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  1. #21

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    I think they all are great and have their qualities. Why shoot only one? That sounds very boring to me.

    As long as we have Fomapan, Ilford, ERA, Shanghai, Rollei, Adox, Fuji, Kodak, and more we will be ok.

    Hopefully they don't all disappear on the same day.
    - Bill Lynch

  2. #22

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    I shoot pan f+ 50, delta 3200 and across 100. In chrome I like velvia.

    If you r developing it yourself, shoot cheap stuff till u get the hang of developing.

    Sent from my DROIDX using Tapatalk

  3. #23

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    Kodak Tri-X is a nice film. I'm not a fan of Ilford HP-5 at all, although I really like FP4 Plus and Pan F.

    I think Kodak has done a good job with its TMax films (100 and 400).

  4. #24
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wblynch View Post
    Why shoot only one? That sounds very boring to me.
    That depends on what you want to achieve.

    If you're mostly into photography to test and have fun with the technical side of things, which is a perfectly good reason, then testing all the films there are is probably like being a kid in a candy store.

    If you're serious about making prints, switching films back and forth isn't going to get you very far. In order to learn fully what can be extracted from your negatives you have to step way way way beyond what the text book calls for and truly explore your materials. That is best done with one film, and once you know that film, there is little reason to change.

    I have said it a million times, but here it is again - your technique affects the outcome of your prints a LOT more than your materials. It is truly knowing your materials that will get you prints that look organic and like you just want to reach out and touch them.
    With that said, after you know one film fully, after you know all of its strengths and limitations and you know how to use both to your advantage, you will quickly learn how to use a second film to get stunning results. But to get to that point, switching materials around is only going to confuse matters.

    - 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

  5. #25
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    So what speed do you standardize on then? For me there are times when I want no grain so I want a 50-125 speed film but other times I want grain or need speed so I need a fast film. I don't think I could ever go with just one film.

    And while standardizing your technique is one way of looking at things, I think it is another skill to be able to get a good print from ANY negative. If you need a perfect negative to make a perfect print then I think that means your printing skills are a bit narrow. I think it is really cool the number of images you can make from one negative just by using different printing techniques and I think it goes the other way as well. Just my opinion of course...
    Harry Pulley - Visit the BLIND PRINT EXCHANGE FORUM

    Happiness is...

  6. #26
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    I don't necessarily disagree with you. But it depends on what you want, just like I said.

    Ponder the results of Cartier-Bresson printed by Sid Kaplan. 35mm Tri-X of a generation of films that are much grainier than what we use today. The prints are not GOOD, they are breathtakingly GORGEOUS. Have you seen the huge prints from Salgado and his 35mm work using 400 and 3200 film? They too are absolutely GORGEOUS. Grain is supposed to be there. We're shooting film.

    What I'm talking about is LEARNING. I made the mistake of learning by seeking 'magical' differences by using different films and developers. I used everything and anything under the sky. What resulted was that I learned how to make GOOD prints from hugely inconsistent negatives. I spent seven unguided years doing this thinking I knew something.
    Then somebody tapped me on the shoulder and said 'you're making a mess'. Just try to work with one film and one developer for a while and see what results. So I did, because I am an open minded person. I overexposed film on purpose, I underexposed film. I shot in nasty broad daylight lighting with harsh shadows, and I shot in glowing beautiful overcast light. I shot at night, in the morning, indoors, outdoors. I over-developed the film on purpose and underdeveloped it too. Just to see what happened, over and over again. Eventually I learned how to react to many different lighting scenarios. I learned how to process the film accordingly. It isn't at all about standardizing - it is about optimizing, adapting, and making the most out of each situation and make GREAT negatives, and not just decent ones.

    The person that tapped me on the shoulder I am forever grateful to. I had seen a lot of prints in my days, working at a museum with a very large photography collection, and I thought that I could get to that level if I just kept doing my thing, but after a couple of years you start to wonder what’s missing. In retrospect I had no idea how far technique could carry me in terms of print quality. Now I know. And my prints are by a long shot better than they have ever been, and the reason for that is that I am, if I may say so, a fair bit better printer than I was, but now I have great negatives to work with also. I know this, because when I print negatives from the past it always takes me a lot of paper to get to where I want to go with it, but with newer negatives things fall into place a lot quicker. Because the negs are treated to suit my printing materials, the paper and developer combination and its characteristics. And I’m not resting on any laurels. I still feel there is room for improvement, ever seeking better ways of trying to carry my intent of the photograph to the viewer, to try to make them feel what I felt.

