If you could shoot only one Black & White film, what would it be?

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Donald Qualls

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I've been ignoring this thread for a while, but just today it occurred to me -- it'd have to be XP-2 Super. Extreme latitude: shoot from EI 50 to 800 with no change in development, can be pushed and pulled, can be bleach bypassed to gain density (roughly a stop equivalent, whether that's a stop of push or of real speed) -- and it can be developed in B&W chemistry (including the photo traveler's friend, Cinestill Df96 -- use double time as you would with T-Max or Delta films) with fairly similar results to C-41. Just about the only thing it won't do that you might do intentionally with traditional B&W films is produce big grain -- and I'm more likely to get that by shooting small film (35 mm or slit down to 16 mm) and enlarging a lot; given a grain structure similar to Delta 400, you can get grain this way, if you want it (though IMO it'll be ugly).

It's not my main go-to film at present because of costs -- I buy Foma or Kentmere (or rebrands of them), but if it were the ONLY B&W film I'll ever be able to buy forever...
 

Paul Howell

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Foma 200???? The verdict is still out on Foma 200 for me. Actually, I just shot my first small roll (from bulk) in 35mm. I developed it in Adox FX39II and while I think my starting development times are a bit too long, the negatives look very good. I'm going to run another short roll today and cut my development times 20%. Also, looking at my shadow detail, I'd say I should rate it at around ISO125 and not ISO200. Just my metering, of course. I still stick by my TMY2 pick so far.

My understanding is that Foma 200 is hybrid, mixed of tubular and traditional grains, looking at the Foma datasheet for 200 it appears very close to 200 with most developers while 100 and 400 are only close to box speed when developed in a high energy developer, Foma used Microphen.
 

Bazza D

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I really like slow film so choosing one film would be a compromise. While FP4 is one of my favorites, right now I would lean towards Kentmere 100. It is cheaper than most other films and I accidentally shot it at 400 and liked it better at 400. It is fine at 100 but I like a bit more contrast so Kentmere always seems flat to me. I like the look of Foma better at the lower price point but Kentmere is more robust film than Foma being a newer formula. But it is the one film I know I could use in most situations. It wouldn't make me perfectly happy but that would be about normal. I think Double X might be a good choice as well. At ISO 250 it should be versatile. I like the film but have not shot enough to know its range. But for choosing one film I would probably consider range over preference. If it is just one film based on the best results for me, it would be Delta 100 or Acros II. I find them similar films and when you get a shot right with either, they look amazing. But even better would be cinema lab stock. But when you got down to the ISO 6 the usability becomes problematic.
 

Adrian Bacon

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Foma 200???? The verdict is still out on Foma 200 for me. Actually, I just shot my first small roll (from bulk) in 35mm. I developed it in Adox FX39II and while I think my starting development times are a bit too long, the negatives look very good. I'm going to run another short roll today and cut my development times 20%. Also, looking at my shadow detail, I'd say I should rate it at around ISO125 and not ISO200. Just my metering, of course. I still stick by my TMY2 pick so far.

Yeah... Foma 200. It's not perfect by any means, but considering it's cost, it's quite good. It's best for full daylight stuff as it has a very short toe so you won't get good results if trying to push process it, and depending on the developer you use, EI 160 or 125 gives better detail down in the shadows, and it doesn't have first class anti-halation so you can't really go super crazy with the over exposure, but... It has a very long and very straight straight-line portion of the H+D and just the right mix of classic look and feel and newer emulsion look and feel. For general purpose stuff, it's good value for money.
 

DREW WILEY

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Adrian described it well. Foma 200 is nowhere near true 200 box speed. It's long exposure characteristics are abominable, and it doesn't plus or push develop well at all. Etc. Nowhere near the quality or versatility league of TMax films, but a lot cheaper. It will dig way down into the shadows if you give those enough exposure due to its very long straight line, and otherwise handle high contrast scenes quite well. Develops awfully fast, so be aware of that too.

Bazza's mention of Delta 100 and Acros as "similar" doesn't make sense. Delta is a T-grain panchromatic film capable of high contrast development, designed to partially compete with Kodak's T-Max products. Acros is Orthopan, having a quite different spectral sensitivity, and doesn't respond well to over-development.
 

Adrian Bacon

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Adrian described it well. Foma 200 is nowhere near true 200 box speed. It's long exposure characteristics are abominable, and it doesn't plus or push develop well at all. Etc. Nowhere near the quality or versatility league of TMax films, but a lot cheaper. It will dig way down into the shadows if you give those enough exposure due to its very long straight line, and otherwise handle high contrast scenes quite well. Develops awfully fast, so be aware of that too.

Bazza's mention of Delta 100 and Acros as "similar" doesn't make sense. Delta is a T-grain panchromatic film capable of high contrast development, designed to partially compete with Kodak's T-Max products. Acros is Orthopan, having a quite different spectral sensitivity, and doesn't respond well to over-development.

I've been running it in replenished Ilfotec DD at 24C with continuous agitation and 8:30 is about right.
 

