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  1. #21

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    I think we have all done this to a limited extent to see what films / developers we like for certain subjects. I applaud your effort, but I do realize myself, that it is a rather unending project...I have spent a couple hundred $ on this kind of stuff, and really am not much better off scientifically - but I have an idea of what kind of "look" a certain film is going to give me - and that is probably worth it in the end.
    Here's some "thots" to start with. Don't bother with outdated films, at least not at first, unless you want one for a benchmark - say Kodak Tech Pan. Also, one suggestion is to keep it to the big names at first, and get your testing parameters down. The bigger companies just have better QC than the small ones - it's the nature of the beast. This will help initially. Then as you find a "niche" film, such as Efke 25 that might "do something for you", add it to your data at that point.
    My info is all from a 35mm standpoint. If you're doing larger negs, then somethings may not apply. Obviously, use the exact same camera and lens / lenses to perform all tests. Shoot on a tripod with mirror lockup if you can, and cable or remote/timed release. Are you going to scan or print the results? Traditional B&W negs don't always scan that well...much better to evaluate by optical prints. For RA-4 color printing, Kodak films tend to look better on Kodak Paper - Fuji's look alright on either (I think Kodak's is more forgiving this way, and Fuji certainly could care less if Kodak's films don't look good on CA paper!). E-6 transperencies...well, either evaluate these on light table with a 10x or 8x loupe, or a very good scanner.

    Films:
    B&W Neg:
    Kodak: T-Max 100, 400 (probably wait and get the new stuff), and of course, Tri-X. Maybe Plus-X 125 as well, (I use it, but not sure how many do anymore?).
    FUJI: Acros Neopan 100 and Neopan 400. (If you want the best out of Acros 100, then you need to develop in Perceptol or Fuji's own developer - but D76 will work fine for starters).
    Ilford: I don't use a lot of Ilford, and others will give more recommendations. But please at least include Pan F Plus (iso 50) and Delta 100 at a minimum.
    B&W Developers: Mix all with filtered or distilled water, be EXACT in your mixing (at least use a quality graduated cylinder - we'll forgive you if you don't titrate!) and let the developer sit a designated amount of time after mixing, before first use. Develop ALL films with SAME amount of agitation in tank. Also, realize this is the part that will be the BIGGEST downfall of the entire test to most people - B&W developers. There are literally hundreds of combos you could use. Do NOT try to master them all. Instead, if you're looking for a report you can use or sell, stick with the big ones, then add niche developers as the fancy strikes you later. You can always expand the data as time/money allows. Kodak D76 is a must. You might consider doing all your tests at the 1:1 dilution...it seems to be perferred by a lot of people, and is what I use myself. If you use the original Kodak D76, then you can save a lot of time and money by leaving out many other developers that give really similar results. Some will bemoan that, but it is the honest truth. Might pick a couple others such as XTOL or Perceptol, which will give you somewhat finer grain on modern (T-grain) films, and possibly add a Pyro or staining developer. If you want to do a limited study later on pushing films - you might add a compensating / specialized pushing developer at that time. Lastly, if acutence or large grain is what you're after (and I don't think it is with 35mm film - but if it is...) then try some films in Rodinal. Quite grainy in my opinion, but for some people, it's the cat's meow. That is nowhere exhaustive on that subject, but others will add developers to try...I'm telling you, this part of the test is nearly endless.

    Color Neg: -- Develop ALL at the SAME C-41 lab, with same machine (preferably a Refrema dip & dunk or similar type) with a good track-record on their chemistry.
    Kodak: Portra 160, Portra 400 (800 if you wish) - NC and VC are a bit different, so I'd include both. 100UC and 400UC seem to be fairly popular still, and good old Kodak Gold 100 is neat to use as a benchmark - it's a better film (sharp w/ good color) than many people give it credit for.
    FUJI: Pro160S & Pro160C, Pro 400H, and Fuji Reala (iso 100). From a few posts on Photo.net I've seen that Kodak's latest 800 portra tends to be finer grained than Fuji's 800, so I personally wouldn't bother with fuji's, but include if you wish...

