It is not only those two films. I'm referring to all the current "traditional" technology films from Kodak and Ilford. To get true "old-school" emulsions you have to buy those specialty films from eastern Europe. I believe the "Adox" CHS films fall into that category. FP4, Plus-X (no more), HP5, Tri-X, PanF are what I'd call hybrid traditional-tabular. My understanding is the grains are semi-flattened - one of the reasons these films are less grainy than earlier versions/incarnations. They rely heavily on dye sensitization. They are obviously not full-on tabular films but the tabular (and money saving) technology did make its way into the more traditional films.
As for these films needing special developers and techniques, I've never really bought that even for true tabular films. TMX - the most "tabular" of all films, works just as well in D76 1+1 as any old film. There is some merit to the notion that films like TMX may "look better" in more dilute versions of traditional solvent developers, or higher acutance developers simply because they are so fine grained to begin with they may lack a subjective impression of sharpness in some cases. But when it comes to micro-contrast, highlight detail etc the tabular discussion is not one of the more value-add aspects of the Film Developing Cookbook in my opinion. The authors are clearly anti-tabular, and that's fine. But in my experience even a super-tabular film like TMX can yield prints with every bit as much tonality and delicate high value separation as any other film, including old-style emulsions, without special developers. I've done a lot of my own testing, but also observed it first hand in the work of others. So my view continues to be that tabular films leave nothing on the table relative to older style films.
So to me there are no real implications with respect to the current versions of FP4, HP5, Tri-X etc being closer related to tabular films than the older versions. In fact if anything they are more flexible than they used to be because they all have much longer, straighter exposure ranges than they once did.
Personally I'd take the Cookbook with a grain of salt when it comes to that particular discussion. That goes for the Darkroom Cookbook too. Anchell has made it very clear in the books and in interviews he thinks TMax films are shit. Others may agree. Not me. I've seen way too much evidence to the contrary.
For those who find the TMax films too "tabular", Delta 100 may be a nice alternative since it has a little more of the traditional look from a grain perspective. Tonality is very similar although Delta has slightly more extreme highlight separation.
Last edited by Michael R 1974; 11-16-2012 at 12:52 PM. Click to view previous post history.