B+W people film suggestions

greenspun.com : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

For years I have photographed mainly in color as a portrait photographer. Now I am doing some B&W figure work. I have grown accustomed to the smooth skin tones of portrait films. Being without a darkroom, I've been trying T400CN, but the contrast is so biting that I can see every pore on my model's skin. I'm not a big fan of brutal reality, and I'd like to be a little kinder to my model! I also don't necessarily want to use diffusion all the time. Does anyone have any suggestions for a smoother, more flattering B&W (traditional) film? I realise you can alter contrast through exposure and development times, but I will be relying for now on a commercial lab, so I'd like to keep things simple and control as much as possible in camera. A few years back I tried Agfapan APX100, but found it a bit grainy for my liking. That was in 35mm, and now I shoot 645, so maby this would not be so objectional, as it did have very pleasing tonality. Anyone have any suggestions?

-- Kevin Kallenbach (visart7@yahoo.com), June 30, 2000


Hmmm, T400CN is said to have lower contrast than ordinary B/W films...

There are Efke films R25 and R50 that are made for portraits in artificial light, very fine grain, but will have normal to hard contrast if you can't controll the process yourself.

Verichrome Pan and Plus-X Prof. Are good portrait films too.

To get softer negatives the way to go in this case is to overexpose a little and underdevelop. But you say you can't do that.

I guess you'll have to use a soft filter, or a soft portrait lens. don't know if your camera brand has one. There are Zeiss Softar filters. Very expensive, but the best you can get. They give the same softness with all apertures.

My best advice: Get a darkroom to develop in!

-- Patric (jenspatric@mail.bip.net), July 01, 2000.

Since I assume you will be doing these indoors or under controled lighting conditions, I would suggest Tech-Pan, it has an extended red sensitivity and is very kind to complextions, helps cover blemishes very well, and if you use tungsten lights, it is a big help. Pat

-- pat krentz (patwandakrentz@aol.com), July 01, 2000.

Kevin, unless you can come up with a real good b&w lab, I would not try any of the 'regular' b&w films. I do think Ilford's XP-2 shot at ISO 200 would be the ideal film for you.


-- Christian Harkness (chris.harkness@eudoramail.com), July 01, 2000.

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