Difference between Tri-X Pan (320) and Tmax400

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StoneNYC

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I know this is crazy, but I've done this search a hundred times, read tons of info, but the comparison is always between 400TX (TX) and Tri-X Pan 320 (TXP)[now called Tri-X Pro? lol], or Tmax400(TMY-2) and Delta400 or TMY-2 and TX but never TXP and TMY-2.

So does anyone know, specifically for SHEET FILM, a list of basic differences?

I know from my reading that TX doesn't handle highlights like TXP and TXP has better gradations and mid-tones? But TX is better for pushing? And TMY-2 is better for long exposures and doesn't even need pushing at EI800 (supposedly) but doesn't handle pushing quite as well as TX?

Do I have all that right? I know there are mixed ideas, and I'll never get a consensus about anything here, but just generally feelings about the two, I'm deciding on one in sheet film to try out, but they both come very expensive and don't come in small amounts...

I've had a lot of trouble with TMY-2 in 120 getting the exposure to come out the way I want, but I think part of that was actually NOT that it was the film, I'm discovering it was my alt process of scanning and it handled the scanning wrong, I always wondered since the Negs looked fine. ANYWAY, thoughts? Advice?

The point of shooting this sheet film is in the speed and fine grain, I like HP5+ but even in 4x5 it's "grainy" don't get me wrong, it's not really, but in comparison it is, and I know TXP is fairly fine grained too, more than HP5+ I assume, and speed is the other factor, can I easily push 320 to 400 and not have to worry too much, how does it handle pushing to 800?

And finally of course, TX has a distinctive "LOOK" but I have only used some expired TXP from the 80s' before the reformulation of both, so I don't have a good grasp on what TXP has and which might be more similar to TX? I'm not saying that's the main factor, trying to get the "Tri-X look" I'm just saying it is something to consider.

OK done babbling, any advice would be good.
 
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markbarendt

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First off, TX is not available new as sheet fillm.

The big difference between TXP and most other sheet film negatives is the shape of the curve; TXP has a very, very long toe, a nice long straight line through mid and high tone range. Compare the curves on the tech pubs.

The shadows come in gently, the mid and middle high tones have great separation with TXP, very high tones tend to fall outside the paper's range because the film doesn't shoulder until way on out in the stratosphere somewhere. It can take significant burning to get sky detail on the paper.

In general it is a very easy to use and beautiful film for work in limited contrast lighting and for portraits where the focus is not on the detail in the puffy white clouds. For landscapers it can be beautiful too, but it may take more darkroom work.
 
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StoneNYC

StoneNYC

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First off, TX is not available new as sheet fillm.

The big difference between TXP and most other sheet film negatives is the shape of the curve; TXP has a very, very long toe, a nice long straight line through mid and high tone range. Compare the curves on the tech pubs.

The shadows come in gently, the mid and middle high tones have great separation with TXP, very high tones tend to fall outside the paper's range because the film doesn't shoulder until way on out in the stratosphere somewhere. It can take significant burning to get sky detail on the paper.

In general it is a very easy to use and beautiful film for work in limited contrast lighting and for portraits where the focus is not on the detail in the puffy white clouds. For landscapers it can be beautiful too, but it may take more darkroom work.

Hmmm, so what about TMY-2?

Thanks! I'm not much good at understanding the whole toe/curve stuff unfortunately :sad:
 

markbarendt

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TMY has a very short toe so shadow detail has more separation of tones. Notice I did not say better separation, I said more. The details in the shadow areas may be more defined on a print from TMY.

Do you want those details to come in gently and support your main subject (TXP), lets say a face, or do you want the shadow details front and center (TMY)?

This is an artistic difference/choice more than a technical "can I get the shot" difference.

Another way to put this is that there is a tonality difference. To use an oversimplified musical analogy, think of TXP and TMY as two exceptional but different conductors directing the same piece of great music (the scene). The emphasis may differ, but the performance can be great in both.
 

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Speaking from personal experience, in 4x5, of: HP5+ (11+ years), 320TXP (3 years), TMX (on and off), and Delta 100 (1 year). All in XTol 1+1 except Delta in DDX 1+4, and 320TXP in both.

Grain of HP5+ and 320TXP is very similar. Delta is way finer, TMX finest. HP5+ and 320TXP have similar curves, like Mark described, with less shadow separation but good highlights. To me, 320TXP seems to pop better midtones for portrait, and HP5+ for landscape. Delta has an excellent, straight-line response, easy to get contrast everywhere from shadow to highlights. Scale-wise, as long as you don't compress too much (minus development), and are happy to dodge and burn a bit, they are all great films, but Delta (and I would presume TMX) have an advantage in providing overall most recorded contrast for you later to manipulate. If you don't D&B and are not too happy (yet) with exposure and development control, I can see that 320TXP and HP5+ would be much easier to use.