    Color slide - Develop ALL at SAME E-6 lab, dip & dunk preferred, with GOOD track record on their chemistry!
    Kodak: E100G (or GX - it's warmer, I like it better), E100VS (Velvia competitor), E200 (I'd push it 1 stop and compare to Fuji's new Provia 400X for kicks). I'd include a roll of Kodachrome K64 just for a fun benchmark/comparison. A lot of people would probably enjoy that.
    FUJI Chromes: Velvia 100 (not 100F), Velvia 50 (new version - it's back), Provia 100F, Provia 400X (expensive but amazing for iso 400) and Astia 100F.

    Hope that helps get you started in the right direction. If you really were to complete such a task in a scientific manner, I'd pony up $35 for you just because of the effort and expense you went through - it could actually be quite an asset to the community if you did it right. And if you use the same camera/prime lens combo for all of the tests, (I know you'd pick a sharp one), then it's a relative comparison, and it doesn't matter that it would look "different" with different glass - because it would be an entire lateral shift of all the data. Don't let the naysayers on that aspect get you down.
    So...good luck your way. You'll need it. :-)
    Jed

  2. #22

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    It would be my conclusion as well as yours I think that as things stand there doesn't seem to be a great deal of support, certainly not of a financial nature that I think will be essential. You could be 100s of $ out of pocket on materials alone and 1000s taking into account your time.

    Maybe you could start small with a very limited scope, publish your findings on APUG for free or a very small donation and if there was then a demand for your work at least you'd know your market better. Magazines like B&W Photography may also be interested in an article or even help with funding. The new editor has participated here and claims to be interested in our views. Just some thoughts.

    I am unsure about the "conducting a poll" protocol on APUG but you might want to try one to gauge the market place initially. Just a word of warning however. Despite there being 20,000 members here the poll response numbers are usually quite low and of course it goes without saying that human nature being what it is and this is not to impugn my fellow members, no-one ever gets 100% of those responding positively to a poll to "put their money where their mouth is" as the saying goes in the U.K.

    I can only applaud your motivation while being overawed by your task. Then again if everyone was like me, we'd still be lighting our houses by candle!

    Best of luck

    pentaxuser

  3. #23

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    It sounds like an interesting, albeit challenging, project.

    I would add the Ilford liquid developers to your list, Ilfosol and DDX.

    -Rob

  4. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by FilmIs4Ever View Post
    Excuse me Brian, your post was not negative, nor was Photo Engineer's.
    Sorry, Karl. I was having a reaction to the overall tone and language.

    Yesterday included a very disappointing interaction on another forum with a chap who didn't know what he was talking about and kept replying with "you don't know what you're talking about" (and other really rude comments) despite the fact that five or six experienced photographers was giving him consistent and correct information.

    In general I'm becoming increasingly disinterested in participating in internet discussions with folks who are rude, profane, bigoted, blasphemous, or just plain ignorant.

    Like PE, I'll continue to support your effort. More thoughts later.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by FilmIs4Ever View Post
    Excuse me Brian, your post was not negative, nor was Photo Engineer's.


    Now, can anyone post some helpful information? There seems to be three different versions of Efke films, which are now ADOX. There seem to be two different versions of Bergger films.

    I am really having difficulty finding consensus on who makes what. I don't want to have to needlessly buy film that is merely repackaged.

    Then there are three different versions of D-76. . .

    I think we can all settle on D-76/ID-11 as a good developer, but what others?
    OK, the easy part: basic products from major film manufacturers

