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  1. #1
    laz
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    KISS LF Film recommendations solicited

    Alrighty, I've spent a few weeks getting to know the camera, studying the LF literature (buying lenses!) and the kid is good to go (I know 50 ain't no kid, but I feel like one.)

    I am ready to trot down to B&H and buy sheet film and actually expose it in my 8x10. I like to keep things simple to start; is there anything that might be particular to LF that I should consider? I will be shooting landscape and contact printing. As far as developer goes I'm open.

    Thanks in advance folks, you LFers have been great in you patience with this newbie to the world of LF!

    -Bob

  2. #2
    mmcclellan's Avatar
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    Bob,

    KISS is a great approach to LF -- and the best way to do that is one film, one developer, one lens, etc.

    With 8x10, you want all the speed you can get. Just shoot Tri-X Prof (the only TX still available) and develop it in HC-110 and you won't go wrong. Test for film speed and development time -- a good way to spend a Saturday -- and then you can spend the rest of your life shooting and making images and not futzing around with film/dev combinations, tests, etc.

    Choose a good printing paper and experiment with other papers all you want in order to get the desired prints, but the most important starting point for beautiful prints is good negs. Master one film and one developer and don't even think about using others until you see that there is some deficiency in your results that needs to be addressed and THEN find something else to solve that problem. In the meantime, if you're satisfied with what you have, then just keep shooting and spend your money on books by Strand, Adams, Weston, Atget, and other greats and put your time, energy, effort, and money into making good images.

    Good luck and great approach! ))
    Michael McClellan
    Documentary Photographer
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    http://www.MichaelMcClellan.com

  3. #3

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    I agree strongly with MM for 50%. Buy, then test that Tri-X and use it forever. Me I'm a D-76 fan. 40 years ago I started with Tri-X and D-76 1+1. Then I went wandering in the desert searching for the fabled silver bullet. Now and then I would return to Tri-X & D-76.

    Let me tell you the Lone Ranger is long dead. His supply of silver bullets is long lost to history. When I retired I told myself no more searching. I have only used Tri-X & D-76. My printing has improved considerably. Stick with one "normal" film and "normal" developer and learn to use it well.

    BTW, nothing wrong with HC-110, ID-11, Rodinal. Or using FP4, HP5. Just stick with one film and developer combo. Boutique or designer type films and developers will just keep setting you back.

  4. #4

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    I would order Efke PL100 from JANDC. Soup it in pyrocat and smile.

    I agree that you should stick to one combo until you get to know it in and out.

    Nothing wrong with BPF 200 in the the same developer. You are going to get a million combinations
    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

  5. #5
    Ole
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    Sorry - I can't resist it any longer!

    Pick one film - and make sure it's FP4+. At present it looks like it may be available for a bit longer than the Tri-X... In my experience it has a bit more latitude than Tri-X, which is always useful.

    One developer too - your choise. When you have a special case that needs a special developer, ask for advice on apug again. Don't try to take pictures of the sun (with sunspots) and expect to see details in the foreground if you use any kind of normal developer - so don't try it.

    As for shooting - DoF is very small, and hyperfocal focusing leaves everything marginally sharp. A good tripod is important, as is good footing for it. It's amazing how much a tripod leg can sink into the mud in 1/10 second...
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

  6. #6
    MurrayMinchin's Avatar
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    Hi Bob, welcome aboard the LF express

    Find out what film/developer, paper/developer/toner combination the famous LF photographer who's work puts a fire in your belly and you respect the most uses. Why not hit the ground running without having to jump all the technical/asthetic hurdles your chosen photographer probably spent a couple decades tripping over?

    Murray

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by laz127
    Alrighty, I've spent a few weeks getting to know the camera, studying the LF literature (buying lenses!) and the kid is good to go (I know 50 ain't no kid, but I feel like one.)

    I am ready to trot down to B&H and buy sheet film and actually expose it in my 8x10. I like to keep things simple to start; is there anything that might be particular to LF that I should consider? I will be shooting landscape and contact printing. As far as developer goes I'm open.

    Thanks in advance folks, you LFers have been great in you patience with this newbie to the world of LF!

    -Bob
    What film have you used in the past that you are familiar with and like? I would think that if that film is available in sheet size, then go with what you know.
    Diane

    Halak 41

  8. #8
    David H. Bebbington's Avatar
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    My personal vote goes to HP5 Plus, I have up to now always developed this in ID-11 diluted 1+1 or 1+2. Purely for convenience, I am just about to do some tests developing this film in Ilford PQ Universal (probably diluted 1+39), just so that I can fill a 15-liter tank with a one-shot developer economically. Many people swear by pyro developer, I would feel it would be better to learn how a "normal" developer behaves before trying pyro.

    Finally, just one point that Ole makes. I would think it is impossible with 8x10" to get adequate depth of field just by stopping down, even with hyperfocal focusing - Scheimpflug camera movements are a must (and you may then find you can take a picture at "only" f16 or f22).

  9. #9

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    If you go with Tri-X read up on the curve shape differences between the sheet film version (320) and the 400 kind. If you like lots of drama in your landscapes Tri-X is the way to go. Personally I like HP5 with its more general curve shape. Tri-X for when things need more highlight contrast. Tmax 400 for long exposure speed in windy conditions. Are you going to be running formal film speed and development tests or just seat of the pants stuff? Hard to messup an 8x10 contact print with film or developer. Usually it's some other kind of problem.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by photobum
    I agree strongly with MM for 50%. Buy, then test that Tri-X and use it forever. Me I'm a D-76 fan. 40 years ago I started with Tri-X and D-76 1+1. Then I went wandering in the desert searching for the fabled silver bullet. Now and then I would return to Tri-X & D-76......
    I'll agree with Photobum 50%. I'd also go with Tri-X for now, but would use Xtol for the next year instead of D76. Xtol is a very good developer that can be diluted and still get good grain and sharpness and it has good shelf life if caution is taken in storage. But it is funny actually, as I've been buying D76 and using it mostly because it comes in smaller packages as well as larger. If I were to continue with D76 for whatever reason, I'd probably start mixing my own. Btw, I contact print 4x5 Ziatypes from Tri-X and PL100.

    The reason for the Tri-X is the speed of course. It helps in using smaller apertures and decent wind stopping shutter speeds if its needed. I suspect that you'll be contact printing? So the grain won't mean anything per se', but with Xtol you'll have a developer that will work good with any other formats you shoot in b&w better then D76, especially 35mm if you shoot it.

    After a 1/2 year you might try Pyrocat HD with some stand or semi stand developing.

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