Recommended 35mm Film For Rangefinders

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by demonboy, May 16, 2012.

  1. demonboy

    demonboy Member

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    Further to the excellent assistance on my first thread about which cheap Rangefinder to buy, and a wonderful birthday present from Greg (really appreciated), I now need some advice on which film to buy. Since posting I've gone a bit mad on ebay and purchased a few cameras with the idea of trying them all out and then selling them at the end of my visit to the UK. This will be for street stuff, mainly without flash, in the summer months. The cameras I need film for are:

    1. Greg's very kind donation, an Olympus RC, which I will be keeping as my main rangefinder. Thank you, Greg!
    2. Canonet GIII QL17
    3. Konica Auto S2
    4. Petri 7s II
    5. Konica C35
    6. Olympus Stylus Epic (Mji II) - not a rangefinder but P&S.

    Are any of these good for B&W? Any recommendations?
     
  2. segedi

    segedi Member

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    Fuji Acros (100) and neopan(400) are quite nice and might be cheaper than some others as well. You'll likely get tons of advice, but check out Flickr.com and search for film or film and body combinations to see what you like.
     
  3. BradleyK

    BradleyK Subscriber

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    While I currently shoot several different emulsions - color (Ektachrome E100G) and black and white (PanF Plus, FP4Plus, HP5 Plus and Tri-X) - with my Leicas, I generally rely on Tri-X or HP5 Plus for most of my candid street shooting. Both Tri-X/HP5 are sharp, forgiving, have moderate grain and can be "pushed" if need be. The nominal ISO 400 rating allows you the advantage of higher shutter speeds (read: hand-holdable, with a rangefinder) for a good portion of the day (i.e. allows you to shoot sans flash!). I generally rate these two at EI 200 for most of my work, pushing to EI 1600 if I happen to be shooting into early evening.
     
  4. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    All will be fine, except the Stylus Epic will be tricker as you can screw on filters.

    Get a few rolls each of Tri-X and HP5, and Tmax 100. (if you have the dough a few rolls of p3200) Have some fun!
     
  5. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    For rangefinders I like to use iso 400 films, even in daylight. Often with rangefinders I compose and shoot quick and then with f8-f16 I compensate not precise focusing.
     
  6. thegman

    thegman Member

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    Ilford XP2 and Kodak BW400CN are great. Basically you've got a very fine grain ISO 400 film, which can handle being shot at ISO 800 too. Processes as normal C41, so you can just take it down the local lab/drug store etc.

    They are very similar films, smooth gradations, and give very nice results in my opinion.
     
  7. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    Trickier as you can't screw on filters*

    I need to proof read.
    Doh.
     
  8. Peltigera

    Peltigera Member

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    Are you going to buy the film in the UK or bring it with you?

    In Lincoln I can buy Ilford B&W film and Fuji colour film only. I mostly buy my films through the Interweb but if you are on holiday, that might not be practicable.

    Also, what are you going to be using the film for? I am currently using Harman 100 film for my street photography. I find ASA 400 film a little too fast giving me too great a depth of field - British streets can be quite reflective of light in the summer.
     
  9. 250swb

    250swb Member

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    One consideration if you will be scanning the film is that Ilford films dry a lot flatter than many others and make scanning much easier. I would choose HP5 as an ideal film for 'street' photography.

    Steve
     
  10. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    If you plan on taking just one camera I agree with high speed film like Tmax 400, TriX or HP5. If you plan on taking 2 cameras I would take a slow speed film like Tmax 100 or Forma 100 as well has high speed film. In addtion for possible night shooting a few rolls of Tmax or Delta 3200 rated at 1600 or 800.
     
  11. peter_n

    peter_n Member

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    I used a Canonet GIII QL17 for a couple years and liked it a lot. Below are three images from the excellent 40mm fixed lens. Film was Neopan 400 (day) and 1600 (night). Great little camera! :smile:

    17186_26.jpg 17186_10.jpg 17178_15.jpg

     
  12. mcgrattan

    mcgrattan Member

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    I suppose it depends if you are processing it yourself or not. As others have said, the chromogenic black and white films, which can be developed at an ordinary mini-lab in colour chemistry are excellent. XP2 has great exposure latitude, so you can rate it a bit faster or a bit slower and get good usable images, which makes it versatile. XP2 also has the advantage that it can be printed normally using an enlarger. It scans well, too, if you are into that. :smile:

    I used to travel quite a bit with just a compact rangefinder [I use an interchangeable lens rangefinder these days] or with a good quality autofocus compact, and I'd second other people's recommendations of a good quality 400 ASA film like HP5+ [although as it happens I tend to shoot slower films more myself]. I have a preference for Ilford which seems more consistent than some other brands for quality, and it's easy to get here in the UK.
     
