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03-22-2011, 06:27 PM   #1
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My next move: filter kit or development kit?

This year, i've decided to improve my photography skills through the study of black and white film.

I am happy with my lenses and camera's

Pentax Super Program (main body) and Program Plus (support body)

Pentax-A 35-105mm (everyday lens)
Pentax-A 20mm f2.8 (wide angle)
Pentax-A 50mm f1.7 (Portrait/fast lens)
Pentax-A 200mm f4 (zoom)

I have all the tools I need. (FA limiteds/and Voigtlander APOs are on my "if I win the lottery list for now )

So now that i'm getting into black and white film i've already decided on Fomapan.

I can get 100, 200 and 400 iso for super cheap, about 2$ a roll. Kodak and Ilford would cost me almost 5-6$ a roll.

I was debating whether my next move should be getting a good filter kit, or the development kit first.

I'm leaning towards the development. Developing 10-20 rolls of film myself would pay for this equipment.

What do you think?

P.S.

Any recommendations or good links for building a good, small filter kit for black and film shooting?

Thanks.

Serge

03-22-2011, 07:43 PM   #2
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Developing gear is cheap. I got my current lot in a thrift shop for a buck -- tanks, reels, clips, thermometer. If you are more fastidious, check the offerings at Freestyle. WWII combat fotogs sometimes developed film in their helmets, so fancy gear isn't required.

Used B&W filters are cheap too, on eBay. Just get sizes appropriate for your lenses. The common filters are Yellow, Orange, Red, Green. I also use Blue, to replicate early emulsions. With a bit of searching, you can put together a gear+filter kit for the price of a fancy large pizza.
03-22-2011, 07:56 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by dj_saunter Quote
Any recommendations or good links for building a good, small filter kit for black and film shooting?
You don't need much to start with. Medium yellow (K2, Y2, Wratten #8) and red (Wratten #25A) round glass are the usual starting points. A yellow filter will deepen blue sky and brighten vegetation. Red has an even stronger effect and can result in somewhat strange rendition of some subjects. A camera store or the Web sites that sell the filter should have a demonstration image showing the filter's effect. My main filter for B&W is the Wratten #12 (minus-blue). It provides much needed sky contrast for my region (Pacific Northwest on N. America) without skewing the other colors too much.

As for brand, HMC Hoya is your best value, but offers a more limited selection in some sizes. Tiffen is least expensive with reasonable quality and has a broad range of sizes/colors. You can pay a ton for B+W or Heliopan if you like the luxury of Schott glass and brass rings. For some sizes, the more expensive filters may be your only choice.

Rectangular polyester and gel filters (Lee, Kodak, etc.) are another option, but require a filter holder.


Steve


(P.S. Remember that all colored filters absorb light and will generally require 1-3 stops more exposure than the same subject with no filtration.)
03-22-2011, 07:58 PM   #4
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I have to go with Rio on his recommendations on both. Darkroom work is going the way of the 8 track for most people, so finding equipment dirt cheap should be easy. Be careful of stainless steel reels that they are not bent AT ALL. It will make loading them real easy.

I am not sure where you are from, but if you live in the USA or Canada, garage sale season is now starting and you may be able to pick up an entire darkroom for the price of a good B+W filter!

Good luck!

03-23-2011, 12:28 PM   #5
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I'd almost consider them separate issues, there, though personally I don't like to let anyone else do my B&W processing, so I might lean there.

Still, you can in fact learn how these filters work on some fairly cheap filters. Pick a size, (I suggest one that you can step to your other glass, maybe whatever size fits that 20mm and step to everything else, or get 49s for your 50mm. ) go to Ebay, maybe pick up some Quantarays, stick a hood on there and , and you're pretty much good to go for learning. Standard yellow, red, green, orange ought to do you for that. (Got some YG green ones here in a few odd sizes, courtesy of a member who was cleaning out closets. I think they may be uncoated, but that usually doesnt' bother me with B&W, anyway. If you settle on a size, let me know. )



With contrast f
03-23-2011, 02:45 PM   #6
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If I want to use all my lenses, I would want big 67mm filters, those will fit the 35-105 and 20mm, and I can use step up rings which I already have for all other lenses

but otherwise I would pick 49mm for the 50mm.

Bonus question, did you actually buy a film wiper? The only website I can find here (South Korea) only sells one, a jobo for like 20$
03-23-2011, 04:37 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by dj_saunter Quote
If I want to use all my lenses, I would want big 67mm filters, those will fit the 35-105 and 20mm, and I can use step up rings which I already have for all other lenses

but otherwise I would pick 49mm for the 50mm.

