Long time lurker making a first (somewhat nervous) post. I've absorbed some understanding of the science of photography (have tried to read BTZS and a Fred Picker? book), but still don't have it all straight in my head.
I've been developing my own for 3-4 years now, and after starting out with many films and many developers, I seem to have settled on Neopan 400 as my film of choice using Adox ATM49 1+2 as my developer, and have been developing at box speed. This choice was based on falling in love with the darker tones and grain characteristics in Neopan, and then reading something on APUG which prompted me to try ATM49.
I've found that my darker tones are very black at 400, but I've also found that the highlights will often seem to "flare". I have tried reducing my development time to try to tame the shadows and it's fine for indoor lower contrast shots, but once I get outdoors with sunlight etc, I still cannot control the highlights. Furthermore the shadows are still quite black.
I had been considering dropping to a lower EI, like 200 or so, to try to get *slightly* more shadow detail but am concerned that this will make my problem with the highlights even worse.
Would the general advice be that I should start doing BTZS graphs etc, or can someone say categorically "yeah Neopan is fussy like that, it's the wrong film to use if you're after controlled shadows AND highlights"? I'm quite close to switching films, but I like the results so much from indoor shooting that it seems worthwhile persisting with this.
Many thanks in advance, and apologies if the question is badly posed.