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01-30-2019, 06:31 AM - 1 Like   #16
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When I had darkroom access (almost 30-years ago!), I settled on HP5+ and Ilford fibre-based paper over Kodak materials as more suitable for the kind of 'look' (contrast, grain) I was pursuing at the time (and I don't remember what chemistry was used in the darkroom).

Recently I resumed shooting B+W after a very long hiatus, getting film processed by a local camera store lab (don't know what chemistry) and doing my own scanning and pp. I've worked with several 400 ISO films: Tri-X, HP5+, Tmax and (perhaps more exotically), Berger Pancro. Apart from the last outlier, with digital PP the differences are vanishingly small, perhaps more attributable to other variables including lens, exposure (an iffy proposition at best, with my old manual gear and low-end handheld meter, improper battery and all) ... I do feel there are real differences, but at this point haven't formed a preference.

Anyways, here are three of my more recent shots, on Tri-X , Tmax, and HP5+:



Tri-X





Tmax 400





HP5+

01-30-2019, 07:03 AM - 1 Like   #17
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I forgot to put in the link to that book in my post above

It's this: https://www.amazon.com/Practical-Zone-System-Digital-Photography/dp/02408075...em+photography

After Adams it's a classic. It has been updated recently for digital. Looks like there are some others with promise as well.
01-30-2019, 07:57 AM   #18
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I think you can not go wrong with either of these films. If you want some practical impressions, have a look at the analogue only competition website.
Films ∑ Lomography
You will get a good feeling for the films if you click yourself through the fotos. Just remember: Exact lighting, sharp lenses and sharpness at all are no necessity for lomographs.

EDIT : Be aware there are all also medium format photographs, they have astonishing fine grain :-).
01-30-2019, 09:13 AM   #19
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Of course, and as you will learn, what chemistry you use to develop the film, what speed you shoot it at, and how much you agitate during development will probably have MORE impact on the final image than the film stock itself. The most important thing is to get comfortable with a film stock and play with it, learn what you like and don't like about it, and then once you have a strong sense play with other stocks.

Personally, I almost exclusively shoot FP4+ as my standard. 400 speed films like Tri-X and HP5+ are VERY flexible and you can easily use them for 95% of applications. I would choose whatever is more affordable/easier to acquire. I would recommend HC110 as an 'easy to deal with' one-shot developer for either film. D76 is the standard, but works best if you are doing bulk or in a community dark room, as once mixed it only stays active for around 2 months (if refrigerated). I live in a tiny apartment and my fridge is full, so I always use one-shot developers :-)

If you are interested in HC110 as a developer, there is a wealth of information about it here (Kodak HC-110 Developer - Unofficial Resource Page). You should probably rate the film a little below box speed, like 250ISO or 320ISO, as a 'standard' (but you can do all sorts of crazy things, which is one of the fun parts of working with film).

01-30-2019, 09:49 AM   #20
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Another point worth making is if the class is providing the chemistry, TMAX100 and I assume TMAX400 is a bit more demanding of fixer than the traditional cubic films. It usually requires more time in the fix or else it retains a magenta color in the clear parts. If they are good at maintaining their chemicals it wonít be a problem, but if theyíre lax you may encounter the problem. Itís easy to fixódry it out, donít cut it, respool it and give it some more time in the fix or freshen the fix first.
01-30-2019, 12:16 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by abruzzi Quote
Another point worth making is if the class is providing the chemistry, TMAX100 and I assume TMAX400 is a bit more demanding of fixer than the traditional cubic films. It usually requires more time in the fix or else it retains a magenta color in the clear parts. If they are good at maintaining their chemicals it wonít be a problem,
Yeah, and that magenta cast is similar to the color in the contrast control filters used with the multi grade paper... so under-fixing could impact your prints...

-Eric
01-30-2019, 02:47 PM - 1 Like   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by ZombieArmy Quote
But I admit I know next to nothing about the differences between 35mm negative film. These 3 are the ones I see talked about the most and was wondering what would be the pros and cons between them?
Kodak Tri-X:
Pro: The classic tonal response and film look generations of photographers learned with and shot since 1954. The 11th Commandment is that the first roll of black and white must be Tri-X In my experience, the most "forgiving" in terms of exposure latitude and processing.
Con: Kodak's annoyingly difficult metal canisters to pry open. Also the tape that attaches the film to the spool is difficult to peel off when transferring the film to the developing reel.

Ilford HP5+:
Pro: Very similar to Tri-X but easier to open the metal canister and to tear the film off the spool. It's Tri-X with an English accent.
Con: Doesn't come in the classic yellow box.

