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Thread: Which fast B&W film for hand held 5x7??

  1. #1

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    Which fast B&W film for hand held 5x7??

    My 5x7 Speeder is going back into action soon and I'm really excited about being able to use it again as it is the only LF camera I feel comfortable taking along on family outings because, well...its fast, especially when handheld. I'd like to get some fast film (I've never shot any 5x7 faster than FP-4+) and between J and C and Freestyle, there are four emulsions available that look like they might fill the bill. They are:

    Kodak Tri-x Pro 320
    Kodak TMAX 400
    Ilford HP-5+
    J and C 400

    What are your thoughts on these films? I've used Kodak and Ilford before but not the J and C. I'm most interested in what 5x7 shooters and hand held shooters think. Ideally I'm looking for a film that does nicely in D-76 or Ansco 130. My handheld work is very simple---I don't concern myself with expansion or contraction: theres enough mental & physical gymnastics just loading the 5x7 film holders with one hand and winding the shutter curtain to overload my gray cells.

    I plan on shooting handheld landscapes, some aerials, architecture, nocturnes(with a tripod) and outdoor portraits.

    TIA
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  2. #2

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    Re: Which fast B&W film for hand held 5x7??

    John,

    I'm confident that you could make any of the films on your list work for you, with a little aquaintance. I have all of those films on hand, and I've been shooting handheld, available light portraits with my 3x4 Graflex, loaded with JC400, and printing on Azo G2 Canadian. It takes a lot of development to fit that paper, but it looks great when I get it right. I Shoot HP5+, TMY, and TXP in 8x10, and of the bunch, TMY is my favorite, and in my opinion, the most forgiving, but they're all great films. Handheld 5x7 must be a real kick! Did they make 5x7 bag mags?

    Jay

  3. #3
    Sheldon N's Avatar
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    Re: Which fast B&W film for hand held 5x7??

    This may not exactly be on point, but when I'm looking for a faster film in B&W 4x5, I will push Tri-X 320 to 800 and develop in Acufine. Usually the context is lifestyle/people photography where I need to eliminate motion blur but still maintain some resemblance of depth of field.

    Acufine is a speed enhancing developer, so it actually helps bring up shadow detail, even when pushing film. I find the results to be pleasing overall, good acutance and a nice contrasty feel.

    Here's an example scan, Fuji 240mm A f/9 wide open at 1/15 second. That water's cold!

  4. #4

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    Re: Which fast B&W film for hand held 5x7??

    Very nice, Sheldon. How did his shot look?

    Jay

  5. #5
    Sheldon N's Avatar
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    Re: Which fast B&W film for hand held 5x7??

    I haven't seen the negatives yet, but I'm curious myself. He was shooting with the 110mm SSXL, so I'm sure that it'll look wonderful. Besides, the shot always looks better the more effort you put into making it.

  6. #6
    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Re: Which fast B&W film for hand held 5x7??

    Classic 400 also does well in Acufine. I rate it at 640, and I've used it for handheld work with the 5x7" Press Graflex.

  7. #7

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    Re: Which fast B&W film for hand held 5x7??

    Porta 400NC!

  8. #8

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    Re: Which fast B&W film for hand held 5x7??

    Thanks for all the replies! You've all given me a lot of good info I'll need to digest before ordering my next box (which will be soon!)

    Jay de Fehr: I do have a 5x7 bag mag off a graflex aerial camera but the 'bag' part is shot!

    Thank you all.
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  9. #9

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    Re: Which fast B&W film for hand held 5x7??

    John,

    John Nanian, in his wisdom and charity, recommended bag mags in lieu of standard holders to me, and also related his experience with having the leather replaced on one or more of his own magazines. You might consider contacting him for details, but I think it would be worth the effort/expense. I've come to love my bag mags, and could not imagine going back to standard holders. Good luck, and enjoy.

    Jay

  10. #10
    multi format
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    Re: Which fast B&W film for hand held 5x7??

    hey john

    i have a few bag mags that i use with my series d ...
    one of them i had the leather replaced. i went to a guy
    that repairs (and makes) leather-goods when i lived in boston.

    the leather is attached to the wooden box by a few screws and a few metal
    parts. i unscrewed it, and carefully removed it + brought it to the guy ... i told him what it was for + he knew some sort of "light proof stitch" ( as he called it ) and i have been using it ever since ( about 10 years ) without a problem. you might call a few leather workers in your area that do "fine leather work" ( vs. cobbler work ) and they probably know the same stitches ...

    filmwise :

    i'm a big fan of using trix 400 and then dbi ... i don't know what i am shooting it at anymore, i just green-light it and then into the fix ...

    the lady i used to work for had a 5x7 speed graphic beautiful !
    you can have a picnic on it too

    good luck john!

    ---john
    enjoy your coffee

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