'newbie' question--what film best for 800ISO, grain, sharpness, tonality

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Hi all, I've recently started shooting APX400 at ISO800, a 1.5 stop push (for me...). I really like some of the results I get, but it's kinda hit and miss, especially in the low zones, from approx. Zone 5 down. I do a lot of shooting where the subject is not directly in the light, and since I'm shooting in low light in the first place, the idea of opening up is a no-go.

I like grain these days (big, but not golf-ball), and I want great sharpness. But what I want most, is a certain amount of consistency.

Could someone recommend a traditional film for 800ISO, for use with Rodinal (1:100) or PMK.

Tri-X, right? I've had terrible results with this wonder film in the past, but maybe some advice might help...thanks all.

-- shawn (shawngibson_prophoto@yahoo.com), August 18, 2000


Ilford Delta 3200 is actually around ISO 1000 speed (800 is only part of a stop more light). The 3200 speed comes with extensive pushing. You can use the film at its true speed with excellent results.

-- Don Karon (dkaron@socal.rr.com), August 18, 2000.

TMax 3200 in Microdol @ EI1000, ain't bad. The "real" speed of Neopan 1600 is probably 800, and does nicely with TMax or Rodinol 1+50 developer. Only use AGFA film in a Zeiss Contax.

-- Bill Mitchell (bmitch@home.com), August 18, 2000.

Only use AGFA film in a Zeiss Contax

Very wierd, but I started shooting APX 400 with a Contax S2 last year, loved it, then left it for stuff like Technical Pan and other slow films. I just printed my first 'real' enlargements from an Olympus SP35 last night with APX 400 (8x10). It AIN'T got it like the Zeiss. Not even close. :-(

And I think you nailed it: Neopan with Rodinal sounds very promising, even gives me 1/3 stop extra probly (ISO1000-ish). I've used D3200, but the truth is I love Delta (all versions) tonality sometimes, hate it others. I'm starting to be an old-tech guy...

-- shawn (shawngibson_prophoto@yahoo.com), August 18, 2000.

Nothing like doing it the hard way.....

The developers you're using _decrease_ real speed, if anything.

If you really want to use Rodinal, make it stronger at 1:50 or 1:25 and add up to 25g/L sodium sulfite to get the speed up. That'll bring back 1/3 to 2/3 stop real speed (based on shadow density) but I really doubt you're going to get above EI 400.

Try this; HP5+ in Microphen 1:1 7'/75F EI 640 or in DD-X 1:9 9'/75F EI 640. These are real speeds based on .10 DU above fb&f for Zone I, or iow, HP5+ developed in either of those developers becomes an EI 640 film for "normal" contrast. If you want EI 800-1000 just increase development time around 10%.

-- John Hicks (jbh@magicnet.net), August 18, 2000.

Thanks John, as usual. But doesn't sodium sulphite decrease sharpness? The reason I like Rodinal is the sharpness.

I like the HP5+ idea, too. I'll try them both, and Neopan, tomorrow. Stay tuned.

-- shawn (shawngibson_prophoto@yahoo.com), August 18, 2000.

Bill: you meant the IIa, right? oops.

-- shawn (shawngibson_prophoto@yahoo.com), August 18, 2000.

I just got through "testing" Tri-X & HP5+ against TMZ & Delta 3200. (I'm comitting for a year, so I thought it was justified.) TMZ @ 1000 and Delta 3200 @ 1600 are pretty damn good and don't really suffer from the T-grain look. The difference I notice is a spectral response difference -- I bet that the modern films have higher red sensitivity. (Anybody know?) I ended up going with Delta 3200.

The amount of sodium sulfite Mr. Hicks recommends is similar to what you'd see in XTOL 1:3 or D-76 1:4 --- not enough to dissolve your silver appreciably.

-- John O'Connell (boywonderiloveyou@hotmail.com), August 18, 2000.

> sodium sulphite decrease sharpness?

25g/L isn't enough to have any visible effect on sharpness.

I'm currently using 20g/L sodium sulfite for HP5+ in Rodinal 1:50; I've used up to 50g/L with no visible effect that I've been able to see even with a 30X magnifier.

What it does is raise the EI for that combination to EI 320 rather than EI 200 for the same CI.

-- John Hicks (jbh@magicnet.net), August 18, 2000.

This may be a stupid question, but I have a whole bunch of sodium BIsulphite at home. Won't work, right?

-- shawn (shawngibson_prophoto@yahoo.com), August 21, 2000.

Right, won't work.

-- John Hicks (jbh@magicnet.net), August 21, 2000.

It takes about 100g/L of sulfite to reduce sharpness. At any rate, you'll have better results with a speed increasing developer like (my preference) Microphen or Acufine.

-- tim brown (brownt@flash.net), August 21, 2000.

Thanks Tim. By "better results" can you tell me what you mean? Sharpness? Grain? Tonality? EI? I really don't want to switch from Rodinal. That, and PMK, are my favourite developers, and I've never found anything sharper...

-- shawn (shawngibson_prophoto@yahoo.com), August 21, 2000.

In my experience with Rodinal 1:50 to 1:100 with various films, it usually results in 1/3 to a full stop less real speed than the ISO rating. That's why it may not be good for pushing; there's not much point in losing up to a stop in shadow density before you even get started.

PQ developers (Microphen etc) usually give up to 2/3 stop _increase_ in real speed for a normal CI...so it's as if you're getting something for nothing. Then you push (simply increasing contrast) from there.

So...based on the same CI...HP5+ in Microphen 1:1 or DD-X 1:9 gives a _full stop_ more real speed than in Rodinal w/sodium sulfite, or iow, EI 640 rather than EI 320. As you can see, if all you want is EI 800 you don't need to push much.

-- John Hicks (jbh@magicnet.net), August 22, 2000.

Wow, that's a big difference John--a full stop. Time to reconsider...

-- shawn (shawngibson_prophoto@yahoo.com), August 22, 2000.

Shawn, by "better results" I meant more real speed, as John has said several times.

-- tim brown (brownt@flash.net), August 22, 2000.

Thanks Tim, like I say, I think I'll try John's suggestion. A full stop (at the densities I've been getting) would make a BIG BIG difference!!!

-- shawn (shawngibson_prophoto@yahoo.com), August 22, 2000.

noddling around while the boss sleeps (!), I came across an old post on pdn, where Jeff Spirer mentions Rodinal, Tri-X and "mercury intensifier" giving him acceptable results at EI1600.

What the heck is mercury intensifier? (just curious...)

-- shawn (shawngibson_prophoto@yahoo.com), August 24, 2000.

Mercury intensifier? I don't know either, but mercury is a bad idea for dang near everything. Go to option B.

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

There's some info and a formula in the Darkroom Cookbook about mercuric chloride intensification.

The words "deadly poison," "most toxic formula" and "face mask, ventilation and gloves" were also used.

For some reason that doesn't strike me as a good idea.

-- John Hicks (jbh@magicnet.net), August 26, 2000.

Id personally (depending on subject matter) would use Kodak Royal Gold 1000ISO, it is pretty grainy and super fast...

-- Jason Tuck (jtuck80@csi.com), January 28, 2001.

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