Kodak TMax:
Pro: Sharp, less grainy, and a bit more contrasty compared to the other two above. (Iford's equivalent is Delta).
Con: For optimal results, I'd recommend using TMax developer which is expensive. (Delta is optimized with Ilford DD-X.)

This is my experience and my opinion. Some photo teachers give their students the same film to make processing and results more consistent from assignment to assignment, but I believe in the "try them all" approach so you can see for yourself which film becomes your personal preference.
01-30-2019, 03:09 PM   #23
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Man, I just cut the film at the end off of the "axle" with scissors. What's this tearing thing about? The church key I use to get the end of the roll off with usually takes two attempts max for anything I've tried to open.

It's hard to know which is best when starting out; shoot a bunch of different film all the time, or stick to just one and shoot the daylights out of it, trying to get development really figured out with repeatable good results. Maybe my Feb. should be HP5 month?

01-30-2019, 10:05 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by pres589 Quote
Man, I just cut the film at the end off of the "axle" with scissors. What's this tearing thing about? The church key I use to get the end of the roll off with usually takes two attempts max for anything I've tried to open.
I've never been a fan of using scissors in total darkness, mostly out of fear of cutting the last frame. For Ilford, as you probably know, they don't use tape and it's easy enough to just grip the end of the film by the spool and jerk, or rather, tear it off since it's only a little tongue that goes into the spool.

Church key, bottle opener, or can opener, with Ilford I can easily open either end. For Kodak, one side is nearly impossible and the other takes a bit of strength. Maybe your church key has supernatural powers?
01-30-2019, 10:32 PM - 2 Likes   #25
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After much consideration I think the first B&W roll that I'll be putting through this camera will be Tri-x. I don't think it'd be right to do it any other way, plus I just love the look of it after going through a ton of sample images.

Thanks for the help everyone.
01-30-2019, 11:14 PM   #26
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HP5+ or Tri-X for a more classic look (bigger grain).

T-Max or Delta for a more modern look (finer grain).

Of course there are differences beyond grain but all four of these options are good. There are a few other 400-speed B&W films out there too but I haven't tried most of them so I won't comment. The four above are the most common and of them my favourite is Ilford Delta 400, which I find to have the tones of a classic B&W film but with finer grain. Tri-X is very nice too, especially for pushing. T-Max 400 has a nice clean look to it and can easily be used at 200 (and pushed a stop or two I imagine). HP5+ is my least favourite of those as I find it has low contrast, but that can be remedied by altering the developing, I just don't bother as any of the others produces great results without any experimentation.
02-01-2019, 07:44 PM   #27
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I have experience with both Tri-X (400TX) and HP5+. For your first time it doesn't matter. Pick either one. Both films have good average development dynamic range and are very forgiving in exposure latitude. The tonal response of HP5 in highlights feels different than 400TX with the developers I use.

Some info about BW film that has been touch on. BW film comes in two major categories: Old-school cubic grain films which both 400TX and HP5+ fall under and a newer tabular grain film such as Kodak's T-Max films and Ilford's Delta films. These films offer more ISO for your grain size but can have a different film look. These tabular films are also receptive to developing for different exposure indexes. These are good general purpose films.

Best of luck and have fun
02-02-2019, 04:07 PM - 2 Likes   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alex645 Quote
I've never been a fan of using scissors in total darkness, mostly out of fear of cutting the last frame. For Ilford, as you probably know, they don't use tape and it's easy enough to just grip the end of the film by the spool and jerk, or rather, tear it off since it's only a little tongue that goes into the spool.

Church key, bottle opener, or can opener, with Ilford I can easily open either end. For Kodak, one side is nearly impossible and the other takes a bit of strength. Maybe your church key has supernatural powers?
Best practice is to not rewind the film fully into the canister. When you feel the film come off the take-up spool, stop winding. The light seal works better with film between the felt pads, and itís easier to pull the film out of the can in the darkroom if the tongue is sticking out.
Before you turn off the lights, clip the tongue off and put it aside to test your fixer with. In the dark, pull the film out of the can, letting it roll up in your hand. When you get to the end, cut the film off right at the canister lip. If using plastic reels, load the film last frame first as that is how you have it anyway. If you are using steel reels, I found it best to roll the film back so that I could insert the tongue under the clip. There isnít much unexposed film at the tail end, and pushing it into the clip pretty much assures you will wreck the last frame.

Anyway, thatís how I did it when I was running my custom B&W lab and small batch developing anywhere from 2 to 10 rolls of film per day.
02-03-2019, 03:01 AM   #29
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Film extractors work ok to?
02-03-2019, 05:17 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by Xmas Quote
Film extractors work ok to?
In my experience, film extractors took a little while to get the hang of. Then they worked fine with factory loaded film canisters.

If you bulk load, however, and are sloppy about cutting the leader, they work less well

-Eric
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