Newish to working in the darkroom

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by monkeykoder, Sep 11, 2008.

  1. monkeykoder

    monkeykoder Member

    Messages:
    160
    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2008
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I took a B&W film class last semester and have recently set myself up for work in the darkroom. I have only developed about 12 rolls of film in developer of questionable effectiveness. I have decided for costs sake to go with Arista brand chemicals for my learning curve and I'm trying to decide between the Efke iso50 or the Arista iso100 for my film (I'm looking at films that come in 2 1/4X3 1/4 size sheet). Any opinions as to what will work best? Anybody know any sources for the HP5 in the 2 1/4X3 1/4 size?
     
  2. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

    Messages:
    2,725
    Joined:
    May 18, 2005
    Location:
    Woonsocket,
    Shooter:
    35mm
    If you're learning, I'd recommend going with whichever is cheaper (probably the Arista.EDU Ultra 100). There's no point in paying a premium price for materials that will end up being ruined because you're still learning how to do it. AFAIK, there are no differences between film brands that will make it harder to learn with one than another, with one possible exception: Quality control on some brands, such as Foma (which makes Arista.EDU Ultra) and Efke is less good than on other brands, such as Ilford and Kodak. This may make it difficult to determine if some problems are the result of your own errors or a defect in the emulsion. Being aware of this fact can help mitigate problems. For the most part, Foma/Arista.EDU Ultra and Efke are just fine, but there have been posts here on APUG about bad batches that have various problems, so keep your eye out for such posts, particularly if you have problems. I'm not sure if there's much to distinguish between Foma and Efke on this score.

    I've never used sheet film, just 35mm and medium format. In those sizes, Foma's products seem a little more technologically sophisticated than Efke's (smaller grain size, for instance), but they're more alike in most respects than either is to bigger names. Efke's ISO 25 and 50 products have reduced red sensitivity, which can alter the appearance of some scenes (reds will appear a bit darker on Efke film than on Foma film). I don't think this effect is very dramatic, though.
     
  3. Poohblah

    Poohblah Member

    Messages:
    433
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2008
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    get both. i like to keep on hand several different kinds of film, and i have found myself liking anything Ilford the most. you may find out something different, or you may find that the cheapest film you can get is perfectly sufficient.
     
  4. Gary Holliday

    Gary Holliday Member

    Messages:
    826
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Location:
    Belfast, UK
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    2 1/4X3 1/4 size? What camera are you using? Standard 120 film should be fine.

    As for your choices of film, As mentioned before Efke/ Foma films don't have the same quality controls as your Ilfords/ Fujis and Kodaks. At college, beginners were given Ilford FP4 and HP5; these are very high quality and tolerate poor exposure fairly well. Fuji Neopan is another great film.

    Film doesn't cost that much, most of my budget is spent on paper and most of that is wasted during the process! Cheap film will just lead to frustration and questioning your processing methods....so nothing to gain.
     
  5. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

    Messages:
    3,984
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2004
    Location:
    London
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If you want suggestions on where to find HP5+ (which I would very much prefer over the others you mention) we need to know where you are. In the UK, Retrophotographic sell it.

    Have fun, Bob.
     
  6. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

    Messages:
    2,725
    Joined:
    May 18, 2005
    Location:
    Woonsocket,
    Shooter:
    35mm
    For a beginner, I disagree with this. The conventional wisdom is that it's easier to learn on a single film in a single developer (or maybe two films of different speeds if one shoots in different types of light -- say, ISO 100 for outdoors in bright light and ISO 400 for dimmer light). Switching between films as one is learning makes it harder to learn, since it introduces an extra variable.
     
  7. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    2,606
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Brooklyn, N.Y.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    This is so true. Each brand of film and each speed of film within the same brand have their own idiosyncrasies that a dedication to the use of just one or two films will educate you and give you insights that you can apply when you find a need to change films. This is true of developer and paper also.

    Oh, and welcome to APUG
     
  8. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,058
    Joined:
    May 9, 2005
    Location:
    Daventry, No
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Certainly HP5+ is a great and forgiving film with top class QC behind it. It can be used at anything from EI200 in Perceptol to EI3200 in other developers such as DDX. It's no coincidence that most colleges, in the U.K. at least, recommend beginners to try HP5+ and use ID11. Both of these represent "do anything reasonably well" film and developer.

    In 120 you'd have to go to big print enlargements before seeing any grain and in Perceptol developed negs, very big enlargements indeed.

    pentaxuser
     
  9. Rich Ullsmith

    Rich Ullsmith Subscriber

    Messages:
    999
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Hi, Monkey. Tangental to the solid words above, and perhaps this has more to do with philosophy than practicality, but if you just started doing the film/developer/darkroom thing, I think it's great to stick your fingers in as many different things as possible. You will have many failures and much inconsistency, but it's fun, and I think that's the most important part of starting in a craft.
     
  10. monkeykoder

    monkeykoder Member

    Messages:
    160
    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2008
    Shooter:
    35mm
    This isn't exactly my FIRST time doing darkroom I did take an intro class and I never had a roll of film screwed up due to poor developing (not even my first) I turned out consistent results from the beginning then again there was absolutely NO experimentation it was HP5 in hc110 and I'm not sure of the dilution so this will be the first time I'm in control of what I'm using.

    P.S. Thanks for the advice.
     
  11. Poohblah

    Poohblah Member

    Messages:
    433
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2008
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    perhaps i say this because i learned in a slightly odd fashion, where the process of developing and printing was very controlled and so the only thing i could change was the film.