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12-30-2008, 03:37 PM   #16
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B&W films

I love Agfa APX 100 and 400. It's not made anymore, but I have a large stock of it in the freezer and you can still find some on eBay.

I've used PAN F+, HP4+, and FP5+ and like them quite a bit. When my Agfa runs out I expect I'll be shooting these three a lot. I've recently been trying some Neopan ACROS 100 in 120 but haven't had any developed yet.

I am not a big fan of T-Max or Delta films, but that's just me I guess. I found them a little too contrasty for my tastes.

12-30-2008, 04:17 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by Buffy Quote
I love Agfa APX 100 and 400. It's not made anymore, but I have a large stock of it in the freezer and you can still find some on eBay.

I've used PAN F+, HP4+, and FP5+ and like them quite a bit. When my Agfa runs out I expect I'll be shooting these three a lot. I've recently been trying some Neopan ACROS 100 in 120 but haven't had any developed yet.

I am not a big fan of T-Max or Delta films, but that's just me I guess. I found them a little too contrasty for my tastes.
The few times I used Agfa, I loved the stuff. Unfortunately, there was never a reliable supply of it where I live, so I tended towards what I could get easily.
The Ilford films are all very nice indeed, I suspect you'll like them.

T-Max and Delta have really nice straight characteristic curves which can make them hard to control if you are not used to that sort of film.

As an example, Ilford HP-5 is the nicest 80 ISO B&W film that I've ever seen, but Delta 400 really doesn't like being shot below 200.
OTOH, Delta isn't as receptive to changes in development time, though I did find it was quite receptive to changes in developer temperature.

On a side note, I process everything in HC:110 developer, YMMV with newer formulations.

Do you train helper dogs?
12-31-2008, 12:46 AM   #18
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It does seem as though you can do so much with it when you change things like the developer, the time and temperature of your work environment, etc. It must be nice to have the space and time, and materials. I could probably pick up a lot of stuff and do it myself on the cheap, but the wife says the kitchen sink is off limits. "No chemicals", is what she said.

I found out today that the "true" B&W films have a different base, and retain silver in their processing, making them much less susceptible to the sands of time than color film is (including, as it were, XP2 and BW400). They also are technically supposed to be more forgiving in exposure latitude, with 5 stops instead of 2-3 wiggle room. I suppose the later is very helpful when processing your own film and going for a desired look.

Based on the descriptions, I'd probably be leaning towards the Ilford HP5 (I don't want that hyper-sharp look that Delta sounds like it provides), or Kodak Tri X. I do have a question though: TMax and TriX? What is the difference? Is it similar to the difference between HP5 and Delta films?

I can't wait to get my camera fixed up so I can dig into this.
12-31-2008, 07:15 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by drewdlephone Quote
It does seem as though you can do so much with it when you change things like the developer, the time and temperature of your work environment, etc. It must be nice to have the space and time, and materials. I could probably pick up a lot of stuff and do it myself on the cheap, but the wife says the kitchen sink is off limits. "No chemicals", is what she said.
Remind her of that the next time she pulls out the household cleaners. If you use the old school B&W chemistry (D-76, Kodak Fixer, etc), you are using much less toxic chemistry than what you pour into your dishwasher, and you aren't eating the residue, either.
Kodak had a developer out for a while that was based on citric acid or some such, and was completely non toxic.

QuoteQuote:
I found out today that the "true" B&W films have a different base, and retain silver in their processing, making them much less susceptible to the sands of time than color film is (including, as it were, XP2 and BW400). They also are technically supposed to be more forgiving in exposure latitude, with 5 stops instead of 2-3 wiggle room. I suppose the later is very helpful when processing your own film and going for a desired look.
Somewhere around here I have an image made at an old sodium sulphite mine. Shot on a bright, sunny day, there was almost a 14 stop range within the scene. Nowadays, I'd shoot a few frames and do an HDR, but 20 years ago, I knew that to get the entire range I needed 5 or 6 more stops than what the film was going to want to give me.
I don't recall precisely what my exposure was, but it was several stops over my normal, and I think I gave it something like N-4 stops of development as well.
I was able to make a nearly straight print from the resulting 4x5 negative.
QuoteQuote:
Based on the descriptions, I'd probably be leaning towards the Ilford HP5 (I don't want that hyper-sharp look that Delta sounds like it provides), or Kodak Tri X. I do have a question though: TMax and TriX? What is the difference? Is it similar to the difference between HP5 and Delta films?
T-Max and Delta are both grown crystal design emulsions. The grain structure is much finer, and much more uniform than the more normal emulsions. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.