    • Kodak
      • B&W films
        • Plus-X (125PX)
        • Tri-X (400TX)
        • Tri-X Pro (320TXP)
        • T-MAX 100 (TMX)
        • T-MAX 400 (TMY)
        • T-MAX 3200 (TMZ)
      • B&W film developers
        • XTOL
        • D-76 (+replenisher: D-76R)
        • HC-110 (+replenisher)
        • T-MAX (+ replenisher T-MAX RS)
        • D-19
        • Microdol-X
        • DK-50
        • T-MAX 100 direct positive outfit
      • B&W Paper developers
        • Dektol
        • Selectol-Soft
        • PolymaxT (+replenisher Polymax RT)
        • EKTAFLO
      • B&W Paper toners
        • Kodak Rapid Selenium Toner
        • Kodak Brown Toner
        • Kodak Sepia Toner
        • Kodak Sepia II Warm Toner
      • C-41
        • BW400CN (b&w)
        • Portra 160NC
        • Portra 160VC
        • Portra 400NC
        • Portra 400VC
        • Portra 800
        • Gold 100
        • Gold 200
        • Ultra Color 100
        • Ultra Color 400
        • UltraMAX 400
        • UltraMAX 800
        • High Definition 400
        • Advantix 200 (APS)
        • Advantix 400 (APS)
      • C-41 developer
        • C-41B
        • C-41RA
        • C-41SM

      • E-6
        • Ektachrome E100G
        • Ektachrome E100GX
        • Ektachrome E100VS
        • Ektachrome E200
        • Ektachrome EDUPE duplicating film
        • Ektachrome 100 Plus (EPP)
        • Ektachrome 64T (EPY)
        • Elite Chrome 100
        • Elite Chrome Extra Color 100
        • Elite Chrome 200
        • Elite Chrome 400
      • E-6 developer (only one kind)
      • K-14
        • Kodachrome 64 pro (PKR)
        • Kodachrome 64 consumer (KR)
      • RA-4
        • Supra Endura (surfaces F, E, N)
        • Ultra Endura (F, E, N)
        • Endura Metallic (only available in long rolls)
        • Supra Endura VC (a digital paper)
        • Endura transparency material
        • Endura Clear Display material
    • Fuji
      • B&W films
        • Neopan 100 Acros
        • Neopan 400
        • Neopan 1600
        • FP-3000B (instant film)
      • C-41
        • 160S
        • 160C
        • 400H
        • 800Z
        • Superia 100
        • Superia 200
        • Superia X-TRA 400
        • Superia X-TRA 800
        • Superia 1600
        • Superia Reala 100
        • Nexia 200 (APS)
        • Nexia 400 (APS)
        • Nexia 800 (APS)
        • Press 400
        • Press 800
        • Press 1600
        • FP-100B (instant film)
        • FP-100C (instant film)
      • E-6
        • Velvia 50
        • Velvia 100
        • Velvia 100F
        • Astia 100F
        • Provia 100F
        • Provia 400F
        • Provia 400X
        • T64 Tungsten
        • Sensia 100
        • Sensia 200
        • Sensia 400
        • Fujichrome duplicating film CDU Type III
      • RA-4
        • Crystal Archive Professional Paper Super Type PD
        • Crystal Archive Professional Paper Super Type C
        • Fujitrans display material for digital printers
        • Fujiclear Display Material
        • Fujiflex Crystal Archive
      • Reversal papers
        • Fujichrome Super Gloss
        • Fujichrome Type 35

    • Ilford (HARMAN)
      • B&W films
        • Pan F+
        • FP4+
        • HP5+
        • Delta 100
        • Delta 400
        • Delta 3200
        • SFX
      • B&W film developers
        • ID-11
        • Ilfosol S
        • Ilfotec DD
        • Ilfotec DD-X
        • Ilfotec HC
        • Ilfotec LC29
        • Ilfotec RT Rapid
        • Microphen
        • Perceptol
        • Phenisol
      • C-41
        • XP2 super (b&w)
      • B&W papers
        • MGIV RC Deluxe (satin, pearl, glossy)
        • MGIV RC Portfolio (pearl, glossy)
        • MGIV RC Express (pearl, glossy)
        • MGIV RC Warmtone (pearl, glossy)
        • MGIV RC Cooltone (pearl, glossy)
        • Ilfospeed RC Deluxe (graded 0-5; glossy, semi-matt, pearl)
        • MG FB Warmtone (semi-matt, glossy)
        • MG FB (matt, glossy)
        • Galerie (graded 1-4 in glossy; 1-3 in matt)
      • B&W Paper Developers
        • Bromophen
        • Warmtone
        • Cooltone
        • 2150XL
        • Multigrade
        • PQ Universal
        • 200RT
    • ILFORD (color products)
      • Ilfochrome papers
        • Ilfochrome CPS.1K
        • Ilfochrome CLM.1K


    Right, now that I've enhanced slightly your knowledge, as per your request (although this is something you could have easily found yourself, had you spent time reading the manufacturers' website) may I voice an opinion?

