Night Clarity

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Pragmatist, Apr 4, 2009.

  1. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Member

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    Been a while since I have posted--or really gotten engaged in film for that matter.

    I standardized on a couple of films and developer combinations. This has worked well for normal daylight and flash situations. All Ilford.

    Now I am thinking through a night street series that will use ambient lighting. FP4 is my regular 120 film--but I would like to speed things up a little bit and still maintain the same qualities of that film. Would HP5 be a good choice for depth and acutance at 400? These will be MF tripod shot street scenes in a metropolitan area--and possibly go larger than 11x14--without an awful lot of grain and sharp contrast.

    Any comments?
     
  2. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    I'd go for neopan 400.

    Hp5+ would be my next choice after that, based on what you described.
     
  3. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Member

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    I had not thought of Fuji, Keith. My recollection of that film from a couple years ago approximated a fast Plus-X--a lot of latitude, but not a lot of sharp density.

    If I were to do this in a stand process development, even such as Rodinal clone, what do you think that the outcome would be. Obviously, I am looking for a very 50s Super XX sort of look...
     
  4. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Oh dear, I can't comment on neopan 400 in stand dev. I'd not have thought to try it, frankly. I think if you do normal development in perceptol or xtol, you'll be very satisfied with acutance, but the 50s look you refer to, I can't help you there. Maybe hp5+ is the better choice for that overall tonal feel, if you don't mind the grain.

    On the other hand I'd love to know what happens to neo 400 per your procedures! Who knows.
     
  5. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    I don't know. I think you can do better with TMax 400. It has better reciprocity failure characteristics than HP5+, Neopan 400, or Tri-X 400 when used for exposures over 1 second. It is also very fine grained and has a greater dynamic range to boot. It's good stuff and definitely worth a shot.
     
  6. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    I'd say tmax 400 and delta 400 have a totally different tonality when compared to fp4+. Not nearly as much edge bite, overall softer feeling. To my eye, hp5+ is indeed tonally much closer to the feel of fp4+ (albeit much grainier), and then comes neopan 400... but the tmax and delta are way off in some other realm of supersmooth tonality that to me is the antithesis of fp4+.
     
  7. Matthew Gorringe

    Matthew Gorringe Member

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    You will need to try some films to see what you like at night. To help think about your needs can you estimate what apertures you are likely to be shooting at and let us know. How long do you want your longest exposure times to be?

    Fuji Acros 100 and Kodak TMax 400 are the two films that I would try first. I tend to use the TMax 400, developed in divided D-23 (with sodium carbonate 2nd bath) or Pyrocat-HD, for nearly all of my night work. Acros is my new favourite for dusk or daytime long exposures.

    Whatever film and developer you use it's worth thinking about trying reduced agitation techniques or other means of compensating development like dilute developers, these techniques can help you manage contrast. If you also use a tanning developer or one that has a surface action you can minimise halation around light sources as much as possible.
     
  8. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    Neopan 400 (in 35mm) has been my film of choice for available light night photography. I highly recommend it if you can get it in the size you need. I develop it in D-76 1+1.
     
  9. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Member

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    So on to experimentation

    I think that I will give the Neopan 400 a trial--and use a few different developers to see what happens. Five rolls are on the way from B&H, and my thinking is that the RB is going to see quite a bit of back switching soon.

    There are a few subjects I have identified that will definately get the PanF treatment--as I have a standardized routine with long exposures and PMK stand development. It will be interesting to see the difference between HP5 and the Neopan. Surfing around a bit I have seen some good results, but perhaps a little muddy on the highlights. This seems to be avoided with developers like XTol and Rodinal--which ticks me off that B&H won't ship. Guess I will just have to make a clone out of bulk from PF...

    Start off will be with Neopan and ID-11 in several dilutions, moving to the XTol. A comparison can then be done to an identical roll shot of HP5. If it all works out right, this might be a good film instead of Tri-X 320 for daylight street shooting. Thanks for the recommends!
     
  10. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    For a 1950s look, you might try one of the distinctly old-fashioned emulsions, such as Foma or (if you don't mind going slower) Efke. I'd hesitate to use Foma in 35mm for night shots, since the 35mm film has poor anti-halation characteristics; but the Foma in 120 is supposed to be much better in this respect. (I've never shot 120 Foma at night, though, so I can't comment personally.)

    Concerning Rodinal, you could order it (and the film, if you like) from Freestyle; they'll ship Rodinal, although only by ground.
     
  11. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    The fastest film in low light conditions is Fuji Acros. It has no reciprocity departure for 120 seconds.
     
  12. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Adorama will ship, and the prices are about the same as B&H. http://www.adorama.com
     
  13. KWhitmore

    KWhitmore Member

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    I'd agree with this...it's a nice combo.
    I also remember a few years back my teacher for the night photo course I took had us use a second bath part way through development...something to control the highlights she said. What that bath was my brain just won't cough up. Sorry! :confused:
     
  14. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Well, a warm water stop bath could tame the highlights a tad. Maybe a really dilute second dev bath would be beneficial as well. Anyway neopan can handle quite lot of subject brightness range- one of the reasons why it came to mind for night stuff. It's also fast enough that reciprocity probably won't be an issue for most purposes.