The Sharpest / Finest Grained Film in 220 Format? : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

Sadly super fine grained films like Tech Pan, APX 25, TMax 100 and Delta 100 are not available in 220 format. I am right, right?

Why on Earth don't they make these great emulsions in 220? So annoying!

I want the finest grain and highest resolution for 220 roll film. What are my options? Will pulling a fast film help?


P.S. Is there any way to special order Tech Pan or TMax 100 in 220? Or is there any way to spool it myself, like people do, to get 620 format?

P.S.S. In case you are wondering why not just use 120, the answer is with 220 film I can use a vacuum back and get the ultimate performance out of my lenses.

-- Sol Campbell (, October 22, 2000



There are only five B&W films available (that I am aware of) in 220 format. They are PXP, TXP, FP4, HP5 and Delta 400. I think you are better off using either of the ASA 125 films rather than pulling one of the ASA 400 films.

Lately, I have been experimenting with PXP format and developing in Rodinal 1:100 mixed with a 10% sodium sulfite solution. The largest I print is 16x20 (from 6x7 negs) and have been getting excellent results in terms of grain, accutance and tonal range (I think my enlarger lens has been holding back some of the sharpness).

If you want to go through the effort, I suppose you could re-spool your favorite 120 film onto a spool with a 220-length leader and trailer taped to the ends. You could advance through the remainder of the shots when you get to the end of the roll. Also I have seen Panatomic X (can we have a moment of silence for Panatomic X) being sold on ebay in 4 inch rolls. If you have a tool (and the desire) to cut down to 220 size, this may be your best alternative.

I have heard of Kodak making special orders, but you have to make it worth their while to make the production run (i.e. you have to order many thousands of dollars worth of whatever it is you want) and you have to be willing to wait for them to get around to your order as well.

Have you compared the results of the "super fine grained" films shot with your 120 back to the results of the traditional 220 films shot with your vacuum back? You may find that when all the variables play out there may be no discernable difference between your final prints

Best of luck, ~james

-- james sobhani (, October 23, 2000.

I'm dancing on Panatomic-x's grave. I started using it back in the early 1960s, and kept using it out of habit for quite a few years. Then I discovered Ilford's Pan F; half a stop faster, and as fine grained, or possibly finer, with better tonality.
Then, when FP4 plus was introduced, I discovered that it was capable of better sharpness than either Pan F, or Pan'-x, and the grain wasn't noticeably coarser, as long as I was careful with the exposure and development.
IMHO Tmax100 blows everything except Tech-pan out of the water as far as fineness of grain is concerned, shame it hasn't got the sharpness to go with it.
Yes, well, back to the thread. I don't see why FP4plus shouldn't fit the bill. Fifty year old film formulations are all very well, but we can't live in the past forever.

-- Pete Andrews (, October 24, 2000.

Have to agree with Pete- I've been so amazed at what FP4+ can do, esp if processed in XTOL 1:3, that I haven't had any desire to go to a slower, finer grain film. Also agree about TMX- by the numbers it looks great, but I've never found the visual sharpness up to other films. (OK, I still mourn Panatomic-X and do often live in the past!)

-- Conrad Hoffman (, October 24, 2000.

I found PanX to be kind'a flat. It's amazing what you can do with PlusX. I found a big key was in adjutation. Adjutating as little as possible. You'll have to explose the tollerance. If you adjutate too little you get poor results, but if you get right up to that line you get very fine grain and good contrast. Maintaining .25 - .5 of 68 degrees is important also. Understand, it has been a while, I used D-76, but competed for jobs with the students comming out of "Brooks Institute" in Santa Barbara. Blew their shorts off with this fomula, using an FTN/105 2.5 printing 12x14 illford poly with no filters, you couldn't see the grain.

-- Edward A. Swearingen (, November 06, 2000.

Here is an idea;

Roll say tech pan onto another 120 spool, in the dark of course!

Now unroll from the exposed end until you get to the loose end of the film. Tape the film firmly to the leader and then cut the paper backing at the taped end and then cut the paper just after the beginning of the film. Wa La, backless 120!

-- Gene Crumpler (, November 06, 2000.


That is an ingenious idea. But in the dark it will be difficult to do. And then being short of length than 220 film, it may damage my 220 Vacuum back. But still I may give it a try! What the hell!


-- Sol Campbell (, November 06, 2000.

Since you want to try this, here are a couple of additional ideas. I use 120 film in a hassie 220 back and it works fine except that the frame spacing is greater in the 220 back. This means that if I start the roll of 120 at the red arrow, the 12th shot is halfway off the film. So I wind the film just until the start arrow on the film first becomes visible. This gives a 3cm head start and allows the use of the 12th frame. The need to do this depends on the way the back detects the advance of the film. FWIW.

-- Gene Crumpler (, November 08, 2000.

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