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  1. #11
    brian steinberger's Avatar
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    I took a ride on the film merry-go-around over the last few years. I tried every single film that is or was available in 120. Why? Because I was curious. I think the number reason photographers switch films all the time is because they are chasing a certain look and are too impatient to stick with a film and learn it to get the look they want. This was me too. I think the main difference in films are either traditional or T-grain emulsions. They do look different. Other than that there's grain and speed but nothing major. I chose to go with FP4 as my slow speed film and Tri-x and HP5 as my fast films. I still haven't decided on which 400 speed film to stick with, I like them both. I prefer the look and grain of traditional films over T-grain films. So I can recommend everyone pick one or two films and one developer and go with it, but I wouldn't know which films work for me hadn't I taken a ride on the film merry go-around to decide for myself.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by adam211 View Post
    Thanks for your replies. I wonder how anyone picks a B&W film. It seems it must be half blind, half informed.
    It should be understood is that at least from the big three it is really tough to buy a bad film. FP4, Delta, T-Max, or Acros will all do a fine jobs.

    What differs is only the personality.

    So Adam, the question becomes "how are you trying to change your results?" or "how is Tri-X failing you?"

    Grain?

    Detail?

    Bite?

    Contrast?

    Tones?

    Smoothness?

    ...?
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by MaximusM3 View Post
    You have Tri-X, now pick a slower one. FP4 or TMax 100, are fine choices and will cover all your needs. Curiosity is fine but it usually leads to confusion and endless testing. Get to know two emulsions, with a couple of developers at most, and spend your time having fun shooting and creating. How do you pick a b&w film? By necessity, really. Pick one or two that fit your requirements, whether they may be speed, grain, etc and run with it. Not complicated really. I was talking to a very famous and accomplished photographer/printer two days ago and was admiring some of his prints. It never dawned on me to ask any technical questions, which invariably turn an interesting conversation into a boring one, but, since the collection was quite unique and the prints mind boggling, I fired the question. I was inclined to think it was medium format but it turned out to be 35mm, with the entire series shot on Ilford XP2 (a C41 b&w emulsion). He picked that because it rendered the scenes/exposures the way he wanted them, and mostly considering how he was going to print them. Now, if your goal is scanning, you may want to consider the issue of grain, since scanning usually does poorly in that department.
    What other films look like? I don't know if anyone can really answer that question. You can make almost anything look like something else if you know what you're doing. There are too many variables to consider so, looking at someone else's scans or prints on any given film, will probably confuse one more than help. Are you ultimately printing in a darkroom or scanning for alternative output?

    Max
    Ultimately interested in printing in a darkroom, but will probably start off scanning for the next year or two as I start my journey. I guess most photographers have a slower film, but after shooting 400 speed film it's hard to imagine me willingly loading 100 speed film in my camera unless I knew I was going to be shooting the entire roll mid-day on a sunny day. Otherwise I just don't have that flexibility of shooting wide open. I'll stick with Tri-X for a while, but if it fits the bill why even try anything slower?

    I do like and agree with what everyone said about getting to know one particular film, and I intend to do that with Tri-X. Curiousity leads me to wonder more about other emulsions but I'll stick to what I have for now.

    Quote Originally Posted by markbarendt View Post
    So Adam, the question becomes "how are you trying to change your results?" or "how is Tri-X failing you?"
    Tri-X isn't failing me. I just started and haven't gotten far enough to know. Per above I'll stick with and fiddle around with Tri-X, I was just hoping to see some examples that characterized the different emulsions, particulalry what the "T grain" emulsions vs the traditional actually looks like. But I suppose those comparison don't exist because that is more complicatated than I thought. I'll be content for now.

  4. #14

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    I've tried several films and several developers in the last 2+ years. My experience isn't that long. I have been finding, the difference between films and developers (and combinations) isn't a significant factor in my photography. Initially, I did tests after tests and stressed over many things. If you see my early posts, you'll find how I had fought with XTOL and Tmax400. These days, I'm far more relaxed. I might overexpose a stop and under-develop 20% or so, if I feel it's necessary. I tend to put more of my effort toward printing in darkroom.

    Film wise, I basically settled on Tri-X and Tmax400. They tend to have different mood to it that I like each in their own way. While I do "stock" Plus-X and Tmax100, I rarely use them. I don't know what equipment you use but with my F-100, I can have high shutter speed that allows me to open up a bit. It's rare 400 is too fast. (especially when I over expose by 1 stop) When I use medium format, max shutter speed is 1/400 so it is more of an issue there.

    I know I'm not answering your questions directly. Nevertheless, this is my experience.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  5. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by MattKing View Post
    To the OP:

    Yours is a good question, but not one that is simply answered.

