Lots of good discussion here; which I appreciate.
The Online Photographer article makes a good point, in the sense that (my words) pushing film is a compromise unless you are specifically seeking the "look" of pushed film. But my little Canonet GIII gives me a f1.7 lens in a compact package. I don't have that size/speed combination in any other package - analog or digital. I might have been better off with Delta 3200 or Neopan 1600 but sometimes you just have to use what you have.
And I agree that testing to see what works best given my technique and my preferences. But I value the collective knowledge on this forum and prefer to use that as a headstart on testing - too many options in terms of developers. I've found that while you get very varying opinions, as the discussion continues you tend to see some convergence. But if I'm limited to HC-110, it absolutely makes sense to run a test first.
I generally agree with the article too but it's too strongly worded for my tastes. Can't get 5000 out of any film? Depends what you mean. You certainly won't get a "true" 5000 as in Zone 1 at .1 over film base plus fog, but you can get very workable results with TMZ at 6400, at least. Digital is better - maybe. You will get less noise/grain at a far higher effective speed from a decent DSLR, but the lenses tend to be slower, and the cameras bigger and heavier than many 35mm options (like the Canonet mentioned above) and the look is different. For some stuff, I just like the look of pushed film, even rather severely pushed film.
Like many others I pushed like mad back in the day because it was the only way to get many shots, and I also had the common new photographer's aversion to flash, even when flash made sense and would work. Now, well, I don't even have a DSLR, so either I'm part of the 2% the article dismisses or, more likely, they over estimate the percentage of film photographers who do, though I may get one.
I recently - well, a few months ago, but just got around to developing the film - shot a night street arts festival in Atlanta, on 35mm. It would have been a great place for TMZ or Delta 3200 but I was out of the former and don't stock the latter in 35mm and my (one, fixed) medium format lens is slower than my 35mm and the camera not as easy to use quickly or in low light. So I shot it on Tri-X at 1250 and developed in Diafine. I have some negatives I think are going to make good prints for the subject matter, and some others that are ok exposure wise but ruined by motion blur of shooting handheld at wildly optimistic shutter speeds like 1/8th. I can get maybe one shot in three or four acceptably sharp for 5x7 prints doing that, so given the choice of trying or not, sometimes I try.
If I had a DSLR I could have used it, but I think I'd rather have just had some TMZ. I'd have shot it at 6400 and, with my not-particularly-fast 50mm f/1.7 lens that would have been fast enough. The film camera somehow "fit" the venue better (and stood out from the hoards shooting digital! - though I did stop and chat with a guy shooting with a Mamiya TLR) but, more importantly, I think the black inky shadows and increased grain would have also actually looked better for those shots.
We are, of course, diverging wildly from the topic of Rodinal and HC110. The mention of "Super Soup" sent me off to google to find it, and now I'm wondering what I'd get out of TMZ and Delta 3200 in that stuff... I think some of the appeal is just seeing how far you can go and what kind of results you can get in extreme situations. Photography isn't all about 16x20 display prints to hang on the wall. Sometimes it's fun just to play with the tools and see what you can make them do.
Thanks for the many responses! I'm in a hurry right now so I just skimmed the new posts and I'll have to read them over more carefully later but I agree with many of you. Seeking recommendations is beneficial, but tests are going to be the deciding factor. I asked which pushed better, but better can mean many different things for different people. Initially I was thinking that I wanted more shadow details so I batched up some Xtol and compared it with Rodinal. Xtol had better shadow details, but Rodinal looked better. I prefer Rodinal. I just got HC110 for kicks and I'm looking into testing the two developers soon to see which look I prefer.
Im about ready to run some tests with tri-x and hc-110. Im going to be shooting at 1600 and work out developing. Im looking for a grainy image with not much shadow detail though.
I should send you my wife's email :).
Originally Posted by jordanstarr
As the saying goes: "No man is a prophet in his own country".
Originally Posted by MattKing
When I went into the darkroom last night I kept this thread in mind, and I printed one of the negatives on a roll of TMax 400 that I exposed on Christmas Eve last year. Due to the dim lighting, and no flash availability, I had to expose the film at 1600, two stops underexposed. In order to not ruin the film in airport X-ray machines, I processed in my father's darkroom, and used what was available, Paterson FX-39, at the 1:19 dilution, did a clip test, and processed while agitating every 4 minutes.
In the print, the shadows that are in focus all show detail and subtle variations from one part of the boy's garment to another. It's subtle, and wasn't picked up very well in the scan, but we all know those limitations. Scanning prints sucks.
Shot with a Leica M2 and a 35mm Nokton lens, at f/2 hand held at 1/8th of a second (incident light reading), which is why it isn't very sharp. Printed on Ilford Galerie G3 using Ethol LPD (replenished) developer, and toned in Moersch Carbon toner for deeper shadow impact, and improving highlight color.
To me this shows that at EI 1600 one can get great shadows, even in difficult lighting like this, which is a mix of candle light and incandescent/fluorescent bulbs. Given that it was incandescent lighting, the underexposure was probably more like an actual three stops, and not two.
I hope you find this useful, and as an example that by altering technique, much more can be had from the film.