I'm taking a trip in a few days just south of the area you're targeting - Sedona and maybe the south rim of the Grand Canyon having been to the north rim last time out. I'm agonizing over a smaller range of equipment, but agonizing all the same. Your post made me think again about the amount of gear that I'm taking.
So, how do I read what has been said? Take whatever gear and film makes you feel like you will have some success, but maybe concentrate on a variety of film stock rather than a huge variety of equipment and HAVE FUN!! The southwest is a real trip for those of us who have been in the NE for awhile - different world. Gotta love it.
I think all of this is great advice. Try just bringing a Holga camera some time (and to make it complicated, yes, you will need a backup). It will teach you the simplest but most useful skill a photographer can have - vision.
Whether you put HP5 or Tri-X or APX400 film in the camera will make considerably less difference than seeing something you want to photograph and not having to think twice which equipment to use. You run to the spot you need to be in and expose some film.
Maybe not good advice for this trip, but the principal is the same. The less decisions you have to make, the easier the choice will be.
Originally Posted by ZoneIII
You clearly agonize too much over small things. I mean absolutely no disrespect but I am a bit bewildered by your question. (Yes, I realize I am getting into this thread very late.) Basically, your question is about which of two very similar films OTHER people prefer. But you go on and on about all kinds of details that have little or nothing to do with the question - your formats, EIs, development times, types of holders you use, places you will be traveling too, etc. - even your agitation methods(?). You are making a trivial thing into a big, complicated matter. But, in the end, you are simply asking people which of the two very similar films THEY prefer. In fact, your question should have simply been, "Which film do you prefer of the two and why do you prefer it?" Surely your question is not intended only for people traveling to the same locations, using the same equipment, developers, EIs, agitation, etc. You are really just asking about two similar films that you have experience with.
You have tested and used both films so you should be the one answering your own question. Nobody can tell you what film YOU will like better. That's something only you can decide and you have had plenty of experience with both films.
I am also bewildered about why you would be so concerned about subject movement with two such similar films. If you are so concerned about that, use a faster film. Do what most people do... take a slow and a fast film. I take Tmax100 and Tri-X. Simple as that! The tiny differences in the speed of these films (if any) is nothing to fret about. It almost sounds as if these things are keeping you up at night.
You have used them both. Which one do YOU like better? In the end, the judgment is subjective nobody can answer it for you. It's a simple as that. It seems as if you are trying to get other people to confirm your own judgments. I would suggest that you... 1) stop worrying about such trivial things and... 2) trust your own judgment.
Again, I mean no disrespect but I have noticed that some photographers seem to agonize over trivial things to the point that they seem to drive themselves nuts. I have also noticed that those photographers worry so much about inconsequential things that it actually hurts their photography. They have a difficult time making the most simple decisions. On the other hand, some of the finest photographers I have known don't worry about even some of the big things that they probably should be concerned about. But you are getting into hair-splitting to an excessive degree. I also suspect, based on all the equipment and formats you listed, that you always have something on a list of photographic things to buy and that you have convinced yourself will finally bring you to photographic heaven once you have them. It won't happen! It's a futile pursuit and it distracts from good photography. I have never seen a good photographer agonize over equipment. The best photographers almost always keep thing simple. It's just tools. Leave the accumulation of endless equipment to collectors who, by the way, almost never make good photographers.
I read in a forum lately where someone gave the old advice to filter chemistry that may have stuff in it through coffee filters. The guy who asked the original question wrote back asking which brand of coffee filters he should use! I have also noticed at least one person in these very forums obsessing about testing almost every conceivable film/developer combination. It seems like that person is also trying almost every conceivable esoteric process even though it is clear that they haven't even begun to master the most basic processes. That type of thinking is a disease of the mind that keeps people from making good photographs. Ironically, but not surprising, the person I am thinking of ends up making blurred and improperly exposed photographs! It's a if he is driving himself nuts trying to find a way to make bad photographs(???). He clearly is reading too many photography magazines.
Take it easy on yourself and enjoy your photography. Simplify. Don't worry about such inconsequential things.
As for the amount of your equipment... I take a lot of equipment too not in so many formats. I shoot about 95% in 4x5" and about 5% in 8x10". I don't have a fancy digital camera (and have no plans of getting one) so I don't shoot anything serious in digital. If I need small format, I shoot in 35mm or, if I just want a snapshot, I use my wife's little compact digital camera. I also take a medium format back for 4x5 but that is mainly to give me the equivalent of a longer maximum focal length lens if I should need it. I rarely use it. I take three films... Velvia for color and Tmax100 and Tri-X for b&w. I rarely need the Tri-X, though, and would feel perfectly comfortable with just Tmax100.
The problem I can see for you when taking as much equipment as you do is that if you are having such a hard time deciding over two very similar films that you have tested and used, I can picture you having a very hard time deciding which of your equipment to use for a given picture. I can almost picture you simply not making a picture because you can't decide what equipment to use. If that's the case, it's time for you to get rid of some of your equipment. Travel light! You clearly need less decisions to make, not more.
It sounds like you are too much into equipment and technicalities. I suspect that that has negative impact on your photography. It's supposed to be enjoyable, not something to lose sleep over. When a totally new film comes out that may offer you some advantages in quality, ask about it and try it. But why ask others which of two very similar films they like better when you have used them both yourself?
I hope you don't take this wrong but I have seen this too many times. It's like a syndrome and it can paralize a photographer.
"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
I would avoid FP4+, it is old technology, which some people prefer, but newer films are just sharper and have finer grain.
Under what shooting, developing, or printing circumstances might it become obvious to all that FP4+ has been outperformed by Tmax?
I understand people have their preferences. But since you feel so strongly I'd really like to see actual examples of where FP4+ fails and Tmax suceeds. I mean, you really believe that FP4+ should be avoided?