    To draw a comparison, have you ever tried to research the purchase of a new car? If you have, most likely you will have had at least some frustration with the myriad of "facts" compared, and opinions offered.

    One thing that may help, however, is to get used to how Tri-X behaves in a developer that you choose, and learn how to describe that behaviour in terms (shadow speed, resolution, accutance, grain, contrast, highlight retention, spectral response, etc.) that are commonly understood by those who like to talk about film .
    Very well said IMO.

    For the record, I use a number of films because I will often want a certain "look" that a particular film/developer combination will provide, but that's just me. I've either learned the results or am willing to learn it. I'll shut up for now.
    I would love to use the "FP" flash setting on my camera, but I cannot find "Flash Powder" anywhere... such is life.

  6. #16
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    Just as a tip, I read today that it isn't anything wrong in trying out what's out there and then buy more of the film(s) you actually like.

    Start with a general developer, like XTol or HC110, buy an example of most brands and develop them all in that developer.
    See anything you like? Stick with it for a while.

    But now you have an idea of various films in that developer, then you can research the net if you found one film interesting, but not quite what you were after.
    The internet, with flickr and other places, is a tremendous resource to get an idea on how your film can look, even before you test it yourself.

    I've always felt a bit provoked by people claiming to "stick with one film, one developer and learn it". All films are not equal, Ilford delta, Tmax, Foma and Rollei retro all have a very very different looks and you certainly can't do "eveything" with a single film.
    - Also Tri-x 400 in 35mm can be very grainy, why recommend that film? If that was my first film to try in 35mm, I would be very sceptical to the film medium because of the grain, but that's me and my taste...

    Besides, in the days of the internet, information gathering is 100 times faster in the old days, so you can learn a lot in a fraction of the time it took in the olden days.

    Start with ISO 100 films is my tip, at least in 35mm, except if you are after grain and grit.
    Last edited by Helinophoto; 12-30-2011 at 08:11 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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    "Nice picture, you must have an amazing camera."
    Visit my photography blog at: http://helino-photo.blogspot.com

  7. #17
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adam211 View Post
    after shooting 400 speed film it's hard to imagine me willingly loading 100 speed film in my camera unless I knew I was going to be shooting the entire roll mid-day on a sunny day. Otherwise I just don't have that flexibility of shooting wide open. I'll stick with Tri-X for a while, but if it fits the bill why even try anything slower?
    I used to think that.

    It was when I started printing in the darkroom and found my size, 11x14, that I really started "findng" my limits for certain 35mm films.

    What I've now found, and this is just for me, is that HP5's and Tri-X's grain can really start competing with small but important details on a significant number of shots at this size. Delta 400's grain generally doesn't seem to interfere so much.

    Delta 100 though makes a significant improvement in the fine details and I'm finding that I can shoot it just about anywhere and anytime in almost any situation that I used to think I needed a 400 speed film.

    My only real struggle with Delta 100 is the contrast, I know that's a solvable problem, but it is really tough to get excited about that work when that darn old school FP4 shoots so easy and nice. So easy that I just bought another 100 feet plus 10 rolls of 120.

    Quote Originally Posted by adam211 View Post
    I do like and agree with what everyone said about getting to know one particular film, and I intend to do that with Tri-X. Curiousity leads me to wonder more about other emulsions but I'll stick to what I have for now.
    As you can tell I'm not an adherent to the one film doctrine.

    Many people do very well with one film, and Tri-X is a nice one, but you'll never know how the others might fit until you try.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  8. #18

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    I asked questions before or say started thread about using or going with different films and developers, but the posts/replies i've got here and there is to stuck with one film and developer for consistency or whatever, and i think going with different films/developers may take me no where, but my main question is: how can i know if the developed film i did is successful? I mean how can i know that i did an excellent job of developing a film? I don't have an enlarger yet and not sure i can get one any soon for reasons, should i stop shooting film at all then until i can get an enlarger?

  9. #19
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    If it scans (flatbed, whatever) well then it will print well.

    If it scans poorly, then it may still print well, provided that the negative is not underexposed (too light) or too contrasty (lots of opaque patches on the neg). Overexposure is not a problem in the darkroom.

    You can also look at the neg with the naked eye and check if there is discernible detail in both shadows and highlights.

    Don't judge by the rebates (edge numbering/lettering)- that doesn't mean a thing.

  10. #20

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    Actually by scanning i got to have great results with any film if developed fine, i just know how and what to adjust or tweak a bit, i don't do straight no adjustment scan, i have the controls on the the scanning software to learn/discover, at beginning first time using the scanner i wasn't so happy, but later i pushed the scanner to the limits and i was able to get nice decent results, but i am not sure if i start to adjust something, is that mean the developing is not right first place? or it must scan flawlessly direct straight without any adjustment to say/judge that the developing was successful?

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