Speed is not always what it seems. Even through 320TXP and HP5+ are faster, they suffer much more from reciprocity failure, so if your exposures run into 4+ seconds, the slower, 100 films are actually faster, and with less unwanted contrast buildup. My personal EIs are, so far, 250 for 320TXP, 320 for HP5+, 50-64 for TMX, and 100 for Delta, though that last one I am still evaluating, as it seems faster.

I like all of those films. I like the grainy look of 320TXP and HP5+ except in clouds and skies, and that is why I am currently using Delta. However, all of this is an awfully personal judgement, and I am prepared to be told by another photographer that my conclusions are wrong.

PS. I print optically. If you scan, then you need to seek different advice, as that is a different process, which has its own requirements, notably with regards to the length of the scale.
 

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The other thing to keep in mind is that with experience both films can be "bent to your will", what I've described are simply those film's basic tendencies in a normal situation.

Extra exposure on TXP reduces the effect of the toe on the print, and vice versa. Reducing exposure on TMY will increase the effect of the toe.

Basically what the toe and shoulder do is compress tones, put tones closer and closer together as the curve flattens.

The good thing about compression (lowering contrast rate/flattening the curve) of high and low tones is that you can straight print more tones more easily, a large range of tones from the scene can more easily fit on a given paper grade and still keep mid tone contrast normal. That means that you can avoid burn and dodge or masking or whatever manipulation.

This is one of the driving reasons many people chase compensating developing techniques such as stand development or choose staining developers.
 
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markbarendt

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PS. I print optically. If you scan, then you need to seek different advice, as that is a different process, which has its own requirements, notably with regards to the length of the scale.

Very true.

Different films dance differently with different partners.

That's not just true of the paper grades, warm/cold, toned, different makers, or scanners and software options; it's also about us nuts who are managing all the steps of the process and manipulating all the little choices from lighting the scene to lighting the print on the wall.

Stone, the real question to be asking is "does TXP or TMY or ... give me the right foundation for what comes next?"

Edit (not enough coffee yet hit the send button too soon);

As you define your style(s) Stone, a given film may more naturally give you the results you want for a given type of print. As you refine your output that will become clear.

It's fun to look back at the material choices that many of the elders of our craft made versus their styles. Many if not most defined a salable style over some amount of time and then (where they had a choice) settled on their film. This is true of most businesses, define what the market wants then figure out how to make it.
 
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StoneNYC

StoneNYC

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Thanks guys, I scan only, maybe someday print but scan for now.

I don't know how to reply except it seems not many have compared TMY-2 to TXP and so I'm still looking for more info from experience between these two.

I want to stick in the 400 range for this exercise, if Delta400 was available in sheet form, I would grab that. Come to think of it, Ilford probably has this available in the ULF special order run but I didn't think to look and I didn't have 4x5 at the time.

Ironically, with all of my experiments with TMY-2, and all of my complaining about how I couldn't get it to develop right, and couldn't get it to expose right, and complaint after complaint, somehow I'm leaning towards it, I would like to have an dial-in and additional option as far as long exposures goes, and I'm not talking four minutes, I'm talking to ours, because I would like to have something other than acros100 just in case, both films in sheet, are sort of on the forefront of "where not gonna make it anymore" from what I gather, they both teetering on the edge, but I'd rather use both and know what they work like and have them, of course support both purchases in the hopes that they will both continue to make be made. They have both great reciprocity failure, and they both have a different look, I love acros100, but it's expensive, and TMY-2 is better in price, but only slightly.

Anyway please continue with info.

Of all things, I'm really surprised that TX was discontinued but TXP was continued, I feel like even though the three films together are very different, that TX would have been a better choice over TXP considering that TMY-2 is such a great seller and is CLOSER to TXP than it is to TX. But Kodak knows the numbers, and I'm sure the numbers don't lie, and more people purchase TXP then they did TX, in sheet and that's why they discontinued it I suppose.

ANYWAY please more info :smile:
 

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Stone:

I think you will find that anyone who gives you a meaningful response to your question will most likely refer to those pesky curves you are trying to avoid :smile:.

Tri-X 320 is very different from Tri-X 400 and T-Max 400. Mark's posts describe the difference quite well. I expect that it was designed with the needs of portrait photographers in mind - particularly those who used hot lights and modifiers (rather than umbrellas or other large sources of diffused illumination).

Hurrell and Karsh come to mind.

