Neopan Acros vs. Pan F+: tonality and developers for landscapes

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by atomicthumbs, Sep 13, 2011.

  1. atomicthumbs

    atomicthumbs Member

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    Recently, I found out about Neopan Acros. I've seen various people calling it a wonder film, and started using it as my slow-speed landscape film instead of Pan F+.

    I've been having trouble getting results out of it like I have previously with Pan F. I've been developing it in Rodinal 1+50 and 1+100, stand and normal, and something still seems off about the tonality. This photo of mine (on Pan F, developed normally with Xtol) is exactly the kind of result I'm looking for, but I'm having trouble achieving similar results with Acros. I'm not sure, but could it be the result of developing it in high-dilution Rodinal? Could that increase the grain enough to change the character of the photo, even though Acros is still amazingly fine-grained?

    I have Rodinal and D76 ready to use, and Perceptol, Diafine, and Xtol ready to mix. Which of these two films do you guys prefer for landscapes, and why? What developers do you use with them, and how do you develop it?
     
  2. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    The photo you posted looks quite high in contrast. Pan F+ is inherently a higher contrast film than Acros (although Acros has very high highlight contrast). Rodinal is not a solvent fine grain developer such as XTOL so they are not really comparable. Diluting Rodinal doesn't make it grainier.

    I'm not sure why you'd use Rodinal 1+100, particularly with stand development, to try to get the same contrast and gradation as XTOL developed normally - especially since Pan F is a more contrasty film than Acros to begin with.

    Of the developers you listed, if you are looking for fine grain and snappy contrast, I would start with XTOL. It is noticeably finer grained that Rodinal and Diafine, and both slightly sharper and slightly finer grained than D76. Don't use Perceptol to try to get a Pan F look. You have to dilute it to 1+3 for good sharpness, and at that dilution you'd have to develop very fully to get snappy contrast - which quickly results in increased grain so there's no benefit on the grain side. Perceptol is really best for soft negatives. I use it a lot in my work.
     
  3. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    The question isn't which film someone else prefers - it is what do you prefer? If PanF in Xtol gives "exactly the kind of result I'm looking for" it would seem you already have your answer.
     
  4. erikg

    erikg Member

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    I like both films, but i don't think it's a developer issue, rather I bet it is more about color response. These two films are different in that respect, and that can have a big impact on tonal relationships. Only you can decide what you like best.
     
  5. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I shoot alot of both, developed in D-76, Rodinal, or Pyrocat-HD. I have no preference, just whichever I load and process on a whim. Maybe you need to either shoot Acros at a slower Ei or develope a bit longer to boost contrast, Pan F+ is a bit contrasty to begin with. Maybe all you need to do is bump up the contrast when you print.
     
  6. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    All good, important points made above.
     
  7. atomicthumbs

    atomicthumbs Member

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    Thank you for the advice; I've tried Acros at EI 80 in Rodinal 1+50 with normal development, and it blew out my highlights in the landscape photos. I wasn't sure what part of the film's characteristics were giving me the look I got with Pan F.

    Pan F gives me the look I'm looking for, but I wanted to see if I could make that look look better. :tongue:

    I didn't think about that. All of the stuff I've done so far has been shot without a filter (cost issues, before I discovered Cokin's stuff); I hadn't realized that the films might have different color sensitivity.
     
  8. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Hi,

    IME, grain is not an issue with either of them, but Pan F is a much punchier film in terms of tonality. Acros is flatter, therefore has more latitude (i.e. is easier to print because it is less technically demanding to expose and develop "properly," in general).

    I think you just prefer (or are just used to) the punchier tonality of the Pan F. What you might try (since Acros is very inexpensive when compared to Pan F: roughly $3 for Acros 120 vs. roughly $5 for Pan F 120), is underexposing your Acros a bit, and then overdeveloping it a bit. You can also move to higher filters when printing. No shame in that if you generally like a punchier print than the "norm." Next time, try your Acros at 160 or 200 and add 20 to 30 percent to the time.

    Also, try X-Tol instead, since that was your developer for the Pan F.

    Acros is also worth learning to love because at this time it is available through Freestyle relabeled as Legacy Pro 100 for very cheap. That is 35mm only, though.

    Spectral sensitivity is a real issue, but not an extreme one in most cases. I doubt that color response alone is causing the differences you are seeing.
     
  9. Smudger

    Smudger Member

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    Atomic - Acros and XTOL go together like a horse and carriage. Hardly equivalent to Acros and Rodinal..a 'speed-losing" developer.
    Much has been made of the 'orthopanchromatic" nature of Acros ,it may explain your difficulty.
    If you want to mix your Xtol- read the threads here on replenished Xtol (far better than I thought it would be).
    Or, use your ID-11 at 1:1 or 1:2 dilution.
    You may well be a happier camper.
     
  10. hpulley

    hpulley Member

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    If you like PanF+ I say use it. You'll have a hard time making another film look like it. Some say it is too contrasty but I like it, especially souped in DD-X 1+4.
     
  11. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    Whats with the dotty sky in your test shot?
     
