Opinions on fine grain 400 B&W film

darin3200

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I'm trying to find a fine grain 35mm 400 speed B&W film (non C-41). Any opinions on the listed, or maybe other films?
  • Kodak T-Max
  • Kodak Tri-X 400
  • Ilford Delta
  • Maybe something Arista

I was going to buy a role of each to try out, but since I am almost out of film developer and I was going to buy the developer that worked best with each. Sort of invest in the film I plan to be using a while.

Thanks,
 

LWW

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I like T-MAX, but everyone has a favorite.

LWW
 

terri

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I like TMax AND Tri-X; both are delicious yummy films. I'd start with Kodak before moving on to the Ilford.

Have not shot any Arista so I have nothing to offer there. :)
 

Eric.

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I loved the Tmax 100, I've never tried any 400's listed though. The 100's offer a better contrast between the blacks and the whites. Less grays. I don't know if that's related to the processing though.
 

ksmattfish

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Tmax and Delta are tabular grain films. The grains are elongated, sort of coffin shaped, rather than round polygons (like Tri-X and HP5). Visually this is supposed to appear more fine grained, although it can also come across mushy.

In the past Arista brand has just been house labeled Ilford FP4 and HP5, but that may not be the case anymore with Ilford's finacial troubles.

I'm not up on the latest Fuji BW films.

Developer choice and developing technique will have a lot to do with the grain you end up with.

When I want fine grain I either go for slower or bigger film.
 

KevinR

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For fine grain, go ahead get some 100 speed film. I have had great luck with Delta 100. The arista stuff is okay. I have not tried the Fuji yet.
 

Dave_D

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Not to cross promote forums or anything, but here is a link to a guys protfolio whom I admire very much for his work. His portfolio demonstrates many fine examples of the various film types discussed thus far in this thread.
http://www.photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=339964
Clicking on each picture will give you options to view the technical details of the image.
 
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darin3200

darin3200

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Has anyone tried Neopan and T-Max, any major differences?. From what I've read neopan works best in XTol and T-Max in D-76. I would like to stick with only one type of film, I can also get Tmax at wal-mart if I ever am short and *really* need more film.
 

ksmattfish

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darin3200 said:
From what I've read neopan works best in XTol and T-Max in D-76. I would like to stick with only one type of film,

There aren't really any facts that prove brand X film works best in type A developer. It has more to do with the photog's experience using the particular combination of film and developer. What works for someone else, may not work well for you.

Sticking with one kind of film and developer is essential if you really want to get a good feel for any combination; then you'll find you can control many of the aspects often attributed to particular films and chems.

I choose film and developer based on how easy it is to get, what is the price, and how likely is it to be discontinued just about when I get it figured out.
 

paul rond

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It really doesn't matter what film you use. You have to standardize your technique to the film and developer you are using.

I personally like the TMax400 using the TMax developer, printed on Agfa Record in Dectol. It took me a long time to get it all right, how I want my photos to print. That is what this is all about. There is no magic combo, it's your time invested in making it work that makes it all perfect.
 

wharrison

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Darin3200:

Here are to links which might be of interest to you:

1. "Black and White Film emulsions: the state of the art"

Located at:

http://www.imx.nl/photosite/technical/Filmbasics/filmbasics.html

and

2. "
The state of the art in BW photography. (January 1, 2005)"

Located at:

http://www.imx.nl/photosite/technical/bwstateofart.html

From my own experiences, I see no reason to shoot high speed film under normal shooting conditions, since the speed of the film limits the choice of shutter speeds and aperture combinations.

For example, the normal daylight exposure for a 400 ASA/ISO film would be:

1/500 @ F/16
1/1000 @ F/11
1/2000 @ F/8

Where as an ASA/ISO 125 film would give you the following combinations under normal daylight conditions:

1/125 @ F/16
1/250 @ F/11
1/500 @ F/8
1/1000 @ F/5.6
1/2000 @ F/4.0

So one of the questions you might address is: Why should a photographic artist limit the range of possibilities by shooting a high speed film when and where it is not or may be necessary?

However, if you're exploring the world of available light photography, I always found that Diafine and Tri-X (rated at ASA/ISO 1250 or 1600) produces excellent results provided you have consistency by limiting your temperature variations no more than 1/2 or 1 degree through the entire process and have consistency in timing, agitation, and pouring in and out of your chemistry. Consistency regarding exposure is or should be a given.

Standards of exposure and development should be geared to the type of enlarger employed, i.e. a condensor type enlarger might require slightly more exposure and less development in order to achieve a nice long tonal range.

I used to shoot Plus X and develop it with Microdol X 1:3 and obtained wonderful fine grain results with a long tonal range, but I am not certain that this combination is still available.

I also made extensive use of Panatomic X ASA/ISO 32-40 with Rodinal when I needed both fine grain and a very long tonal range, especially with moderate to high contrast subject or lighting conditions.

Actually, the one combination that did blow my mind - decades ago - was either Panatomic X (32-40) or Plus X (125) developed in FR's X-22. An 8 x 10 print from a 35mm negative looked like it was taken with a negative from a 8 X 10 view camera. Plus X might still be available, but I strongly suspect that FR's X-22 formula isn't available anymore.

I suspect that Erwin Puts's second article "The State of the Art in BW photography" will offer you more current film/developer combinations worth exploring.

Hope that this is of some usefulness.

Bill
 

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