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

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DREW WILEY

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Sirius - I sometimes like conspicuous grain in 35mm shots, which I always print small anyway. But I rarely like it in larger formats, even in 120 roll film, which I print considerably larger. I mainly shoot 35mm for a spontaneous poetic feel rather than high detail. But once I move up to 6X7 or 6X9 format, those prints might need to compete with prints enlarged from 4x5 and 8x10 film in the same portfolio, so in fact demand fussier attention to detail than even the sheet film versions, which need less overall enlargement. It's kinda nice to have a small 35mm "alter-ego" option, where I can shoot and print with a different mood once in awhile.
 

Sirius Glass

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Sirius - I sometimes like conspicuous grain in 35mm shots, which I always print small anyway. But I rarely like it in larger formats, even in 120 roll film, which I print considerably larger. I mainly shoot 35mm for a spontaneous poetic feel rather than high detail. But once I move up to 6X7 or 6X9 format, those prints might need to compete with prints enlarged from 4x5 and 8x10 film in the same portfolio, so in fact demand fussier attention to detail than even the sheet film versions, which need less overall enlargement. It's kinda nice to have a small 35mm "alter-ego" option, where I can shoot and print with a different mood once in awhile.

My experience is that 4"x5" and above grain becomes so small that it does not matter if one chooses tabular grain or traditional grain. For those larger formats, on should choose the film that suits them best. I never had the opportunity to shoot Tri-X 400 in a 4"x5" camera.
 

DREW WILEY

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I can certainly admire what many others have done with Triassic-X in large format; but that shrapnel grain, often annoyingly visible at even 3X enlargement, isn't for me. I happen to love the exquisite watercolor grain effect combined with high edge acutance of the combination of HP5 and PMK pyro, but won't shoot even that in any format smaller than 8x10 lest that same look become mushy above 2.5X enlargement. Street shooters choose 35mm HP5 for entirely different reasons, where an etched-like definition is neither the object, nor in fact even possible. But in sheet film, you have so many good choices because grain consideration is generally secondary. And where would the history of photojournalism be without their 35mm version of Tri-X? I love what many of them did with it; but I'm not one of them.
 

abruzzi

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If they still made it in sheet film, the Acros could be my single B&W film. Since its not, maybe TMX100.
 

DREW WILEY

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My main gripe with Acros sheet film was that it was so darn slick that I had to be careful enlarging it in wet months even sandwiched between anti-Newton glass. I still have one unopened box of 4x5 left, plus a quantity of 120 rolls, but no more 8x10 sheets. I loved 4x5 Acros in Quickload sleeves for backpacking. I also discovered that I could develop Acros and FP4 sheets together for the same amount of time, which was convenient. But TMax handles high contrast situations significantly better than either of those films. In slightly subdued light, like evenings along a stream in the forest, Acros was sheer magic. It's orthopan sensitivity renders foliage greens more natural and buoyant than regular pan films. And for long time exposures - nothing better.
 

Adrian Bacon

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

Same here. I've shot a bunch of different films over a bunch of different types of shooting and... I keep finding myself coming back to the Foma 200 shots over and over. There's just something about them, so much so that I said screw it and just started bulk loading it and that's my primary every day general purpose film for 35mm. It handles high contrast really well, it's sharp enough for my style of shooting (I've been mostly shooting a 40mm lens and floating down in the 1/60th shutter range, mostly family documentary stuff), and if all the other stocks dropped of the radar, I wouldn't lose any sleep. I do like other emulsions, but meh..
 

Adrian Bacon

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Steven Lee

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Fomapan films make people faces look strangely 3-dimensional. Very distinct look. I only wish their 120 films didn't suffer from periodic QC issues. I am currently finishing the 10-pack of Arista EDU Ultra 100 in 120 format which suffers from tiny pink dots on the emulsion, right after I threw out a bunch of Fomapan 200 with horizontal emulsion cracks all over.
 

Adrian Bacon

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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.

Depending on how much contrast the scenes you shot are, Foma 200 has almost the same density range as TMAX 400. It doesn't start to shoulder off until way, way, way up the straight-line portion, so just looking at the negatives when they come out of the tank can be a little deceiving as they can appear to be over developed, but it's really just not shouldering off where most other negatives do, so I'd actually judge my development time by how much shadow detail is there. If you can't get reasonable shadow detail at 125 or 160 with most developers, then you need more time, otherwise your time is probably fine unless you want to start backing down to the minimum time needed for EI 125-160 to minimize grain and reign in the highlights a bit.
 

madNbad

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FP4+ is relatively popular among people here in this forum, however, I can tell you as an Amazon retailer who sells a large amount of film online, FP4+ is not a heavy mover, not even remotely close. HP5+ and 400TX are the prime movers.

I was at Pro Photo Supply in Portland today and was talking with a long time employee about film. He pointed to the refrigerated case, which contained a variety of emulsions and said the main movers were Tri-X, HP5+ and Portra.
 

flatulent1

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XP-2 Super, only because I'm a lazy cuss and don't want to process my own anymore.
 
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