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Thread: What the f**k happened?

  1. #1
    Picture Snappin' Fool Black Lightning's Avatar
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    What the f**k happened?

    Executive Summary: What B&W films are currently in production that are as fine grained as Tech-Pan 25 was?

    Greetings. My name is James and I have been a photo hobbyist since my father introduced me to the art almost thirty years ago. I helped my dad build our first darkroom in an unused basement utility bathroom when I was ten years old. I was raised on Kodak products and I came to know the Kodak line and the capabilities and limits of the various Kodak products. With the exception of an introductory B&W photography class i took in college in the early 90s I never used anything other than Kodak. Kodak was tried and true. Although I will admit that my brief fling with Ilford paper was a pleasant experience.

    In 1999 I bought my first house, which had an open floor plan basement that was just begging for a darkroom. I had all of the space I needed for a luxury darkroom. I religiously read the Pennysaver every week and in just a few months after moving into my house I had an eight foot long stainless steel sink and a great cabinet both built by the previous owner and his high school shop teacher/dad for their home darkroom until sudden blindness took him away from the art. A few weeks later I got a Beseler 45 MCR with a stand/enclosure built by the architect who owned it before me and was getting out of chemistry based photography after having discovered digital photography. I was now able to design my darkroom around my equipment and I built my eight foot by eight foot darkroom in the corner of the basement. I did not realize how bad the moisture problem in my basement was. I used the darkroom very often and I took a liking to Kodak Tech-Pan 25. I also acquainted myself with color processing; both negatives to print and slides. I borrowed (so far; permanently) my father's Speed Graphic 45 and jumped into the world of LF. A year later I got a really good deal on a mint Hasselblad 500 c/m.

    A few years later the first of my three children was born and very shortly thereafter I went back to school. Between kids and school, which I did not anticipate would be a seven year journey, I had no time for the darkroom. I did, however, want to preserve the memories of my kids growing up so I bought my first digital camera; a Pentax point and shoot. The darkroom had become a dismal mess: A mildew laden storage room for stuff we had no use for but was too valuable to trash. After years of basement flooding and high humidity I bit the bullet and had the foundation waterproofed and drained from the outside. A few months ago I took a look at my darkroom and decided that I've been away from the art for too long. I rolled up my sleeves and removed everything piece by piece wiping each instrument and piece of furniture with bleach. I completely repainted the inside of the room, this time adding mildewcide to the paint, replaced the warped hollow-core door and my darkroom is now back to its original glory. Last night I introduced my seven year old son to film processing on a few rolls of 120 Portra 160 that have been piling up in the refrigerator for the past nine years. I have not purchased any LF film and only purchased a few boxes of 120 film since 2002.

    About three years ago I learned that Kodak had long since discontinued my beloved Tech-Pan 25. Two or so years ago I read about the demise of Kodachrome which was in itself no consequence to me. I have no plans on taking a trip to Afghanistan to take a very nice thought provoking picture of an Afghan girl to grace the cover of National Geographic. I am taking a look on the B&H website and it seems that only a fraction of Kodak's product line with which I was familiar is still available. I read a few threads here suggesting that Kodak stock certificates will soon be wall paper with a $1 par value. What films out there are as fine grained as Tech-Pan 25? From the looks of it I may have to learn a blend of brands to get the ISOs in the formats I like. Are the film processing chemistries the same across brands? I.e can I process al B&W film in HC110 or D-76? I feel like I am starting to learn photography all over again.

  2. #2
    Daniel Stone's Avatar
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    Re: What the f**k happened?

    Try Kodak's Tmax 100 or Ilford Delta 100. Acros 100 from Fuji is great stuff too, and IMO, a great deal for the price!

    I like all 3, but since I shoot primarily 8x10 these days, Delta 100(and FP4+) is the easiest to get in that size for me(I order from B+H online).

    What format are you looking for btw, sheet or roll film? B/C all the aforementioned emulsions are available in 35mm-->4x5 quite easily.

    Developers: same old same old. HC110 is still considered one of the "universal" developers, heck, some people use instant coffee(read up on it here and over on APUG), I prefer D-76 if I don't use pyro. Color I farm out to a few labs I've grown accustomed to since color chemistry is pretty much "nil" from an amateur POV...

    -Dan

  3. #3
    Format Omnivore Brian C. Miller's Avatar
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    Re: What the f**k happened?