  13. demonboy

    demonboy Member

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    Well thank you all for the excellent advice, something I'm quickly learning to appreciate on this forum. In no particular order, my responses:

    - I'm in India at the moment as that's where I live but I will be back in the UK for the summer, where my various rangefinders are waiting for me in unopened boxes! I'm not sure if film is any cheaper here, or what the range of film is like.
    - I see some cheap deals on ebay/internet. I read somewhere of a photographer who purposely spreads his purchases around different vendors in order to keep them in business (and therefore indirectly supporting film as a format), which I like the idea of.
    - @Peter - those images are gorgeous, especially that last one. I assume that was sans flash?
    - Yes, more than likely I'll be scanning them
    - Yes, I'll be getting them printed in Boots or wherever, not processing them myself.

    On the back of those responses, a couple more questions:

    1) Any recommended places online I can purchase film for UK delivery?
    2) How do you contend with different film speeds for different occasions? I mean, if you've put a roll of Neopan 1600 in your camera then that means only night shots until the film has run out. It's been years since I shot film, I forget how quickly you can work your way through a film. Fortunately with a bunch of rangefinders to play with I can experiment. Any tips on this?
     
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  15. freecom2

    freecom2 Member

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    7dayshop, AG Photographic, Discount Films Direct, Firstcall Photographic, Mailshots, Process Supplies, Silverprint

    7dayshop tend to be very competitive due to free delivery, but their prices are less competitive than they once were. Sometimes there are sellers on Amazon UK, and also there is an ebay seller called jaz-uk who sometimes offers competitive prices on film. Lots of variation on pricing and, depending on the emulsion, one place can be cheap for one film and another place cheapest for another emulsion - there isn't a place that is single handedly cheaper than anywhere else, so it pays to do some price research first.
     
  16. peter_n

    peter_n Member

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    Thanks, yes the last one was without flash, at an aperture of f4. Theoretically, you can deal with different speeds by using a film with extreme latitude like the chromographic Ilford XP2. I deal with it by having more than one camera body.

     
  17. demonboy

    demonboy Member

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    Peter, hopefully by July I'll have a number of bodies to play with too.

    @freecom2: I know 7dayshop and have used them many times. Very good resource. I don't know the others though, I'll take a peak. Of course I have no problem Googling and price hunting but I wondered if UK analogue photographers had a preferred independent vendor I could support.
     
  18. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Why does it matter what film you use just because you shoot with a rangefinder?

    Just use what you normally like.
     
  19. Peltigera

    Peltigera Member

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    I generally use AG Photographic. They have a good range, don't charge until they post the order and are very clear on the state of your order (whether items are in stock, likely delivery date and as on).
     
  20. Araakii

    Araakii Member

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    What does choice of film have to do with rangefinders?
     
  21. Craig Swensson

    Craig Swensson Member

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    mmm..almost all of the photos i have taken with a rangefinder have been from 80/100asa. Admittedly i also use a lot of HP5 plus.Don`t really see any connection with rangefinders and any one particular film.A rangefinder is after all just a light proof box that you can attach a lens to.
     
  22. Vanishing Point Ent.

    Vanishing Point Ent. Member

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    If you can use filters, ( I recommend Kodak's #'s 8, 11 & 25A ).

    The Ilford XP2 and Kodak BW400CN films are also less in need of using the B&W contrast filters

    to expand film contrast. The Ilford XP2 seems to be better for landscapes and Kodak's BW 400CN,

    seems to be better for Portraits, due to it's lower apparent grain, than Ilford's XP2.

    If you can use filters, ( I recommend Kodak's #'s 8, 11 & 25A ), then try Ilford's

    Delta 100 & Delta 400 ISO films.

    Rate all the B&W films 1 stop over. This will align the Zone V exposure value of the scene,

    with the exposure latitude of the film. Then if you don't have a built-in meter, compensate

    using the filter exposure values, ( 1 stop, 1.5 stops & 3 stops, respectably ).
     
  23. Lloydy

    Lloydy Member

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    In my Zorki 4K I use Ilford XP2 from 7dayshop, get it processed at Tescos for 99 pence, then scan it. It's cheap photography and I get good results.

    [​IMG]


    This is from scanned XP2, it's not from the Zorki, but the film and processing can give you good results.
     
  24. lensworker

    lensworker Member

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    Kodak Tri-X 400 developed in a 1:1 dilution of D-76 is my go to combo for B&W. It is hard to beat IMO.

    If you need more speed, I have found that Tri-X can be pushed to ISO 1600 with not much downside. You do lose a little contrast but not much. This can be corrected in the darkroom (or in Photoshop, if you print digitally).
     
  25. demonboy

    demonboy Member

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    More excellent responses, thank you.

    Vanishing Point - are you saying this is only applicable if shooting with a filter?
     
  26. xxloverxx

    xxloverxx Member

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    HP5+ is my daily film; Portra 400 for the (truly) rare bit of colour.