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04-02-2011, 08:09 AM   #1
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What B&W film would you chaps recommend to me?

Dear Group, having "rediscovered" as it were my old film camera i have a mind to try some B&W film for a specific occasion.

In July my dear Son graduates from University and of course his proud parents will be there to cheer him on.
My wife will be taking her little Cannon Supershot which almost always returns good results.

I however want to use my film camera with B&W film as a contrast. The graduation ceremony will be in the grand hall with presumbly a combination of artificial lighting and natural light from the windows. There will also be opportunity to take photo's in the university grounds. The ceremony is in July so it'll probably be overcast (I live in the UK)

What type of B&W film do you think would be best suited to this happy event dear group?

Many thanks

04-02-2011, 09:22 AM   #2
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Depending on two factors, 1) what film you have available, and 2) the ease of getting it developed, I'd suggest you consider a 400ISO film. Ilford HP5 or Delta 400 would be good choices or Kodak's T-Max 400. You may still need flash with some of the indoor shots but those should be reasonable choices.

I'd do some test rolls with your camera and film to be sure everything works and you've figured out how to get things processed, printed, and scanned if you like.
04-02-2011, 09:35 AM   #3
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Thank you for your helpful reply. I'll be sending the film off to be developed and printed or maybe take it to a local shop. And i can buy any type of film easily from the internet.

04-02-2011, 11:12 AM   #4

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Yes, start shooting some now and get some experience with it before the big event. You'll get as many recommendations on film brand as there are posts. But no doubt for indoor and lower light, a higher film speed is called for. Some 400 films can also be shot at 800 without pushing and yield good results if you need that speed. Be sure to read the data sheet for each film you are interested in. You can find them online.

04-02-2011, 11:36 AM   #5
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Ask around about the cost of developing 'real' b&w vs. chromogenic b&w, such as Ilford XP2+ or Kodak BW400CN. These can be processed anywhere regular color print film can... but don't push well. If there's a local shop that does old fashioned photo finishing on 'real' b&w, and the price isn't prohibitive, by all means - Ilford or Kodak are reliable and produce good results, 400 or speedier for the indoor bits.
04-02-2011, 01:10 PM   #6
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It depends on a number of things. In reverse order as long as you are outdoors where you can be close to your son then HP5+ will do nicely for "snaps". If you want bigger than 6x4 or 5x7 prints then consider a newer film such as Ilford D100/400 or the new Tmax 400 where grain is similar to 100 speed film.

Indoors at the grad ceremony it depends on (a) how far away you will be and what telephotos you have and (b) light conditions and depending on distance whether flash is allowed or even feasible.

I suspect flash may not be allowed. If it isn't then you may need Tmax 3200 or D3200 as well as a good telephoto.

Ideally you need to find out what the light conditions will be like from your son and find out how close you can get to the ceremony stage or visit the grad ceremony locationwith you camera and lenses and alter the ISO dial on your camera until you get a reasonable shutter speed. Probably a 1/60th might be enough at a squeeze and use the lowest film speed you can get away with if it is has to be a D3200 or Tmax 3200.

Both films have a true speed of EI 1250 max after which you lose shadow detail. Both are quite grainy in 35mm.

Finally you need a lab that can develop either fast film at whatever speed you have to use. It might even be possible to use HP5+( a 400 speed film) at EI1600 if the lab can push two stops.

Sorry if this is sounding daunting. It isn't really provided you have a good lab but I think it will require a bit of preparation for the indoor stuff. Out of doors little of what I have said applies except the bit about biggish enlargements(8x10 or more) then I'd use D100 or Tmax 400.

I hope this helps

04-02-2011, 03:09 PM   #7
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In that situation I'd probably be using TMax 400 for its sharpness. In the event that you can't use flash indoors then I'd probably still use TMax 400 but pushed to 1600. As others have suggested, research your developing options. A lot of supermarket type photo processing places won't be able to handle true b&w film but they would be able to do C41 b&w film such as Ilford XP2. There are a few online processing shops that will handle your b&w film but it isn't that cheap.
04-02-2011, 03:53 PM   #8
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i receintly tried out Ilford Delta 3200ISO for low light,. It was interesting. There is another thread I started on what B&W film, I posted a few of the results there.

04-02-2011, 04:00 PM   #9
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I'd agree with the recommendations for TMAX400 as well - especially if you want to scan the negs rather than just print them..

I still use a few rolls of TMAX 400 a year as I like the way it scans. That's just personal preference tho
04-03-2011, 02:09 AM   #10
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Thank you all very much chaps, you've certainly given me lots to think about and to research. I appreciate your help and advice.

many thanks
04-04-2011, 03:08 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by mplatt1903 Quote
I'd agree with the recommendations for TMAX400 as well - especially if you want to scan the negs rather than just print them..

I still use a few rolls of TMAX 400 a year as I like the way it scans. That's just personal preference tho
I would agree that TMY scans well. Of the conventional grain ISO 400 films, I'm inclined toward Neopan/LegacyPro 400. The price on the LegacyPro is nice for experimenting, but I'd probably get Neopan with a good expiration date for the big event.

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