Total beginner with a Nikon FE needing advice!

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by crofi_annan, Dec 29, 2007.

  1. crofi_annan

    crofi_annan TPF Noob!

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    Hi all, I am totally new to this, having just (very happily) received a mint condition Nikon FE with a 50mm f/1.8 lens as a Christmas gift.
    I am about to visit New York on vacation and would like to take some black and white shots of the city (I realise this is quite a heavy assignment for a newbie but hey) and was wondering if anyone has any recommendations on which black and white film (brand and/or speed) would be a reasonable choice?
    Many thanks in advance.
    Caroline
     
  2. Sideburns

    Sideburns TPF Noob!

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    I seem to like the way Ilford black and white film turns out...but I wouldn't know the first thing about where to get it, or if it's even available still.

    Good luck.

    100 should be good for outdoors...
     
  3. frXnz kafka

    frXnz kafka TPF Noob!

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    I don't have nearly as much experience as some people around here, but here are the B&W films I've used:
    Kodak TMax 400
    Kodak TMax 100
    Ilford HP5+ (ISO 400)
    Ilford Pan F (ISO 50)
    Ilford SFX 200

    I've also used Tmax 400 and HP5+ pushed to 3200.

    Out of all those films, for general shooting TMax 400 was my favorite. It also pushes very nicely, if that's something you're interested in. If you're going to be working in very bright light (outside on a sunny day), you might be interested in the TMax 100 or even the Pan F. A lot of low ISO films can get really contrasty, but that didn't seem to be the case with the Pan F (although my experience with the Pan F was less than great, but that was user error).
     
  4. bhop

    bhop No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    With all the shadows from the buildings, I would definitely go with a higher speed film, especially since it gets dark around 5:30 these days. I like T-Max 400 myself when i'm shooting film.
     
  5. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Start reading about exposure and contrast. Then depth of field.

    Black and white images that have little contrast have little interest -to me anyway. The exposure thing should be obvious.

    Nice first camera BTW!
    mike
     
  6. SCHNOOBS

    SCHNOOBS TPF Noob!

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    If I were going on this trip, which is a great way to experiment with equip. I would pack 3-5 rolls each of Kodak T-Max 400 and 100 and about 3-4 rolls fujifilm reala, low iso recommended for night shots long exposures. (good color up there). great camera, good lens! have fun with it!
     
  7. ThomThomsk

    ThomThomsk TPF Noob!

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    Congratulations, that's exactly the kind of set up that many of us started with as beginners (and in fact 20 years later I'm still using my Nikon FM2 and 50mm f/1.8 - it's a great combination).

    Not at all - it's a fantastic place to try out your new camera, with endless opportunities for shooting new and interesting things. I'm really envious!

    Anything made by Ilford or Kodak will be OK, and 400 ISO would probably be best in the circumstances. As a beginner I suggest that you use a specific type of black & white film that can be developed and printed at any photo lab, supermarket, etc, which is possible because they use the same chemistry as colour film.

    There are two of these available, Ilford XP2 Super and Kodak T400 CN. The advantage of both is that you can get them processed anywhere, in an hour if you need to, whereas a traditional b&w film uses different chemistry that your supermarket minilab can't handle, and most places will need to send away to have developed.

    I only use Ilford films, and XP2 Super is very highly regarded for its grainless and creamy qualities. Can't speak for the Kodak, but I understand it is similar. The only issue really is that some mini-lab places aren't going to be used to dealing with this kind of film and you can get a very slight colour cast on your prints if the filtration isn't set up right. Worth calling a few places and asking if they can handle this properly.

    Thom
     
  8. itoncool

    itoncool TPF Noob!

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    If I could only pick just 1 film then it will be Kodak Tri-X 400!
    Too bad I couldn't find this film anymore, not in my country.

    Now I shoot with with Ilford HP5+ 400, then Ilford Delta 3200 or Kodak Tmax 3200, sometimes Kodak Tmax 100 for landscape.
     
  9. Rick Waldroup

    Rick Waldroup No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thom is probably right. Unless you are going to process the film yourself, or have access to a good lab that can do it for you, you might consider one of the B&W films that can be processed in color chemistry (C41).

    But if you want a true B&W film, I would try Kokak Tri-X or Fuji Neopan 400.
     
  10. frXnz kafka

    frXnz kafka TPF Noob!

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    This is a good point, although I think it would be worth it (if you can't develop the film yourself) to have it sent off to a good lab, as long as you don't mind waiting a few days.
     
  11. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Ahh I just loaded some Kodak HIE into my FE, ready for some infreared work.

    I would suggest one additional piece of equipment. Grab yourself a #25 red filter, a Hoya HMC 25A should set you back $20 or so. Especially if you're taking photos of buildings and cities in black and white. These filters give you control over how the black and white image appears tone wise. A red filter will make buildings kinda white, and the sky a very dark grey adding to the contrast and if used properly, the interest of the image.

    The other thing about coloured filters is they make back and white work easier as when you look through them you can see exactly the tone you will get. Of course this doesn't help though if for the photo you intend to shoot filterless.
     

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