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Thread: Best B&W film/developer for scanning (that's not bad for optical prints either!)?

  1. #11

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    Re: Best B&W film/developer for scanning (that's not bad for optical prints either!)?

    I've had the luxury of working with a bunch of differnt negs in differnt soups on different scanners (howtek, scanmate, v750, 10000xl, imacon, 4990, tango).

    Morrell/Nixon: tri-x + hc110
    Bosworth: tri-x + d76
    Gohlke: tri-x + xtol
    Johnson: delta 3200 + xtol
    Perrott: tri-x (@ 100) in xtol
    vitone: hp5 + d76
    Me: adox 25 + pmk; tmax + tmax; tmax + f76+; hp5 + xtol; fp4 + xtol; tri-x + pmk

    They're all printable in the darkroom and, if you know what you're doing, can be scanned with good results.

  2. #12

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    Re: Best B&W film/developer for scanning (that's not bad for optical prints either!)?

    I would steer clear of traditional emulsions and go for Deltas/Tmax/Acros. You can always alter the curve in PS.

    As for developer, thats simple: Xtol 1+1. It is great with all of the above, has fine grain but is not mushy.

    TMax 400 II is far finer grained and higher resolving than FP4+ and I would not recommend FP4+ anyway as it has quite sandpapery grain when heavily enlarged. Its not like TriX in pattern, but somehow less pleasant.

    I find the Delta grain shows up more on drum scans than the comparable Tmax films. It has harsher, crisper grain and drum scanning seems to accentuate it.

    I'd go for Acros in 100/Tmax 100 and Tmax 400 II for a faster film.

  3. #13

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    Re: Best B&W film/developer for scanning (that's not bad for optical prints either!)?

    Would a two bath developer, like Vestal, be idea for black and white negatives to be scanned?

  4. #14
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    Re: Best B&W film/developer for scanning (that's not bad for optical prints either!)?

    Quote Originally Posted by polyglot View Post
    Any decent scanner (especially drums!) will have a Dmax of about 4.0D, whereas a good neg will have a dynamic range of about 1.5D that you put onto the print; you'll find you get a lot more shadow and highlight detail in a 16-bit scan than you can fit onto paper.
    A few days ago, I scanned a Stouffer Step wedge. My Epson V700 scanner shows a range of around 16 steps, each of which is 1/2 stop. That's an 8-stop range, which in log 10 is 2.4

    Epson claims a dMax of 4.0 which equates to around 13 stops. Not this machine anyhow. But then Epson claims a lot more dpi than any of us have measured too.

  5. #15

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    Re: Best B&W film/developer for scanning (that's not bad for optical prints either!)?

    Neg scanners do a lot better than Epson flatbeds and with drum scanners, Dmax does not seem to be an issue, ever. The great thing about drum scans is one can develop the negs such that they will yield good silver prints too.

  6. #16

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    Re: Best B&W film/developer for scanning (that's not bad for optical prints either!)?

    I'm not worried about Dmax as much as about what the grain looks like, especially with Pyro since I've never used it. I'll try out the suggestions above. Thanks again!

  7. #17

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    Re: Best B&W film/developer for scanning (that's not bad for optical prints either!)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Noah A View Post
    I'm not worried about Dmax as much as about what the grain looks like, especially with Pyro since I've never used it. I'll try out the suggestions above. Thanks again!
    Old fashioned pyro developers and old fashioned films made for grainy negatives, but modern films developed in modern pyro developers can be at least as fine grained as any general purpose developer with the same film. I spent this morning scanning Tmax 100 negatives developed in 510-Pyro, and there just isn't any grain, to speak of.

  8. #18
    Land-Scapegrace Heroique's Avatar
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    Re: Best B&W film/developer for scanning (that's not bad for optical prints either!)?

    My story is simple.

    My best Epson 4990 scans of 4x5 b/w film are T-Max 100 (in T-Max rs).

    I suspect that the optimal lighting of these compositions + my perfect exposure choice + wise (tray) development technique + informed scanning habits have a lot to do with it.

    But as long as I achieve all these things together, it still seems that T-Max 100 + T-Max rs is my combo that wins & wins again for scanning purposes.

  9. #19
    Nicholas O. Lindan
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    Re: Best B&W film/developer for scanning (that's not bad for optical prints either!)?

    The best film for scanning is color negative. Convert to black and white in software.

    I've always had much better results scanning a print than scanning a B&W negative.

    YMWV.

  10. #20

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    Re: Best B&W film/developer for scanning (that's not bad for optical prints either!)?

    The best modern b/w film I have ever used was the recent Plus X Pan, but of course Kodak discontinued it.

    Your best choices today would be Ilford Delta 100 (18X with barely discernable grain), Fuji Acros 100 (barely discernable grain at around 20X), TMX (at least 24X), all of these with Rodinal or its copy. Of course TMY and TriX are still the favorite 400 speed films although I really like Fuji Neopan 400 with a true fine grain developer.

    As for a true "work horse" film in the 100 speed group area, my last and discontinued choices were VP and PXP, when Ilford changed their FP and HP the the "+" version, I quit using them because there were less sharp and more grainy in my tests.

    Lynn

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