seems clearer than Kodak or Ilford which will affect printing or scanning.
     
  22. Nokton48

    Nokton48 Subscriber

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    120 Neopan in ADOX Borax MQ

    Shot with a Leitz-Tiltall mounted Hasselblad 500CM with black 50mm T* Distagon:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 30, 2009
  23. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    I process Neopan 400 with Fuji's film developer called Super Prodol. It's a normal developer and works good for me.

    Compared to TriX, Neopan can hold hightlights better. And TriX is better for producing shadow details.
     
  24. Nokton48

    Nokton48 Subscriber

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    Firecracker,
    I just bought some Super Prodol Developer in Japan. What developing time and temperature do you use with Presto 400? Thanks!
     
  25. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    In 35mm format, NP400 has beautiful highlight detail compared to HP5+.

    NP400 is very near the complete film, it has great shadow detail and the highlight detail is superb. If exposed and developed carefully, it is a wonderful film.

    I have close to 300 rolls of NP400 in my refrigerator!

    I develop it in D76 1+1 rotary.

    With my system for general use, I rate it at 320 ASA, under tungsten it requires more exposure and either 250 ASA or maybe 200 ASA is about right.

    FP4+ is a wonderful film which I also use a lot of, NP400 is a lot like FP4+

    Mick.
     
  26. Mark Antony

    Mark Antony Member

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    Neopan is my standard film in 120, so I'm pretty interested in peoples thoughts. I'm quite amazed at the different opinions, and I guess there are many different combinations of developer/agitation exposure that no two people will get the same result.
    My own thoughts echo the ones of Mick Fagen, Neopan being almost the complete film. For me shadow detail better than most other films it seems to hold highlights that other films fail to.
    I have had good results with it in Rodinal Microphen ID11 and Studional.
    Grain in Rodinal is surprisingly fine, I think this film is a non T grain but its grain even in 35 mm is much finer than HP5 or Tri-x
    Speed for me is 320-400 depending on developer.
    I have 40 or so rolls and its one film I'd hate to be without.
    [​IMG]
    Thea and cake: Rollei 35 Neopan 400 in Rodinal