T-Grain films (T-Max and I'll include Delta for ease of linguistics) are, as mentioned, finer grained and higher acutance(we call it IQ these days) than normal grain films of the same speed, but they don't have the exposure latitude or controlability of the more normal films.
Films like FP-4, Tri-X and the like are not as fine grained, but are much more responsive to exposure and development controls.

12-31-2008, 06:31 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by drewdlephone Quote
It does seem as though you can do so much with it when you change things like the developer, the time and temperature of your work environment, etc. It must be nice to have the space and time, and materials. I could probably pick up a lot of stuff and do it myself on the cheap, but the wife says the kitchen sink is off limits. "No chemicals", is what she said.
Wheatfield is correct. The chemicals used are allot less nasty then most of the cleaners we dump down our drains.

As an alternative you could try "Cafenol C" for a developer. It is a home brew of coffee crystals, Vitimin C, and washing soda.

Use water as a stop bath, and the fixer is reused.

So the only "Chemicals" going down the drain are really no different then the stuff already going down the kitchen drain.
01-01-2009, 11:05 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by drewdlephone Quote
It does seem as though you can do so much with it when you change things like the developer, the time and temperature of your work environment, etc. It must be nice to have the space and time, and materials. I could probably pick up a lot of stuff and do it myself on the cheap, but the wife says the kitchen sink is off limits. "No chemicals", is what she said.
drewdlephone

The following applies only to the United States, which is where I live..Things may differ in other countries, especially Third World countries..The following also only applies to separate film versus digital camera-to-print systems, and not to any hybrid system combining the two processes..

My finances have prevented me from re-entering black and white film photography as soon as I had hoped to..I have had over a year to do research into the relative toxicities between film and digital..I did this research so I could decide whether, or not, to build a darkroom in my home..I was concerned about the toxicity of film processes, as I had last developed film and prints in the mid-1980's..Unfortunately, I cannot quote sources as the computer that I had all of this information stored on crashed, leaving me with no recoverable info..And, I never bothered to go back to resource out all of the info as I had pretty much decided which way to go as regards to building a darkroom..

Let us compare EVERY process in the history of film from the earliest days to the present, against a complete modern camera-to-print digital system..If we take into account every aspect of manufacturing all of the equipment, materials, and chemicals needed for both systems, we find that both methodologies are pretty much equal in damage to the environment, and the toxicity dangers that the end user faces..

Looked at more closely one finds that many, if not most, of the more toxic film processes are seldom practiced any longer..When they are practiced, such as selenium toning, these more toxic chemical processes are heavily regulated..There are often stringent rules regarding the purchase, use, and disposal of the chemicals, and the waste products generated by the process..

There has been a rapid decline in color film manufacturing and usage over the past 15 years due to the growing popularity of all types of digital cameras..Modern color film processes are far more toxic, from manufacturing to end usage, than are modern black and white film processes..This also effects the equation when comparing film and digital..

Next look at the relative complexity and disposability of all the components in a complete camera-to-print digital system..Most digital components used regularly will have lifespans measuring between 5-20 years..Cameras, computers, monitors, printers, and all of the ancillary equipment just do not last as long as their film counterparts..In addition, those components that have the longer lifespans, such as high-end printers, generally require regular and expensive maintenance in order to eke out a long period of usage..In general, film equipment is simply more robust, and less complex, than its digital counterparts..Most mid-priced to upper end film equipment has a lifespan measured in decades, usually from between 3-10..This must also factor into the equation..Film equipment generally lasts a long time, most digital equipment generally ends up in a landfill in 10 years, or less..

Now consider that very few photographers are going to develop color films at home..The ones that do choose to develop color film in their homes certainly must take into account the much greater toxicity of the color process to themselves, their children, their pets, and the environment..One should not be flushing these chemicals down the drain, or into a septic system..Other methods of disposal should be chosen..

When all of these factors are taken into consideration it becomes glaringly obvious that black and white film represents far less of a threat to photographers, their families, their pets, and the environment than the general public commonly believes..Because the chemicals for developing black and white film are smelly, most people just assume that they are very toxic..Not so..

The two main hazards that the digital system poses to photographers, their families, etc. is from ink jet printers and the computers utilized in every aspect of the process..All ink jet printers expel an enormous amount of super fine ink droplets into the air as the printer head moves back and forth..Because these cannot be seen by the naked eye most photographers are unaware that these droplets are being breathed in by anyone in the vicinity of the printer..If the home is equipped with a forced hot air heating and cooling system, then these droplets are being drawn into the return air ducts, and recirculated back into the home's air supply..The inks for ink jet printing are fairly toxic, especially those chemicals used as carrying agents for the pigments or dyes..If I was going to run one of these on a regular basis I would design and implement a hood and fan system over the printer similar to the types used over cook stoves..I would use such a system to keep the air in my house as clean as possible..The other danger that the digital system poses is in the electromagnetic radiation that all of the various computers give off..This is a danger that most of us just take for granted, as computers are so ubiquitous in our everyday lives..But, it should be factored into the comparison between the two methodologies..A photographer does not need a computer for any part of the film / wet developing process..Computers are absolutely necessary to the digital process..