Bonus question, did you actually buy a film wiper? The only website I can find here (South Korea) only sells one, a jobo for like 20$
Well, to learn how contrast filters work, hunting for those 67s is probably not the way to go cheap. But ,if you can find some, they'll do.


As for 'film wipers,' well, not a lot of people always use em, but they're OK for home setups if you have a light touch and keep em clean and from getting all hard or anything. a car's windshield wiper refill could do that, too, for you to learn on. They were never uncommon items. Did I mention keeping em clean?

(Please pardon any typoes, I think I got them all, but my hands are being all tired. )
03-23-2011, 05:50 PM   #8
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If I might jump in-
Fomapan is an excellent choice and a personal favorite, BUT-
It handles a bit differently from most other films. That's one of the qualities that draws people to it, but if you're going to study B&W films as a whole a few rolls of a more modern emulsion such as LegacyPro (Re-branded Fuji Acros) or Kentmere would be a good choice, not as a replacement for Foma, but as a supplement, especially if you're new to B&W film.

If you've shot B&W film before and know what Foma is like, ignore this comment.

03-23-2011, 08:27 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by PGillin Quote
Fomapan is an excellent choice and a personal favorite, BUT-
It handles a bit differently from most other films.
That is for sure! I shoot the ISO 100 version in 4x5 and it builds density at an incredible rate during development. FG-7 is almost unusable and HC-110 only works when used semi-stand with VERY high dilutions.


Steve
03-23-2011, 09:04 PM   #10
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Thanks for the advice on fomapan

I looked into other films I have available for cheap.

at the cheapest is Lucky 100, this is rediculously cheap, 1.50$ for a 36 roll

There is also Agfa photo APX 100
and Rollei retro 100 or Rollei retro 400

Any words on which of those you would use or avoid?
03-23-2011, 09:36 PM   #11
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Rollei Retro 100 is derived from warehoused Agfa APX 100 film stock, is a great film, but is ridiculously prone to negative curl. My RR 100 shots can be viewed at this link:

Rollei Retro 100 - a set on Flickr

Going on down your list, what is currently being sold as APX 100 isn't. The AgfaPhoto brand name is used under license, but the consensus is that they do not sell true Agfa-Gevaert product. Even so, it is supposed to be OK film and may be worth a try. RR 400s is made from APX 400 stock and is supposed to be pretty good. I haven't used it, so don't know if it curls like its slower sibling. Probably the best value in the ISO 100 films is Legacy Pro 100. $24 USD for a 100' roll or $35 USD for a 20 pack is dirt cheap for what is essentially Acros 100. (Acros is extremely fine-grained, nice stuff) Here is a link to a few of my Legacy Pro 100 and Acros 100 shots:

Fotostevia, Legacy Pro 100 and Acros 100


Steve

P.S. Here is a link to the Arista.EDU Ultra photos, but be aware that the scans are from 4x5 negatives. With 35mm YMMV:

Fotostevia, Arista.EDU Ultra

Last edited by stevebrot; 03-23-2011 at 09:51 PM.
03-24-2011, 12:50 AM   #12
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Thank you for all the help.

I really appreciate it and hope you don't get too bothered

I have two choices for developing tanks.

Paterson Super System 4 or Jobo 1520

They're basically the same price, both will develop 2 rolls of 35mm film.

I don't care about larger film formats. I will be using only 35mm film for at least the next few years. Both seem very good and have good reputations.

Any reason why one should be better than another?
03-24-2011, 02:12 AM   #13
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If you Google for 'Jobo 1520 vs Paterson Super System 4' you will find plenty of discussion about this. Unfortunately the first hit is this thread!
03-24-2011, 09:57 AM   #14
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really consider the freestyle branded films. (legacy pro aka fuji and arista premium aka kodak. in the same price as the foma for example but far easier to learn development on and tolerant of many more developing styles
freestyle has deals on bricks (20rolls) of legacy pro at the moment (the 100 is across, the 400 is neopan)
03-24-2011, 09:59 AM   #15
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and watch crasigslist etc for darkroom stuff, i have tanks coming out of my ears (well 6 of them) that came with other gear i was buying. same thing for the b/w filters aside from the Cokin ones i had from film days i keep getting them with grab bag camera lens deals. I got a set of 49mm b&w filters for $12 in the original boxes still
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