You need to also consider Kodak 400Tri-X, possibly Kodak 320Tri-X (depending on if you are using sheet films), and the Fuji black and white films. All these should be available in your area. Also remember that Kodak TMAX comes in three different flavors - TMX (speed 100), TMY (speed 400) and TMZ (35mm only, speed between 1000 and 25000 depending on processing). My experience with 400Tri-X has been excellent. I find that the TMAX films are also very fine, but note that they are all quite different from ordinary films and from each other. Some learning is usually required. I have no experience with the Fuji products, but reviews have been good.
I've used Tri-X developed in D-76 now for nearly 20 year and it's worked great for me. I keep hearing Kodak is getting rid of more and more of their b&w products and I wanted to look around at other options so a few months ago I ordered several 35mm rolls of Ilford HP5, Fuji Neopan 400, and Foma 200 to see what they were like. After shooting them all and developing in my usual D76 1:1, I still like Tri-X best. It's weird - my Tri-X negs look pretty dull/non-contrasty compared to the others, especially the HP5 negs which really "pop" visually. But when it came to printing the HP5 has more contrast and grain than I wanted. Tri-X is very easy to print and have come out looking great and the grain is very fine for 400 speed. The Foma 200 grain was comparable, but even on a dull grey/noncontrasty day, the highlights in a lot of my pics were blown out.
Verdict? I'm staying with Tri-X for now. In 400 speed I liked Fuji next best followed by Ilford HP5. I also shoot a lot of Plus-X and think it's stellar.
If you are looking for smooth tonal transitions and subtler contrast: try the lower speed ilford deltas, the tmaxes or perhaps acros, in the appropriate developer.
If you like a fair dose of traditional edge contrast but still smooth tones and fairly tight grain, try fp4+ in good old ID11/D76 1+1, rated at box speed.
If you are on the go and need more speed options (push/pull), and like the 'character' of the fp4+, then try hp5+, again in ID11/D76 1+1 and rated at box speed, or xtol if you want finer grain. I rarely mess with xtol or similar but that option is there.
Among the higher speed films, consider the higher neopans and also delta 3200. Regarding the Fujis, check at megaperls, sometimes they have some Fuji oddities that don't appear elsewhere.
If I were exiled for years on a remote island and granted a bulk quantity of film and developer, I think I would pick hp5+ and xtol.
I love pushing Efke KB400 in Diafine or Hubl's Glycin- an EI of 1600, while grainy (I like film grain), still gives excellent tone
I think you really only have two choices for bulk 135 film, Ilford and Kodak.
Fuji stopped bulk 135 film last year, so they are out of the equation.
These three companies have a track record of very well made products.
FP4+ is an excellent product that will work extremely well from 50 to 200. It has one of the best tonal ranges I know of.
HP5+ at 200 isn't as fine grained as FP4+ but of course at 320 or 400 to 800 it is better than FP4+.
Depending on the tax system in your country, you may be better off purchasing Ilford films from the USA.
My last purchase of 200 sheets of Ilford FP4+ from Badger in the USA was 47% cheaper than buying it from any Australian shop. That price included freight!
You may also look into mixing your own developer from scratch. Unbelievably cheap and you should always have fresh stock solution.
Sponsored Ad. (Subscribers to APUG have the option to remove this ad.)
Well, there still are more bulk DP 35mm films on offer than made by these two companies.
Originally Posted by Mick Fagan
Look at the range of Maco. (All branded as Rollei.)
AgX, yes there is Maco, but the price of their films that I looked at this morning in my photo store, was prohibitive for single rolls.
However I just looked up the same store online and found that Maco film was about the same price of Kodak bulk films.
I'm glad you pointed this out, I haven't given Maco much thought for bulk film before this time.
Ilford are the most expensive nearly $80.
Maco UP400 is next at $62.70
Kodak Tri-x 400 is $62.15
All Australian dollars.
Tmax? Don't like it. Never have. Ilford HP5+, FP4+, PanF+? I'm comfortable with them and like the results I get. TriX and Plus-X are a couple more to consider. I like them both.
That means exactly zero to you.
I don't know of any film that is truly wretched. You find a film (or several films) you understand and like and stick with it. Once you become comfortable with a film, you don't have to think about what you're doing, you just...do it.
So, my advice is to buy a few rolls of each film you're considering and see what you like best before jumping into a bulk batch that may not work for you.
Then go buy a lot of the film(s) that fits your comfort zone.
Of these films you mention I have used both HP5+ and Pan F but mainly HP5+. Pan F can be restricting for handheld shots in the U.K. for a lot of the year due to our lattitude(50-60 degrees N). HP5+ has a great tonal range and used in both Perceptol and DDX has a great range of speeds. From say 200 to "the sky's the limit"- well all the way to 3200! However in 135 at greater than box speed it begins to get quite grainy. Depends on your print size of course.
First of all thanks everyone who has replied, GREAT responses! Just what I was after.
Not really, I'm all for opinions over facts in this case, I like to know why people like or don't like film...
Originally Posted by Lee Shively