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  1. #51
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    The whole 'using one film and one developer' thing... I view it like this:

    There is a very strong relationship between the 'Paper/Developer' combination, and the 'Negative/Exposure/Development' combination. It takes time to understand that relationship, and how to tune your negatives with exposure and development, taking everything like lens contrast, light, subject matter, etc into account to make the very most of the paper's qualities.

    You can get good results by 'overexposing a stop and pull development 20%' all day long, but if you are after the very best your materials have to offer, then you have to look beyond information on the internet and the box the film came in. Reason: There is no way in hell everybody else is going to be able to tell what paper you're printing on, what developer you're using, at what dilution, what type of enlarger you have, what contrast filters you have, your camera's shutter, your camera's lens (and its contrast!), and on and on and on. All those things are individual to each user, and have to be taken into account.

    The only thing that can tell you the truth of what your paper needs is the print and your eyes looking at it, and the only person that can do that for you is: YOU!

    So, am I nuts or what? Maybe a little bit. Luckily, the magic comes from YOU, and not the camera, the film, the developer, or paper. It is how you fit all these things together that really makes it gel. If you don't believe me, then buy a hundred rolls of fresh FP4+ or Tri-X, a few bags of D76, shoot one roll at a time, and contact print, proof, and print. If you don't have enough shadow detail for a particular kind of light - expose more. If your highlights block up - develop less. Learn each lighting scenario, and how to adjust for it, print your negs, on the same paper, using the same developer, and eventually you will see that the only magic there is is hard work.

    So, about the 'nuts' part. To me it's just exactly twice as difficult to learn all this with two films. If you add one more developer, it's four times as difficult. If you have two different papers, it's eight times as difficult, or at least eight times as much information needed to get to the goodies that hide within the potential of all your materials.

    That is how I see it, and why I have stopped using anything but Tri-X these days, processed in replenished Xtol, printed on Ilford MGIV (unless it's a portrait in which case I use MGWT) processed in replenished LPD. Not because I think they're better, but it's what I know best. My negs prints with an ease I could not have imagined, meaning I waste a whole lot less in the darkroom (paper is so f-ing expensive these days). This becomes utterly clear when I try to print old negatives, and it takes me 4-5 sheets to get to a good print, while I can get one that I'm really satisfied with in 2-3 sheets with newer negatives. That to me speaks volumes.

    I hope that this little anecdote is of use to someone, as I realize that my way of doing things is just one person. None of it is my idea, but learned from photographers who have taught photography for a very long time, and in term learned from past masters. Shaking what I call the 'photographers disease' has been an eye-opening experience for me.

    - Thomas
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  2. #52
    Aron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson View Post
    The whole 'using one film and one developer' thing... I view it like this:

    There is a very strong relationship between the 'Paper/Developer' combination, and the 'Negative/Exposure/Development' combination. It takes time to understand that relationship, and how to tune your negatives with exposure and development, taking everything like lens contrast, light, subject matter, etc into account to make the very most of the paper's qualities.

    You can get good results by 'overexposing a stop and pull development 20%' all day long, but if you are after the very best your materials have to offer, then you have to look beyond information on the internet and the box the film came in. Reason: There is no way in hell everybody else is going to be able to tell what paper you're printing on, what developer you're using, at what dilution, what type of enlarger you have, what contrast filters you have, your camera's shutter, your camera's lens (and its contrast!), and on and on and on. All those things are individual to each user, and have to be taken into account.

    The only thing that can tell you the truth of what your paper needs is the print and your eyes looking at it, and the only person that can do that for you is: YOU!

    So, am I nuts or what? Maybe a little bit. Luckily, the magic comes from YOU, and not the camera, the film, the developer, or paper. It is how you fit all these things together that really makes it gel. If you don't believe me, then buy a hundred rolls of fresh FP4+ or Tri-X, a few bags of D76, shoot one roll at a time, and contact print, proof, and print. If you don't have enough shadow detail for a particular kind of light - expose more. If your highlights block up - develop less. Learn each lighting scenario, and how to adjust for it, print your negs, on the same paper, using the same developer, and eventually you will see that the only magic there is is hard work.

    So, about the 'nuts' part. To me it's just exactly twice as difficult to learn all this with two films. If you add one more developer, it's four times as difficult. If you have two different papers, it's eight times as difficult, or at least eight times as much information needed to get to the goodies that hide within the potential of all your materials.

    That is how I see it, and why I have stopped using anything but Tri-X these days, processed in replenished Xtol, printed on Ilford MGIV (unless it's a portrait in which case I use MGWT) processed in replenished LPD. Not because I think they're better, but it's what I know best. My negs prints with an ease I could not have imagined, meaning I waste a whole lot less in the darkroom (paper is so f-ing expensive these days). This becomes utterly clear when I try to print old negatives, and it takes me 4-5 sheets to get to a good print, while I can get one that I'm really satisfied with in 2-3 sheets with newer negatives. That to me speaks volumes.

    I hope that this little anecdote is of use to someone, as I realize that my way of doing things is just one person. None of it is my idea, but learned from photographers who have taught photography for a very long time, and in term learned from past masters. Shaking what I call the 'photographers disease' has been an eye-opening experience for me.

