The first thing you should do, depending on what types of subjects you are shooting is to buy a good tripod. No other piece of equipment will improve your photography like a tripod; it makes you slow down and look thru the viewfinder long.
Second, if you love those smooth, rich tones, move to a larger format camera. The bigger the neg, the better the photo.
Third, use the slowest film you can or want to.
Just my $.02
Thanks all. Jim - I've got three tripods right now. When I get around to it ... they will be sold. I just like to walk light and grab quick candid shots or when doing portraits to move freely. Just my way. I've got fast glass as well all under 2.8 and lenses like the Nikon 135 F2.0 DC - and I still find that I want more speed.
I guess I just like to shoot in caves ... with no flash.
I think I've decided to go with HP5+ and Tri-x for the next little while.
I will play around with those two to see how to get the best results out of these films at various speeds. Fuji neopan 400 lures me as well due to the low cost but the few I've shot up to now I did not like as much as the tri-x I've played with. Just today I found, to my amazement that a 100 foot roll of HP5+ can be had for 39 bucks. Man ... that is something in the neighborhood of 2.10 per 36 exposures - is it not? That would make it easy to shoot film and worry little about each frame.
This is a sample of work in which the tonality and the "look" inspires me.
Shot by Sanders McNew on Tri-x but with medium format so I expect that 35 will suffer a bit?
All of Sanders stuff is fantastic in my book.
To find the answers .... Question them!
Try the Neopan 400 in Xtol and PCAT-both excellent with rich tones and good grain (PCAT is great with pretty much anything).
"He took to writing poetry and visiting the elves: and though many shook their heads and touched their foreheads and said 'Poor old Baggins!' and though few believed any of his tales, he remained very happy till the end of his days, and those were extraordinarily long "- JRR Tolkien, ' The Hobbit '.
Originally Posted by Pavel+
Don't sell 'em all. In fact, given how little a second-hand tripod is worth, think hard about selling any of 'em. You may yet go back on a tripod jag in a few years, months, weeks or days. Frances and I have about 15 tripods (well, I've been doing this for 41 years...) and at least four or five of then receive reasonably frequent use. As do a couple of the 6 monopods we have...
What is PCAT?
Originally Posted by Black Dog
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If you want speed, Tri-X/Acufine is a classic look. I rate TX 400/Acufine at 800--
You can probably get 1000 in HP5+, if you like the look of HP5+.
I think of Tri-X as emphasizing the sense of line and form. The tonality of Tri-X is interesting at the extremes of the range.
HP5+ is more about smooth gradation. The action is more in the middle of the range.
My preference is the Tri-X look.
Thanks everyone. Stever ... but I only drive my car about every three weeks.
I walk to work, I walk to do my groceries and I walk ... just for the heck of it.
I actually have not driven my car now for two weeks since it hasn't rained. The last time was when I took the kids to the beach. I love it like that.
So I will try the trick about keeping one of the tripods in the car.
I went to the store to buy a bunch of tri-x today. (walking distance has two local shops - did I mention how I love where I live) and while there saw a used Nikon 105 f 2.0 DC. So I couldn't buy except one roll ... cause now I'm broke! But life sure is good!
To find the answers .... Question them!
i do most of my work with neopan 400 in rodinal nowadays, and i think its worth giving a try because it is a distinctive combo. yes, its somewhat grainy in rodinal, but neopan has a lovely grain structure in the first place and is not as grainy as many other 400speed films. the resulting prints are very crisp. i have used this combo in both 35mm and 120 to good result. but if you are a grainophobe, please disregard this entry!
I enjoy using the chromogenic B&W's (e.g. XP-2 and TCN-400) but mainly because of the "ease" of readily available C-41 processing. I really don't think they will give you what you want.
I'm hard pressed to make a recommendation b/w Ilford's HP5+ and Kodak's Tri-X (i.e. the "pro" B&W's) mainly because I've yet to tryout the Fuji's NeoPan. And also because I know that to be really sure, I have to start "souping" my own. Even the little lab I use, where he personally develops the film, shows scratches, dust and nicks when scanned at 4000dpi in my Nikon scanner.
We may be at a crossroads in that the scanners are so detailed that they are revealing development flaws that would not ordinarily be noticed from an enlarged negative? I'm talking about "nits" that could be readily "healed" in PS (if we did that kind of thing). I don't know - but maybe others do.
I've used mostly TriX for, er, decades, never found a reason not to.
On the tangental subject of tripods, I'm not up to acrobatic 'street' stuff anymore, use the big Ries from my old 8x10 days more and more. It's a gawd awful fifteen-pounder and looks silly with a tiny Bogen ball head and O serie on top, but if a subject isn't too far away, this huge, pain-in-the-ass tripod, properly planted, guarantees – if not a good image, an unfuzzy negative with maximum DOF.
Lighter tripods are certainly better moving far and fast but, when you can make it work, big and heavy can't be beat – particularly if you need one to steady yourself as well as the camera ... He said, wishing he could still leap over tall buildings.
PS - Going down to southern Geogia in a couple of weeks to make some no-rush, hot-summer landscape/Okefenokee swamp negatives! It's been a very dry season and the gators have had more than enough to eat in the deeper, prey-filled sloughs, so I figure they won't want me after they tire of nibbling on the Ries.