the combo that never disappoints...

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by BradS, Feb 2, 2009.

  1. BradS

    BradS Member

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    I've just emerged from a marathon darkroom session...I was working on my back log of tiny format negs from the past three years. I noticed that every time I opened an envelope of Tri-X negs that had been developed in D-23 and exposed in the old Nikon FA...I could be assured of getting an easy print on grade 2. Nothing else was as certain....the cheapie Yashica...lots of variability in results. Some un-printable negs. It was the same with the old spotmatic and the Minoltas - results were all over the place. Same thing when I develop in HC-110...sometimes really good sometimes...really, really bad.

    I think I should just dump all the other cameras, film and developers and stick with what always works (for me..YMMV :smile: )



    How 'bout you? Do you have a rock steady winning combination?
     
  2. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    ...what I'm working on getting back, actually.

    One of my can't-miss favorites is Tri-X in D-76, which is an old workhorse, and also FP4 in Rodinal. Probably going to be my go-to combinations until I get really good with printing. Shot in either my Mamiya C3 (which I can't seem to do too many bad shots with) or my Nikon FE.

    I'm just now getting the FE back after an extended period of self-loathing after I sold it for 4x5. Now that I'm going to have it back I plan to shoot a lot with it.
     
  3. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    There are no magic bullets, IMO. it just so happens that the way you metered with that camera exposed the shadows well, and the way you developed with D-23 suited the contrast of the light in which you shot. I have discovered no such magic combo aside from testing, and then remembering and applying the results of the testing to future shooting/processing/printing. I use nothing but Ilford HC (effectively identical to HC-110) and D-19, and on roll film, get good, bad, and so-so negs with both, as the contrast of each shot is often quite varied on a roll. Nothing unprintable, though; not without extreme user error or an equipment malfunction. With sheet film, it's pretty much right on if you have tested, as you have the luxury of being able to develop each shot independently.
     
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  4. Harry Lime

    Harry Lime Member

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    Tri-X @ 400 in Barry Thornton's 2-bath / Divided D76 / Divided D23. Totally idiot proof development process. Nearly impossible to screw up and very forgiving of all sorts of operator errors that may have been committed during exposure. The closest thing to a silver bullet I've ever seen.
     
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  5. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    combo

    my el cheapo Ricoh TLR's and fuji acros developed in either xtol or rodinal 1:100 on a rotary base for 10:20@75 degrees....prints a sublime grade 3 on most papers....
    Peter
     
  6. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    Yup, TX in D-23 is a good one. So is TX in D-76. So is TX in WD2D+....maybe it's the film?
     
  7. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    I tend to get my most consistent negatives on FP-4 Plus in PMK. They are seldom disappointing.
     
  8. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Member

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    Tri-X is pretty bullet proof in my opinion. I've used it with Pyrocat developers extensively, and lately with Edwal 12 (a glycin/PPD formula). The developers are different where the Edwal 12 will bring brilliance to highlights where the lighting is flat, the Pyrocat will help with compensating powers when the brightness range is obscenely long. With these two developers I can create Tri-X negatives that print outstandingly well with highlight brilliance that is tough to match.
    Ilford's FP4+ in Pyrocat is another winner that never disappoints, and in fact those negs look very similar to Tri-X and Pyrocat in the final print, bar the grain.

    Common denominator - Tri-X for me. Love the film. I don't know how much longer I can afford it, though. As good as it is, $3.79 per roll of 120 at Freestyle is becoming difficult for me.

    - Thomas
     
  9. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    Plus-X in D-76 1:1
    TMax-100 in Microdol-X
    Technical Pan in Technidol
     
  10. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    I started on TMAx and HC110 at Dil B with great success. Someday I might branch out but I do this combo in my sleep. When I do it tastes really weird, though. ;p
     
  11. Rob Archer

    Rob Archer Member

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    For me it's HP5+ in ID11 at 1+1, or PanF+ in Stoecklers 2-bath, both easy and predictable. I do vary the EI on HP5+, depending on contrast, but I always rate PanF at 25. Like he says, there's no such thing as a 'magic bullet - theres always the problem situation where one of the above isn't ideal, but the above work consistently for me for most things. I should add that I use a Bronica ETRSi and Olympus OM gear, all of which has been checked and calibrated so exposure will be consistent.