    I think you are a dilettante, and that you have neither the stamina, nor even the sense of a realistic horizon in your testing. You will never complete this project, ever, because you will abandon it after a few attempts.

    You did not even bother reading the manufacturers' web sites to find more developers, and you did not even try digging through APUG to find relevant information (you would be surprised how these questions come up regularly), how will you ever spend weeks/months/years/decades of testing without flinching?

    In fact, the whole problem with this approach to testing is that there is very limited value for the average photographer. Manufacturers perform their own painful tests based on ISO standards on top of their own, in order to ensure the quality of their products because millions of consumers depend on them. Photographers test only insofar as mastery of their product is necessary.

    If someone is really interested in knowing the exact toe speed of TMX 100, he or she will embark on the requisite testing not out of scientific curiosity, but because that person already LIKED the product, even when not finely handled. That's a heuristic approach, and it will stay like that for long, for most people. We buy a random film, we say WOW, and then the most dedicated among us decide to refine the WOW into more solid knowledge.
    Last edited by Michel Hardy-Vallée; 12-03-2007 at 06:49 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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  6. #26

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    [QUOTE=mhv;553541]
    Right, now that I've enhanced slightly your knowledge, as per your request (although this is something you could have easily found yourself, had you spent time reading the manufacturers' website) may I voice an opinion?

    I think you are a dilettante, and that you have neither the stamina, nor even the sense of a realistic horizon in your testing. You will never complete this project, ever, because you will abandon it after a few attempts.
    QUOTE]

    While I appreciate your finding lists from Kodak and Fuji and Ilford, I already have their films.

    I'm concerned about testing all OTHER films available, which aren't as clear-cut as Kodak/Fuji.

    I'm not going to complete this project? No, probably not since all I am getting is negative criticizm.

    My purpose isn't establishing ALL developers made. There are literally thousands out there. That absolutely would be an impossible test.

    Testing all manufactured films though? Not so difficult. Quite doable. I have all of the equipment at my disposal except for the MTF charts (which is, by the way, what I am currently researching). I have a studio, lights, suitable cameras, interchangeable 120 film backs, MY OWN C-41 machine, a reputable slide processor, my own B&W darkroom, and you think I am going to fail? I am going to have twice as hard a time with everyone posting something negative in their responses, but you aren't going to dissuade or prevent me from running this test. Some of you guys on here are really friggin' depressing, and by not helping me in my attempts to survey the range of available B&W film developers, you are further complicating the difficulties I face in narrowing down the list of B&W developers.

    I've gotten lot of flack for testing Agfa products. They may not be available even when I get around to shooting this test (probalby not until Spring of next year), but I have heard there is still a sizeable surplus, and the more stocks I test, the more knowledge everyone gains.

    Frankly, I can't believe no one trusts the validity of such a test. The actual photography is mind-numbingly easy. Processing not that much more difficult. The hard part is actually coming up with the money to buy all the film and chemistry and performing various iterations of pushing and pulling different stocks. It will also be very time consuming to conduct such a test.

    There are certain avenues of testing that will have to be somehow limited or constrained. Without imput, it does become impossible to do a test including EVERY developer.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by FilmIs4Ever View Post

    My purpose isn't establishing ALL developers made. There are literally thousands out there. That absolutely would be an impossible test.

    Testing all manufactured films though? Not so difficult. Quite doable. I have all of the equipment at my disposal except for the MTF charts (which is, by the way, what I am currently researching). I have a studio, lights, suitable cameras, interchangeable 120 film backs, MY OWN C-41 machine, a reputable slide processor, my own B&W darkroom, and you think I am going to fail? I am going to have twice as hard a time with everyone posting something negative in their responses, but you aren't going to dissuade or prevent me from running this test. Some of you guys on here are really friggin' depressing, and by not helping me in my attempts to survey the range of available B&W film developers, you are further complicating the difficulties I face in narrowing down the list of B&W developers.

