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02-05-2014, 08:23 AM   #31
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QuoteOriginally posted by filoxophy Quote
I don't have the experience to comment on the OP, but one of the things that pushed me to try MF was a comment by Danny Gonzalez in his buyer's guide to MF systems:

"What you're gaining over 35mm is consistency; not really quantifiable 'quality'.
I came to the above conclusion after I'd searched to see what real differences ever-larger format makes. What I found is that though it's much harder to achieve creamy tones with 35mm, it is possible and while it's harder to achieve incredible sharpness with 35mm, it is possible. If you're determined (and methodical) enough to achieve incredible quality, you can do it with 35mm, but can you do it every time you shoot? Only with larger formats (even then consistency isn't guaranteed)."

Source (on Internet Archive): Medium Format Cameras (Part I) by Danny Gonzalez
Thanks for the info.

After a darkroom day (APUG postcard exchange... maybe we could set one up here, too?) I'm with MF for the long haul. Besides it's other advantages... 120 film is easier to spool onto reels, contact prints are much more useful since you can see much more, and the overall handling of the 120 film around the darkroom is much easier. Shot for shot, it's not much more expensive than 35mm either (645 format)

02-06-2014, 09:56 AM   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by fretlessdavis Quote
That is true. I don't shoot many dynamic scenes, though... And what about the old newspapermen shooting Graflexes hand-held? Searching around, you can find excellent dynamic shots from sports in the 50s.
.
With a split prism or a rangefinder, many MF/LF cameras are not hugely more difficult to focus than 35mm. The Graflex has a rangefinder (the Kalart rangefinder), so they're pretty decent at tracking moving targets once the rangefinder has been synchronized to the lens. People were better at tracking with manual focus back in those days too. There's tricks to it like anything.

A lot of sports were shot on LF and Rolleiflexes back in the day. You don't see the shots they missed, of course.

QuoteOriginally posted by fretlessdavis Quote
After taking a peek with negs in my enlarger, it seems like Delta 400 has about the same level of microdetail/smooth tonality as FP4 in 35mm.
Try Acros 100 in Rodinal. Very smooth tonality, very very sharp, and cheap. Rodinal is a really great developer, it's one-shot so you don't need to worry about maintaining a mixed solution, it lasts forever, and 1:100 dilution stand developed for 1h produces normal development with any film I've tried (+1 push at 1:30, +2 at 2h). I think my other recipe with Rodinal/Acros was 1:50 dilution for 18m or something.

Last edited by Paul MaudDib; 02-06-2014 at 10:08 AM.
02-06-2014, 10:06 AM   #33
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QuoteOriginally posted by Paul MaudDib Quote
Try Acros 100 in Rodinal. Very smooth tonality, very very sharp, and cheap. Rodinal is a really great developer, it's one-shot so you don't need to worry about maintaining a mixed solution, it lasts forever, and 1:100 dilution stand developed for 1h produces normal development with any film I've tried (+1 push at 1:30, +2 at 2h). I think my other recipe with Rodinal/Acros was 1:50 dilution or 18m or something.
I did just order a round of this. I really should buy film in bulk, but I don't. PhotoTools.com has it for $4.30 a roll with free shipping. I'll try it in Rodinal, too. I don't currently have any, but was thinking of getting some HC-110 or Rodinal for simplicity... maybe both. What do you rate your Acros at? I've heard it's true speed is a bit lower than Delta and TMax 100, so I've been shooting at 80, standard development gives me a nice wide latitude instead of reducing development time.

It's really cheap in 120, but $$$$ in 4x5. Any idea how Foma 4x5 does in Rodinal? I feel like any 100 speed film is going to be fine-grained enough for LF work... especially on old gear.
02-06-2014, 10:08 AM   #34
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QuoteOriginally posted by filoxophy Quote
I don't have the experience to comment on the OP, but one of the things that pushed me to try MF was a comment by Danny Gonzalez in his buyer's guide to MF systems:

"What you're gaining over 35mm is consistency; not really quantifiable 'quality'.
There's also the fact that you have quite a bit more negative, so in a crunch you can pull some BS to save the shot. It's no big deal to crop down to a quarter of a 6x7 image, there's still almost a 35mm worth of negative there.

I can't really explain this one scientifically, but I've found MF negatives to be easier to print, too. Sometimes I take the same shot on 35mm and 120 for redundancy, and the MF neg usually takes a lower grade of filter. Could just be variations in the processing or equipment (my MF lens is contrastier, etc) but that's my impression.

Also MF slides wow me every time I shoot them.

02-06-2014, 10:17 AM   #35
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QuoteOriginally posted by Paul MaudDib Quote
I can't really explain this one scientifically, but I've found MF negatives to be easier to print, too. Sometimes I take the same shot on 35mm and 120 for redundancy, and the MF neg usually takes a lower grade of filter. Could just be variations in the processing or equipment (my MF lens is contrastier, etc) but that's my impression.

Also MF slides wow me every time I shoot them.
Yeah, really psyched. Just scored some very recently outdated Velvia 220 for pennies. Sitting in my freezer for a day with good light. Provia 100 is incredible in MF, though.

I think the printing has a lot to do with the film base-- I read that there are additives in 35mm to keep the fiber optic effect from fogging the roll when the leader is exposed. That's why there's a purpleish/grey tint to the base. All my 120 is perfectly transparent, though, which makes shadows easier to print, and, like you said, print at 0.5-1 grade softer.