It can be used for lots of other things, but if you are mixing different types of photography and different types of light sources Tri-X 320 may be more of a "special purpose" film than what you want.
 
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StoneNYC

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Stone:

I think you will find that anyone who gives you a meaningful response to your question will most likely refer to those pesky curves you are trying to avoid :smile:.

Tri-X 320 is very different from Tri-X 400 and T-Max 400. Mark's posts describe the difference quite well. I expect that it was designed with the needs of portrait photographers in mind - particularly those who used hot lights and modifiers (rather than umbrellas or other large sources of diffused illumination).

Hurrell and Karsh come to mind.

It can be used for lots of other things, but if you are mixing different types of photography and different types of light sources Tri-X 320 may be more of a "special purpose" film than what you want.

Ahh,

It's not that I am trying to avoid curves, it's just I don't understand it at all, and everyone was to show me a gradated pilot as an example, but that doesn't help me, I need to see if photo graph a real one, artistic one, well done, but shot on all types of film so that I can understand the difference between a curve and the photo. Rather their similarities. Something about looking at one of those colortone boards just doesn't seem to help me when I'm trying to compare the curve graph thing to the photograph and understanding what does what.

Anyway back to the specific purpose thing you mentioned, I generally never used hotlights, I don't own any, but I use strobes, which of course is a different light, I also do landscapes, so you're saying that even though TXP is good for portraits, since I'm not using that kind of light, hotlights I mean, that I should be using TMY-2 as a more general purpose all around film?
 

Fixcinater

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Ahh,

It's not that I am trying to avoid curves, it's just I don't understand it at all, and everyone was to show me a gradated pilot as an example, but that doesn't help me, I need to see if photo graph a real one, artistic one, well done, but shot on all types of film so that I can understand the difference between a curve and the photo. Rather their similarities. Something about looking at one of those colortone boards just doesn't seem to help me when I'm trying to compare the curve graph thing to the photograph and understanding what does what.

If you've done as much scanning as you have, you surely understand a histogram in PS, right? The curve they are showing you is exactly like a histogram. Steeper slope in the highlights (right side of the histogram) = more highlight contrast. Gentle slope on the left side = long toe = less contrast in shadows = better shadow detail at expense of looking "flat" to some folks eyes.
 
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StoneNYC

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If you've done as much scanning as you have, you surely understand a histogram in PS, right? The curve they are showing you is exactly like a histogram. Steeper slope in the highlights (right side of the histogram) = more highlight contrast. Gentle slope on the left side = long toe = less contrast in shadows = better shadow detail at expense of looking "flat" to some folks eyes.

Ummm actually 1 I don't use PS... And 2 I never understood histograms either lol.

I usually don't have to make any adjustments to my photo, i'm usually fairly happy with how they come out, however if I do need to make an adjustment it's usually on something that was like expired film and I need to scan through the fog. I do use that histogram slider, but he don't know exactly what I'm doing as far as the technical side of things, I just move the slider to the middle of the highest point of the end on either side with fogged film and that seems to put the image in the right place. But I don't really understand it at all, it's funny because it seems like a skill set that I should be able to understand being that I'm very technologically inclined, engineering is really easy for me, at 8 I fixed the VCR, the guy at the repair shop said cost more than the a new one... But these representations of photos just don't translate in my brain.

I infest and the description if how tones can be compressed (contrasty image?) and how they can be separated(even graded tons/non-contrasty) but I can't read it in a graph.
 

MattKing

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Anyway back to the specific purpose thing you mentioned, I generally never used hotlights, I don't own any, but I use strobes, which of course is a different light, I also do landscapes, so you're saying that even though TXP is good for portraits, since I'm not using that kind of light, hotlights I mean, that I should be using TMY-2 as a more general purpose all around film?

It is not so much hot lights vs. strobes, as it is focused light sources vs. diffused/reflected light sources.

Photographers who use hot lights tend to use fresnels and other light concentrators in order to get enough light on their subjects. This leads to higher contrast and more defined shadows.

Strobes can be used the same way, but because they put more usable light on the subject, you can also diffuse or reflect their light and still end up with usable exposures.

So hot lights tend to be used one way, while strobes tend to be used another way.

All of this though is incredibly flexible. Experienced studio photographers are able to modify their lighting to suit just about any film, and experienced darkroom technicians are able to modify their development regime to make most films suitable to most lighting circumstances.

If you use your strobes in a way that resembles the approach used by Hurrell et al (direct flash, fresnels, barn doors) then you might like to experiment with Tri-X 320.
 
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StoneNYC

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It is not so much hot lights vs. strobes, as it is focused light sources vs. diffused/reflected light sources.

