Tech pan films - please school me !

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by fatso, Dec 6, 2012.

  1. fatso

    fatso Member

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    Hi all,

    In my quest for making 40" prints from drum scanned rollfilm, I want to try some of the ultra high resolution technical films. How do the latest films compare to Kodak Tech Pan/Technidol ?

    What are the differences between Agfa Copex Rapid, Adox CMS 20, Rollei ATP1.1 ? Is one particularly suited to pictorial photography ? And which developers work best with each film (for pictorial use). Are there any other tech films I left out ?

    Paul
     
  2. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    Adox CMS 20, available in 120 format as well, with adotech developer. Nothing has higher resolution.

    I have tested Technical pan in technidol with CMS in adotech in small format: I like results from TP more (don't know why, just more pleasing final result), but adox CMS 20 has smaller grain. Making print 30x40cm and using grain focuser - you can't see the grain! It is ridiculous how high resolution and small grain it has. And this is for 35mm, you can imagine how it is for 120 format.
     
  3. georg16nik

    georg16nik Member

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    Yes, CMS 20 is amazingly fine grained.
    I have used it and Copex-rapid in medium format as well since it came out last year in 120. Only wet printing it thou, enlarged or 6x9 contact copies.
    Copex-Rapid is ISO 50, so its much faster than CMS 20 and more panchromatic kinda film.
    Sometimes I scan the 135 CMS 20... but no drum scanner can come even close to resolve its full detail. Even top of the line drum scanners falls apart around reaching Kodak T-max 400 resolution, CMS 20 is out of the question :D
    T-max 100 might suit You better for scanning.
     
  4. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Kodak Tech Pan differed from such films as Kodak ImagelLink, Agfa Copex. and other microfilms. If you look at Kodak's site for this film you must note that one of its intended purposes was for continuous tone picturial photography. This is not true of microfilms which are designed to provide high contrast images to clearly represent text. This makes it difficult to tame the contrast of these films for pictorial work.

    It is somewhat paradoxical that grainless prints actually appear less sharp to the human eye than prints that contain some grain. This optical illusion is the idea behind such acutance developers as the Beutler formula and Neofin Blue which make use of edge effects.
     
  5. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    Most 40 inch prints are viewed at sufficient distance that the tiny details are somewhat obscured, but I get the impression that you want these prints to stand close inspection. At 20X enlargement, the imperfections of film and lens resolution as well as diffraction begin to become apparent. If possible, going to a larger negative (4X5 or even 8X10) would give a substantial increase in quality even when using a more or less ordinary film like TMX. For example, if you are shooting at f/8, diffraction limits you to about 200 l/mm; a document film like CMS 20 will give you about 250 l/mm; and a good lens for a medium format camera will probably be about 120 l/mm (maybe a bit more). Combined, this yields a resolution of about 95 l/mm, which gives a print resolution of 120 l/in - a quite noticeable degradation at an arms length viewing distance. A decent 4X5 negative and lens with TMX will yield about 80 l/mm on the negative which equates to 203 l/in on the print - still a noticeable degradation, but a lot better. The results for an 8X10 would show no degradation.

    Your current plan using MF and CMS 20 film will still probably work well. From the example you showed earlier, I don't think the defects in the enlarged image would be very obvious. Grain would be obvious, so your choice of film is important. But if the equipment is available, a larger negative would give better results.
     
  6. georg16nik

    georg16nik Member

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    250 lp/mm ( line pairs/mm ) has been reached in format 120 and 135 at ƒ/5,6 white light diffraction limit.
    400 lp/mm ( line pairs/mm ) has been reached in format 135 at ƒ/4 white light diffraction limit, Spur Orthopan UR / Adox CMS 20.

    Resolution lost using decent APO enlarging lens is ~ 5%.
    BW paper is not limiting factor.
     
  7. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    If you have any textureless areas like an open sky you'll have an awful lot of highly magnified visible
    zits and film blemishes requiring some serious retouch time. Don't expect ideal reproduction of the
    extremes of tonality in the shadows or highlights. These kinds of film come with tonality limitations,
    just as TechPan did. This size print is really territory better suited to large format, but good luck
    pushing the envelope!
     
  8. fatso

    fatso Member

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    I was afraid someone would mention 4 x 5 :wink: I recently saw an exhibit with prints this size made with a Hasselblad and the detail was very decent even up close. I don't mind a little loss of detail and even some grain, I just want to get the best image possible with the equipement I have (Hasselblad V). I've sent some of my negs out for scanning and should have them back tomorrow. They were done with Rollei Pan 25 and developped in Rodinol, shot on a tripod with cable release, I can barely begin to see the grain with a 15X loop, and the detail is fantastic. They're being scanned on a Heidelberg D7100 at roughly 5400 ppi, and the operator is supposed to be quite experienced. I'll be doing a lot of postprod over the weekend and having them printed next week.

