Myth of film

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TareqPhoto

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Hey again,

So, after short time in film i did, i couldn't tell what or why or where i want to go with it, i just i keep shooting testing and process and then i don't know what i should do next, print or scan or just keep the rolls/sheets in archive.

Now, what is that in film you like and satisfy with? I mean without printing or scanning, how do you like your film to be? Contrasty, less grainy, full tones, ...etc.

When i develop different films so far until now, i just get results, and then i can't decide until i print as many may recommend or will say, but let's say if printing is not there, then how can you judge your film? I did test different films on different developers, let's say i tested 1 film on different developers, got different very similar results but all are good decent for me, then what to choose? same with 1 developer for different films, also getting nice results with all films except one film it may not be good for it but it is not the point, again, what to choose?

What is that myth of film making you to keep doing it? Or choosing a certain film over another? Or even certain developer, certain paper, certain whatever? I feel i just keep testing because i see many decent results from all film and developer then i can't end up with a favorite, sure i can narrow my top best but this doesn't mean i ignore the rest, i didn't like Tri-X because i liked TMAX400 and HP5+ more, but i saw many many outstanding masterpiece results from Delta 400 and Tri-X too, so i try and test Tri-X and Delta 400 to have that great results and i can get it also, then which 400 iso film i should choose? i am not talking about the subjects i am shooting, because it is always something you shoot that is important, but the film you choose and the processing things after it, how make you to decide and judge? Some go with 1 thing [1 film + 1 developer and chemicals + 1 paper,....etc], any enlighten here?

I didn't know where to post this topic, but i chose here because i am more thinking about B&W film.

Welcome to all opinions and
 

jp498

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Over time and with use, you can get familiar with a choice of film and learn how to get that last few percent of goodness out of it, sometimes by chance at first then more often by familiarity. That's the benefit of sticking with one film. It's not testing, it's fine tuning craftsmanship while making creative images and enjoying photography.

The films you have mentioned are all good capable films and some people can wring excellence out of any one of them. I choose tmax400 because I've used it for 20+ years and know how to get the results in mind when I photograph. Other people can do the same with one of the other films.

It's a versatile film that works differently with different developers. I've narrowed down to two developers. When I get gray and old and crotchety, I'll probably be down to one developer, one paper, etc... For now I like various papers for different subject matter. Papers come and go and you can't get too tied to a paper choice. I like warm papers for people photos, but not for snow scenes for example.
 

Paul Howell

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I use differnt films and developers in differnt formats and for differnt subjects. I like Foma 400 in 35mm because it has a grainy look I like in 35mm, but for 6X6 or 6X9 I like Tmax 100 or 400 developed in Edwal 12, and in 4X5 I pefer Foma 400 or HP5 developed in MC 100. I am not sure you think that there is a myth about films, films + developer + paper + paper developer all have differnt looks.
 

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I'm not chasing a myth, i'm just trying to make pictures that i like.
sometimes i'm consistent, sometimes I'm not. sometimes I play, sometimes I'm a bit more serious.

i'll bet this thread gets plenty of replies along the lines of "you have to be consistent, stick with one film, one developer, test everything so you can be absolutely consistent" - which is fine, if that's what you want and if that is how your personality is constituted. there's certainly a lot to be said for it if you are trying to make a living from photography.

i don't get frustrated by inconsistency, so I try different films and developers rather promiscuously; but if you do (get frustrated by inconsistency), then maybe the thing to do is to limit yourself to one (or two) films and developer and place your energies in the images rather than the processes.
 
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TareqPhoto

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I'm not chasing a myth, i'm just trying to make pictures that i like.
sometimes i'm consistent, sometimes I'm not. sometimes I play, sometimes I'm a bit more serious.

i'll bet this thread gets plenty of replies along the lines of "you have to be consistent, stick with one film, one developer, test everything so you can be absolutely consistent" - which is fine, if that's what you want and if that is how your personality is constituted. there's certainly a lot to be said for it if you are trying to make a living from photography.

i don't get frustrated by inconsistency, so I try different films and developers rather promiscuously; but if you do (get frustrated by inconsistency), then maybe the thing to do is to limit yourself to one (or two) films and developer and place your energies in the images rather than the processes.


Thank you very much!

pdeeh, your post stopped me to think, sometimes you get it sometimes not, so how do you feel when you don't get it sometimes, trying to see/know why or you try again? Or you just keep doing whatever it is, success or fail?

I know consistency is what we all want, but what is consistency to you? and you only want consistency of certain look? For example full tonal range, does that mean you will always shoot for full tonal range regardless of it is less grainy or full grain or if it is not sharp or not contrasty? What may i like and think it is consistent to me might not be for others.
 
