Ok now I have a longer moment to elucidate on the cosmic ponderings vis-a-vis B&W films and what they mean and the context they have in our perceptually narrowed universe.
Pan F - great film, fine grain but can be a bit contrasty depending on development. Not very happy with sloppy exposure calculations. Can be very nice in 120 format but not worth the hassle in 35mm.
FP 4 - one of my favorites and if it wasn't for Agfa APX 100 it would be what I use 80% of the time. Absolutely a religious experience when developed in HC110 at 1:31 or PyroCat HD. IMHO (ok so I'm not so humble) a much more "photogenic" film than Pan F, especially when dealing with 35mm.
You are really limiting yourself if you are using 35mm. Ditch it for at least a 6X4.5 system with interchangeable backs. That way you can match the film to the situation and if you have enough backs, also the development needed, ie: + or - etc.
I got rid of my 35 stuff (well most of it) ages ago and have never looked back. My MF kit weights about the same as my old 35mm kit did and with the deals available these days on MF gear there is no excuse to not upgrade.
I was doing some color enlargements yesterday for a friend who uses 35mm. She has tier 1 gear, very good glass, uses a tripod all the time and uses Pro film. We shot some of the same shots, me using a Blad. Even at 5x7 enlargement the difference is incredable!
The oracle has departed.
Hiya, I am not ditching my beloved 35mm gear, although I did get a medium format (Mamiya 7II 6x7) this summer. I got the rangefinder just so it was lightweight enough to be convenient. Alas I'm still trying to get used to (1) rangefinders (2) a wide-angle lens (65mm), so until I manage to buy myself a standard 80mm lens for it, my 35mm gear will still be my main workhorse.
Actually since I use mainly 4x5 gear the Blad is my "little camera". It's all relative.
Jin, first of all love FP4, have some Pan F but have not used it. My two main films at this moment are PlusX and FP4, soup is either Rodinal 1:50 or 1:25 or ID-11. If it is 4x5 then it goes into HC-110. I really like PlusX in Rodinal, though others here are not as fond of it.
Main point is, just grab some chemicals, a small tank and reels and go to town. B&W film development is not hard and gives you so much control - plus takes up very little room.
You won't be sorry if you do, but you will wonder why you kept sending it out to be processed by someone else.
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Pan F is a great film once you learn to tame its contrast. However it has an unusual characteristic. If you expose part of a roll and forget it in the camera for some time the images slowly become fugitive. When developed they will be increasingly less dense than more recently exposed images.
I found Pan F to be a great film, but very contrasty. I'd suggest exposing it at ISO 32 and taking 25%-30% off the development time to control contrast.
I have used FP4+ ever since it came on the market, and will continue to use it. Back when I shot 30 rolls a week I would develop it in Ilfosol S at 10% more than recommended time, and got great negatives. Now that my throughput is on a less than commercial level, I find that Ilfosol S deteriorates too fast for me. But if I had 10 rolls to process, I'd buy a bottle!
PanF is one I use a lot now in my old folders (120). So far I've developed it in DDX, Pyrocat-HD and Beutler with good results. I actually prefer the Beutler, but haven't tried FX-2 yet. I expose it at rated speed for developing in Beutler/Neofin Bleu. Great negatives for diffusion enlarger!
-- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
Thanks for all the information! I've got an awful lot to digest. I'm really looking forward to putting those rolls through my camera now and seeing what pans out. Something those digital folks must miss.
Mark - when you say "a long time", do you mean you left the roll unfinished for weeks or months?
Aggie - yeah, I'm still grappling with a rangefinder and getting used to framing pictures within that yellow rectangle in the viewfinder. I find the 65mm too wide, so maybe I'll learn more quickly with an 80mm. It's a great camera and the successful shots I've had with it, I really liked. Too bad, I'm still getting used to the different aspect ratio (6x7).... Have you seen those rangefinder calibration devices on sale on Ebay? Do they work effectively, and is it a good idea to buy one? I've just heard scary stories of the Mamiya needing recalibration after 1-2 years of heavy-ish use.
Sorry - I'm drifting out of point again! :oops: