B/W Film Choice

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by kona_mtb5074, Aug 5, 2008.

  1. kona_mtb5074

    kona_mtb5074 TPF Noob!

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    Hey everyone, first time poster here, so im going to Alaska on a cruise at the end of August, the 24 to 31. Anyways i have been shooting black and white recently in high school photo class and am intrested in shooting some on my cruise. The weather is suppose to be mainly low lying clouds but a day or two of sun. My question is what Ilford film would be better to shoot with, FP5 plus 400 or Delta 100 Professional. Im looking for film with low grain, but able to capture the high contrast tonale ranges of white glaciers and dramatic colors of forest. I was thinking that i would buy a mix and use the Fp5 to shoot lower light situations like the northern lights (not my ideal ISO due to higher grain) and then buy the delta 100 for the daytime shooting.

    My Questions:

    1) I would like to shoot in the lowest posible iso for less grain, Would the Delat 100 be suitable for both situations (Night time northern lights and daytime with considerable shooting in overcast) or would the delta not be fast enough?

    2) I would also like to hear any other comments as if there is any other black and white films that would be more suitable for these situations?

    3) Lastly i have heared good things about the FP4 plus at 125 grain but the only thing is that i havent been able to find this film around here, if i could possibly find it would it be the best?

    thanks all
     
  2. elemental

    elemental TPF Noob!

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    I think carrying a mix of 100 and 400 is wise. I have personally never found the grain in my 400 ISO films to be unpleasant, and so far I've developed APX 400 and Tri-X 400 (with some shot T-Max waiting for me to get a negative scanner), but if you don't like it having the 100 to go to for bright landscapes will be nice. Do you have multiple camera bodies, or do you plan on doing the rewind-until-released-from-takeup-spool-but-not-rewound-all-the-way-then-reload-and-advance-to-where-you-left-off trick? Because two bodies would be a very nice arrangement.

    I don't think 100 would be fast enough for overcast landscapes, especially if you want a nice depth of field (who wants to shoot glaciers and dramatic forests at f/2?). I wouldn't really bother with 100 at all, but that's a personal choice.
     
  3. Steph

    Steph No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    For even lower grain in bright light you could maybe try Ilford Pan-F (50 ISO). For 100 ISO, I would choose FP4+ over Delta 100. The former is more tolerant towards exposure errors and I find it much easier to print in the darkroom. Delta 100 seems to lack contrast for landscapes (just my opinion, others may have different views).
     
  4. Smilemon

    Smilemon TPF Noob!

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    Dude, congrats on making the trip up to AK. I'm a Fairbanks local and I can tell you, lots of good things to take pictures of up here. Personally I think you would have a really good result with Ilford FP4. The 125 is low grain and works well for our Alaskan light.

    Your probably not going to see the northern lights at all. At best you might see some dark nights but your still catching the tail end of our midnight sun. If your spending most of your time in the south you might get a little more darkness that we do in the interior though.

    What kind of camera do you have? Lenses? Details man, details.

    Also, if you want any Alaskan travel advice shoot me an email.

    Smilemon@gmail.com
     
  5. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Film choice is just once aspect of the equation. Tonal range and contrast are controlled by exposure and development. All films are capable of a wide range of tonal and contrast adjustments.

    Delta and T-max are tabular grain films. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tabular-grain_film Tabular grain films use a lozenge shaped grain to give the illusion of finer grain. Sometimes this leads to mushy highlight detail, although obviously many photogs are quite successful using it.

    If you aren't doing your own processing ask your lab what film they recommend. BW processing is not necessarily standardized like C-41 and E6. Depending on the method and chems they use there might be a brand they think works better than another.
     
  6. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    I'd run w/ Acros and Neopan 400. You can shoot acros down to EI 25 if you have to, and I much prefer Neopan to HP5. But that's just personal preference.
     
  7. tkaat

    tkaat TPF Noob!

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    I don't know how helpful this will be because it's a list from 2006 but here

     
  8. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    Yowza. That is and old list.

    And I have no idea why I listed Plus-X as a contrasty film. Let's try this again.

    Easy Films: Ilford Delta, Kodak TMAX, Fuji Acros
    Less Contrasty: Kodak Plus-X, Ilford FP4+, sometimes Fomapan
    Great Slow Films: Ilford PanF, Efke 25/50
    Great Fast Films: Fuji Neopan 400, Kodak Tri-X, Ilford HP5+
    Tricky: Bergger 200
     
  9. christopher walrath

    christopher walrath No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I gotta throw in a nod for TMY-2 (new TMax 400). You've got more sensitivity with less noticeable grain than before, even comparable to the TMX (100).
     
  10. Early

    Early TPF Noob!

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    You can also use a low grain developer, like Microdol X, if they still make it. You'd lose a little sharpness, but I doubt if you'd notice.
     
  11. christopher walrath

    christopher walrath No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Your gonna have a trade-off between sharpness and grain. Sharpness comes from larger grain and thus sharper reflectance edges. Finer grain will make your edges run in together a little more.
     
  12. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    I think you mean apparent sharpness, i.e. contrast. Tech Pan, for example had extremely fine grain and was extremely sharp. Ortho films I think are a good example. Very very fine grain, supremely sharp, low mid-tone contrast.
     

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