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Thread: 4X5 Film for portrait...wich one ?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jan 2016

    4X5 Film for portrait...wich one ?

    as a newbie, I wonder wich film BW should I buy. I use a 4X5 Wista field camera with a 210 SYMAR. My main purpose is to shoot portraiture in natural light or with one softbox.
    But I will try some landscape shooting too (reciprocity might be a problem).
    And at the end of the day film will be scan.

    So I need a fine grain multipurpose film. I was thinking of kodak Tmax 400 souped in D76 stock...I also look at FOMAPAN because of price but the film seems to be "rustic".

    So please let me hear about your experience, before I click on the BUY button !

    Faithfully, Stephane.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Boca Raton FL

    Re: 4X5 Film for portrait...wich one ?

    This is a question of personal choice, and expect different answers. Tmax 400 is not my personal favorite. I prefer the older type of emulsions. Tri-x has always been a favorite, but with current pricing, I find Ilford HP-5+ an excellent alternative. I don't think grain will be a problem from a scanned negative, but I have no experience here. I'm still in a wet darkroom.
    If you are worried about reciprocity in landscape shots, try Fuji Acros.
    I used D76 a lot long ago, but now use Xtol because it is much better for compensation developing.
    So there you man's opinion.

  3. #3

    Re: 4X5 Film for portrait...wich one ?

    4x5 has so much "stuff" that grain will not be a problem, and reciprocity won't be an issue unless you are shooting in the dark or use a big stopper. In which case, use Acros.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jan 2016

    Re: 4X5 Film for portrait...wich one ?

    ...TriX was my favorite with 35mm , and 6X9 negative. I might try the HP5 alternative with Xtol. Thanks for your advices.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jan 2016

    Re: 4X5 Film for portrait...wich one ?

    just saw some BERGGER panchro 400 , any thoughts ?

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jun 2014

    Re: 4X5 Film for portrait...wich one ?

    I use tmax 100 mostly, because I could get a batch of expired film at a reasonable price. I like it more than I liked the box of fomapan 100 I started out with, although that was quite usable as well. Really, just about any film would do. As mentioned, at this size, grain is not really an issue and your film choice depends on personal preference more than on anything else. Besides, any film, as long as it's exposed and processed properly, will yield great results.

  7. #7
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Fond du Lac, WI, USA

    Re: 4X5 Film for portrait...wich one ?

    TMY is my favorite higher speed film. In Xtol 1+1 I get a true EI of 500 with it. It's also very fine-grained. HP5+ is grainier, slower, and it has limited expansion development possibilities. Acros is my favorite slow film, as it has very small grain and outstanding reciprocity characteristics.
    You often feel tired, not because you've done too much, but because you've done too little of what sparks a light in you.
    ― Alexander Den Heijer, Nothing you don't already know

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    Re: 4X5 Film for portrait...wich one ?

    Seeing your six posts, I'm going to suggest you take a look at the xray film threads. For someone who's new, working with a film that's ten cents per 4x5 sheet and can be handled under a red safelight is a big advantage. I re-started my LF experience a couple of years ago (after a couple of decades away from it) with xray film and am still stuck there, because of its unique look which I prefer to modern film. It's a cheap thing to try, at any rate-$40 for 100-8x10 sheets, $5 for a red light. You can shoot a lot of film before you spend the equivalent of a single box of Tri-X!

    Take a look at my LF flickr, below. A lot of the recent work is shot with one 2x3-foot softbox and a reflector. Older, the softbox and a simple fill flash (until I figured out the reflector would work just as well); sometimes, a hair light, also.
    Thanks, but I'd rather just watch:
    Large format:
    Mostly 35mm:
    You want digital, color, etc?:

  9. #9
    jp's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009

    Re: 4X5 Film for portrait...wich one ?

    I love tmax 400 in low light, such as when motion blur is an issue for normal sitters. Fp4+ in regular light such as outdoors. I would use tmax400 for everything in if it were less costly. I use it for everything in MF.

    There are many capable options for film and you should explore them. I have settled on two for my own consistency not because other films are incapable. View photography you like on here and Flickr and see what awesomeness different photographers wring out of a variety of film choices.

  10. #10
    David Lobato David Lobato's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Baltimore MD

    Re: 4X5 Film for portrait...wich one ?

    I recently did 8x10 portraits with Tri-X TXP. I was very pleased with the results. Tri-X has a classic look with smooth tonality which is, for me, well suited for portraits. The speed is an advantage with available light portraits. I have done 4x5 portraits with Tri-X also and was very pleased with the results. All were done with soft, indirect, available light.

    Choose a film, then work on lighting that goes well with your film choice.

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