    I've gotten lot of flack for testing Agfa products. They may not be available even when I get around to shooting this test (probalby not until Spring of next year), but I have heard there is still a sizeable surplus, and the more stocks I test, the more knowledge everyone gains.

    Frankly, I can't believe no one trusts the validity of such a test. The actual photography is mind-numbingly easy. Processing not that much more difficult. The hard part is actually coming up with the money to buy all the film and chemistry and performing various iterations of pushing and pulling different stocks. It will also be very time consuming to conduct such a test.

    There are certain avenues of testing that will have to be somehow limited or constrained. Without imput, it does become impossible to do a test including EVERY developer.
    OK, you're not as crazy as I thought, so what I would suggest is that you start looking for threads in APUG about Efke, Adox, Foma, Bergger, Forte, Arista, Maco, and Rollei films. These are the main contenders in the rebranding game.

    See for instance:
    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum37/1...tml#post163347

    If you email Freestyle, you will be surprised to find that they are generally forthright in telling you which manufacturer makes which Arista product. Given that all Arista films and papers are rebranded, I would simply write them off your list.

    Real second-tier manufacturers include Foma (Czech), Slavich (Russia), Efke (Croatia), the now defunct Forte (Hungary), and the Lucky/Shanghai/Shantou (China) guys.

    Fotoimpex is going to be a player to be reckoned with. They have acquired the Agfa film and paper formulas, and the beta paper I received from them was peachy. Right now they sell products under the ADOX brand which come mainly from European sources, some of which are rebranded. Send an email to Mirko Boeddecker (www.fotoimpex.de) to unravel the products if you need. Mirko also hangs on APUG under the name "ADOX FOTOIMPEX" and provides lots of useful information.

    Maco and Rollei are weird joes. On the one hand, they are mostly packagers/brander, but on the other hand they bring to the market "new" products (like films from Agfa-Gevaert that had little use but were tweaked for the consumer. Their recent Tech Pan clone seems to be an example of this). Again, go to their web pages, look at their products, and CONTACT THEM. Do your homework before blaming the APUG people for not feeding you all the information.

    As for developer, you have two choices: on the one hand, D-76, as it said to be the developer for which all films (except specialty ones) behave well. On the other hand, pick up the ISO film standard (Google...) and you will find the formula for a standard developer which is used to determine ISO speed.

    As far as "vanilla developers" go, this is it. There is also XTOL, which is in the same class as D-76, but it's more recent, and it might be harder to find starting times.

    If you want to know everything about film developers to make an informed choice, go read the Film Developing Cookbook, it's one of the best resource. After that, go to your local library or most likely a university library, and find a copy of Grant Haist's "Modern Film Processing" a 1500+ two-tome book detailing all the gory details of film production. Technically speaking, it's an introductory text. You will find a lot of useful and rather current information about developers. In fact, if you read both the Cookbook and Haist, you will find that there is a lot of overlap.

    I've listed all the developers from Kodak and Ilford. You might want to look at those sold at Photographer's Formulary, as they represent a very popular set of "alternative" developers.

    Now that should get you started...
    Last edited by Michel Hardy-Vallée; 12-03-2007 at 08:42 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    Using film since before it was hip.


    "One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11

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  8. #28

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    and remember that each film format will behave differently so tests should be done for 35mm 120 4x5 etc.
    And since most people don't have rotary processors but a a fair few do, tests should be done for both rotary and hand processing and for sheet film also tray processing.

  9. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by FilmIs4Ever View Post
    I'm not going to complete this project? No, probably not since all I am getting is negative criticizm.
    By and large, you've been getting constructive criticism and suggestions for how to tweak your procedure. You might want to consider that your attitude is putting off people who really would like to help you.

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    After all the time I spent typing my reply to your thread last night, I'm wondering how it got converted to "negative criticizm" in your head? ;-)
    Best of luck on the project,
    Jed

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