Photographers who use hot lights tend to use fresnels and other light concentrators in order to get enough light on their subjects. This leads to higher contrast and more defined shadows.

Strobes can be used the same way, but because they put more usable light on the subject, you can also diffuse or reflect their light and still end up with usable exposures.

So hot lights tend to be used one way, while strobes tend to be used another way.

All of this though is incredibly flexible. Experienced studio photographers are able to modify their lighting to suit just about any film, and experienced darkroom technicians are able to modify their development regime to make most films suitable to most lighting circumstances.

If you use your strobes in a way that resembles the approach used by Hurrell et al (direct flash, fresnels, barn doors) then you might like to experiment with Tri-X 320.

Hmm I do sort of, I don't have a lot of examples on film of strobe work, but I'm an on location guy, so my "studio" setups aren't with a backdrop, they are either overpowering other room lights, or balanced with other lights. They are mostly nudes and I hesitate to post them here, but to give you an example of my style...
GAF Expired 1960's Aerial film

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1384108184.037497.jpg

PanF+

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1384108223.388890.jpg
ImageUploadedByTapatalk1384108232.056824.jpg

TMY-2

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1384108258.575125.jpg
ImageUploadedByTapatalk1384108264.609454.jpg
ImageUploadedByTapatalk1384108270.676390.jpg

That last image I DID have to mess with, in scanner because I over-blew the light from the sun on purpose and the scanner tried to "correct" for it, and because I corrected for it, the shadows were too dark and had to be pulled up, but the other images are fairly on target, and I'm sure if printed the last image would come out as intended, just a dumb scanner thinking it knows better :wink:

Does this help? I like my look and want to stick with it.
 

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hi stone,

note sure much of what the differences between the 2 kodak films are except that
one the grain structure is tabular and the other is sort of "traditional" ive used a fair amount
of tmy ( not much tmy2 ) and tri x ( both 400 and 320 ) both are capable of producing beautiful
images. some say tmax films are finicky, and have trouble with highlights ... the only troubles i have had
were with tmx ( 100 ) not the 400 ... i was using a lot of it when i shot for a newspaper and used a lot of artificial light
( lumedyne flash ) and the 100 ALWAYS gave me troubles of blocking up highlights, the 400 was a dream.
i used to work with someone who made karshesque portraits .. made with old school xxx, and printed quite a few of them off of 5x7 film.
it develops well in a variety of developers, has a tooth on the film so if you decide to retouch your film with graphite BEFORE
you scan it :smile: you won't have any trouble, and it has no trouble being exposed at a very low asa or a very high asa ..

i have done a lot of that sort of stuff with the 3x's but i can't say i have with the others. they are probably every bit as good ...

it is like anything, you have to get used to your materials, understand how they react to your methodology and use what works and looks best for you.

oh, i don't pay attention to curves and histomats either :smile:

have fun!
john
 

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Hi Stone,
Both films are "good" so it's mostly a matter of taste or style, I guess.
Since you don't use PS and aren't really interested in the theoratical stuff about histograms and curves (I understand that, no arguing here), wouldn't it be the best solution for you to get a box of both and make all your next shots on both films?
This way you can compare best what will suit your look on photography with your modus operandi.
Bert from Holland

BTW: when you do, let us know your findings...
 
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StoneNYC

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Which is why I keep telling you to read some basic Kodak sensitometry. Then you'll understand curve shape, toe, shoulder, and you won't need to rely on peoples' opinions.

I have, and the pictures to compare were all those graduated tone and square block examples, that didn't help me as I said earlier.

I do know that TMY-2 scans better TECHNICALLY but it's not significant over TXP so that's not as much a factor. Thanks.
 
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StoneNYC

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Hi Stone,
Both films are "good" so it's mostly a matter of taste or style, I guess.
Since you don't use PS and aren't really interested in the theoratical stuff about histograms and curves (I understand that, no arguing here), wouldn't it be the best solution for you to get a box of both and make all your next shots on both films?
This way you can compare best what will suit your look on photography with your modus operandi.
Bert from Holland

BTW: when you do, let us know your findings...

Hey Bert!

Mostly because they only come in 50 sheet boxes at $100 each! I'm not spending $200 on testing ... And they don't make 35mm / 120 roll film in both for me to test cheaply.

Also it would take me a year to get through both boxes probably hah!

