Which Film which developer for B&W 120 portraits

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I'm looking to do some portrait work in 120 and want to use a medium ASA film. Wondering what people's recommendations are. Presently looking at Ilford Delta 100. Would Ilfotec ddx be the way to go with it. What would be the recommendation for a Kodak product? Working in 120 format. Thanks

-- Darren Ell (darren.ell@sympatico.ca), May 29, 2001


My favorite film in 120 is Verichrome Pan, and it is excellent for portraits. In many ways it is my favorite film regardless of format, though currently available in 120 only. You really can't go wrong with it.

Develop in any standard developer, D-76 1:1 is fine, and I've had good results with HC-110.

-- Charlie Strack (charlie_strack@sti.com), May 29, 2001.

I second Charlie's recommendation for Verichrome Pan. Also, while I usually prefer HP5+ to Tri-X, Tri-X Professional (TXP, not regular Tri-X TX which is a completely different film) is designed for portraits and other studio work

-- John Lehman (al7jj@yahoo.com), May 30, 2001.

If you want fine grain you could try Aculux 2. I have tried it with Tri-X and Plus-X with very good results. If you want to have very nice skintones with a long greyscale, developers with pyrocatechin is recommended. Glycin is also very good for portraits, but gives grain like with Rodinal.

-- Patric (jenspatric@mail.bip.net), May 30, 2001.

I don't know can people recommend Tri-x Pan or Plus-x? When it comes to tonality they are second to APX 400 & 100, HP5 & FP4 & way behind Forte. When it comes to acutance & fine grain, they are far behind HP5 or FP4. There days are over!

-- Xosni (xosni@gega.net), May 30, 2001.

I am a big fan of the Delta films. Delta 100 is a wonderful film, but I generally use Delta 400 (new version). Both have excellent sharpness, acutance, contrast and tonal range (depending, of course, on how it is used and developed). Maybe not as much latitude as HP, but finer grained. As for DDX, I have used it with good results on the new Delta 400. Also worth trying Xtol and ID-11.

-- Ed Hurst (BullMoo@hotmail.com), May 30, 2001.

It's so subjective, isn't it!! I personally prefer Delta 400 for studio portraiture, in 120. However, IMHO the biggest impact comes from the Printing techniques employed. An analogy is how in a sound system, the most impact comes from the speakers quality.

-- Michael World (canuckguyinadarkroom@hotmail.com), June 01, 2001.

Verichrome Pan in PMK 1+1+100 70 degree distilled water for 10 minutes with constant agitation (by gently rolling the tank back and forth in the sink) is the best I have found for cold light enlarging. It took me a bit of time to figure this out but the results are amazing. I also highly recommend HP5+, same dilution,technique, for 14 minutes. My negatives print perfectly with no filter. You should test before doing anything important. Good luck.

-- paige critcher (pcritcher@sbc.edu), June 23, 2001.

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