New B&W film : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

I have read recently that - I think - Kodak are to introduce a B&W film with 30 times the resolution of their current best film. The article went on to say that it foresaw the end of medium format cameras. Unfortunately I was reading someone elses newspaper from the back in a train so couldn't see the heading properly. Does anyone know anything about this ?

-- Anthony Brookes (, October 19, 2000


There are various rumors of high-resolution films; just look at the other posts to this forum recently. But where will the optics come from to take advantage of 1000 lp/mm or whatever? Keep in mind that diffraction is a hard limit. I think that rumors of the death of larger formats are greatly exaggerated.

-- Matthew Hunt (, October 19, 2000.

And why wouldn't they produce it in MF sizes too...

-- Nigel Smith (, October 19, 2000.

Contrary to what you might think from my recent spate of posts about resolution; I don't really think that resolution has much to do with image quality at all. Otherwise all soft-focus images would be seen to be rubbish, which is clearly nonsense.
"Tonality" is the key to quality, and finer grain in films can help with this, but only if that fineness of grain goes hand-in-hand with reasonable contrast.
You can't see the grain in Lith film, but it doesn't give good quality images.
Some other factors are involved as well. Much of the quality possible with small formats is lost to common dirt. Dust specks, or more insidious micro particles or water hardness on the surface of the negative, together with lack of smoothness in the surface of the emulsion itself, all degrade the image, no matter how good the camera equipment is.
Now, as I see it, there are two ways to tackle this.
1)You can turn your darkroom into a clean room, and suit up every time you want to make a print or develop a film. It'll probably only cost you somewhere in the region of $200US a month for the necessary water and air filters.
2)You can use a larger format.

-- Pete Andrews (, October 20, 2000.

> You can use a larger format.

But that would be doing it the easy way!

I went down the hi-res road a long time ago with H&W film and developer; all I got out of that pursuit was a bunch of very sharp, grainless but otherwise nasty-looking prints and a full appreciation of how incompetent my techique had really been. So it was a learning experience at least.

These days I see the use of highest-RP films in the tiniest cameras as a techno-hobby niche of photography, perhaps valid in its own right, in which content is almost irrelevant as long as it's really sharp.

I'd love to go the other way: Delta 3200 in 8x10.

-- John Hicks (, October 21, 2000.

since you bring it up why dont they make delta 3200 in 4x5 or 8x10?I usually dont need the speed but it could be useful when photogrph in a slight wind.Sorry I could not resist.-J

-- josh (, October 21, 2000.

Thanks for all your answers. Clearly the possibilty of this new film is creating a stir. I don't know enough about optics to comment on resolution factors but reading the replies there still seems to be an acceptance that better sharpness will continue to be obtained from medium format but more spontaneity from 35mm. - even though 35mm can be blown up to very large sizes with acceptable sharpness if viewed from the right distance.

-- Anthony Brookes (, October 21, 2000.

Kodak to make a hi-res film?? At the risk of sounding snotty, I can only answer "So what!" Many photographers confuse 'resolution' (lines/mm) with sharpness. The sharpness of Ilford Delta 100 is already at the limit of all but the very best optics, ie. Leitz 100 mm APO-Macro-Elmarit set at optimum aperture. (See Photo Technique International magazine 1/93, p. 54) To achieve maximum sharpness, the camera must be mounted on a tripod and the shutter speed set high enough to avoid even minute mirror shake. Now, is this practical? Hardly. The answer is, if you want higher resolution, MAKE A BIGGER NEGATIVE. If you want sharpness (call it 'actutance') avoid solvent (fine grain) developers. Try Delta 100 developed in PMK. This combination is blazingly sharp and has a beautiful scale as well. Remember that open sky and out of focus areas reveal grain more readily than sharply focused areas. Don't forget the quality of the enlarging lens and the accuracy of the enlarger alignment!

-- Michael D Fraser (, October 22, 2000.

> why dont they make delta 3200 in 4x5 or 8x10?

Most likely because our film holders aren't remotely light-tight enough.

-- John Hicks (, October 22, 2000.

Not sure about the story of Kodak coming out with a high res film, what I am sure about is a story that got wide professional play a few months ago regarding Agfa's discovery of how to make an extremely high quality highly light sensitive B&W film that could compete with the quality of the slowest films yet be rated into the the 1000's. Word was that they were trying to figure out how to make this technology work with color film. I wonder what ever happened to that. I check the Agfa site now and then to see any further developments, but I don't see anything.

-- William Cook (, November 05, 2000.

I think a new high res film will increase the on film sharpness of any lens by 50% to 100%. Current fine grain film such as Agfapan APX 25 resolves only 145 lpmm, that is the limit why 35mm lens hard to get pass 100 lpm on film. If Kodak can deliver a 1000 lpmm film at 50 ASA, A GOOD 35mm can deliver about 150 to 200 lpmm on film- with the result that good 35mm lens can rival MF.

However, this does not mean the demise of MF. On the contrary, I believe who ever market this film will make 120 format film available, so MF loaded with this film will rival LF in quality.

-- martin tai (, November 06, 2000.

In response to the comment about films that would have normal grain but very high speed, the emulsions are regular B&W silver technology emulsions that incorporate formate into the emulsion. Formate films have been investigated by Kodak also, but proved difficult to sensitize to (particularly) red wavelengths and are tough to store effectively.

-- Marty Deveney (, December 12, 2000.

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