    In the meantime I would like to try a high resolution film to compare, but the issue of tonality worries me. How much 'worst' is it compared to 'standard' films like the Rolleipan ? Aren't the Spur and Adotech developpers supposed to make these films suitable for pictorial photography ? And wasn't Tech Pan also considered a document copying film with similar characteristics as CMS (and requiring special developers like Technidol) ?

    Paul
     
  9. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    "Suitable for pictorial photography" is not an absolute. It is in the eye of the beholder. Depending on the luminance scale of the scene and the desired tonality, suitable? - perhaps. Acceptable? Perhaps. Optimal? Unlikely.

    Tech Pan was a little easier to tame than some of the current utra-high resolution films that can apparently outresolve Tech Pan with finer grain (CMS 20 for example). The tradeoff is a relatively short tonal scale (and very low speed). No matter how much you are able to reduce contrast, the exposure scale will be quite limited in comparison to general purpose films. No matter how fine the grain is, or how high the possible resolution is (and that includes Tech Pan), prints will not look like they were made from large format negatives.

    Technidol was a POTA variant and worked ok. There are several other developer/development options and with any of these films testing will be required because you can get pretty different curves and speeds with the variety of developers.

    In my opinion you answered your own question when you said you don't mind a little grain. If you are looking for the "best image possible", I would say overall print tonality and quality will be far more satisfying with a regular film. All photographic materials involve compromises. For general photography, a regular film will have more grain than a "document" film, but virtually every other characteristic will blow the document film away (and of course you can use bigger film to reduce grain, increase detail, sharpness). Which tradeoff appeals more to you?
     
  10. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    hi paul

    i hate to suggest this
    but have you thought about modern
    tab grain film and developers that are designed for low grain and hi sharpness ?

    while i have used tech pan ( years ago ) i used it for extreme contrast
    and made 16x20 enlargements from a tiny portion of a 35mm negative with no grain
    it was fun, but using a LF camera and a modern tab grain emulsion with the right developer
    can yield nearly grainless results, even enlarged to the extreme you wish for.

    it only photographers that stick their nose up to a print and say " i can see grain "
    its kind of a disease, and i really don't understand it.

    good luck !
    john
     
  11. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Kodak Imagelink
     
  12. Guillaume Zuili

    Guillaume Zuili Subscriber

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    You made my day !

    :smile:
     
  13. grommi

    grommi Member

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    Besides the technical aspects of resolution and grain there is another imho much more important factor that hasn't been discussed so far: the tonal characteristics. TechPan has a completely different look as f.e. Copex rapid or CMS. They are absolutely uncomparable in this regard. Copex is othopanchromatic and TechPan is slightly superpanchromatic. The look is very different. You may like it or not. How can you ignore this most important point? Do you count grains or do you want to create images?

    And yes, I'm referrig to the "real" Technical Pan made by Kodak and not the recent "advanced" wannabe. And if you count linepairs lp/mm, please count them at low contrast (1:1.6 not 1:1000!) and see how some high resolving films outperform any "regular" film hands down! That's what really matters. No big name lenses needed to show that.

    Best - Reinhold

    PS: a picture tells more than 1000 words. Left Minolta XA, TechPan EI50 in Technidol -> sharpness at f/22. Right Minolta Maxxum 5, Sigma 28-80, TechPan EI50 in Caffenol-C-L -> tonality at high subject contrast.
    s-38-xa-min.jpg s-06.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 9, 2012
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  15. Trask

    Trask Subscriber

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    Grommi -- great image of the roots -- really nice tonality. Could you have meant "Olympus XA?" I'm not familiar with the Minolta XA.

    This discusison of Tech Pan is of great interest to me, as I have a 150 foot roll in the freezer and have to break it out someday.
     
  16. georg16nik

    georg16nik Member

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    Check Your facts about Copex-Rapid.
    Copex-Rapid is panchromatic, designed for flow cameras and for excellent registration of colour documents.
    Try it with color filters and You will see what I am talking about.

    CMS 20 is orthopan.

    If superpanchromatic is important, then Agfa-Gevaert and Ilford are still manufacturing some.
     
  17. grommi

    grommi Member

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    @ Trask: of course Olympus XA, use your TechPan stock, in my opinion it's one of the most interesting films ever made.
    @ georg16nik: yes, Copex is panchromatic. Sorry for that. I thought I once had seen a graph were the sensitivity above 600 nm goes down very fast.
    Maybe 4 o'clock a.m. is not the best time for recalling facts.
     
  18. fatso

    fatso Member

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    Love the tonality and texture in that tree.