Both manufacturing film stocks and manufacturing all of the various components in the digital process, especially the chips and circuit boards, end up using a lot of water..Everything I have been able to learn leads me to believe that the digital manufacturing process requires enormous amounts of water, far more than the making of film stocks..Everything I have learned leads me to believe that digital components deteriorating in landfills release far more toxins into the water tables than do deteriorating film negatives, slides, or prints..This is kind of a gray area with little published..The manufacturers obviously do not want to publish how many toxins that they are creating and releasing into the environment during the various film and digital manufacturing processes..I stand ready to be corrected if someone has information regarding manufacturing that I have not read..

Overall, film comes out much better against digital than the average citizen would suspect..

Part of this is that with the exception of printing large digital prints, especially color ones, the digital process simply does not smell..Since most photographers are not printing high-quality, long-lasting color prints in their homes, they assume that digital is safer, and less harmful..Since film chemicals smell, it is automatically assumed that they must be bad..Another factor that I feel must be taken into account is the human propensity to fully embrace the new, while at the very same time making fun of and disparaging the old..The average citizen on the street today simply wants nothing to do with film, even if they cannot articulate why they feel this way..Out with the old, in with the new!!!..Just that simple..

So, developing black and white film and prints in the home poses no greater risks than does the digital system without the ink jet printer..Add into the equation the regular use of a decent ink jet printer without some form of ventilation system that removes the super fine ink droplets from the air; and, in my opinion, black and white film / print developing is safer for photographers, their families, their pets, and the environment..

Like several others have pointed out, look at the chemicals listed on the labels of ALL the household cleaning products that you have in your home..Then research those chemicals on the internet, or in your local library..Laundry products, dish detergents, and the chemicals in the bath and body products in your home are FAR more dangerous and toxic than are the chemicals needed to develop black and white film and prints..

I know this because over the past 18 months I have slowly been eliminating manufactured cleaning products from our home..Due to my skin's sensitivity I have tried to eliminate as many toxins as possible from our home..I have been making my own semi-liquid laundry soap from melted Ivory bar soap, Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda powder, 20 Mule Team Boraxo powder, and water for the past three months..Along with vinegar for fabric softener (usually do not need this)..A batch of this soap, approximately 2 gallons, costs me about 75 cents to make..This costs me 2.35 cents per 1/2 cup of soap per full load of laundry..I seldom use the vinegar for softener and do not recall what a gallon costs..I use 1 cup per full load added to the rinse cycle..Any smell disappears during line drying in the sun, or in a tumble dryer..This is but one example of the many ways that a person can eliminate some of the toxins that you breathe, or come into daily contact with..Remember, your skin is the largest organ that you possess..It is also one of the most easily damaged organs, for all of its apparent toughness..

A good little 4.5" x 8" paperback book on this subject that I highly recommend is--The Naturally Clean Home by Karyn Siegel-Maier

The Naturally Clean Home

Good luck with your black & white film endeavors!!!..I hope that you can convince your wife to let you use the kitchen sink!!!..

Bruce

Last edited by baltochef920; 01-03-2009 at 05:16 PM.
01-01-2009, 03:07 PM   #22
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Bruce,

Thanks for taking the time to post this. It was a great read.

I think we forget the impact the manufacture of our DSLR's have on the environment.

I had not even considered that ink jet printers spray chemicals into the air.

So much to think about...
01-01-2009, 04:18 PM   #23
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Helper Dogs

QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
Do you train helper dogs?
I'm legally blind and have a guide dog. My avatar is the patch on her identification vest. Although I am not a professional trainer, I certainly had a big role in her training.

Buffy

01-03-2009, 09:09 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by felix68 Quote
Its Tri-X or Plus-X for me. The last roll that I shot was Plus and I am very happy with the crispness. I am getting 4 8X10s printed printed from that one roll of 36.
I stay away from C-41 "Black & White" films. I find the tones muddy and prints on color papers to have a color cast. The color cast may not be an issue if you can find a lab that prints on B&W papers but that is hard to do.
That seems to be a split issue: I actually like the results a friend gets with Kodak's CN400, scanned and to a lesser extent machine printed. The only thing is, with that you get conventionally-unprintable negs because of the color of the base.

Still, I think Ilford's XP2 is too much like XP1: not the wonder-film it's billed as. Otherwise, Ilford can basically do no wrong, as far as I've seen.

