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Thread: What film to use for first test shots

  1. #1
    Mitch
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    What film to use for first test shots

    Hi I am new to the group and to large format (4x5). I have a Calumet 401 with a 135mm lens. My question is what film to use? I am thinking Frankenstein 200. Does anyone have advice ?

  2. #2

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    Re: What film to use for first test shots

    IMO, Arista.EDU films are a cost effective way to begin your journey.

  3. #3

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    Re: What film to use for first test shots

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan9940 View Post
    IMO, Arista.EDU films are a cost effective way to begin your journey.
    The Frankenstein 200 that he's talking about, at US$30 for 25 sheets, is 25% cheaper than Arista. Mat Marrash's video... He's very keen on the film. Marrash recommends that it not be processed in trays, but a B&H customer review says that the film "develops very easily in a tray".

    Arca-Swiss 8x10/4x5 | Mamaya 7II | Leica M3, M240 | Blackmagic Pocket 4K
    Mac Studio/27" Eizo | Capture One | Final Cut Pro X | DaVinci Resolve

  4. #4
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: What film to use for first test shots

    The cheapest thing you can get your hands on. Which looks like you found, though I had never heard of that film prior to now.

    That said you may be able to find cheaper old-stock film from members of this community or other film photographers...if you happen to know any shooting LF. Or possibly x-ray...if you don't mind a bit of experimenting.

    If you are comfortable shooting/developing film and just want to jump in though, get your "regular" film and try it.
    Bryan | Blog | YouTube | Instagram | Portfolio
    All comments and thoughtful critique welcome

  5. #5

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    Re: What film to use for first test shots

    What about Fomapan, here a box of 50 sheets costs about 40€, and a lot of members use this.

  6. #6

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    Re: What film to use for first test shots

    Quote Originally Posted by PatrickMarq View Post
    What about Fomapan, here a box of 50 sheets costs about 40€, and a lot of members use this.
    Over in the US Arista.EDU is the same thing, rebranded, and cheaper. In the US it doesn't make much sense to look specifically for Fomapan although I think you can get it.

    When getting into 4x5 one of the first film stocks I used was Fomapan 100. Since then I've used several others, but I still shoot most of my 4x5 on Fomapan 100. It's nice to play with and easy to process.

  7. #7
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: What film to use for first test shots

    If it is a portrait, I now shoot only Kodak or Ilford

    If shooting for fun, 2X X-Ray
    Tin Can

  8. #8

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    Re: What film to use for first test shots

    Use the film you plan on using for your "serious work".

    It will help you getting used to how it handles and help you hone your skills as you do so with the benefit of quality should you come up with some excellent compositions while learning.

    Might as well get into the flow of it using good materials. That will help with your mental preparation as you photograph.
    "My forumla for successful printing remains ordinary chemicals, an ordinary enlarger, music, a bottle of scotch - and stubbornness." W. Eugene Smith

  9. #9
    popdoc's Avatar
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    Re: What film to use for first test shots

    If you’re just getting started, it can be far less expensive, and even a bit more fun, to make paper negatives!

    Find a box of paper on the Internet, or some that you may have lying around if you already have a darkroom, and try that. Just contact print and you quickly have an answer as to how well you’re doing with framing, manipulating the lens to film plane relationships, focusing, etc.

    All that, and you’re artsy too!

    For a 4 x 5 film holder, cut the printing paper to 3 7/8 x 4 7/8.

    If you’re shooting outside in good light, use a light yellow filter and an ASA/ISO of 6 to start.

    Standard photo paper development at standard dilution to start as well.

    Easy peasy!

    Have a blast, and welcome!

    Please, post your results!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  10. #10

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    Re: What film to use for first test shots

    Are you testing lenses/composition being new to LF , or Chemistry?

    for testing chemistry (developers) you want to use the film you will likely use forever. I alternate between FP4 and Delta100 with Pyrocat-M.

    I forget who said "your first 10000 shots are your worst" - but I'll add, your first 100 shots on a LF camera will teach you more than 100 rolls.
    Adventure is worthwhile in itself. ... Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn't be done. -- Amelia Earhart
    http://www.searing.photography

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