    I want to make images; but I want to have control over my process first so that I don't have to think about all the time. I'm an artist and while I like trying different films, I just want to find a great combination so that I can just shoot ! And getting there is no easy feat because I can be a perfectionist :sad:

    Right now I have too much information and too many contradicting opinions, and I'm confused even more - the great internet can be a real pain in the ass :smile:

    I used to shoot Techpan with Technidol and I would like to find something similar. As I stated originally, I want to make 40 inch prints with my exising medium format gear (Hasseblad V). The film will be drum scanned and printed using Piezography or some similar process, and I want to find the 'best' combination (I know it's very subjective) of resolution and tonality.

    So with that in mind, I was hoping to get people's real world opinion on these 'new' high resolution films.

    From the research I've done:

    - Rollei ATP 1.1 is superpanchromatic (and similar to Tech Pan)
    Spectral sensitivity from 370 up to 700nm. According to Erwin Puts: Rollei ATP developed in Spur is very close to the original Tech Pan
    http://www.imx.nl/photo/Film/Film/page7.html

    - Agfa Copex Rapid is panchromatic.
    According to Jan (HHPhoto) on the rangefinderforums : "Best deal for Copex Rapid is Spur Modular UR developer. Compared to Rodinal you will get much higher speed (ISO 50), much finer grain, much more resolution and much better highlight detail. No blown out highlights as with Rodinal." He also states the film has a wider dynamic range than Agfa APX 100.

    - CMS 20 is orthopanchromatic, more sensitive to blue light. I don't have much experience with ortho films, will these blow out blue sky at high altitude ?


    Paul
     
  19. grommi

    grommi Member

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    Yes Paul, if you ask 10 people about one film and one developer, you get at least 11 opinions. You can collect data, but then you must make your own experiances and decide. Because you liked the old TechPan, I would first try the "new" ATP. It's most probably Aviphot Pan 25 or something very similar from Agfa-Gevaert/Belgium and their production quality is excellent. 300 lp/mm at 1:1.6 contrast is really hard to beat. If I wouldn't have a nice stock of old TechPan that I like so much I surely would try this one.

    Best - Reinhold

    Edit:

    " CMS 20 is orthopanchromatic, more sensitive to blue light. I don't have much experience with ortho films, will these blow out blue sky at high altitude ?"

    Yes, it will, even at regular altitude. If you want great sky rendering and seperation of clouds then a superpan film would be my very first choice - maybe even with a red or orange filter. If you want athmospheric "character" with more haze in the distant, then a ortho or orthopan film would be the choice. So far my first-grader knowledge.....

    Edit2:
    "but I want to have control over my process first so that I don't have to think about all the time." -> use film and gear that you know inside out.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 10, 2012
  20. georg16nik

    georg16nik Member

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    Perhaps it was the CMS 20 graph You saw, senstivity drops after 600nm.

    Yes, Rollei ATP is the closest You can get to Kodak Techpan, today.

    Yes, HHPhoto is right, several other folks on APUG including myself can confirm the above.

    Use yellow filter with CMS 20 and Your skies should be fine.
    Some shots with CMS20 and yellow filter and the last with orange flter.
    Developed in Rodinal.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  21. AgX

    AgX Member

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    What you call "wannabe" is also far into the red. And do not forget that Kodak TP is based on technology from decennias ago.
    That wannabe is a recent design.
     
  22. georg16nik

    georg16nik Member

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    I agree.
    Its Internet legend that Kodak discovered new horizons with TechPan.
    Kodak was reading AGFA's reparation docs after WWII, not the other way around.
    Sensitizing with precious elements was quite an interesting read :wink:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 11, 2012
  23. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    Then the only solution is to test for yourself. When I present data (characteristic curves) for films like CMS20, people argue I'm wrong, but despite repeated requests nobody has presented any curves to support what they think they see out of these films. Instead they post image scans that contradict their own claims. More examples just above - high contrast, harsh gradation, blank shadows etc. If that is the look you are after I have no argument against it. After all photography is about personal aesthetics.

    If you are at all concerned with tonality and flexibility under a variety of contrast conditions please do your own testing and be very skeptical of what you read. If you like what you're seeing, by all means use these films. Just be aware they are special purpose films and as such will never give you anywhere near the overall utility, flexibility and quality of general purpose films. There are always tradeoffs.
     
  24. grommi

    grommi Member

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    I have no doubt that the Agfa-Gevaert Aviphot film named here AdvancedTechnical Pan ATP1.1 is a very nice film. I simply don't like the distributors attitude ;-)

    @ Michael R: that's a general problem and always has been.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 11, 2012
  25. AgX

    AgX Member

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    -) Rollei ATP is NOT an Aviphot film

    -) I share your attitudes on Maco's attitudes...
     
  26. grommi

    grommi Member

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    Package says made by Agfa Belgium with the red rhombus. So what film is it? I'm tired of guessing......