B/W film: anything new in the past 15 years.

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Recently, I rebuilt a darkroom I had in high school. At that time (mid 80s), I was using Kodak Tri-X film for most of my work. I built this darkroom in order to take pictures of my family in a number of lighting situations (sports, parties, candids, indoors and out) Is there any "new" film I should sample?

I am also thinking of rolling my own film to cut costs. If you had to use only one B/W film for a number of lighting situations, which would you choose?

-- Dan Zorilla (dvzorilla@juno.com), March 13, 2000


only one film.. FP4+

-- Nigel Smith (nlandgl@eisa.net.au), March 13, 2000.

I still like Tri-X.

Others like Tmax films, or a lot of people like Ilford Delta 100 or 400.

-- Terry Carraway (TCarraway@compuserve.com), March 13, 2000.

FOMA T grain films (200 and 800 ASA)developed in AGFA Atomal/Calbe A49 (8' or 12 ', resp.; diffuse light enlarger) with no loss of speed (exceptional for Zone system addicts). See http://www.foma.cz/ or http://www.fotoimpex.de/ for details.

-- W.Baier (wolfgang.baier@gmx.de), March 13, 2000.

Delta 100 & 400, and for really fine grain Pan-F. Forget about T-Max films--IMO not worth the effort to process properly.

-- Peter Hughes (leo948@yahoo.com), March 13, 2000.

Things have changed in 15 years, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. I'd strongly recommend the purchase of The Film Developing Cookbook by Stephen Anchell and Bill Troop. ISBN 0-240- 80277-2 from Borders or B&N. This book has the best treatment of films and developers I've seen to date. Though I still like Tri-X, they also have high regard for Ilford HP5+ and Agfa APX400. They also explain the reasons why t-grain films often don't give satisfactory results. Great stuff!

-- Conrad Hoffman (choffman@rpa.net), March 13, 2000.

I am still a fan of Tri-x. For what it's worth, I have been unable to get results that I like much with T-Max films. I strongly agree with the recommendation of Anchell & Troop's "The Film Developing Cookbook." It's an excellent guide. I am very impressed with Tri-X in Xtol a new Kodak developer, and this book gives some interesting discussions of Xtol.

-- Sam Elkind (sselkind@home.com), March 13, 2000.

Ilford XP-2+. True 400 speed with the grain and sharpness of Agfapan 25. Beautiful scale. Extreme latitude. Drop it off at your local one hour lab for instant development in C-41 chemicals, and then proof it yourself at home. I don't know why they still make anything else.

-- Bill Mitchell (bmitch@home.com), March 14, 2000.

Bill, I think the jury is still out on the archival qualities on the chromegenic (spelling) emulsions. I have XP1 negs from about 18 years ago that still look fine so maybe they're ok, but will they last 100+ years? Also, I agree with your assesment of this sort of film but not everyone wants the 'look' that you get from these negs. Some people like grain for example. And, others (I count myself in here) just like doing the whole process themselves...

Regards, Nige

-- Nigel Smith (nlandgl@eisa.net.au), March 14, 2000.

I will probably be dead in a hundered years or so & thus would recommend XP-2 if you are looking for smooth, fine grain & super tonal gradation. I use Fuji Neopan 1600 for most everything & love it.

ANYHOW, a LOT has changed over the last 15 years - mostly you have many more choices and better enlarging papers, especially RC and multi grade.

-- Christian Harkness (chris.harkness@eudoramail.com), March 15, 2000.

No contest. XP2 400

Having tried many over the past 10 years XP2 has given me completely consistent almost grainfree pics with excellent tonality. It has won me prizes.

-- anthony brookes (gdz00@lineone.net), March 15, 2000.

I had been away for more like 20 years when my daughter took a photo class in high school (last year). I decided to drag out the gear and try again. So far, I've tried the Ilford Delta 100 and Kodak T-Max 100 & 3200 (of the "new films") and I love them all. I plan on trying every film that has come out since I left the hobby (this is supposed to be fun isn't it?). My only suggestion is to decide if you want to use "one shot" developers or not (your preference). Have fun!

-- Neal Wydra (new@xnet.com), March 19, 2000.

"I will probably be dead in a hundered years or so & thus would recommend XP-2 if you are looking for smooth, fine grain & super tonal gradation." The comment above seems selfish and represents rather clearly the thinking of the "me" culture. At its highest level, photography is about more than the photographer and has some value for generations beyond our own.

-- Chris Hawkins (peace@clover.net), March 20, 2000.

"The comment above seems selfish"

Says who? Maybe he is like many of us who do not assume that the next of future generations will be fascinated by our images. To assume so either marks you out as arrogant or possibly a universally recognised (or eventually to be recognised Atget-style) artist. Which is more likely to be true?

-- Robin Smith (rsmith@springer-ny.com), March 23, 2000.

Same problem for me. I think that Tri-x in T Max developer is a good improvement, and there are not many differences for general pourpose.

-- luigi z (oxasza@tin.it), March 23, 2000.

Robin: There is no ambiguity regarding the importance of my work to future generations. I'm documenting my extended family in some detail and yes, it will be important to them. The odds of many people outside my descendents knowing my name in 100 years is remote, but that doesn't matter. What matters to me is preserving my family's way of life through photographs.

-- Chris Hawkins (peace@clover.net), March 26, 2000.

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