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  1. #1
    arigram's Avatar
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    The Project of "Opinions on BW Materials" - Please ALL help!

    What if we had a database, either in text or html, that would list -ALL- known films, developers and papers with practical information on each and opinions by users? Do you think such a project is viable and useful? If yes, would you contribute to it?
    If it is indeed viable and succceeds, I would like it to be available online so anyone could contribute and use it. Maybe in APUG?
    Such a database could be invaluable to a beginner or someone that wants a change from their usual film, paper or developer.
    I made an example form in M$ Word doc format with tables and I would people to take it as a base and expand and change it on their will.
    So, what do you think?
    aristotelis grammatikakis
    www.arigram.gr
    Real photographs, created in camera, 100% organic,
    no digital additives and shit




  2. #2

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    Two hundred and fifty rows x 40 columns x 400 APUGers' opinions.
    Call it the Kama Sutra of Photography. 4,000,000 opinions that no one has any intentions of trying.

  3. #3
    rbarker's Avatar
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    Great idea, but I'm not sure the effort would be practical.

    Product specs tend to change over time, and products get dropped entirely. Absent some objective criteria for testing, opinions become anecdotal at best - particularly when removed from the context of a discussion and distilled into a succint form. Searching the archives here and elsewhere on the 'Net is probably as good as it gets, as that approach usually provides the context needed to interpret the responses.
    [COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]

    Ralph Barker
    Rio Rancho, NM

  4. #4
    fhovie's Avatar
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    It is a great idea but for whom does it answer what question? When I started my journey into this odd realm of trying this and that, I was exploring methods to achieve a certain look in my work. Even now, I am trying to improve that certain look as I go on. I have explored about 8 different B&W film developers trying to get the right accutance for a sharp look for a particular degree of enlargment. So what works great for one format is too grainy for small format or too soft for a larger format. With these 8 different developers, I have tried about 8 different emulsions as well, that all respond a little differently in each of the 8 different developers I have tried. That is 64 combinations of emulsions and developers to try to meet a certain criteria. Then there are other considerations, once a combination has been found, it may have drawbacks. I like TRI-X in microdol - I don't like the loss of one stop film speed, I don't like the capacity and shelf life. The price is OK. Now I am working with PC-TEA to see if the results are as good without these objections. MYTOL was an improvement over microdol in that I got the film speed back but still the other considerations had not changed. For larger formats, PMK was great but not very enlargable. DiXactol gave the same accutance with finer grain at higher cost. Now I use Pyrocat HD and get the same performance as DiXactol cheaper and easier. So this is what I use for sheet film - from 4x5 that gets enlarged to 8x10 that is only contact printed. - I get the accutance I want and the grain is fine with the added benefit of highlight compensation. For formats that get enlarged much more, I am looking at PC-TEA - I have not settled on it but the road looks promising. I can always come back to MYTOL if it doesn't work out.

    Now having said all this, would a chart have shortened my path? Would I have started out with where I am now? Probably not, because until I made an 8x10 that looked like a collection of dots because of the huge grain, I would not have appreciated a combination that keeps the grain small. If I had not made a print that looks mushy, I would not have wanted to see the sharpness that can be had with a high accutance developer. It is the learning through experimenting that set the definition for the spec. It is the same thing for lenses and formats as well. And I have not even mentioned the third dimention which is paper and paper developer. With staining film developer, there is a different response to VC verses Graded papers. I tend to like to use Graded fiber papers where the stain is less useful but still provides some grain masking. And then there is AZO. Yes - I do keep Amidol on hand and I save up all my contact work and batch it out a few times a year.

    So the question is as big as the choice of what to shoot, how to depict it and what size media will it finally be presented on. I think a chart that listed - Cost per roll/sheet - staining/tanning or non/staining tanning - high accutance - fine grain- high solivent - surface developer - toxisity - shelf life - would be very handy. - But I think that question is as easily answered as an idividual who pops up here and states what they want to achieve and then does what we all do - try and see. -

    So that is my $.10 worth ....

  5. #5
    arigram's Avatar
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    I don't disagree with any of you, but I think you took this a bit the wrong way.
    The point is to list characteristics that are either supplied by the manufacturer or are constant, not so much if you like one film or a combination of some things.
    Granted, I put the comments line there, but it could always be used in a different way than the example I gave, something infomative, such as "not in production any more" or "the new emulsion is different from old one" or something of that sort.
    The whole can be constantly updated when the official status or characteristics of a product change. That's why I thought at being put online would be a good idea.

    It's not about a list of "magic bullets" but of base material that you can work with.
    For example, what are the characteristics of a paper that you cannot find around you, so you can't just pick up a pack and try it out. What's the texture like? Is it good for lith? What about it's D-Max capabillity?
    We all know that Rodinal does not "dissolve" the grain and that helps the acutance and the edge effect, but also means that the grain would be more apparent.
    What about Pyro? Why should anyone use such a mysterious thing? Is it mysterious? For most photographers it is consindering that most have no access to it or even heard about it.
    What about print developers? Why would anyone use Agfa's Neutal WA? Or something of Tetanal, or Fotospeed, or... Is there a difference?

    It is more about a snapshot of what the materials are more or less about than a Magic List of Everything You Want to Know About BW Materials.
    aristotelis grammatikakis
    www.arigram.gr
    Real photographs, created in camera, 100% organic,
    no digital additives and shit




  6. #6
    Flotsam's Avatar
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    I suppose that it would be like Digital Truth's Massive Development Chart except that the information would be, by neccessity much more subjective. I'm not sure how it would work out.

    APUG membership has such a huge variety of experience and expertise that a project for compiling and organizing it into a form that could be referenced is worth some thought.
    That is called grain. It is supposed to be there.
    =Neal W.=

  7. #7
    arigram's Avatar
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    Foltsam, that's exacty what I thought.
    Tim Rudman has some very descriptive and helpful charts on his books about papers, chemicals and such that are not very different from what I am trying to do. After all, how much variety of experience one can have with T-Max, or with Rodinal, or with Forte papers apart from liking it or not liking it?
    aristotelis grammatikakis
    www.arigram.gr
    Real photographs, created in camera, 100% organic,
    no digital additives and shit




  8. #8
    fhovie's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=arigram]
    What about print developers? Why would anyone use Agfa's Neutal WA? Or something of Tetanal, or Fotospeed, or... Is there a difference?

    QUOTE]

    That would be something - I don't have a clue about print developers other than Dektol, Ilford Multipurpose, Agfa MC and Amidol. I have not seen much difference - I did try some Glycin based - more cost - not much difference that I noticed - (other than Amidol) it seems like if the black is black and the white is white and all the tones are there in between, there is contrast and tone - I am in the dark on so much of that and a general knowledge base would be helpful.

  9. #9
    bjorke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deckled Edge
    Call it the Kama Sutra of Photography. 4,000,000 opinions that no one has any intentions of trying.
    Most people are happy working through the suggested variations at their own pace. Opinions aside, you can never really know what's right without rigorous testing.

    "What Would Zeus Do?"
    KBPhotoRantPhotoPermitAPUG flickr Robot

  10. #10
    Ole
    Ole is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by arigram
    ...
    The point is to list characteristics that are either supplied by the manufacturer or are constant, not so much if you like one film or a combination of some things...
    The problem with that is that many of us don't believe in the manufacturer's specs - nor that any product is constant over time. Films, developers, paper - all is likely to change without notice.

    No wait - since all research staff has been laid off and replaced by programmers, there's a chance that the remaining analog products will stay constant from now on!
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

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