Request film recommendation

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by vlazdir, May 8, 2014.

  1. vlazdir

    vlazdir Member

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    Hi!

    I am traveling to southern Italy in the beginning of next month where I will be hiking at about 1500-2000 meters altitude. I expect sunshine, but who knows really(?). So my question is what film to bring. I will use a Fuji GA645i medium format compact. Largest aperture is 4 and fastest shutter speed is merely 1/400s. I will shoot nature, people, mostly outdoors, mainly B/W.

    I am mostly concerned about the rather slow shutter speeds the camera is capable of and thus I might have to use a slow film. But bringing too much slow film is risky, as it may be under exposed too easily. Faster film like e.g 400 requires faster speeds which I don't have. An ND filter might be able to help me out, but this is all about experience and I lack that. I have loads of PAN F, some FP4 and a few HP5+ in the fridge.

    Does anyone have any good advice?

    BR
    Erik
     
  2. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Carry primarily 400 speed and use a yellow filter to reduce haze, plus it cuts shutter speed.
     
  3. Jaf-Photo

    Jaf-Photo Member

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    FP4, Ektar and Provia?
     
  4. skysh4rk

    skysh4rk Member

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    Just so that you're aware, if you stop down to f/11 or smaller, the GA645 is capable of 1/700.

    When I'm seriously unsure about light and other conditions and I want to shoot B&W, I usually opt for either Fuji Neopan 400CN or Ilford XP2. You can expose them at EIs between 100 to 800 on the same roll and still good results. Check out the published specifications for these films; both are C41 process B&W films made by Ilford.

    For colour film in similar situations, I usually opt for Kodak Portra 400.
     
  5. 37th Exposure

    37th Exposure Member

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    I have the same camera. If I could use only one film, I would take the 400. By the way the shutter does go up to 1/700 at f/11 and smaller. Since you only get 15 or 16 shots a roll depending on whether you have a later or earlier model, you could just bring a variety of films since you might have to change rolls often anyway. But the range of speeds and apertures on the Fuji will cover the brightest light you will ever encounter even with ISO 400. Worst case scenario would be 1/400th at f/22, which is sunny 16 minus one stop for snow. Mother Nature does not get brighter than that.
     
  6. pgomena

    pgomena Member

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    I second Ilford XP2 Super. I use it in situations where light is changing quickly and I'm using a camera with limited shutter speeds.
     
  7. Jaf-Photo

    Jaf-Photo Member

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    He doesn't need fast film.

    The light is very strong in the mediterranean this time of year, especially in the mountains, and even if it's over-cast.

    For mountain scenes you really need maximum tones and minimal grain to pick out all the subtle details in a vast scene with great distances.

    ISO 100 will do just fine.

    I have done the mistake of bringing mainly 400 film to a similar location. At least I have the memories, but not the pictures I wanted.
     
  8. Regular Rod

    Regular Rod Member

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    Use HP5 Plus and FP4 Plus. Take yellow and orange filters, a spotmeter and a tripod with you. When you get back use a compensating developer like OBSIDIAN AQUA.

    RR
     
  9. Jaf-Photo

    Jaf-Photo Member

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    An additional suggestion would be to bring film that you are very familiar with. If you use film that you are not familiar with in an environment that you are not familiar with, the results will likely be unfamiliar.

    And do take some colour film too, even if it's not your main medium.

    I recently shot a lot of sea and mountain scenes with mainly Neopan 400 (which is a film I know and love).

    My only thought on that now that is that I shouldn't have.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2014
  10. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    I'm familiar with 400 TMAX, and so I know that it can handle a bit of overexposure gracefully, and it works very comfortably at EI 250. Medium Format means you will not notice grain as much as if you were shooting 35mm. If you were to take a 100 speed film, you could get some amazing fine-grain photographs, but will you use a tripod? Otherwise you might hand-hold, like I do. I get better handheld photographs on EI 250.
     
  11. TheToadMen

    TheToadMen Subscriber

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    Ilford FP4+ and HP5+. Rate it from ISO 50 to ISO 800.
    And bring a pencil to mark the used ISO on each roll when exposed. :whistling:
     
  12. George Papantoniou

    George Papantoniou Member

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    +1

    You won't need a slower film. And you probably won't need faster than 400, either. Take 70% of the total quantity in FP4 and 30% of HP5 (for evening or interior shots). If the contrast gets too high, rate FP4 @ 50 and underdevelop it a bit.
     
