Which film do you prefer and why?
I just read another thread on this forum and a user mentioned that Tri-X 320 and 400 have different characteristics (320 having an "unswept" curve while the 400 produces more linear results).
I'm fairly new to the traditional photography world and to be quite honest, I thought people mainly chose the films they did based on the amount of grain, the color characteristics (such as Velvia being more saturated), the ability to do long exposures (repricocity?), etc. Now that I read that post, I feel like there is a lot more to film then just the quality/size of the grain (in another thread, someone mentioned the different thickness of the anti-halation layer and how that plays a roll in developing film).
I was wondering if the fine people here on APUG could share why you shoot the particular b/w film you do and why. I understand that the availability of light will obviously play an important factor (ie: 100 vs 3200 ISO), but I guess in a more general sense, what kind of characteristics do you look for in a film and why.
BTW, I've bought a few different types of b/w film to try and see which one I prefer. So far, I've only gone through maybe 2-3 rolls of Fuji Neopan Acros 100 and Delta 3200 (which I have yet to get developed). I currently have a roll of Delta 400 in my Rolleiflex and some Kodak TMY400 and HP5 sitting in the fridge. So many choices!
Ilford FP4+ in xtol 1+2 is quite nice.
Agfa APX 100 in xtol 1+1 is stunning.
Acros in either rodinal or xtol is also really nice.
I mostly do landscape and architecture in black and white. My current favorite is Tri-X 400 (400TX). I've tried a lot of films over the years, and I still use a good many different films (TMX, TMY, FP-4, HP-5, PL-100M, almost anything handy). But the look of Tri-X is unique, and I like it best by a pretty wide margin. The grain is fine enough that it does not bother me even for 35mm, and the gradation is outstanding for my kind of work. It is also available just about anywhere that has black and white film. I'm not sure what the runner up is - probably either TMX or FP-4, which are quite different from each other and from Tri-X.
I suspect that a favorite film will have a lot to do with both what you photograph and what you're used to. Once you find something that works decently well for you, you tune your technique to it.
If you want to choose a picky film with a different specteral response (yet another characteristic to consider), try Efke 25. Nothing beats it on an overcast day, but it can be a harsh mistress. A red filter is not advised, yellow will darken a sky, but red will darken everything.
Reasons I choose film have to do with many things. Sometimes I just like the way a film shoots. I like Ilford sheet films because the quality is very good, and the emulsion is robust. I have fewer problems with it. Same goes for TriX 320, and it looks fantastic for the speed. I like Efke emulsions because they are older formulations that have a verry retro look. Food gets shot on Velvia, as there isn't anything that treats those textures and colors quite like it.
One piece of advice though... get to really know at least one emulsion before you start bipping around all over the place. That way you will know how the new thing performs, because you will have a baseline of experience to judge from.
Man, I wish I got into this traditional photography stuff sooner. There's so much to learn and endless amounts of film/developer/technique combinations! I don't even quite understand much of the basic concepts, yet I'm trying to blaze through everything all at once.
Sage advice once again Jason! I'll focus on shooting a few different films and try to master working with them. I'll be using HC-110 until I run out (which I'm guessing will last me a very long time, considering I don't shoot much), so that should be a some-what constant variable
Still, I'd like to see other suggestions and preferred films by other members! It's all very interesting
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I love Fuji Neopan 400 in Xtol 1:1. But every photographer & every subject deserves a different combination, so you need to find what is right for you. There are so many variables.. Pick a film and a developer and stick with it.
What I look for in a film is mainly tonality. There are quite grainy films around but they still can have beautiful tonality. I found that I could happily use most films on the market; only two, Ilford PanF+ and Kodak PlusX, in my standard D76/ID-11 developer just didn't give an appealing look to me. But to be fair, I only tried several rolls of each many years ago and seeing the results didn't persist using them. There are many people who successfully use these films.
My current films are:
Ilford Delta100 in 35mm and 120 sizes, developed in D76/ID-11 or XTOL. Absolutely fantastic stuff. A slightly grainier, but still stunning alternative is Ilford FP4+.
Kodak TriX400 in 35mm, developed in D76/ID-11. The classic.
Ilford HP5+ in 120, developed in D76/ID-11 and recently also Perceptol. It's weird, TriX doesn't work for me in 120, where HP5+ is just stunning.
I used to use a lot of Delta400 (in XTOL) and still consider it a great film. But sometimes the grain structure in even areas turned out rather ugly, especially with the additon of a yellow filter, so I tried Trix400 and just stuck with it.
Last edited by ooze; 03-11-2008 at 01:21 AM. Click to view previous post history.
HP5+ in xtol or ID-11 is my preffered film, but due to budget constraints I've done a lot of work with xtol and APX 400 - there are a lot of variables between different films, but in the end you're just looking for a medium that fits your style. I like the speed, grain and tonality of HP5 in 35mm.
I like to keep things simple so I stick with Tri-x 400 ín both 35mm and 120 formats. (In 4x5 I used APX until recently when I switched to Forte). Always develop in HC-110 dil B.
I do occasionally try other films - mostly based on what is available - but I always return to Tri-x.
I do landscapes in 4x5. I like Tri-X 320 (both the new and old) in HC-110 B (though the dev time is quite short for my liking) when I want more drama from my pictures. If I want to shoot misty dreamy stuff I like TMAX 100 in Xtol 1:1 or HC-110 for more punch. I am going to do a project in HP5+ next as I liked other people's results...