standardizing on one medium format black and white film

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camera5x7

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For a single black and white film, I have standardized on Ilford XP2 Super. I Shoot it at 200 iso, not 400 iso. It is incredible. This is a C41 film, processed in color chemistry. I simply take it to a nearby one hour photo shop and wait about 10 minutes for them to process it in C41 chemistry. I then scan the 120 or 35mm negs. Life is beautiful with this set up. No more darkroom for me. My Leica M3 or Hassleblad 500c with this film gives me the most fantastic black and white images I have ever had. The film is idiot proof. Read about it on the net. Much has been said. I only wish it was available in sheet film. This is the only black and white film I will ever need.
 

sqphoto

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Apr 23, 2004
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There sure are a lot of opinions. I read Chris Johnson's book, The Practical Zone System, and then started thinking about switching from HP 5. That was a couple of years ago and what I settled on was Delta 400. I used/started with part of Chris' suggestions by exposing at E.I. 200 and developing in D-76, 1 to 1 for 9 minutes at 68 degrees. I was having trouble with my highlights - they were too dense - and so now I develop for 7 minutes which is working just great for me. I suggest you try your own experiments though. Good luck.
 

blansky

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Wine country, N. Cal.
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Since I have a hate affair with Kodak, I use a little as possible.

I use Ilford FP-4 for most things and Zonal Pro Gamma Plus developer.

This is all in 6x6.

I agree, find one combination and learn it's ins and out thoroughly and get used to it. Then every once in a while experiment with something else.

The nuances of these things are rarely seen by beginners and so they are better off to just pick one and use it, until they develop an eye for what they like and don' t like.

Michael McBlane
 

esanford

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Apr 4, 2004
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Hertford Nor
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I'll start with your basic question: Do you tend to standardize on one film? My answer is a resounding YES!!! I started experimenting around with a lot of films, papers, and developers in my early days of photography and got myself hopelessly confused. I then read one book by a grand old photography teacher who said stay with one film, one paper, and one developer etc... I immediately chose a film and developer then a paper (I've since changed papers because the first one I chose was discontinued). I did this 12 years ago and it transformed my photography from a lot of sloppy junk to some "credible work". Mainly, I isolated variables such as film speed and developer time. I also learned how to expand the film (i.e. Zone System N+ development), and generally learned all of the properties of that film. I used (still use) it for everything from landscapes, portraiture, et. al. After 12 years, guess what? I still haven't completely explored all of the possibilties, subtleties and nuances of that film. Also, no matter what others say, I resist the temptation to change because I don't want to go back and do all of the testing and calibrating that I've done over the last decade. So... I would recommend this to anyone. By the way that film is old Kodak Tri-X and HC110 printed on Ilford Gallerie graded paper. When Kodak discontinued the old Tri-X I bought several hundred rolls of it and placed it in my freezer. At some point, I may try the new Tri-X once my old supply runs out. I spend most my time learning to be a good photographer rather than a chemist. In summary, choose a film and go for it, then spend your time making well seen pictures.
 
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