Which of these films/developers for a copy project would you use?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by craigclu, Aug 7, 2011.

  1. craigclu

    craigclu Subscriber

    Sep 8, 2002
    NW Wisconsin
    Multi Format
    I offered (at a cocktail party, imagine the scenario, well into the evening) to copy a college friend's old favorite prints from some theater projects that we were in back in the early 70's. They're about 10X12, some framed/mounted, don't show any fading or yellowing and look quite neutral so I don't feel I'll need corrective filtering for that aspect. I've not done any copy work for many (many!) years, will be using medium format and have the following on hand for materials:

    120 Film: Acros, PanF+, FP4+, HP5+, Neopan 400, Delta 3200, TMAX 100 and 400, XP2.

    Developers: All variants of PyroCat, Xtol, FG7, D-76, Microdol-X, Rodinal and chemicals to make pretty much anything, too.

    I just want to avoid going through the effort of taking the shots and then have overly-contrasty negatives that make printing more of a project than it would need to be. The pictures are quite sharp, well printed and I recall them being taken with a Rollei 2.8 TLR. There's an outside chance that I can get into the college archives and get the negatives but have been told that there were storage issues and they may not be accessible, still existing or usable so I'm not counting on that.
  2. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Member

    Feb 4, 2004
    8x10 Format
    For copy work, I would use a fine grained film that responds well to tungsten or halogen lighting like T-Max 100. To get full speed without too much contrast, use Xtol. D-76 would be my second choice, but it doesn't get full speed in the shadows. I do a lot of copy work, and this is the combination I use when I shoot with black-and-white film. You may want to do a test shot to check your development time to control the contrast. Good luck.
  3. Ian C

    Ian C Member

    Feb 8, 2009
    Large Format
    If you cannot obtain the original negatives then a sharp, fine-grain film is a good choice.

    My first choice for copying existing prints is Kodak T-Max 100. I’ve quite a bit of copying using 35mm T-Max 100 developed in T-Max Developer using a 55mm f/2.8 Micro Nikkor.

    In copying it’s imperative to meter a gray card at the subject or use an incident meter. That’s because many prints reflect much more than 18% of the light falling on them. Built-in meters often recommend considerable underexposure as a result and such negatives print poorly.

    I’ve not experienced overly contrasty negatives in copying using the film and developer combination above.
  4. john_s

    john_s Subscriber

    Nov 19, 2002
    Melbourne, A
    Medium Format
    A film like TMax 100 with its long straight line characteristic will also give you some leeway if exposure is a bit too much. I expose generously and i find it helpful. It is important to avoid underexposure because the originals already have compressed low tones.