  13. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Welcome to APUG Erik,

    A medium speed film (ISO 100-200ish) like FP4+ will work great as long as you are comfortable with larger apertures (shorter DOF) when it gets darker. 1/125 at f4 is a decent setting for say open shade, 1/60 at f4 will probably work fine for you in full shade.

    If you want smaller apertures (longer DOF) or faster shutter speeds a high speed film (ISO 400 up) may be a better choice. I wouldn't worry to much about overexposing films like HP5+ (or Tmax 400, Delta 400...).

    These films are pretty flexible. Personally I'll expose these 400 speed films happily at EI ratings down to 50 to sneak in at 800 for some shots. For FP4+ I happily shoot down to 25 and up to 200 if needed.

    Pan F would be a great choice if you like short DOF mid day.
     
  14. vlazdir

    vlazdir Member

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    Hi guys!

    This is appearantly a very active forum with very knowledgeble users!

    I will bring a variety of speeds and remember that it is possible to push and pull process film. Important note to self there :smile: I haven't done that much yet as I am currently getting the grip on DIY processing, darkroom and B/W film. Need to keep as few variables as possible in the beginning, but it's time for widening the usage of film and increasing my experience!

    Thank you for all the constructive responses!

    -erik
     
  15. Jaf-Photo

    Jaf-Photo Member

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    One thing to remember is that if you push a slow film or pull a fast film, you will change the grain and tonal reproduction. For some shots that will be the effect that you are after.

    But if you are just pushing or pulling to achieve the right shutter speed or aperture, you are usually better off using a film with the correct speed to start with.

    If I am shooting daylight scenery in spring/summer I would not use 400 film or set my DSLR to 400. I'd use ~100 in both cases.

    On a recent trip to Madeira, I kept hitting the max shutter speed of 1/1000 despite stopping down and pulling the 400 film to 200. I'm unhappy with most of those images. The only thing I can think of is how it would have looked with FP4 (I was unable to stock up).

    Some analogue cameras tend to be less accurate the higher the shutter speed. This is a good reason to keep shutter speeds in the lower half. As you'll be more certain of your exposure.
     
  16. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    I almost never push or pull regardless of the EI I shoot at, just a single normal process for each film.
     
  17. MattKrull

    MattKrull Subscriber

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    Lots of different opinions here. Let me add mine :wink:

    Kodak Tmax400 - has more latitude than traditional grain films, one full stop up and down. So you can shoot it as a 200, 400, or 800 and process it the same. That's nice because then you don't have to write down which roll is what and worry about pushing or pulling your dev times. That will let you shoot EV 17 (really bright day on snow, shot at F16 1/400) down to EV 7 (brightly lit night time street shot, F4 1/60 hand held). That's a lot of flexibility without having to worry about which roll you've got loaded and what else you've shot on that roll.
     
  18. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    I live at a somewhat higher altitude than where you are going (2200 m) in a pretty pollution free area. The sky is not usually a problem, although it can be very blue. A yellow filter is not a bad idea most of the time, but it may sometimes look artificial with some of today's films. You can always look at the scene through the filter and judge it if in doubt. I usually pack a small bag of filters (8, 11, 15, 25, polarizer) and choose whatever I need for the occasion. If I were getting new film, XP2 would probably be my first choice. It is fine grained, forgiving, and produces spectacular images. If you are just bringing stuff from your stock, FP4+ would probably be first choice, especially if you are using a tripod most of the time. If you will be shooting in marginal light or be using the camera handheld a lot, HP5+ would be preferable. It still has very fine grain and has excellent tonality.
     
  19. vlazdir

    vlazdir Member

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    Ii see that a few recommend using XP2. But that is a C-41 emulsion, right? Would you develop that in standard B/W chemistry?
     
  20. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    Hi

    No XP2 needs C41 processing unless you want to eliminate its good points.

    mini lab or c41 kit at home or mix with scales though the developer is getting difficult to source.

    XP2 allows you to shoot at 100 ISO during day and at 800 ISO in evening and use same mini lab without altering process- it will wet print ok at 800 ISO but you may not like the shadows at 8x10.

    It's dye image is different from silver.

    Some people use 1600!

    Id never try to push or underexpose normal film it makes printing very difficult and horrible prints.