Film for B&W Nature : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

After years of shooting nature with color film (mostly Velvia), I've taken the plunge into medium format (used Rolleiflex) and want to pursue B&W. I typically pursue landscape shots with a great deal of depth of field (thus long exposures @f11-f16). When I enlarge color I usually go, if the transparency warrants, up to 11x14, rarely to 16x20. With this in mind, what would be a recommended fine grained film to begin my foray into B&W. By the way, I don't do my own darkroom work and any enlargements would be done by a pro custom lab. Thanks, Chuck

-- Chuck Bettis (, January 02, 2000


I'd suggest buying a couple rolls each of Ilford FP4, Kodak Plus-X and Ilford XP2 (use it at ASA 200, not 400). Use these on your favorite subjects and compare the results. Without knowing what you photograph and what results ring your bell, it's hard to get any closer.

-- Josef Brugger (, January 02, 2000.

If you're leaving all but the exposures up to a lab, I'd second the vote for a chromogenic BW, like XP2 or T400CN from Kodak. Extreme latitude, and better lab control for processing; although I would recommend eventually using silver ('normal' BW emulsion) and processing it's the only way you'll ever get exactly what you want, and there's really nothing to it, no darkroom required, only a bathroom and a little tank. Congrats on the Rollei.

-- shawn gibson (, January 02, 2000.

I would consider Agfa APX 100 and TMX 100. I would shy away from the TCN stuff--it seems to have a flatness to it. If you look at John Sexton's work with TMX 100 you should be impressed.

-- david myers (, January 04, 2000.

Since you're using a medium-format negative and grain isn't a significant concern, of the last two recommended, I'd start with APX 100. It's a much easier film to handle than TMX, and produces simply gorgeous results - much nicer to my eye than TMX. A well-exposed 6x6 APX 100 negative developed in nearly anything (except, say, Rodinal) should blow up pretty darn big before grain becomes an issue.

And in my Minox-negative-blowup experience with ALL of the 100- and 125-speed films in the last five years (all dev'd in D-76 1:1, with some rolls in XTOL 1:1 or Microdol-X 1:3), APX 100 was consistently right behind TMX and Delta 100 in the high resolution/sharpness and fine-grain category (and quite clearly in front of Plus-X and FP4 Plus). It's a wonderful film, and with an old Rolleiflex, a match made in heaven!

Nothing against TMX - I use that a lot too, but there's no getting around its more temperamental personality. However, for medium format, I'd definitely go with APX 100.

-- Michael Goldfarb (, January 05, 2000.

For totally fine grain, Tech Pan is probably it, but overkill for what you're doing. Ilford Pan-F is a nice ISO 50 film, and is pretty-much grainless to me for 11x14 done off of a 645 negative (11x14 is where I start to be able to see grain in the shadow areas.

My favorite B&W film however is Ilford Delta 100. It's not as picky as TMAX about development, and just seems to shine.

I do all my own B&W development in PMK, but Delta 100 is forgiving enough that I wouldn't have a problem sending it out almost anywhere. I've had a local lab do a few rolls in the past, and they've come out stunningly well. T-grain emultions aren't the "best" for PMK, since they don't stain as much, but I always seem to go back to Delta 100 for look.

If you decide to do your own developing, Delta's about as forgiving a film as I've seen. I've never had a roll develop poorly, and I'm not the most meticulous person around.

Mostly though, I just shoot it because it has a look that I like.


-- Paul D. Robertson (, January 10, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