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08-09-2007, 04:18 AM   #1
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Black&White films, first timer with very doubts!!

Hi!!


I found at my fathers home an old Praktica MTL50 with an M42 50/1.8, i was thinking on getting an MX to start with B&W, but this one will do, i'm also getting an adapter so that i can share between cameras the m42 lenses.

1st - I will do mainly portraits for now, so i was thinking on getting an M42 135mm, i was thinking in one of this: Carl Zeiss, Pentacon, Takumar... any recomendation?, i heard that the CZ was to sharp for portraiture, but it can focus at 1m, the others i think are around 1.7m.


2nd - I went to local shop and found several types of B&W films (i've seen other threads about this matter), but my question is: i don't intend to develop at home, when i go to the development lab do i need to say that it's a B&W film, does it require a special treatment?


3rd - Any recomendation on how to insert the film on the camera? any special method? i didn't try it yet, but i'm afraid i wouldn't do it as i should.


for know i think it's everything, if you read up untill this point, thanks

cheers,

08-09-2007, 09:14 AM   #2
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I would suggest taking the camera to a camera shop that you know has some knowledgeable people. Have them show you how to load the camera and ask for suggestions about film/development. In the US local camera stores are a dying breed and the people that only sell film seldom know very much about it (or photography).
08-09-2007, 10:18 AM   #3
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Well, first off, if you want B/W film, at any lab, try Ilford XP2 super. Its a very nice film, and a c41 process, so any one hour lab can process it.

As for the lens, you would like the takumar, im thinking. It has a little less harsh sharpness wide open, and is much smaller and lighter, and is a fanastic optic. However, if I were going to be using a single lens for portraiture, I would skip the 135, and get the 85mm Helios 40. Wide open at F/1.5, its nice and soft, but stopped down to f/4, its brutally sharp again. Its a rather good lens for portraiture.
08-09-2007, 01:45 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by scribble Quote
Well, first off, if you want B/W film, at any lab, try Ilford XP2 super. Its a very nice film, and a c41 process, so any one hour lab can process it.

As for the lens, you would like the takumar, im thinking. It has a little less harsh sharpness wide open, and is much smaller and lighter, and is a fanastic optic. However, if I were going to be using a single lens for portraiture, I would skip the 135, and get the 85mm Helios 40. Wide open at F/1.5, its nice and soft, but stopped down to f/4, its brutally sharp again. Its a rather good lens for portraiture.
The 85's are too expensive for my pocket, the only in my budget is the helios 85/2..

08-09-2007, 02:59 PM   #5
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Regarding the film, there is also the Kodak option wich is "BW400CN". It gave me very good pictures not so-long-time ago, but you need to get a reliable lab anyway.

J.
08-09-2007, 09:47 PM   #6
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Most any lens in the 75-135 range will work for portraiture. I had a 135 F/2.5 Takumar, an 85 F/2 Jupiter 9 (is that the right number?) and a 100 F/4 Pentax macro. Nearly always I use the macro lens, since it gives nice soft defocused areas and is easy to focus quickly.
Film? If you're after B+W, there are quite a lot of options. Most require that you develop it yourself, but these are the 'proper' B+W films. I dove into making my own prints, all the way through, and have never been sorry. It is quite time consuming, but economical in the long run and gives the best image quality money can buy.
The other options are the c-41 films. I've used both Kodak and Ilford versions; they have one major difference. Unlike Ilford, Kodak film has an orange mask, just like color negative film; this makes it easier for the people running minilabs, but isn't compatible with traditional B+W papers. So you can use it, but if you later decide to print in a darkroom, the negatives will be almost useless.
Enjoy!
08-10-2007, 05:08 PM   #7
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That, and the Iflord film has a little more exposure room, is the same price, and has a higher dynamic range, even for being a bit more contrasty. the pay-off is a bit more grain, but it still looks worlds better in my opinion..
08-15-2007, 07:09 AM   #8
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I'm finding that I'd rather just shoot color and convert to b/w any shots that strike me as best being rendered that way.

