An overview of B&W film by YOU!
I'm looking at buying in bulk, and because I live in NZ (isolated from the world) I won't be able to try them before I buy so what I'm wanting is your opinion on any number of any of the following films Ie. Love it, hate it, and why? Contrasty, Flat, Good for pushing/pulling... Anything, that will help me make a more informed decision as possible.
• Kodak Tmax - Ok I know what this is like. Its the cheapest stuff in my area. I think its ok...
•*Ilford, I like this, I like their HP5+ and their PanF+ but its pricey where I am.
• Foma Fomapan
• Rollei Retro
Thats really all I'm looking at at the moment. Thanks
Oh, btw, if there is a website that will give me an overview of these films then please let me know.
Please tell us what format you are shooting as it will make a difference in whats recommended.
Well I use predominantly Tmax 100 and 400 which are superb, I used to also use Agfa APX100 (Rollei Retro) but once it was discontinued in 5x4 I stopped using it in 120 & 35mm but again excellent as good as Tmax100 and a full stop faster for my use.
Ilford films are all excellent, the only reason I've not been using them was I preferred APX100, and the Tmax's, which came out before Delta 100 etc.
Adox/Efke - I use the KB14/PL14 now known by its more modern ISO rating as KB25/PL25, very very good.
Forte, well asn the plants closed I wouldn't start using it now, it's OK for large format but comparatively not as good s the others for grain, sharpness etc.
Fomapan, I'm testing, it's very strange in 120 because of it's blue base, not sure what to make of it yet.
In all honesty I can use all the films I've mentioned other than Foma (at the moment) and produce excellent negatives and prints, the crunch really comes if you shoot 35mm where the greater enlargement makes the differences more apparent.
I shoot mostly 4x5 and MF, although I recently got a 35mm RF. I shoot almost exclusively HP5 in 4x5 and MF, which I mostly develop in HC110. I am an amateur, so I don't shoot a huge amount (I would estimate ~100 sheets of LF and 50 rolls of MF per year), and by sticking with one developer/film combination I get to know what to expect pretty well. I am worried that by adding another variable into the mix, I would get confused.
One of the things that I like about HP5, which I also had with Plus-X and Tri-X which used to be my films of choice, is that there is a relatively smooth and slow variation of contrast with developing time. I played with some of the T-max films, and found them more difficult to control contrast. Perhaps with more practice....
Now, I am considering going to something else in 35mm, mainly because I am afraid of the grain in those tiny negatives, so I am thinking of something with finer grain - perhaps FP4+.
All things being equal, I will tend to lean towards Ilford since I feel that they have a greater commitment to the B&W market. I used to use a lot of Plus-X and Kodak paper, both of which have been discontinued now. I hope that Ilford materials will be supported for the forseeable future.
I purchase film approx every six months, from B&H since what I get from them is much fresher than my local camera shop, and I keep it in the freezer.
Sponsored Ad. (Subscribers to APUG have the option to remove this ad.)
If you have'nt tried them, Fuji Acros 100 & Neopan 400 are excellent films.
I've ordered twice from Megaperls in Japan.
Good prices, and surface mail,the cheapest option,reaches me in Dunedin (NZ) within a week of ordering.
You may have to sign up with PayPal.
FP4 is my general use B&W film. Works good; light hits it and some kind of photochemical reduction occurs which can then be accellerated with developing agents to give this weird inversed image which can be projected onto commercial photosensitive paper. You have to hit it with a little more light than you do something like HP5, but the tradeoff is that you get more (and much smaller) clumpy particles that form the image, which makes the image look smoother and finer.
Some people like getting bigger clumpy particles so they use HP5.
Sometimes I want to capture light from wavelengths beyond 750 or 800nm exclusively, because it makes nice pictures, so I use Efke IR820 or Kodak HSI / HIE if I can find it.
This cheeky response is basically my way of saying that I don't think it matters what film you end up using so long as you take the time to learn its characteristics and get a film of the right speed for your requirements. Something you can easily get a new supply of should probably be your primary concern.
The universe is a haunted house. -Coil
I have shot loads of Fomapan 100 120 film and I absolutely love it. I develop it always in APH 09 (original Rodinal formula) at 1:25 for 8-8.30 minutes. I have made exhibition prints from it too. The blue base does seem weird at first, but I have grown to miss it in other brands, strangely. I am enjoying NP 100 asa films too for 1/4 plate and whole plate. Like Foma (but not blue!).
I really like the new Tmax400. I don't think they changed much, from what I read online, but if you need a good solid 400 speed film you won't go far wrong. I'm probably going to use Tmax400 as my exclusive 400 speed film but still have lots of Fuji Neopan 400 to shoot too. My lower-speed fine-grain film of choice is Fuji's Acros, but Ilford PanF is great stuff too. Our local shop stopped carrying it though - no demand - so I probably won't shoot much of it. I have a feeling grainwise, Acros and PanF are equal.
In life you only get one great dog, one great car, and one great woman. Pet the dog. Drive the car. Make love to the woman. Don't mix them up.
Wow Thanks everyone! You've all been a great help already!
Thanks Smudger, I'll check it out!
Oh and by the way I'm shooting 135 and 120