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Thread: 8x10 Film Choice Paralysis

  1. #1

    8x10 Film Choice Paralysis

    When I started shooting large format in 2005, if you would have told me I would have a relative cornucopia of choices for 8x10 sheet film in 2019 I don't think I would have believed you.

    If you've followed some of my posts you may recall that I am returning to 8x10 after a hiatus. It was too hard to deal with in NYC, but now I live in rural Maine. Have Subaru, will travel. I even have a fancy roof rack to stand on Ansel Adams style. My Gibellini Bellatrix should be arriving this week. A member of this forum sold me a nice Komura 300mm Tessar, and I have the right tank for the Jobo!

    But you gotta have film, assuming you don't make it yourself. There are so many! Two Kodak high speed emulsions, double sets of Ilford medium speed stocks, plus HP5 (the absence of Delta 400 is noted here). We're not even counting Ortho Plus which I played with in college.

    Then you have Bergger Pancro 400, a film I know little to nothing about, but it looks like it comes in a fantastic box. The Arista line up is here, along with some unfortunately named Foma stocks (ACTION 400!). My understanding is that these are the same films? Who can say? Then you have the rebrands and the weird films from ADOX.

    For color we have 3 color negative films from Kodak, and correct me if I'm wrong but 3 color reversals from Fuji? (Assuming they still make RVP100 in sheets). Adding the promise of E100 in sheets some time later, glory be hallelujah.

    And to top it all off with a sort of sinful vulgarity, instant stocks in both B&W and Color that seems to be available whey they get around to it.

    Who made the deal with the devil to bring about such a garden of analogical delights? I'm stuck here trying to put a B&W film in my shopping cart, committing to multiple dollars per shot. Right now FP4+ is there as 'ol reliable. But of course there is no grain in 8x10 so why not HP5+? Oh but Delta is sharperrrrrrrrr. I'm a little unwilling to pay $10/sheet of TXP or TMY4. Portra seems like a bargain at $154 until you realize that Fuji gives you 20 sheets of Provia per box.

    If I ever get around to picking a horse, maybe I'll let you know. I am NOT and I say NOT going to get fancy in the developer section. That kind of navel gazing is for winter print making.

  2. #2
    Nodda Duma's Avatar
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    Re: 8x10 Film Choice Paralysis

    Donít forget you now also have the option of dry plates.


    Yes in some ways the film industry is healthier than it was even back before digital, from a choice / availability of options perspective. Competition of course drives product development too!
    Newly made large format dry plates available! Look:
    https://www.etsy.com/shop/Pictoriographica
    .. because my wife is happy when I can cover my photography expenses!

  3. #3

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    Re: 8x10 Film Choice Paralysis

    Quote Originally Posted by sperdynamite View Post
    Then you have Bergger Pancro 400, a film I know little to nothing about
    If wanting to explore films just buy some 35mm rolls, shot your usual scenes, and bracket exposures and filters. The see tonality, latitude, toe, etc don't consider much grain because 8x10" shows little grain.



    Quote Originally Posted by sperdynamite View Post
    correct me if I'm wrong but 3 color reversals from Fuji?
    You have 4: Provia, Velvia 50, Velvia 100... and Velvia 100F that it is not sold in all markets, but you can get it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sperdynamite View Post
    committing to multiple dollars per shot.
    LF is cheap: many times when you shot you (probably) know for sure than you have a great image, if not you simply may not shot.



    Quote Originally Posted by sperdynamite View Post
    Oh but Delta is sharperrrrrrrrr.
    With 8x10" it is the photographer itself who is sharp or not, film performance won't usually limit image quality. Are you to print 5m high?




    Quote Originally Posted by sperdynamite View Post
    But of course there is no grain in 8x10 so why not HP5+?
    It depends on print size and developer, at x4 enlargement 8x10 delivers a 1m print for the long side, with xtol I doubt you would see a single grain in 1m print, but just shot a 35mm roll and make 6" prints, you'll see the same grain than in a 1m print from a 8x10" negative.

  4. #4

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    Re: 8x10 Film Choice Paralysis

    Quote Originally Posted by sperdynamite View Post
    ...I'm stuck here trying to put a B&W film in my shopping cart, committing to multiple dollars per shot. Right now FP4+ is there as 'ol reliable. But of course there is no grain in 8x10 so why not HP5+? Oh but Delta is sharperrrrrrrrr.
    Unless you're equipped and planning to enlarge substantially, I'd not hesitate about going with HP5 Plus. FP4 Plus is slow. Delta's sharpness is wasted in 8x10. Develop the HP5 Plus using XTOL 1+1.5 for nine minutes in a Jobo processor at 75 degrees F. Enjoy. Written by someone who's used all three films in 8x10 with a number of different developers.

    Quote Originally Posted by sperdynamite View Post
    ...I'm a little unwilling to pay $10/sheet of TXP or TMY4...
    I've paid the price for 320TXP and TMY-2 but don't suggest you do that until you've spent some time exposing and, most importantly, printing negatives from HP5 Plus. On the other hand, I'd immediately place an order for TMY4 just to see whether Kodak had straightened out the TMAX 400 curve from Zone VI up, where it rises in XTOL.

  5. #5
    Tim Sandstrom
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    Re: 8x10 Film Choice Paralysis

    keep calm and shoot hp5+

  6. #6
    Charles S
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    Re: 8x10 Film Choice Paralysis

    Foma 100. 1.50 Eur / sheet. Shoot more, get more keepers

  7. #7
    jp's Avatar
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    Re: 8x10 Film Choice Paralysis

    Have not tried Bergger or dry plates yet.

    Ilford and Kodak make good product. I use them both. For 8x10 I have some FP4+, TMY2, 320txp. Tmax 400 has a variety of styles if you haven't played with it... Much different styles with different developers, exposure, development.

    Arista/Foma I played with 7-8 years ago and quality was not there. Dirty scratched sheets fresh out of the packaging. Haven't had interest in trying again.

    Also Xray film like carestream ektascan b/ra are inexpensive and fun but not as rugged wet as normal Kodak film. But it's cheap fun and I've gotten a few nice photos. Not a full substitute for photographic film.

    Ambrotypes/tintype will be an option as well.

    I'm fairly well settled on FP4+ and TMY2 for most B&W photography. But it's fun to sample the options for creative and curious purposes.

  8. #8

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    Re: 8x10 Film Choice Paralysis

    I only shoot FP4 (because Tmax 100 is so dang expensive, otherwise…)

    because it matches all the other film I shoot in studio, ISO-wise..so there is less mess-ups

    take one reading - set all cameras the same - BAM...done

  9. #9

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    Re: 8x10 Film Choice Paralysis

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles S View Post
    Foma 100. 1.50 Eur / sheet. Shoot more, get more keepers
    That price is for 4x5", I guess

  10. #10
    Angus Parker angusparker's Avatar
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    Re: 8x10 Film Choice Paralysis

    Having shot most of the films you mentioned Iíd go with a faster film like HP5 or TX320 and some Fuji E6 like Velvia 50 if you are willing to pay the price. I havenít had much success yet with scanning c41 but thatís probably my problem not the films.

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