08-15-2007, 09:19 AM   #9
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I've bought two films, one Ilford FP4 ISO125 and one Ilford HP5 ISO400.

I've already found two labs here that develop B&W.

If i have any acceptable results i'll post them

thanks everyone
10-09-2007, 12:47 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mike Cash Quote
I'm finding that I'd rather just shoot color and convert to b/w any shots that strike me as best being rendered that way.
Do you consider B&W film images shot this way, superior to digital SLR B&W conversions ?
10-09-2007, 05:27 AM   #11
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Ah, monochrome film vs converted digital, eh?

Well, if you consider that by Kodaks initial documentation that came out with the bayer sensor, that a standard 24x36mm frame of film, as compared to the same area (24x36mm) from a digital sensor, the film contains over 50 times the recorded data, I would have to say yes, there is a huge difference.

However, the practicality of it is also in question.

I personally prefer film, and use it also 10x as much as I use digital, and am seriously considering selling my whole Pentax digital kit to re-buy a new Leica M5 (Like the finder better than that of the M6, and the M7 is just an M6 with Aperture Priority, for all real uses..).

So if you look at the flexibility of film, in the fact you can pull or push it, and that it holds over twice the exposure range than digital, esp. in the lower and higher regions (6-125 and then again from 800-6400), it is a very useful tool to learn with.

However, Digital is faster to get that initial image, even with the concerns raised with long term storage, compatibility, and a host of other issues yet to be addressed, it still can get you from creation of the exposure to print in less that a half hour. Film is just not that fast, your looking at a half hour just to develop a roll of film, not to mention darkroom times.

So in reality, its all personal preference. If a person can get good results from Digital, and has struggles with doing the same with film, then it only makes sense. However, this solution also holds a converse, and you also get to open the whole alternative process option, which is just a wish and a dream for digital at the moment...
10-10-2007, 02:01 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by scribble Quote
Ah, monochrome film vs converted digital, eh?
I personally prefer film, and use it also 10x as much as I use digital, and am seriously considering selling my whole Pentax digital kit to re-buy a new Leica M5 (Like the finder better than that of the M6, and the M7 is just an M6 with Aperture Priority, for all real uses..).
Care to list your selling prices?
10-14-2007, 06:27 AM   #13
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If you're looking into b&w films, and want high quality, I would suggest the following:

Ilford Pan-F 50
Fuji Neopan Acros 100

They would certainly require more light for portrait shots, but it's hard to beat these. The Pan-F is just silky smooth, but it runs quite a bit ($4+ roll), but the acros 100 is really inexpensive. I'm not sure what it's price is in 35mm, but I use it a lot in 120, and it's about $2.50 a roll there (vs. $6 a roll w/ Pan-F), so I usually buy it by the box and never worry about having enough film. You'll be hard-pressed to find a better b&w film than Acros for the price.

!c
10-15-2007, 08:16 AM   #14
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I recently tried a roll of the Acros and was happy with the results.

I still shot a lot of B&W, but also d some digital conversions. I'm happier with the film versions. More natural, better grain etc. Looks like it should.:-)

I also use Tmax, Tri x and FP5.

If i go hi speed Ilford or Kodak 3200, but i like the ilford a bit better.

It is getting harder here to find labs, but i can do the process at home.

Dave
10-17-2007, 05:06 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentkon52 Quote
I still shot a lot of B&W, but also d some digital conversions. I'm happier with the film versions. More natural, better grain etc. Looks like it should.:-)
I agree totally. The first shot is from a scanned negative (T-Max 100, #25 red filter) and the second is converted using the channel mixer in CS2 (please forgive the overdone circular polarizer ):




I find converted digital images to be a little too "smooth" for my taste, unless you're using a high ISO (and even then, digital noise doesn't have quite the same "look" as silver halide grains). Here is one converted from digital, ISO 3200:
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