Alternative 35mm Films
I know there are threads containing all sorts of information and suggestions in almost every forum, so I apologise for trying to get some idea's in one area. Like others here I must admit I've not slept too well since the combined news of Agfa and Ilford. I've now got my logical head screwed back on and know that preparation for the worst event at least will be a distraction until we know the real situation.
Currently my films of choice which suit my work are all Ilford and in order of preference Pan F (rated at 50); FP4+ (rated at 100-125) and HP5+ (rated 200-1600). I intend to continue using Rodinal (optomistic) for up to 400 and DD-X for above 400.
As I intend to stock up on loads of film over the next few days of not only Ilford but also alternatives to try, my question is what films would possibly provide me with the same qualities as my Ilford loves?
I'm sure as the most civilised photography site on the web we can keep this a good clean "fight"
Kind regards Tony
Many thanks for being brave and the first to reply. Hopefully (please folks) there will be no flames as all I'm asking is peoples considered preferences rather than a debate of "mine is better than yours" ... after all this is APUG and we are all friends here ... ooops sounds like I'm back in teaching at college.
Originally Posted by jdef
Stock up on delta 100. Enlarged to 11x14 you have to smash your nose against it to see the grain. Kodak HIE, and T-Max.
Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI
So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004
Last night I dreamt Agfa started making APX-25 again, continued with APX-100 and bought Ilford to replace APX-400 (worlds grainiest film?) with HP5 after renaming it APX-5+
Many do fine work with TMX and TMY, but they really are different from traditional emulsions, such as Pan-F+, FP4+, and HP5+. And while I wouldn't think of flaming anyone for liking them, they really aren't a good substitute--they are different, I am not saying they are bad, nor good, just different.
Anchell & Troop in "The Film Developing Cookbook" explain it better than I can.
With the Ilford & Agfa situation, I was reading my old Kodak technical publication on films this morning. I was a fan of Verichrome Pan and was trying to figure out why I liked it, based on the curve. The only thing I can figure out is that it was a combination of a short toe and a very long straightline section. It looks like FP4+ would share those similarities.
In spite of what I said earlier, TMY has a similar curve, though all TMax films will tend to have highlight contrast that is too much for me.
If we can't buy Ilford nor Agfa, and you choose not to go with Kodak, that leaves Efke, Bergger, and Foma. Try Efke. The Efke 25 curve looks promising.
By the way, you can mix Rodinal from chemicals, so even if it ceases to be available pre-packaged, you can use it.
Let's see what happens, though. If enough of us buy Ilford fearing it's demise, maybe the company will realize there is a market and that might help find a buyer for the company.
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Mark - Yes I've tried Delta but can't quite make up my mind about it.
Nige - Now that would be a dream I'd love to share!!
Voceumana - Well I'll be buying fist (no arm) fulls of Ilford tomorrow but will add a few alternatives to play with just incase.
Good news to hear I can make my own Rodinal if push comes to shove - I'm in love with the stuff almost as much as a good single malt wiskey
Should -heaven forbid -Rodinal vanish into a thin haze, there's always Foma 09 or Calbe 09 which are practically the same.
On the film front: there's this new Chinese film called Lucky. Has anybody tried this?
Digital is best taken with a grain of silver.
Good to hear from you Those are all new to me so I'll have to do some digging for details. From all the reports I've read I am fearing the worst for Ilford (may the gods prove me wrong), but I suspect Agfa has more of a fighting chance as it has at least a management buyout that will hopefully give it some scope to fill the market which could be opening up. If we do lose Ilford there will be a big void in my life as I've used Ilford since 1976
There are the gigabit films,available from retrophotographic as well as Maco's 400 cube plus film which are "alternative" to standard BW film.
"An object never performs the same function as its name or its image"-Rene Magritte
"An image of a dog does not bite"-William James applied to photography
For a nice, slow film with good acuity, contrast and tight grain I'm using Efke 25. It has a wonderful tonality but does take some getting used to for development and exposure. Test first.
For a closer speed to FP4+ try Efke 100 with its push-pull characteristics there is no equal (see Francesco's images for information about its capabilities).
Last, the new J&C 400 seems to be working well for some but I'm not sure how much speed you can actually squeeze out of it. Again, Francesco seems to be able to get good results so check his images in the gallery and the information he posts to get an idea of his findings.
The supply of these film should not be a problem for some time to come as their market share is increasing now and will continue to grow as more large players drop out of the race. Hopefully their management is up to the challenge, but so far it looks promising. I'm using PMK for processing. Francesco uses Pyrocat. Both of these developers are one shot so consistency is good, costs are cheap and you can "roll your own" for very little money. I was concerned at first about toxicity, chemistry and mixing and initial costs, but results are much better than I would have hoped and I'm very comfortable now with the PMK. Film speed with PMK is about half of the manufacturers listed iso, so you may want to think along different lines. Pyrocat seems to give better results as far as film speed is concerned.
As the market place changes, we must adapt to what is available. This is not a problem but an opportunity for change & growth (that or a major P.I.T.A.).