    Because I re-learned with one single emulsion, and one single developer, I have now, three years into it, adopted one more film. I like to be prepared in case the first one becomes discontinued. I am now in a place where I have learned to fully exploit both films to get what I want. One of them is a 100-speed film, and the other is a 400-speed. Grain? I don't care, because when the rest of the print is good enough, like having good values from shadow to highlight, great contrast and sharpness, I don't even notice the grain anymore, or the lack of it.

    Worry about making great photographs first with good content. Worry about composition and getting the picture across to the viewer. Worry about seeing the light and how to treat it so that your prints look great. Worry about technique and learn how to exploit a small set of materials to the limit and beyond. Then worry about adding more films to worry about things like grain.

    I have a challenge for you: Look at many of the great photographers out there still shooting film. How many of them use more than one film? Look at someone like Bill Schwab - Tri-X and HC-110 for decades. Would you look at his pictures and say - gosh you should shoot TMax 100 because your prints are too grainy? Look at Paula Chamlee – she and her husband bought a walk-in freezer full of the last run of Kodak Super-XX so that they wouldn’t have to change. ABC pyro for everything and make contact prints on Azo or Lodima, using a single developer – Amidol.

    I'm not in this to make GOOD prints. I am in it to make FANTASTIC prints, from all aspects of the photographic process. The limitations in this aspiration will not lie in our materials, but rather in our knowledge of how to use them to get what we want. How are you ever going to learn to get to the very bottom of all those different films and developers, if you switch between a lot of them?
    "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. #27

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    You can not go wrong with doing that. It gives you a starting point you are already familiar with.

  8. #28
    Ralph Javins's Avatar
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    Good morning;

    Oh, Boy. After Tom Bertilsson's dissertation on philosophy of photography and printing, there is not really too much more to say.

    Tom's comments are valid. They are true. My embarrassment at this time is that I lost my favorite film and favorite developer. I admit that I am looking for something similar that might restore the old feeling of confidence with my own work. This could be a challenge. And it also feels like I am starting all over again. Another apprenticeship. Oh, well.

    By the way, that is another thing about Tom's comment on just taking one combination and varying it and working with it. It is like an apprenticeship. Yes, we must put in the time to do it. Sorry, but there is no McDonald's or similar fast food restaurant equivalent for learning how to make a good print from a good negative. You just go out and do it, standardize your process with precision, and keep records of what you did to see what produces the effects you want, or what might come in handy for something special in the future.
    Enjoy;

    Ralph Javins, Latte Land, Washington

    When they ask you; "How many Mega Pixels you got in your camera?"
    just tell them; "I use activated silver bromide crystals tor my image storage media."

  9. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson View Post
    Unfortunately, your questions will yield as many replies as asking what color underwear you should buy. Everybody has favorites.

    In your case I would choose a film from a company that is likely to continue making the same film for a long time. And then continue using it. Consistency is the most important thing, especially in the beginning. If you switch films and/or developers a lot, you will not see the effects of changing your technique. And you can get much larger differences in your prints by changing your technique than by changing your materials.

    Just pick one film and one developer and run with it. There isn't one film that is better than any other. There are only films that suit somebody's taste better than others, and that is an individual choice.

    Good luck. Shoot lots of film. Overexpose, underexpose, overdevelop, underdevelop - on purpose! Learn from it, and gain from it. Learn to use both strengths and limitations of your materials to your advantage. But please please please focus on technique. Focus on composition. Focus on understanding light. Do NOT focus on materials, just learn how to use them.

    - Thomas
    I completely agree. So many new to photography flounder around constantly tryng new things and never really learning anything. When you are making prints you will really appresiate consistancy in your materials and technique.

    Tri-X is a good choice along with D-76 or HC-110. Until you get more familiar with things I would not recommend any Tmax or Delta films. They tend to be a bit fussy.
    A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

    ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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