  12. hpulley

    hpulley Member

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    Scanning artefacts or actually on the negative? I assumed scanning artefacts.
     
  13. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    If you want the same kind of contrast, even by just switching to Pan-F+ and Rodinal (let alone adding another film as well!), that you have gotten with Pan-F+ and Xtol, standing development is completely the wrong way to go.

    As you found out, normal agitation works for building contrast, but you found you got too much of it. Well, this is where you need to start thinking about what you're doing. By developing for less time, you will bring those highlights back into printable domain. Only you can tell exactly how much developing time you need, how you need to agitate, etc, because it's your lens (and its contrast), your lighting conditions, your light meter, your exposure, your water quality, etc...

    Basically, work it until it's right for you and your needs.

    Good luck, and have lots of fun tuning your film processing for your needs. It is very rewarding to get it just right, and remember that your technique matters a lot more than your materials.

     
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  15. TareqPhoto

    TareqPhoto Member

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  16. atomicthumbs

    atomicthumbs Member

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    That happens on a lot of my photos; I think it's on the negative. I'm not sure what I'm doing in the development process to cause it, though.
     
  17. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    Not to hijack this thread, but Tareq, how the heck did you get the film to respond so well to filters? I've found Acros difficult in terms of color response (when filtering). Then again, my scanner sucks so it's probably that more than anything.

    Back to the original topic: I'd try shooting the film at a slower speed, like 64, and see if that helps at all. I rarely shoot at 100, but almost entirely at 64 or 50 and get good contrast.
     
  18. TareqPhoto

    TareqPhoto Member

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    What do you mean by filters?
     
  19. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Shooting the film at a slower speed will give you an even flatter look than what the OP already has, which defeats the purpose.
    If anything I would recommend shooting it at EI 100 and just work with standard development, adjusting time and agitation until the contrast is similar to what he got with Pan-F+.

    It's all about matching what the paper is capable of. The printing paper is only capable of a certain contrast range. So, whether a film has very high contrast to begin with is irrelevant, because the final contrast of the negative, post exposure and development, must still fit the paper. So, the point is that you make the negative fit the paper. If you need more contrast - develop longer. If you get too much - develop less. In very basic terms it really is that simple.

    In addition to that, you basically control shadow detail (or film speed) with exposure. If you can tolerate losing some shadow detail, you might even consider shooting the film at 200. Or if you want buckets of it, shoot it at 50 or 25. Then, of course, you have to adjust your developing time.
    Incidentally, I shoot Acros at 50 some days, and 400 other days. It's all about getting what you want by adjusting what you do.
     
  20. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    That first picture you posted looks like you had a red filter or perhaps a polarizer on to darken the sky. Is that incorrect? I was just curious because I've noticed less response with Acros than with other films when using red and yellow filters.

    Edit: Thomas you are right. I always forget that my shooting, development regiment is quite different. I went the wrong way with the ISO in me head.
     
  21. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    The talk of re-rating across the board really should come after you start metering properly with an incident meter or gray card religiously...for every frame. And you need to learn to judge light well to see if you are getting what you know you should be getting on the negs. In-camera light meters are no good tool by which to judge the quality of your exposures. There is constant deviation from the "normal" exposure based on the arrangements and intensities of lights and darks within the composition. Heck, they don't even expose an 18 percent gray card right without a +1/2 stop adjustment by the shooter. You can easily start blaming 50 different factors (film, developer, paper, EI, temperature, pH, the moon, etc.), but until you are sure you are metering perfectly every time, and paying attention to light every time, you cannot be too sure of what the problem is. Getting light and metering down pat are steps one and two in any troubleshooting exercise, IMO. IME, nothing in photography (on a technical level) will cause more shot-to-shot variation, and ensuing frustration, than will reading your in-camera light meter directly.
     
  22. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    2F/2F makes a very good point.

    Light is important, and knowing what to do with it is everything. I stopped using the in-camera meter years ago, for the same reasons mentioned.
     
  23. TareqPhoto

    TareqPhoto Member

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    Yes, all those shots are done with polarizer filter, that day i went out to shoot 5 films, 4 colors and 1 B&W which is this Acros, all done with CPL filter.
     
  24. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    Understanding the variables and the materials of the process is key. The in-camera meter (60/40 in my case) works really good, given that I still have to compromise with developing a whole roll of film at a set time. But I know how where to point the meter, apply the reading given and I know my film.

    But really, only a sheet of Kodak film, exposed with a Pentax spotmeter and lovingly developed by darkroom elves in spring water and pixie dust is good enough. :wink:
     
  25. Monday317

    Monday317 Member

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    You folks both make great points.

    I stopped metering years ago: the Zone System gives us a great way to consider exposure/development/printing planning, but most affordable cameras aren't going to give us 1/3-stop precision. Therefore, I have spent many hours calibrating my eye, camera, film, paper & chemistries to the f/16 Rule and once you get there, it works great! When you see the finished print as you set up to make the exposure, it all become pretty intuitive.
     
  26. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Pan F+ builds contrast quickly which can be a problem. I rate it at an EI of 32 to 40 and develop it in D-23 1+1.