DREW WILEY

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Glad you found something practical. I was down to around 6 min with the common developers I tried, and even pyro. It would have been hell trying it rotary.
 

Dusty Negative

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Foma 200???? The verdict is still out on Foma 200 for me. Actually, I just shot my first small roll (from bulk) in 35mm. I developed it in Adox FX39II and while I think my starting development times are a bit too long, the negatives look very good. I'm going to run another short roll today and cut my development times 20%. Also, looking at my shadow detail, I'd say I should rate it at around ISO125 and not ISO200. Just my metering, of course. I still stick by my TMY2 pick so far.
Just stick with 135. It's still a hot mess in 120, though there are rumors of improvements...

My Man.... Fomapan 200 generally isn't given much love, but in many respects it is an unsung hero.

My favorite shots are all, inevitably, from Foma 200. It has that .... Je ne sais quois (whatever that is in Czech).
 

Lachlan Young

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Delta 100 and Acros as "similar" doesn't make sense. Delta is a T-grain panchromatic film capable of high contrast development, designed to partially compete with Kodak's T-Max products. Acros is Orthopan, having a quite different spectral sensitivity, and doesn't respond well to over-development.

The differences between Delta's epitaxial technology and Fuji's Epitaxial-Sigma-Crystals are likely considerably less than to Kodak's T-grain and antenna dye sensitising. Sensitising dyes, metal dopants and other finishing addenda differences can potentially make radically different 'looks' from the same basic emulsion set. Acros isn't any less capable of hitting high CI's than Delta 100.

Delta 100, 400, TMY-II and Acros are all relatively short-red sensitised - which has been half-muddled by various marketers into 'ortho-panchromatic' nonsense - there are good aesthetic reasons for shorter red sensitising in both B&W and colour than the relatively longer red sensitivity of some older emulsions.
 

John Wiegerink

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Glad you found something practical. I was down to around 6 min with the common developers I tried, and even pyro. It would have been hell trying it rotary.

Drew,
I used Adox FX39II at 1+14 dilution and thought 7 minutes would be short for a starting time for Foma 200, but by the looks of it I'd say it was a bit much. I have a second short roll to develop tomorrow and will try 6 minutes and see what happens. Otherwise, I like the looks of the negatives. I tried Foma 200 in 120 shortly after it appeared on the market, but it had defects that has kept me from buying Foma 200 in 120. I think it would be a nice film in medium format, but not until they get the bugs out of the film and backing paper combination.
 
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Paul Verizzo

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I assume a question as open as this with no qualifications about speed, price etc will cease i.e. die of natural causes when every b&w film has been mentioned😄

I am never sure what help such questions are to the person asking. All we are doing is listing films which is of course all we have been asked to do. So the OP ends up with a list of films

pentaxuser

Just curiosity.
 

DREW WILEY

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Lachlan - Acros is officially Orthopan, not Panchromatic per se. Its distinctly reduced red sensitivity in effect makes it more green sensitive, whereas Delta 100 is even less green sensitive than, say, Tax films (half a stop in fact with medium green), almost as if you had a light green 11 or XO filter when using TMX - so you're talking about a whopping full stop of difference in green filter factor between Delta and Acros if a med green like a Hoya X1 is used, or even more in a 58 or 61 deep green. On the red end, any red filter stronger than a 25, like a 29, simply truncates the image beyond that point with Acros. But a deep red 29 actually has potential uses with TMax films, if one wishes to go that dramatic. Early TMax 100 was actually a bit extended red sensitive; but that hasn't been around for a long time.
 
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Sirius Glass

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It is nice to see Ilford XP2 Super in the top-10 for medium format films. Interestingly, none of @ADOX Fotoimpex's films figure in any of the categories, but KEH doesn't seem to be selling Adox films any way. I was expecting to see Cinestill Double X in the fastest selling lists, but looks like there's not much love for it perhaps due to the relatively high price.
 

faberryman

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I guess Tri-X or HP5, not that I shoot much Tri-X or HP5, but if there were only one black and white film available, I would want it to be versatile and have grain, because nothing says film like grain, particularly classic grain, and you don't need a fine grain film to lith print, at least the way I like my lith prints to look.
 

Sirius Glass

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I guess Tri-X or HP5, not that I shoot much Tri-X or HP5, but if there were only one black and white film available, I would want it to be versatile and have grain, because nothing says film like grain, particularly classic grain, and you don't need a fine grain film to lith print, at least the way I like my lith prints to look.

Grain is something that the tabular grain films lack and that is why I prefer the traditional grain films. When I need a higher speed film, then I look to the ISO 3200 tabular grains. I have not needed the linearity of the tabular grain films so far, but that is always something to consider using.
 

Maris

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Just one film? I'd pick Agfa Aviphot Pan 200 spooled up in the 120 format and packaged as Rollei Infrared.
Without a filter it delivers a pleasant fine grain panchromatic rendition.
With a #25 red filter it delivers dark skies and white clouds to put a bit of drama into the top of a landscape.
With a IR720 filter it delivers a full-on Wood Effect with the best infrared rendition since the discontinued Kodak HIE and Efke IR-820.
All from one film!
 
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