Trying new film

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by nealjpage, Sep 16, 2005.

  1. nealjpage

    nealjpage multi format master in a film geek package

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    After cutting my teeth on some Tri-X (sold in the University bookstore for way too much but I can put it on the bill and pay for it later ;)) I've decided to try some new stuff. I develop in D-76 1-1 because it's what the darkroom at school provides, and haven't had many problems. I've heard good stuff about Neopan and HP5. Has anyone used Agfapan? I'm a little confused about this whole 'exposure latitude' business. Maybe it doesn't matter. I'm teaching myself this stuff 'cause I can never get into the photography courses--always too full. My camera is a K-1000, if anyone's interested. Thanks for the help.
     
  2. thebeginning

    thebeginning TPF Noob!

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    i'm also curious about this. we use arista (i think) developer though. I've heard Tri-X is pretty up there in terms of tonal quality and range (i havent gotten a chance to try it out yet) , but it's also kinda pricey. Tmax is good and cheaper, but not really cheap. I know alot of people that use HP5...havent tried it though.
     
  3. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    Choice of film - like choice of camera - is a very personal thing.
    With 'name brands' like Kodak, Agfa and Ilford you get what you pay for. High quality and consistency.
    With cheaper brands this is not a given. Some are made under license by one of the above and some are made by other companies like ORWO. There aren't that many around making B&W these days, though.
    How come the film is cheaper?
    One thing they do is put in less silver - which can save the company a fortune. You still get useable negs but they don't provide quite the same degree of tonal gradation, resolving power and latitude. They also cut corners on quality control in that their acceptable limits are more relaxed. Quality can be a bit variable, as can film speed.
    In everyday use most people don't notice these differences - but if you ever do anything critical or that pushes the technical limits, then you'll notice.
    'Cheap' films are fine for learning and day to day photography. There is nothing wrong with them. If you are doing anything important, where you need to be 100% sure of what you are going to get, then use one of the top three.
    You can see film as being a bit like cars. They will all get you from A to B in varying degrees of style and comfort - but if all you are looking for is something dirt cheap then you may end up with a second hand Trabant.

    As for personal choice - well, it's just that: personal.
    It's normally dictated by what you can get on with and whether you like the results or not.
    I have known people who have extolled the virtues of most films and so I have tried them all. But the only film I have ever found I can use and that I like is Kodak. Ilford and Agfa (whatever I do) are always disasters.
    Even so, I can only get on with certain Kodak films.
    I'm rubbish with Panatomic-X or any T-max. The only two films that give me what I want are Tri-X and Plus-X.
    It will, of course, be different for everyone else.
    Just try them all and see which one you like.
     
  4. ksmattfish

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

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    It's more important to pick a film, and stick with it until you are really familiar with that film, than what particular film you choose. These days there is no guarantee that any particular brand or label of film is going to be around 6 months from now. Even the big boys are falling. It's hard not to imagine Tri-X as the last big name standing, but my faith in Kodak is not very good these days. ;)

    Exposure latitude means how far off the optimum exposure you can be, and still get a decent product. With print film you can be a stop over or under exposed and still make a decent print. With slide film you'll notice it in the slide if you are 1/2 stop off.

    Hertz is right that some cheaper films have manufacturing consistency problems, but there are some good ones. Like any film, personal testing is required. A nice $2 roll of film is a beautiful thing. ;) If you are looking for old school silver rich emulsions, that are fairly cheap and always reliable check out the films at

    http://www.jandcphotography.com/

    The Arista Pro 125 and 400 films at Freestyle used to be Ilford FP4 and HP5 until recently. They may have been an older emulsion than what Ilford was putting their own name on, but within the tolerances in my darkroom they were the same film, except for cost. But there is no more (except what's stuffed in my freezer ;) ).
     
  5. 303villain

    303villain TPF Noob!

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    i agree with ksmattfish, try one and stick with it for a while. whe i took my first highschool class, the teacher would throw different films at us every week and it was REALLY frustrating, to the piont where i didnt want to take another photography class, that was my freshman year, i didnt take another class til i was a senior. personally i have my best results and am most comfortable with tri-x. plusx not so bad, but tmax and others i am personally not a huge fan of.

    but one thing is for sure, dont do what i did and get REALLY discouraged and burnt out if you come up with a few rolls that didnt turn out so great. over time it will get better by leaps and bounds!
     
  6. nealjpage

    nealjpage multi format master in a film geek package

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    Thanks for the info, guys. Since I'll be ordering film on-line (I just cant' bear to pay $4.99 for Tri-X or $8.99 for T-Max like you find around here--and this is a college town!!) I'll see if I can find one that I like that's relitively inexpensive and work with it. I just ordered 15 rolls from B & H: five rolls of Neopan, five rolls of Agfapan, and five rolls of HP+5. We'll see where these take me.
     
  7. selmerdave

    selmerdave TPF Noob!

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    I see little mentioned about Agfa films around here, and personally I'm finding it my favorite. For several months I've been trying different films to try to make a decision on one to stick with as per ksmattfish's comments. I can appreciate the importance of learning the characteristics of a particular film, but there really is a difference in how each film looks. I don't have the capability of a darkroom setup and haven't taken the step to processing, but for what I get from my local lab (which is very good and quite cheap actually) APX 100 has the combination of warmth, subtlety, detail and sharpness that I like. IMO of course.

    Dave
     
  8. DocFrankenstein

    DocFrankenstein Clinically Insane?

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    I use agfapan 100 and 400 for BW exclusively. The decision was easy, since it's half the price of kodak.

    So far so good, but I haven't compared it to anything else.
     
  9. darin3200

    darin3200 TPF Noob!

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    That's crazy pricing, buy some from B&H or adorama from the links at the bottom of the page. Its only about $3.5 a roll for tri-x

    I've used some really cheap arista film and didn't like it a lot. TMax works well in D-76 and I like the results I get. I want to keep trying some different films just to see what I like so today I bought 5 rolls of tri-x, 5 rolls of tmax 100, and 5 rolls of hp5 from b&h. This way I get to play around with different films.

    I've heard good stuff about neopan but that was with xtol not d-76, haven't tried it myself though
     
  10. nealjpage

    nealjpage multi format master in a film geek package

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    How about the cheap $1.99 artista film? Claims to be made in the Czech Republic. Oh, and while I'm at it, does anyone know who makes Walgreen's color film? Cannister says that it's made in Germany. I've been using it because it's cheap and I seem to get decent prints from it.
     
  11. nealjpage

    nealjpage multi format master in a film geek package

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    Oops, sorry Darin. Didn't read your post well enough. What didnt' you like about the artista?
     
  12. darin3200

    darin3200 TPF Noob!

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    Well it had to much grain mostly but this might have been a development issue. The recommendation was 8 minutes development but the negs would come out really dense, when I started reducing the time I got better results. Of course, I could of just mixed my developer wrong :lol:

    Here are some pictures taken with artista edu
    http://thephotoforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=27889
     

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