You're more than willing to send me some and I'll do the testing :wink:
 

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hi stone

if you are worried about the expense of kodak film
there are other films that are very good and don't cost nearly as much.
i had sticker shock a year or 2 ago when i had to buy some tmy .. i hadn't bought it in 10
years it cost more than 2x what it cost the last time i bought it ... i used hp5+ instead
and had no problems ( and enjoyed the savings by buying some european films for even less ).

for into on curves &c
look at this webpage, it is for color, but it is the same for b/w ...
the 3rd paragraph explains toe straight line and shoulder in terms even I understood.
http://www.naturephotographers.net/articles0303/tw0303-1.html

one thing you are leaving out of this discussion about films and what people think about them is how they process them.
it isn't hard to get a film and hope that it will "work" like you were told it would, even using the same developer and way to process
but different people read their light meter differently, their meters are calibrated differently, they explain things differently,
agitate differently, they mix their developers differently their thermometers register differently as well
so while you may think you are getting the same results, you open the fixed negatives and they look nothing like you expected.

i can't tell you how many PMs i have gotten from people who processed their film in ansco 130 "they way i told them to" ...
the same film i shoot .. the same stock, the same dilution, the same temperature &c and their film was useless ...

hard to explain other than saying, buy the film, do your tests and use other people's suggestions as a starting point, not as much more than anything else.

john
 
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StoneNYC

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hi stone

if you are worried about the expense of kodak film
there are other films that are very good and don't cost nearly as much.
i had sticker shock a year or 2 ago when i had to buy some tmy .. i hadn't bought it in 10
years it cost more than 2x what it cost the last time i bought it ... i used hp5+ instead
and had no problems ( and enjoyed the savings by buying some european films for even less ).

for into on curves &c
look at this webpage, it is for color, but it is the same for b/w ...
the 3rd paragraph explains toe straight line and shoulder in terms even I understood.
http://www.naturephotographers.net/articles0303/tw0303-1.html

one thing you are leaving out of this discussion about films and what people think about them is how they process them.
it isn't hard to get a film and hope that it will "work" like you were told it would, even using the same developer and way to process
but different people read their light meter differently, their meters are calibrated differently, they explain things differently,
agitate differently, they mix their developers differently their thermometers register differently as well
so while you may think you are getting the same results, you open the fixed negatives and they look nothing like you expected.

i can't tell you how many PMs i have gotten from people who processed their film in ansco 130 "they way i told them to" ...
the same film i shoot .. the same stock, the same dilution, the same temperature &c and their film was useless ...

hard to explain other than saying, buy the film, do your tests and use other people's suggestions as a starting point, not as much more than anything else.

john

I have HP5+ but I think I'll save it for pushing to 1600 and want something else for the 400-800 range, hence the question about It being strictly a comparison between TXP and TMY-2 and no other film.

I did state that I realize everyone has a different approach and I know results may vary, just based on the results and looking over my own negatives, I think I'll give TMY-2 the preference. It seems like the better of the two in terms of flexibility, sharpness and reciprocity, and I'm guessing if one of the 2 has to be discontinued in the line, the TMY-2 will be last to go.

I guess that solved that? Lol
 

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I have HP5+ but I think I'll save it

Two thoughts:

First, you do know that Ilford will happily make more HP-5 for you, right? :wink: As much as we all discuss and cuss and chew-the-cud and agonize over the differences in these films, you do need to understand in no uncertain terms that HP-5, TXP, and TMY are all great films. The differences you are agonizing over is truly little league stuff.

Second, with regard to your cost aversion. $200 for a significant learning experience is cheap especially if you can create a product you like or sell one really nice print out of those 100 shots. HP-5 is the least costly of the three. That said, testing 4x5 sheet film is cheap, yeah cheap is exactly what I mean. With sheet film you can take a shot and develop that shot for 1/4 the cost of a roll of 35mm. There's no waiting to finish the roll; shoot one, develop one, make your judgements, adjust exposure or development for what you learned on sheet 1, shoot sheet 2 and repeat. Working this way you should be able to be dialed in close enough to go to work on real projects within 2 to 4 sheets; we're talking $5ish. After that experiment make small changes as you go, judge each sheet as it comes, then apply what you learn to the next sheet. If you are diligent and thoughtful about this you will be pretty confident by the time you reach the $50 mark.

So, take the HP5 out of the Fridge, load a few holders and go shoot some film.
 

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Haha guys I'm still using HP5+ Just for different purposes...

And trust me I'm letting my film in fact I'm loading it right now as we speak see... ImageUploadedByTapatalk1384122950.246464.jpg
 

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Honestly? Please excuse me for being so forward in making this suggestion... Your skill, built by getting to know a film, will make 100 times more of a difference than the actual film you choose. Perhaps buy the cheapest of this lot, as these are all excellent, get just one developer, and stick with it for the next year (or two).
 
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