    - Thomas
    +1

  3. #53

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    Most important advice I ignored?
    "Don't sell your dSLR to buy film gear."

  4. #54
    Roger Cole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aron View Post
    Out of curiousity, what is it that TMZ gives you in 35 mm that you don't get from the Delta?
    Mainly, the ability to go to 6400 with acceptable results at need, and maybe finer grain. To be fair, I've tried TMZ at 6400 but not tried doing that with Delta 3200 yet.

    Truth is, I was using TMZ in 35mm before I got a medium format camera. Then I couldn't get TMZ for it so I got Delta 3200. So I sort of got to know that film in that size and the other film in the other size, though I don't shoot nearly as much of either as I do, say, Tri-X.

    My impression is that TMZ is finer grained but the difference in magnification for the different negatives makes that not an instant easy comparison. Comparing is easy enough - say a 5x7 from 35mm with a 11.25x11.25 from 6x6. Put that on my to-do list. I would like to just standardize on Delta 3200 since I can get it in both sizes AND I'm more comfortable with it being available longer.

    But I'm not using these for general photography and I wonder just how much I need to know about them. I develop by the times the manufacturers give for one stop more - that is, shoot at 3200, develop for 6400 - and I get easily printed negatives, a bit contrasty as one would expect but eminently printable. And in that kind of light, beggars can't be choosers. Short of going to digital it's not going to get any better than one of these films or the other, and I don't think the differences between them are going to make or break an image.

  5. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson View Post
    T
    That is how I see it, and why I have stopped using anything but Tri-X these days, processed in replenished Xtol, printed on Ilford MGIV (unless it's a portrait in which case I use MGWT) processed in replenished LPD.
    The key phrase here is "stopped used anything but". You didn't just start out with this particular combination, and use nothing but that all along, did you? You experimented with other things along the way. It may be that your workflow drove you in the direction of one film-one developer, but what makes the advice useless is the notion that anyone should start at the end of the process.

  6. #56
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moopheus View Post
    The key phrase here is "stopped used anything but". You didn't just start out with this particular combination, and use nothing but that all along, did you? You experimented with other things along the way. It may be that your workflow drove you in the direction of one film-one developer, but what makes the advice useless is the notion that anyone should start at the end of the process.
    Useless? Maybe to you. I wish somebody had taught me that lesson from day one.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  7. #57

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    I don't think either of your points are mutually exclusive. For some people experimentation with a wide array of materials leads them to useful conclusions. But Thomas's point is just as valid. The fact some of us may arrive at a single film/developer combo after years of experiments with lots of materials, doesn't necessarily mean we couldn't have skipped all that and come to the same point had we been given some good advice at the outset.

  8. #58

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    "First thing you need to do is get a better lens."

    Spoken by a fellow photographer on the staff of my school paper in 1996, over the fact that my entire photo arsenal consisted of a Nikon FG, a Nikon Series E 50mm f/1.8 and a Vivitar 135mm f/2.8. That very week, I had a front-page, above-the-fold photo made with the Vivitar lens, which cost me all of $10. I learned right there that the quality of the photo has more to do with the photographer than anything else.

  9. #59

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    i think using one developer/paper/film camera &c is that you get used to the results
    you know what to expect in a variety of situations ...
    when i took my first photography class we used tri x ( rated at 300 )
    sprint film developer, sprint paper developer and kodak rc polymax paper
    the teacher doled it out for a few years. i can't imagine the trouble he would have had
    if everyone was using something different.

    simple can be good ...

  10. #60
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jnanian View Post
    ...when i took my first photography class we used tri x ( rated at 300 )
    sprint film developer, sprint paper developer and kodak rc polymax paper
    the teacher doled it out for a few years...
    We had the standard Tri-X/Dektol/D-76 and assorted Kodak Chemicals at the university. We started out with Kodak VC RC paper -- and the prints the Professor could make showed us it was possible. After my first couple of classes I drifted towards Pan-X in my Rolleiflex, developed in Microdol-X (1:3) and enlarged 15"x15". I guess someone must have mentioned Microdol-X to me. By the time Pan-X was no more, I had already moved on to 4x5, first with Royal Pan . For some reason that is what they carried at the camera store, some Super-XX in there, too. As a student I even took apart a GAF film pack and loaded those thin sheets in to the standard 4x5 holders. I used whatever film I could get a hold of! I still developed in Microdol-X (1:3) for some reason -- habit, I suppose. With the arrival of TMax 100 and a more regular paycheck (or at least seasonally regular), I could concentrate on one film and developer...TMax 100 in HC-110 (1:60 from the syrup)...tray developed. Now I am all over the place again -- working with different processes, films of very different characteristics, etc. But I did just buy two boxes of FP4+ in 8x10, my "standard"! And I have two more boxes of the same in 5x7. I am feeling film-rich.

    My advise -- keep notes so that you can repeat the successes!

    The best piece of advise I got but never followed up on was my University prof's insistence that I take work down to show to AA. Too shy to do so. This would be the very early 1980's. So I never met him. As a volunteer workshop assistant for the Friends of Photography, I got to see his house and darkroom a few times and had lunch there with his widow and other notables in the photo scene. But alas, never AA. But the above workshops introduced me to many great photographers.

    Vaughn
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

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