B&W filmgreenspun.com : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread
I've been out of photography for 20 years or so, and am getting interested again. (It never fully gets out of your system) What is the sharpest, finest-grained, best tonal-valued BLACK & WHITE film in 4x5, and MF(120)... for mostly landscapes or cityscapes? Thanks... Chuck
-- Chuck Jones (email@example.com), August 11, 2001
You probably don't have to worry too much about sharpest and finest grained part, especially for your 4x5.
Except for Tech Pan, TMX (T-MAX 100) is probably the one of finest grained film. Delta 100 is also good, and it's often said to be sharper.
For landscapes, you might consider another factor - reciprocity failure. TMX is the best film to use with a few minutes exposure.
I like nightscapes exposed on TMX, processed in Ilford Microphen 1+1 and printed on Agfa MCP.
-- Ryuji Suzuki (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 11, 2001.
The Chromogenic films, such as Ilford XP-2, are by far the sharpest, finest grain, long scale films. Nothing else even comes close. They are processed in C-41 chemistry (like negative color films). The advertised speed is ISO 400, but they can be shot from 50-1600. I like them best at ISO 250 for minimum grain and maximum shadow detail. The only downside seems to be that they may lose some contrast over the next 30-40 years, and because the grain is so fine it can be difficult to focus the enlarger. It comes in 35mm, 120, and 4x5.
-- Bill Mitchell (email@example.com), August 11, 2001.
I agree with Bill. However you can develop the Ilford XP films in standard B+W chemistry. I have several hundred sheets of XP-1 I bought cheap on eBay. I rate the film EI 160 and go from there. Personally I use Ilfosol S, but I'm sure that any developer would do. You'll have to experiment. Also, the film has a bit of a 'pinkish' tint to it coming out of the wash. That goes away almost completely when it dries.
-- chuck k (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 11, 2001.
I go with the TMX or Delta 100 choice. TMX is a bit finer grained than Delta 100, but it does not look as sharp. Grain, unless you are making huge prints, will be indistiguishable between TMX and Delta 100. I personally like both films; they each have a unique look and it will be up to you to determine which you like best.
The chromogenic films do exhibit fine grain and good tonal scale, however, they are not particularly sharp--they have soft look. Moreover, they are not as suitable for Zone system value placement (N +/-) as TMX or Delta 100.
One other film that would suit your needs very well is Fuji's new film Acros. It needs no reciprocity correction for exposures up to 2 minutes, then only + 1/2 stop thereafter. It is not readily available here in the US in 4x5 size, but it is, I'm told, available from Badger Photo in quick-loads and possibly boxed sheets, too.
-- Ted Kaufman (email@example.com), August 12, 2001.
I agree with Ted that chromogenic films achieve finer granularity at the cost of lower resolution, especially when it is overexposed. (A bit o reading on color photography will answer why-questions.)
Based on the data Ted mentioned, Acros seems to have superior reciprocity characteristics than TMX...
-- Ryuji Suzuki (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 12, 2001.
Besides large size, one of the biggest reasons for using sheet films is the ability to taylor each sheets exposure and individualy process each sheet. C-41 film is difficult to do that with. C-41 films are really soft and don't have the same characteristics of normal silver films when it comes to printing with them. I tried them but gave up in favor of Tmax and Delta 100. I use TechPan when I want really sharp negs with full tonal range.
-- james (email@example.com), August 12, 2001.
While the Kodak chromagenic films may appear soft, Ilford XP-2 is not. Also, my tests for sharpness indicates that it is just below Agfapan 25, and Techpan. Not bad for an ISO 400 film.
-- Bill Mitchell (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 12, 2001.
I don't generally respond to threads asking for general film recommendations, because of my obvious bias. However, I would like to point out that ILFORD XP-2 is no longer available in sheet film sizes.
David Carper ILFORD Technical Service
-- David Carper (email@example.com), August 14, 2001.
Not available in 4x5? My word -- is Ilford going Kodak on us?
-- Bill Mitchell (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 14, 2001.