A general film recommendation question.
For 4x5 I've been shooting TXP for almost 2 years now, nothing but, initially in x-tol and now in hc-110. Rated and processed between 125 and 1200, depending on the scene, what I'm up too, and the basic necessity to get a faster shutter speed or more dof.
It's literally the only sheet B&W film I've tried...so I want to play with something else and am asking here for suggestions.
I love the pop I get from TXP. I'm not knowledgable on describing film charachterstics, but from how I've shot it, I get deep crunched blacks (which I like) and lots brilliant highlights with good seperation. Mid tones seem neutral. Lovely, but it's anything but what I'd describe as "creamy." (Again, bare with me here, I'm doing the best I can with my limited grasp of film to describe looks I get)
What I'm interested in is finding a film (processed in hc110) that has smoother midtones and creamier whites. Hmmm, I vaguely remember 35mm FP-4 in x-tol being pretty smooth....but I'm in search of a film that will be similar to polaroid type 665/55. I could just shoot 55, I know, but I never cared for dealing with it.
I'll start to test. But thought I'd see what you guys would offer.
You could give anything a go. FP4 Plus has a very neautral look about it. Should be a fair bit finer grained than TXP but be aware that you are unlikely to get close to ei 125 in anything other than Xtol or DDX. Ei 64 is good in pyrocat HD or ID11, Aculux etc with about 80-100 in Tmax and 100 or so in DDX....as rough ballparks. FP4+ has a more gentle appearance than TriX (tho I have only used the 400 TX in 35mm and 120) in that it lacks the same punchy look, perhaps being a bit more subtle.
If you want finer grain still and are happy with the look of modern films, perhaps try Delta 100 (I do not like TMAX100 one bit) or Acros if you are after quickloads. Acros in Pyro devs is wonderfully sharp and grainless in 5x4. It has a very smooth, creamy tonality but to me seems to have more life to it than TMAX (which I know others like).
There are a whole host of Eastern European films to try such as Efke, Foma etc. Some say Foma 100 is rather like APX100 (which is quite a compliment) and that Foma 200 has a unique look to it (Roger Hicks loves the stuff). I found Efke100 beautiful but arguably grainy even on 5x4...prob not miles off TriX and certainly far grainier than FP4 plus.
Just some thoughts.
Kodak, evil old Kodak, has published TONS of accurate data for decades
which will tell you what you need to know.
first, go here:
then, click "ProPhotographer/Lab
then, Black and White films
then, Tri X films
then, Tech Publication 4107
then, download the PDF file
scroll down to page 14 and you'll see the curves for TXP sheets in HC-110 & D-76
You should see the curves are pretty much the same, that you will get virtually the same look with either developer.
Go back to Black and White films, and hit T-Max films, then Pub 4016
You can also find the data for PLus X
Here is a shortcut for FP-4+. Ilford doesn't prpvide as much data, but it IS useful.
AT Foto Import, some pretty good curves for developers are published. Here, you can get an idea of what XTOL does with many films:
Finally, amazing it is STILL there, an old XTOL file, in German
scroll to page 32 and see all the charts published
My short sugestion, however, is to mix up some Xtol and soup TXP in it.
It will give more shadow speed than HC-110,
and give a mild shoulder. It will exactly, or pretty closely, give you what you want... without changing films.
"One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"
One thing that may give you better creamier whites, is diluting your HC-110 to 1;63 or half the normal B dilution. Using twice your normal time as a starting point, whilst not agitating more than barely nescessary. It may just be the "LOOK" you are after, without changing films. Works for me... Regards, J.B.