    Rob
     
  12. Vinylman

    Vinylman Member

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    Although you had some really good or bad results, what did the negs look like, were they thin? Why not go to grade 3 or 4? Maybe that would help you. How long did it take to print he negs and what opening di you have the enlarger lens? Phil
     
  13. John Bragg

    John Bragg Member

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    My favorite go to combo is Neopan 400 @ Ei200 in Rodinal 1:50. Very forgiving and handles high contrast subjects really well. Sharp as a tack too. Works well for me.
     
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  15. kevs

    kevs Member

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    FP4+ in ID-11 diluted 1:3 for twenty minutes at twenty degrees works for me.
     
  16. MFP

    MFP Member

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    TMAX in TMAX
    Tri-x in TMAX
    HP5+ in TMAX
    nothing to it.... : )
     
  17. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

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    APX 100 4x5 in WD2D+
    HP5 2x3 sheet film in Pyrocat HD
    Tri-X in D76 1:1
    Efke 100 in Rodinal 1+50

    Lots of other combos but these take the prize.

    Oh, and Brad, I found the flat (50mm) lens board for your enlarger.

    tim in san jose
     
  18. Harry Lime

    Harry Lime Member

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    Freestyle is selling Tri-X under their own brand at a lower price. Check some of the recent threads for more info.
     
  19. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    Yes, but Freestyle's is in 35mm only, no 120 yet, IIRC.
     
  20. SamWeiss

    SamWeiss Member

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    "Yet" he said! I don't know if Freestyle ever plans to carry 120 size of their own rebranded Kodak and Fujifilm products, but I wish they did. I've used their Arista Premium in 35mm a bit lately, and wish it were available in 120, but it is not. So, I'll buy Fujifilm brand 120 size from B&H, who sell it a bit cheaper than Freestyle.
     
  21. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Member

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    Yes, Fuji Neopan 400 can be had for $2.79 at B&H, I think Calumet has the same deal. As a matter of fact, that's what I'm testing right now, and it looks to be a promising substitute. If it doesn't turn out that way, I will just photograph less.

    - Thomas
     
  22. Andrew Moxom

    Andrew Moxom Member

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    Neopan is a great all around film... It is my staple go to combination souped in Pyrocat HD 1:1:100 for 14 minutes @ 70 Degrees. Agitate for first 2 mins, then again for 10 seconds at 9 minutes, 6 minutes, and 3 minutes. Superb crystal clear negs result!

    Calumet sells it for $2.89 a roll of 120.
    ACROS is $2.79 a roll of 120.

    Freestyle has Neopan-400 goes for $3.09 and ACROS for $2.89 a roll.
     
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  23. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    Tri-X (old style) and D23. Later, FP-4 and D23.
     
  24. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Member

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    Andy,
    Agree Neopan looks great in Pyrocat, and my recipe for the combination is almost like yours.

    John,
    I've seen some really nice results from both Tri-X and Plus-X in D23. Great for portraits, it seems. Very fine grain.

    - Thomas


     
  25. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    I'm trying to decide what film to go with for 120 due to the fact that Arista Premium isn't available in 120. My current thought is to bite the bullet and pay Kodak's $3.79 price tag for Tri-X 400, but, as Thomas points out, I won't be shooting much 120 at that price.

    Right now I'm thinking of testing Arista Ultra 200 in both 120 and 4x5 (maybe) to see if I like it. If I do, it'll probably be what I use.
     
  26. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    How about Pan-X in d-76 stock? Just before Pan-X got the knife I bought some (and this was before I knew about diluting devs) ran it thru D-76 and got very easy to print negs, box speed (a whopping EI 32!), and tonality to boot!

    After that I started to think about photography and it all went downhill from there :smile: