Very good advice from Chuck.
Just pick a classic combo and work it until you feel confident with it. From there you can quickly try other things and learn what will really work for you. But don't chop and change till you have mastered one combo.
Also the 400asa films are the most tolerant. Once you have mastered a film like tri-x you will quickly adapt to using the slightly more finicky 100asa films.
Also bracket bracket bracket, it always gets you a result. Once more confident you don't need to do it so much, though I still do it a lot.
Another option if your main target is to end up with traditional prints is to learn how to print with a C41 film first. You can skip the learning to process film, which can be a little fustrating at times, and go straight to the printing (the fun bit) having let the lab take care of the C41 processing. Films like XP2 are also very easy to print with. Once you are confident with printing XP2 (remember it needs to be printed about a grade harder than conventional film, that's the only real differnce) you will be all the more determined to learn the other trick, processing your own traditional silver based film. I always suggest and recommend this route as it allows you to learn one topic at a time. And indeed it's how I taught myself to print.
All the best.
Thanks for all the advice, looks like HP5 w/XTOL is what Ill go with. Ill make sure to come back to this thread and post the results.
where-abouts are you snaggs?
Sure you can get it in Oz :-)
Originally Posted by snaggs
Personally I'd suggest HP5 with Ilford LC29 or DD-X, but as you've already decided ... :-)
I agree with the idea of using "standard" films and developers to start with, but I want to just say that I love Diafine. I think that Diafine with Tri-X and APX 100 produce gorgeous images, but as has been stated above, there are limitations for use as a general purpose developer. Once you really have the hang of things and are looking to find some combinations for special situations, I strongly recommend Diafine and TX for low light.
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DD-X is too expensive here... LC29 is good with HP5 and FP4
Perhaps a little note from someone who was in your shoes not that long ago:
A friend who was much more "advanced" in this hobby than i was at the time handed me a bottle of Rodinal. The first roll I did wiht it was Delta 400.
Now that I look back at it, it was not the best combo (especially that I had to push the film a bit) - but:
Rodinal is definitely awesome - easy to use, flexible, there is the simple, manufacturer recommended times and dilutions that work great AND then there are people who can tell you a million and one ways to use the stuff toget different results. Its been around for (I believe, I may be wrong) over 100 years and a lot of people still swear by it, myself included. And it keeps very well, is cheap and at the dilutions used, a little bottle can last quite a while!
I have tried every B&W film available in Canada and have developed most of them in Rodinal (I use Microphen for when I know I'll need a push... but am not thrilled with it - may go to something different soon). From my experience I would say this:
-go with a traditional film, as they are very forgiving and easy to work with - so no Delta,no Tmax at first (and personally, Tmax can drop off the face of the planet and I won't miss it... but I know its just a bias)
-whoever told you that FP4+ is not good film needs to have his head examined. I just did a roll of 35mm I shot at 100 and developed in Rodinal 1:50... and wow, what a film! Gorgeous highlights, lovely detail and the kind of ively tones that I find are amputated by the new, high-tech films like Tmax. I wish I could post (I have no scanner...working on it) so youcould see the results that even a relative beginner like me got from that film. In stead, here arsome links from a guy who's work I rather admire:
All three are FP4+, the first two in Diafine, the last in D76. I don't see this proposed lack of "punch".
I also find that FP4+ will give you good results as a "dusk til dawn" film, as long as you have a reasonably quick lens for those time really close to either dusk or dawn.
Of course, I also find that whatever you choose, as long as you work on it, read up on it, will give you great results most of the time. I think the only films I have been really disappointed with so far were Tmax (mostly my fault, but I find it hard to get results from) and PanF (mainly because it is harder to process for desired results and less forgiving, and I have yet to learn its nuiances).
Best of luck.
For low speed film, FP4+ is very good, high speed film, try TriX 400, they both work very well with Xtol. I have been using Xtol for a long time, never had a problem with it. I store them in plastic bottles filled to the top. (Not a good way to store Xtol, there are other threads talking about that issue).
Now, I use Agfa APX100 (my new favorite film, why I didn't find it earlier!).
What a lot people said here are true, keep using one film and developer combo, try to get most out it.
Well I processed Neopan 1600 and TMAX @ EI 6400 last night in XTOL soup. Made a mistake with the temperature for the first one (forgot to cool the temperature of the dev after mixing!), 29 degrees! but the negatives still came out fine from what I can tell, though they do look contrasty.
I also got two bulk loaders... One is now loaded with HP5+ and the other PanF.. I didnt go with Tri-X, as I just dont think Kodak is in for the long haul in B&W film, so I rather support Ilford and keep them healthy.
Im suprised no one recommended using Ilford chemicals, I would have thought they'd be quite good.
I started with FP4+ and Rodinal at 1:25 in trays. I thought it was super easy, gave good results and was cheap enough for a beginner to make a few mistakes without going broke. It's also a one-shot use, so there's no concern about it going stale between films.