(Also I forgot to mention that I love Plus-X, my favorite grain of anything: it's just so far been lacking a place in my regimen. (I think if I end up with anything with interchangeable backs, this will change: I decided to try Neopan Acros recently and still haven't figured out a developer I like it in, mostly due to life being unsettled enough to make me not want to mix up a whole bunch of different things... too contrasty for me in the T-max developer I ordered cause I like that for the Tmax 100 I scored like a brick of. )

I'm generally shooting the faster B&W in 35mm in recent years, though, I just find I need the speed too much of the time.
01-03-2009, 09:17 AM   #25
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Neopan 1600

I recently was doing some indoor shooting at work and used Neopan 1600 and have to say that I am pretty impressed with it. For a high ISO film the grain is really quite modest. Anyone else using it?
01-03-2009, 12:04 PM   #26
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I use Tri-x 400 and BW400CN that is not true black and white, but ease of convenience.
01-03-2009, 04:58 PM   #27
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Thank you everyone, especially Wheatfield and Baltochef for their detailed answers to my query. I may yet be convincing. On an aside, I just went to take a look at my dishwasher detergent and... holy crap. Do not INGEST? If ingested, call a Poison Control Centre and do not induce vomiting.

?? WTF ?? And we wash our dishes with this crap? I thought it was just pellet soap!
01-03-2009, 05:47 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by drewdlephone Quote
Thank you everyone, especially Wheatfield and Baltochef for their detailed answers to my query. I may yet be convincing. On an aside, I just went to take a look at my dishwasher detergent and... holy crap. Do not INGEST? If ingested, call a Poison Control Centre and do not induce vomiting.

?? WTF ?? And we wash our dishes with this crap? I thought it was just pellet soap!
drewdlephone

Eye opening, is it not??..

I will soon return to making my own hard bar soaps from scratch using various vegetable-based oils and old-fashioned lye crystals..I cannot wait to make my own shaving soaps, as everything that I can purchase irritates my skin to no end..

It is possible to make in a single batch enough hard soap to completely clean all of a large family's dishes, clothes, hair, bodies, etc for an entire year!!!..It just takes time, that is all..Time to make, and time to allow the new soap to cure so that it is not harsh on the skin..And, time to turn the cured bar soap into semi-liquid, and liquid soaps that are easier to use..

Our ancestors kept their homes pretty darn clean with all of the so-called old-fashioned cleaning products..They just had to spend some time to actually make up the cleaners themselves from commonly available ingredients that they could purchase at the dry goods store, the apothecary shop, or the hardware store..

Very damn few of the chemicals that are in all of these cleaning products actually allow the cleaner to function any better than a simpler formulation will..We are so damn lazy that we want to spray something into the toilet, bathtub, or shower asnd let the cleaner do all of the work..All we want to do is to rinse off the residue containing the dirt, scum, poop..

Our ancestors understood something intuitively that modern Americans have forgotten..Cleaning is hard work, and requires the expenditure of energy from humans..All of these cleaners require extremely toxic ingredients in order to try and replace elbow grease..And the residues they leave behind are still toxic..

I pose this question to all those who have taken the time to wonder about these chemical compounds that we have so willingly invited into our homes..

Does any sane man or woman willingly ingest, inhale, or place upon their skin substances that they know are poisons??..Or, allow their children and pets to do the same??..

Bruce
01-05-2009, 07:21 AM   #29
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Bruce, you've done a prodigious amount of research. Well done, there and thanks for sharing it. Have you tried the coffee and vitamin C routine for film developing? If so, how do you find it?

BTW, for a nice bathroom air freshener, we use a small garden sprayer filled with pure eucalyptus oil. (Very cheap in Australia). Couple of squirts and the room smells a whole lot better! I guess you could use lavender or any other pure fragrant oil you can get at a reasonable price.
01-05-2009, 01:39 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by baltochef920 Quote
drewdlephone
Our ancestors kept their homes pretty darn clean with all of the so-called old-fashioned cleaning products..They just had to spend some time to actually make up the cleaners themselves from commonly available ingredients that they could purchase at the dry goods store, the apothecary shop, or the hardware store..


Does any sane man or woman willingly ingest, inhale, or place upon their skin substances that they know are poisons??..Or, allow their children and pets to do the same??..

Bruce
I find that white vinegar, lemon juice and baking/bicarbonate soda can be used to make a variety of useful cleaning products, though I'd advise against using lemon juice to remove tea/coffee rings in cups and mugs (damages the enamel on the porcelain).

When see adverts for plug in air-fresheners and febreze, my skin crawls. Even our clothes and bedding could be treated with flame retardant (neuro)toxins like bromine or chlorine.
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