thanks for those thoughts. I knew you had a fair amount of experience with across 100.
I mostly shoot people with available light so skys/highlights can get troublesome at times.
I will probably have to start popping a kiss of fill flash but I'm recently playing with some older rangefinders that aren't even sync-ed at all let alone at anything faster than around 1/50th and my Nikon F's only synch at 1/60.
How do you guys hold onto skys in these type situations?
Originally Posted by brucemuir
I have thought about doing the same, using fill flash. But mostly for outdoor shooting during the day to avoid those pesky long shadows on the face.
With natural light portraits I don't worry so much about blocked up highlights. As long as the tonality is right on the face, the rest can be dealt with at time of printing. I will sometimes flash locally in the enlarger, for example, using dodging/burning techniques same as if there was a negative in the light path. Split grade printing helps too.
"Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank
"Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman
"...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh
Acros's characteristic curve is quite similar to TMX, FP4, Delta, etc until you reach areas of high exposure (beginning around zone IX in zone system parlance). At that point most films continue their straight lines and begin to gradually shoulder around zone XII. Acros is different. The slope of its curve (local contrast) actually increases around zone IX, and retains this higher local contrast all the way to around zone XIII, where you then encounter a more abrupt shoulder.
So while most films exhibit maximum local contrast in the mid tones, Acros exhibits maximum local contrast in areas of high exposure. Depending on the subject matter, this high highlight contrast can be favourable or unfavourable. It's not better or worse, but definitely unique when compared to its Kodak and Ilford equivalents (ie TMax 100 and Delta 100). With inherently high highlight contrast, Acros makes a very interesting match with compensating developers.
As for those highlights being harder to bring into the print, well, yes they can be, but so what? You learn to make the most of what's in the negative using printing controls. It's worth the effort if you end up with excellent highlight detail. Sorry for harping on printing skills , but I really think that is where most people fall short, and then start changing films and chemicals for now good reason.
With respect to graininess, Acros lies between TMax 100 and Delta 100, TMax 100 being the finest grained. The differences in graininess are really only worth considering in 35mm and medium format though. Of the three films, Delta 100 would be the one most closely resembling a more "traditional" emulsion like FP4+ in its overall look, while TMax 100 would be the most non-traditional in comparison. However keep in mind the developer can make a difference. For example, try a sharper developer such as TFX-2, or a well diluted solvent formula (D76, XTOL, etc) with TMax 100. Since it is so fine grained to begin with, you can afford the small increase in grain and sharpen it up a little.
I've used both TX and TMY a quite a bit (hundreds of rolls). I prefer TX, but I'm not really sure why. They are both great films. They have different looks, but not very different. TX has slightly more grain and slightly less sharpness than TMY.