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TareqPhoto

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And again, i am not only talking about consistency, it is something more, for example, i got different results of same film with different developers or one developers with many films and all the results are great fine to me, then where is the consistency here? When do you feel you are satisfied with film, when you get results whatever or when you have a certain look you are looking for? Yes, if i am after a look then i understand what you should do, but if you don't expect any look or you don't know what do you want from the film to be look like, then how do you feel when you do process the film and look at it?
 

ic-racer

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H

Now, what is that in film you like and satisfy with? I mean without printing or scanning, how do you like your film to be? Contrasty, less grainy, full tones, ...etc.

I don't ask of it anything other than what it is. It is a medium for making projection prints. I don't use film for any 'special effect.'
 

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hi tareq

i think you feel very much like a child in a toy store / candy store.
you know and like everything you see ..

me?
i have used lots of films and developers over the years but to be honest i don't really see much difference in them.
people boast about one thing or another ... but i just don't see it .... ( just use what you want )

i use whatever i can get my hands on film wise .. im not too particular and i don't care if it is expired.
most often i use caffenol c for my developer ... it is easy for me to find the ingredients
fun to use, and the results are just as good as anything else i have used ...

the look of the film, well it is easy to skhann or print.
i have used the developer enough that i know how to make it do things to my film that i like
( fine grain, pronounced grain, wabi-sabi, or "normal" ) its just about knowing your materials.
 

rjs003

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You need to eliminate the word myth from you original post.
Continue to strive for the perfect print and then make that better.
 
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TareqPhoto

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hi tareq

i think you feel very much like a child in a toy store / candy store.
you know and like everything you see ..

me?
i have used lots of films and developers over the years but to be honest i don't really see much difference in them.
people boast about one thing or another ... but i just don't see it .... ( just use what you want )

i use whatever i can get my hands on film wise .. im not too particular and i don't care if it is expired.
most often i use caffenol c for my developer ... it is easy for me to find the ingredients
fun to use, and the results are just as good as anything else i have used ...

the look of the film, well it is easy to skhann or print.
i have used the developer enough that i know how to make it do things to my film that i like
( fine grain, pronounced grain, wabi-sabi, or "normal" ) its just about knowing your materials.

John, i liked your example, yes, it is like a kid who likes all the toys or candy and he couldn't decide one yet.

Well, this is what i do and know what, i also don't see much difference, sometimes that difference come handy, for example if i get a film a bit grainy i don't feel upset or disappointed, and about that you don't see it, i can almost agree, i did develop Acros 100 with 4 different developers and all came out almost the same and nothing different i can tell, sometimes i feel i just telling my head to see the difference because you or others saying they see difference, so is it because i don't want to have something different than what you all do or is it something i shouldn't do different than you?
 
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TareqPhoto

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You need to eliminate the word myth from you original post.
Continue to strive for the perfect print and then make that better.

I think you are right, but it is what i am living with, i feel like it is something unreal about film i couldn't get yet or something i just dream about and it is not there, maybe i expect so much a lot from film when there is nothing much i should believe or dream about, it is what it is i should take and not going much far beyond what i can think about, why i am testing a lot maybe because i think or feel i didn't reach there somewhere with film, do you have a better word to describe it? If so, then how can i change the title of the this thread topic?
 

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hey tareq

its maddening isn't it ?
there probably are a differences but they are subtle so that the untrained eye can't really notice it.

i was talking to a friend the other day about wine and he told me a
story of a sommelier who entered a competition against others in his field he was able
to distinguish between 50 wines blindfolded .. know the wine, grape, provenance, year and extremely minute differences ..
sometimes it is a wonderful thing to show your expertise and knowledge but for the everyday person who might drink wine
"the one with the kangaroo with the purple label" might be all that matters :wink:

what i am saying is sure there might be differences that an emulsion engineer or someone who is an expert in these things might know
pick up on, show me and it might blow my mind mind, but for me, well, ... to be honest, it really doesn't matter to me that much + ignorance is bliss :wink:

maybe if you do more tests, and get a stereoscopic microscope you will see what people talk about? but then again maybe if you have to
go through such extremes it really doesn't matter in the end.

(don't forget to have fun!)

john
 
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TareqPhoto

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True, at the end we have to have fun and we are all free to choose whatever film and combination we can find or use, whether it is the best combo or not doesn't matter, and you know what, i really like it this way when you do everything and waiting the results after the fixing and washing, it is like an achievement, and for some points or to a point, i feel like i accept anything coming out because i wasted time to process the film from loading it to a reel or inside a tank or whatever until i hang them on for drying, so i can't keep pixel peeping each film i process looking for perfectionism and then i waste a lot of time not getting there sooner or later.

Again, i started this topic to see about how others doing with film whether they are into it for years or they just started, i will not give up film, but i also can't waste time in darkroom because i couldn't what i want with film, all what i can say is that until prior printing, the rolls [and later with sheets i hope] coming out great and happy, what is after y printing or scanning will be the issue, i am not in situation where i want to spend time printing a lot in darkroom, i remembered the first time i took a course for printing in darkroom, we spent long long time to have one decent print out of one frame, and here what was my concern, is my roll good enough because i got a good print? Or it is only that i think with printing i can be happy with my film processing? Because i know we can manipulate with printing same as what we can do with Photoshop on dig....
 

