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  1. #21

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    For my black and white, I have been, 90% anyhow, a Tri-x and sprint user (think generic D76). Great combo, and you will get great results. Lately I have added polypan F to the film mix, but I'm still with sprint. Go with your idea here, it will serve you well. Down the road, if you choose to broaden your horizon, I would expand films before developers, but that's me.

  2. #22
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NedL View Post
    I've only been printing again about a year, but I agree with what others said about printing... that's where I've learned the most about developing film. All the changes I've made in exposure and development have had specific aims in terms of printing. I am using mostly 2 films, Tri-X and FP4+, and I like them both very much and have learned a lot about both. Whether that has slowed me down vs. sticking to only one I can't say since that's not what I'm doing, but I'm having a lot of fun and like having a choice. Actually... now that I think about it, it IS slowing me down because my progress with each film is slower than if I only was using one. That's okay though, there are many times I'm just out walking and Tri-X is a lot easier handheld.
    About five years ago I was using mostly Tri-X as my main film, using Pyrocat developer. I liked that combination a lot, and then I read up on Ilford FP4+ and out of the blue somebody gave me five rolls of 120 to play with. After I adjusted film exposure and development so that both films were developed to similar contrast, it struck me how similar the two films are in terms of tonality and sharpness. Tri-X is, of course, grainier, but both of them yielded very beautiful prints, and looking back at those prints, at moderate print size I have to look up which print is from what type of film, because I can't really tell them apart.

    The important piece here is, though, that both films were developed to similar overall contrast. It isn't until you do precisely that, that you can compare two films anyway. Then, of course, when you start to push the limits of what the film is capable of, FP4 will record a little bit longer range of tones, but will also react to developing changes more readily, so that while you can lean on the film a little bit more at the time of exposure, you have to be a bit more careful developing it.

    Anyway, one film, two films - whatever. Just as long as we are consistent with what we do, and we closely study what happens when we use our materials in different lighting situations, and compensate adequately, the reward is going to be fantastic prints. The best thing of it all is that the results will be more because of what we know about the film(s) we use, and the satisfaction we can take from that is tremendous.
    "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

  3. #23
    Richard Sintchak (rich815)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson View Post

    Anyway, one film, two films - whatever. Just as long as we are consistent with what we do, and we closely study what happens when we use our materials in different lighting situations, and compensate adequately, the reward is going to be fantastic prints. The best thing of it all is that the results will be more because of what we know about the film(s) we use, and the satisfaction we can take from that is tremendous.
    Well said Thomas. One thing I've discovered after many years of casual experimentation with many types of b&w films and developers is that practically all are capable of terrific results.
    -----------------------

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  4. #24

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    The point made about taking one's work as far as wet-printing is wise. I find that a gorgeous, contrasty negative can make it devilishly difficult to control print contrast. Usually, a somewhat flat negative (plenty of exposure, moderate to modest development) is vastly easier for me to print.

  5. #25
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Petzvalsum View Post
    The point made about taking one's work as far as wet-printing is wise. I find that a gorgeous, contrasty negative can make it devilishly difficult to control print contrast. Usually, a somewhat flat negative (plenty of exposure, moderate to modest development) is vastly easier for me to print.
    That depends on how experienced you are as a printer. Then there's the trade off between 'easy to print' and what yields the very best results. Often I have found, by experimenting with negative contrast, that I get my best prints from 'bold' negatives, with lots of contrast, and then I use a soft working developer. But they are not the easiest negs to print, by far.
    I learn every day.
    "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

  6. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpurdy View Post
    I understand the premise. I am saying I disagree with it.

    A beginner will learn more about a film and about tonality and characteristics if he starts with two and contrasts one against another.

    Dennis
    Agree to disagree. For someone new to wet photography the amount of knowledge needed is rather daunting. Things need to be kept as simple as possible to start. Starting with only one film does not limit one's ability to learn. Telling newbies that they can deal with more than one film does them a dis-service. There are posts every week of people getting into trouble. The KISS principle is needed here.
    Last edited by Gerald C Koch; 08-13-2013 at 11:22 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

    ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  7. #27
    NedL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson View Post
    ...After I adjusted film exposure and development so that both films were developed to similar contrast, it struck me how similar the two films are in terms of tonality and sharpness. Tri-X is, of course, grainier, but both of them yielded very beautiful prints, and looking back at those prints, at moderate print size I have to look up which print is from what type of film, because I can't really tell them apart....
    This is very interesting and it's funny that you should say that because I think of FP4+ as "the slower film that reminds me of Tri-X". I didn't know anyone else thought that. I am enjoying both immensely.

  8. #28
    NedL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MatthewDunn View Post
    NedL - it's hard to be unable to find something wonderful to shoot in Sonoma. Keep on telling everyone who will listen that you want to head to Sonoma and Russian River Valley. Napa is for the New Yorkers...
    Apologies for derailing my own thread. Back on track...
    Right you are, and not to mention the Sonoma Coast. I count myself lucky to be able to live here.
    I hope you have lots of fun with your Tri-X and D76. I am as happy as can be shooting b/w film and making my own prints... photography has become extremely fun again.

  9. #29
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MatthewDunn View Post
    the overall flexibility of RAW leads to some sloppy technique (or at least it did on my part). As I learn about film and "exposing for the shadows", I find myself having to go back to step one.
    Actually, you can be quite sloppy with negative films and get very workable results. Think about disposable cameras with one shutter speed and aperture setting. No, shooting sloppy is surely not as reliable as shooting to the shadows or any other meter and set style, but a huge amount of film is exposed this way with very reasonable results.

    The concept to "get" here is that negatives typically catch a lot more of the scene (shadow and highlight) than gets used to make a print.

    Your 2/3's over/under test isn't a big enough swing to bump TX's limits, it would typically be quite easy to make good prints, with the detail expected, that look essentially the same from all three exposures. This does depend on subject matter and personal prefs but given your comments I doubt I'm wrong.

    I'd suggest shooting a single roll of a single subject with a mid-tone reference (a face or gray card or...) under unchanging light starting at maybe 4 stops under and bumping up in 1-stop increments to 5 stops over, 10 shots total. Develop normally then print "to the mid tone" so that the mid tone matches in all ten prints.
    Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by markbarendt View Post
    I'd suggest shooting a single roll of a single subject with a mid-tone reference (a face or gray card or...) under unchanging light starting at maybe 4 stops under and bumping up in 1-stop increments to 5 stops over, 10 shots total. Develop normally then print "to the mid tone" so that the mid tone matches in all ten prints.
    Forgive me for being the new kid on the block, but this doesn't make sense to me. Can you help me out with a bit more explanation?

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