    Welcome to the forum! (Maybe you should have used Rip Van Winkle for a pen name )

    The current grain winner, now that TechPan is gone, is Fuji Acros 100. This is really an outstanding film, and can be developed in any number of developers. It is available in all format sizes up to 8x10, but you'll have to order that from Japan. It has excellent reciprocity characteristics for long exposures, and the grain is almost as good as TechPan, and better than anything else on the market.

    So welcome back to the joys of film!
    "It's the way to educate your eyes. Stare. Pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long." - Walker Evans

  4. #4
    Picture Snappin' Fool Black Lightning's Avatar
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    Re: What the f**k happened?

    Daniel and Brian, thank you very much for your responses. After writing my opening post I hit B&H's website and drew up a matrix of what ISOs I like which are available in my favorite formats; 120 and 4x5. I am suspect that some emulsions may be available in my favorite formats even though B&H doesn't list them. AS far as color chemistry; the two nearby labs I used to take my roll film to on occasion no longer do film. In fact the guy who answered the phone at the successor to Putnam Imaging Center got quite snotty with me when I inquired about having color film processed. It seems as if he never heard of chemistry based photography. That's a huge change from the last time I was at that lab almost ten years ago.

    So from your responses and my brief checking over at B&H it looks like I am still in luck although I will have a mix of different colored boxes in the film drawer of my refrigerator.

    I do feel like I have awakened from a long slumber into a radically changed world.

  5. #5
    the Docter is in Arne Croell's Avatar
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    Re: What the f**k happened?

    As you know, Tech Pan was high contrast document film that was tamed by special developers (Technidol, Pota) for pictorial use. You can get a similar combo from Freestyle Photographic, the Adox CMS 20 with a specialized developer, Adotech/Adotech II, see: http://www.freestylephoto.biz/120120...ize?cat_id=403 for 120 and http://www.freestylephoto.biz/12036-...ure?cat_id=402 for 35mm. No sheet film CMS 20 is available right now, but Fotoimpex in Germany (the company that now owns the Adox name and cooperates with Freestyle) is just gearing up a cutting machine for sheet film and will again bring the CMS 20 out in sheet film next year: https://www.facebook.com/pages/FOTOIMPEX/143565537312.

    In 35mm and 120, you can also get from Freestyle the Rollei/Maco ATP 1.1 (stands for Advanced Technical Pan), also with a special developer, Rollei ATP-DC: http://www.freestylephoto.biz/422201...oll?cat_id=402 and http://www.freestylephoto.biz/422210...xed?cat_id=403. There is no sheet film equivalent. To my knowledge, the CMS20 and the ATP1.1 emulsions are made by Agfa-Gevaert in Mortsel, Belgium, for other purposes, and both developers were developed and are made by the SPUR company in Germany.

    One big difference is that the Adox' CMS20 sensitization is orthopanchromatic, i.e. with a slightly reduced sensitivity in the red, whereas the Kodak TP as well as the Rollei ATP have extended red sensitivity compared to regular panchromatic film.

  6. #6

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    Re: What the f**k happened?

    Haven't read the entire message but in answer to the question in the header, digital happened.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  7. #7

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    Re: What the f**k happened?

    Agree with Acros 100 for 4x5, but for 120 you can still buy Ilford's Pan F+, the best B&W film ever made, IMHO. Also Rodinal (in other names) can still be obtained.

  8. #8
    Picture Snappin' Fool Black Lightning's Avatar
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    Re: What the f**k happened?

    Again thank you for your responses. I am so glad I found this forum. Until last night I thought B&H was the be-all-end-all of photographic supply, mostly because I can stop by the store after work and take a look at stuff in the used department or other departments. It is a shame that Kodak did not keep up with the development of the digital camera which they themselves invented. In response Kodak has been gradually pulling the plug on those of us who still prefer film only driving us to other brands.

  9. #9

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    Re: What the f**k happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by Black Lightning View Post
    Again thank you for your responses. I am so glad I found this forum. Until last night I thought B&H was the be-all-end-all of photographic supply, mostly because I can stop by the store after work and take a look at stuff in the used department or other departments. It is a shame that Kodak did not keep up with the development of the digital camera which they themselves invented. In response Kodak has been gradually pulling the plug on those of us who still prefer film only driving us to other brands.
    If more of us were buying Kodak film products in reasonable amounts, the company would not be pulling the plug on film. Kodak is not going to survive on hobbyists purchasing one or two boxes of 4x5 film a year.

  10. #10
    おせわに なります! Andrew O'Neill's Avatar
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    Re: What the f**k happened?

    Efke 25 is pretty good.

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