I'm still getting my new enlarger dialed in. My old Omega condensor enlarger needed a 1.5-2 with everything, but my LPL diffusion enlarger needs a 3-3.5. Even extending development 15% still has me adding 40-55 cc's of magenta with Kentmere, which is already a pretty contrasty paper.
02-06-2014, 10:24 AM   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by fretlessdavis Quote
I did just order a round of this. I really should buy film in bulk, but I don't. PhotoTools.com has it for $4.30 a roll with free shipping. I'll try it in Rodinal, too. I don't currently have any, but was thinking of getting some HC-110 or Rodinal for simplicity... maybe both. What do you rate your Acros at? I've heard it's true speed is a bit lower than Delta and TMax 100, so I've been shooting at 80, standard development gives me a nice wide latitude instead of reducing development time.

It's really cheap in 120, but $$$$ in 4x5. Any idea how Foma 4x5 does in Rodinal? I feel like any 100 speed film is going to be fine-grained enough for LF work... especially on old gear.
At this point I pretty much just use Rodinal. It looks decent with just about anything, and it's so easy to work with. I've done HC110, which works fine too. There's less published recipes, and the bottles have a nasty tendency to split after a couple years. Works nice with Tri-X/HP5+ too.

I just rate it at 100. Between my equipment (sunny 16 or averaging meters) and me guessing the proper exposure adjustment for the subject I don't really think I can claim to be accurate down to the third of the stop.

Another really cool feature of Acros - no reciprocity failure. It stays +0 out to 120 seconds and it's +1/2 up to 1000 seconds. It's pretty much magic.

Yeah, if I remember Fuji wouldn't release 4x5 film so for a long time people had to cut down Acros from 8x10. They do some zany stuff, their marketing leaves a lot to be desired at times.

I've never tried Foma to be honest. The savings weren't that great (when I looked) and they have a reputation for poor quality film, and there's nothing worse than losing photos you cared about because you were trying to save $.10 per sheet. I'd be looking at FP4+ or Delta/Tmax depending on whether you like cube or T grain.
02-06-2014, 10:31 AM   #37
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QuoteOriginally posted by Paul MaudDib Quote
've never tried Foma to be honest. The savings weren't that great (when I looked) and they have a reputation for poor quality film, and there's nothing worse than losing photos you cared about because you were trying to save $.10 per sheet. I'd be looking at FP4+ or Delta/Tmax depending on whether you like cube or T grain.
I have had great luck with it in 35mm. It's actually finer grained and smoother in D76 1:1 than FP4, but the base tint is very heavy, with the only cure being processing at above 75 (even long presoaks and washes didn't kill the purple) I may give it a try. For $32 for a box of 50, I can afford to take two shots of everything vs. $56 for 20 sheets of Acros. I really like FP4, though, so I may give it a shot, too.

Thanks for the tips on Rodinal. I really don't like grain, so I guess I'll just avoid fast films and bring the tripod more often.
02-06-2014, 10:37 AM   #38
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QuoteOriginally posted by fretlessdavis Quote
I'm still getting my new enlarger dialed in. My old Omega condensor enlarger needed a 1.5-2 with everything, but my LPL diffusion enlarger needs a 3-3.5. Even extending development 15% still has me adding 40-55 cc's of magenta with Kentmere, which is already a pretty contrasty paper.
My favorite way to print is split-filter printing/split grade printing, if you haven't tried it. Essentially the idea is you print the highlights using an exposure at grade 0 (00 makes the image a bit flat) and then print the shadows with an exposure at grade 5. It's a little different technique but it gives you vastly more control. If there's basically anything on the negative you can get something out of it, even if it's beyond the range of normal grades.

Run a graduated test strip at grade 0, then select the exposure only for the highlight detail (ignore the dark areas). Then print the chosen exposure onto another test strip, switch to grade 5, and print graduations on top of the first exposure. Select the one with proper shadow detail/contrast. Print the image with the chosen exposure.

Now that I've learned that one, I basically don't grade print at all. Doesn't work on fixed-grade papers of course.


Last edited by Paul MaudDib; 02-06-2014 at 10:42 AM.
02-06-2014, 10:45 AM   #39
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i have tried split-grade, and I only do it now when I have a hard time determining contrast. I keep good notes of exposure settings for enlarger head height and such. I can usually gauge contrast by looking at subject matter and density/overall contrast of the negative. I'll make a test strip at dead-on my average for that height and f/stop, then go 1/2 over and under. I also tested how the Dichroic filters affect exposure, and have graphs so that I can recalculate exposure, too. I usually get very close on the first try with contrast, and I like not having dead set filter grades, since I'm adjustable from 180Y to 180M. I've been meaning to pick up an Ilford EM10 so I can get consistent baseline exposures for my shadows without doing an exposure test strip, then just doing a test strip for contrast. Hard to justify the extra $30-$40 that people seem to be asking these days for them, though.
02-06-2014, 11:24 AM   #40
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QuoteOriginally posted by Paul MaudDib Quote

Now that I've learned that one, I basically don't grade print at all. Doesn't work on fixed-grade papers of course.
Try it using a staining developer such as PMK Pyro. The staining properties augment that process.
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