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Thread: Subjective film advice

  1. #1
    Tim Meisburger's Avatar
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    Smile Subjective film advice

    Film is like food or movies; different people have different tastes. I've only tried a few sheet films in black and white. Rating these films on my personal subjective scale that goes from (1) "I can use it, but don't love it" to (5) "I love it", I get:
    1. ADOX 50, Foma 100
    2. FP4
    3.
    4. Shanghai 100
    5. TMY 320

    Based on this, how likely am I to like:

    Delta
    TMX
    Fuji

  2. #2
    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
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    Re: Subjective film advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Meisburger View Post
    Based on this, how likely am I to like:

    Delta
    TMX
    Fuji
    I don't have any idea what T-max 320 is. AFAIK, T-max has never been made in a 320 speed. It's always been either TMX at iso 100, or TMY at iso 400. But I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong about that.

    So if you mean you like T-max...

    All the films you list are modern emulsions, similar to TMY in that they are not older cubic-grain films. You should like them all, each in their own way.

    Personally, I never found the need for another B&W film after I finally saw the light and tried TMY-2. IMHO the best film ever made. I never looked at another film after I did my first tests with TMY-2. But just because I found that doesn't mean you will. Clearly, YMMV.

    Bruce Watson

  3. #3
    Tim Meisburger's Avatar
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    Re: Subjective film advice

    Sorry! I meant TXP 320.

  4. #4

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    Re: Subjective film advice

    Based on this, how likely am I to like:

    Delta
    TMX
    Fuji


    It depends on how you evaluate and prioritize these less subjective, more objective criteria:

    Availability
    Affordability
    Linearity of spectral response curve
    Reciprocity characteristics
    In a given developer,
    Effective film speed
    Grain, acutance, impression of sharpness
    Linearity of contrast curve
    Changes to above curve with changes in development

  5. #5
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Subjective film advice

    I work with a lot of different films because they are in fact different in numerous ways. And this can be format related. For example, 8x10 is nice because the modest degree of enlargement means I can sacrifice grain size for the sake of other characteristics like curve linearity or speed - and speed is important for the
    windy conditions common around here, combined with the smaller f-stops typical of 8x10 work. With 4x5 I have to be more nitpicky on the sharpness or acutance and grain question, so often use lower speed films, and with roll film backs, even more picky, though roll film has the advantage of being much cheaper than sheet film in general. Color film raises a very different set of questions, like which bank to rob next in order to keep shooting it in 8x10. But in terms of favorite b&w films, I rely quite a bit upon TMY400 in 8x10, with any number of other films as backups, depending on the conditions; FP4, ACROS, or TMY in 4x5; and ACROS in roll film, esp in the mtns, and sometimes Pan F in low contrast situations. For 35mm I change my strategy completely, and actually
    prefer grainy little handheld snapshot prints without excessive detail, generally taken with either Delta 3200 or TMY400. Then there are the lab films for masking
    and color separation work, using both TMX100 and FP4, along with ortho litho film.

  6. #6
    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
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    Re: Subjective film advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Meisburger View Post
    Sorry! I meant TXP 320.
    That changes things -- Tri-X is an old style cubic emulsion. If that's what you want, it'll do better for you than any of the newer t-grain-ish emulsions like Delta, TMX, TMY, or Acros. But if TXP does it for you, it's the best at doing that particular thing that I can think of. So... stick with it.

    Bruce Watson

  7. #7
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Re: Subjective film advice

    I use one film FP4+ KISS. For 25 years I only used TXP 320-loved the tonalities but as I started printing bigger for galleries I didn't like the grain. It took me a while to get the tonalities I wanted but I can make FP4+ work for me now and.......it's relatively cheap
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    at age 68
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

  8. #8
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Subjective film advice

    Tri-X is the one particular old-school film I've never liked. Innumerable great images have been made with it, but it just doesn't dovetail with my style. I'd far
    rather see Super-XX revived. Of course, that will never happen. Bergger 200 was the closest we got, then it disappeared too, while Foma/Arista 200 is not even
    close to 200 speed, has horrible long-exposure recip behavior, and relatively mediocre quality control. But it's the only true straight-line film on the market right
    now. T-Max films come a relatively close second-place ranking in terms linearity and deep shadow reproduction, yet with superb quality control and versatility.
    TMY400 has excellent acutance too, while TMY100 is nice for softer-edge images like portraiture. I might add, ACROS is the last b&w film being made by Fuji, and is the odd duck in this discussion because it's the only one that's not typical panchromatic. It's orthopan, meaning greater green sensitivity and less red sensitivity, and also unique in having almost direct long-exposure response, without the need for time corrections.

  9. #9
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Subjective film advice

    as usual, an afterthought ... If only one black and white sheet film was left on the planet and versatility was therefore the name of the game, I'd want it to either
    be FP4 or TMY400, if the latter was still even affordable.

  10. #10
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Re: Subjective film advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Watson View Post
    That changes things -- Tri-X is an old style cubic emulsion.
    Kodak changed Tri-X in 1970 and I will never forgive them. Grain was dramatically reduced.

    Someone enlighten me, is it true that Tri-X is part tabular?

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