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Myth . . .

What is it I like about film?

Its lightness and that it doesn’t shatter when falling down, the fact that I can cut it with knife and scissors, and its flexibility for cinematographic purposes. Without film we’d still deal with glass plates, I assume.

Yes, plates have their own charm, oh, yes. You never have to fear unsharpness due to a sagging sheet of film. You can smash a negative when you hate it.

Did I say glass plates? Whoo, photography began with metal plates. Tin and copper.
 
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TareqPhoto

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I want to ask something that may help me in the future, where i can buy prints [wet prints] of film? But only i want to buy it if i know which film,gear,chemicals were used to produce that print, because if i like a print a bought then this will make me to focus on doing the same or getting closer to the result, rather than i keep testing and testing [i mean shoot always] and still i don't know what i look for or to expect.
 
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TareqPhoto

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Myth . . .

What is it I like about film?

Its lightness and that it doesn’t shatter when falling down, the fact that I can cut it with knife and scissors, and its flexibility for cinematographic purposes. Without film we’d still deal with glass plates, I assume.

Yes, plates have their own charm, oh, yes. You never have to fear unsharpness due to a sagging sheet of film. You can smash a negative when you hate it.

Did I say glass plates? Whoo, photography began with metal plates. Tin and copper.

One day i hope i can reach that level of wet or glass plate as i always heard how amazing or blowing mind they are, but before that i have to get used to basics in film first, i can't waste another budget on glass plates when i am not doing prints yet in film, but i will keep reading about it until the time i can go for it.
 

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Whether we admit it or not, we all eventually develop our own style, defined by our shooting, developing and printing. And at some point you might pick a combination you are happy with and generally stick to it.

Part of the fun is trying everything, (while we still can) and different films do have different "looks", ranging from subtle to dramatic. I have my favorite that I always keep a camera loaded with. But I also generally have 2-3 cameras loaded with other films. I'll shoot anything, expired, off brand, oddball and unknown, but when it counts Its all Tri-X in HC-110.
 

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It sounds like you're going crazy. You're spending too much time in the darkroom. Stop experimenting with technical details and avoiding content. Go out and shoot pictures with one film and one process that have content and make people smile and feel things when they see your prints or scans. Real people don't care about developers, camera types, grain, etc. Only photographers care about those things. Real people care what's in the picture.
 
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TareqPhoto

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I did come to some films i keep as my favorite, but i still test another film, keep having fun, and i hope one day i can rest with very narrow selection, even now i can choose certain film as my top favorite and even which developers, so what i am sure or like as favorite keeping them aside when i need it, but i keep experimenting with other stuff to see what more i can see or what i am missing if so.
 
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TareqPhoto

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It sounds like you're going crazy. You're spending too much time in the darkroom. Stop experimenting with technical details and avoiding content. Go out and shoot pictures with one film and one process that have content and make people smile and feel things when they see your prints or scans. Real people don't care about developers, camera types, grain, etc. Only photographers care about those things. Real people care what's in the picture.

Couldn't agree more, but i hate to say that i shoot digital more outside, but let's not talk about having fun to go out and shoot because i do that whether i shoot film or not, i am shooting sports[digitally] and get paid for it and post the results on a website where people can see it and they are happy, and i always here all or many people telling me how good i am, but the scary fact that i know from people is that they know me more because of how many gear i have than how good my photos are, and almost they believe it is my gear that making me that good more than my skill, and i confess that i really feel happy about it somehow, but i will never stop shooting or experimenting whether i am good at it or not.
 

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Way back when, I decided to start w/ Tri-X and D76, and always shot w/ a yellow filter if the light was there. You can do a lot w/ that. Occasionally, I'll use Acufine. That's about it for me, so I don't have all these decisions to make, thank goodness. I feel fortunate to have started where I probably would have ended up anyway.
 
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TareqPhoto

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Way back when, I decided to start w/ Tri-X and D76, and always shot w/ a yellow filter if the light was there. You can do a lot w/ that. Occasionally, I'll use Acufine. That's about it for me, so I don't have all these decisions to make, thank goodness. I feel fortunate to have started where I probably would have ended up anyway.

Good for you, and keep that way, otherwise you may go crazy or you may stay in a circle of confusion.
 

Paul Howell

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One size does not fit all, at least in my work, no matter how hard I try I cannot just settel on just film and developer. Perhaps if I just shooting in one format or subject matter. In terms of when you know you have the best combo for your work, you will know when you find it.
 
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Appreciating films and developers is like appreciating fine wines or cigars. At first, you don't know what to pick and they all seem to taste the same. But as you gain experience and knowledge and your palate develops, you start tasting the subtleties between them.

I would encourage you to start with one film and one developer and start looking at them closely until you know what to expect from them. Then change to another, noticing the difference from your first choice. Then make another big change. Repeat until you feel like you know what film or developer you would choose in a given photographic scenario.
 
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