You've got lots of good recommendations. Pick any one of them and run with the ball.
I feel very comfortable with PL100, Tri-X or FP-4+. Speed IMHO is only neccesary if you're shooting on a windy day or very low light. If that describes the majority of your shooting Tmax 400 or HP-5+ would fill the bill, otherwise a 100-200 asa film will work like a charm.
There really isn't anything wrong with budget film. While I haven't tried Lucky(which is a really cheap film) Stuff like Arista .edu and Photowarehouse performs quite nicely.
D-76 is cheap, predictable, is available everywhere and works very well. I'd stick with it until you feel the urge to move on(don't be surprised if you don't get the urge to move on!) If you don't like mixing powder, Nacco sells it in liquid form.
Buy a 50 sheet box. When I started out I sorely lamented Kodak's move to 50 sheet boxes. Why? It was more expensive (of course---its Kodak!) and I was curious about trying different emulsions. As you've already realized, it takes awhile to really get to know a film and what you can expect from it. A 50 sheet box is a good start---and besides, Kodak dosen't have a lot to choose from (film-wise) anymore.
My thoughts, YMMV of course.
I like the idea of starting with an old standard combo like Tri-X and D-76 or HC110, (or FP4+ or HP5+ if that's more to your taste), and once you've got that under control, try other things as your curiosity leads you.
Efke PL100 and J&C 400 are beautiful films and are quite affordable, but if you are processing in trays, and if you are doing it for the first time, I'd start with a Kodak or Ilford film, which will be much less prone to scratching. On the other hand, if you process in deep tanks, rotary drums, or tubes, and if cheap film frees you up to shoot more, then by all means, consider Efke or J&C.
Thanks folks, I'm much more comfortable now and will soon be swiping my Metrocard and heading down to Adorama or B&H.
I'll keep my choice of whose recommendations to take to myself, I've seen those bloody threads of the Rodos vs. the Pyros!
From what I can tell 5th post down is quite a long wait for you, don't be so shy of posting......
Originally Posted by Ole
But Jim Galli told me that the 355 G-Claron I got from him can do anything including cook me a great breakfast before a day of shooting!
Originally Posted by Ole
Thanks again folks!
TMY is my choice in 8x10 for several reasons. It's a fast film, the reciprocity characteristics are much better than traditional films like tri-x & hp5, and it has seemingly endless expansion and contraction capabilities. It is quite expensive though. Efke100, my second choice, is slower, has annoying reciprocity characteristics, but has expansion & contraction capabilites close to TMY's. I prefer the tonal scale I get from Efke, but can't stand the long exposures I get with the light I shoot in and the ease with which it scratches when developing/washing in trays. Pyrocat HD does all I need, so it's the only developer I use.
Have fun, it can be mind blowing.
I would get a box of Velvia, or failing that Provia F100. The results will amaze you. And, unlike all the rest of the suggestions you have gotten so far, the colors won't be missing.
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I have some 4x5 transparencies that I made a few years ago. It's always a thrill to put them on the light box when I haven't seen them for a while. Big tranny's really do knock your socks off. I'd love to make a few 8x10's someday.
Originally Posted by roteague
I concur with the previous post in that J&C 100 is an excellent film and a bargain. As jdef pointed out, making photographs is ultimately what gets you to where you want to be, and more film equates to more photos.
Regarding developer I'd recommend using D76 1:1, but mixing it yourself to ensure a stable supply for years to come. D76 can be mixed easily and the dry chemicals stable for long periods of time on the shelf.
Wow Jay, thanks for the time and effort that went into your carefully thought-out post!
There are two things you said that had particular resonance for me:
Originally Posted by jdef
UV processes are exactly where I am headed! To tell the truth I was pretty much decided on Tri-X and D-76 because I've shot Tri-X in other formats, the emulsion hardness you mentioned, and, well it seemed so KISS. (it was also the sexy film of my youth)
I don't see the logic in intentionally using one developer in the begining, and switching later.
But, you've given me pause. The suggestion to list and rate developer characteristics is great, as is the mix your own chemicals because after the analog film holocost that will surely come, I will need to. (of course I could build a bunker and stockpile D-76!)
So, I'm off to do some homework and I hope it won't try the forums patience when I come back with a different question.
There seems to be plenty of advice about film developing and printing for LF, but to get to that stage, KISS principle or otherwise, you will first need to expose the film.
When I first started with LF I found that I was so intent on getting the film exposed that I overlooked one or two necessary settings. I eventually came to the conclusion that to get a decently exposed negative/trans. every time, I had to have a fool proof system or sequence for the operation. I now have a detailed check list that I go through before making the exposure.
Depending on how you wish to work, the list can be for such settings as:
Is there an unexposed sheet of film in the holder that has been loaded correctly:
are the settings on the camera ready for the exposure, such as swing, tilt rise fall and focus:
has the shutter and aperture been set correctly after focussing:
is the lens shade at the most efficient setting without cut off:
have you tested the shutter and cable for the speed to be used:
made a final check on correct exposure and any allowance for filters and or extention:
made sure that the camera is steady and well supported before making the exposure:
made sure the DDS is pushed right home in the holder after the exposure and tab locked:
remove the holder from the camera without pulling out the slide inadvertently:
mark the exposed DDS as to subject and other useful data:
The above is just an example, each photographer will have a custom system that works for them, however, it is still is a good idea to have a written check list attached to the equipment that cannot go missing.
The check list is not as laborious as it seems it will give your confidence a boost and reduce your material costs considerably. Good shooting. Stan. L-B
'Determine on some course more than a wild exposure to each chance' The Bard.
Stan, Thanks for the good advice and good wishes! I had to smile at the above because in "real life" I am a research coordinator and data manager; my job is 95% of what you describe! I create checklists for everything and spend 1/2 my life in databases and MS Excel making sure every T is crossed and I dotted. My job is to idiot proof research protocols. But I am sure, as sure as the day is long, that I'll screw something up, the hardest person to manage is yourself!
Originally Posted by Stan. L-B
I'll let ya know how things go. Thanks!