35mm film for fine art landscapes / envronmental portraiture?

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by bluphoto, Oct 26, 2007.

  1. Guys,
    I'm wondering if Ilford PanF would be the best film to use for an upcoming
    trip involving landscapes, and environmental fine art nudes? I'll primarily be
    shooting digital, but wanted to put some mono film in my 35mm film body to try

    I also wouldn't mind trying to develop (but not print) it myself - I have
    bought some Rodinal chemistry, but haven't tried it yet. Is Rodinal + PanF
    particularly sensitive to time/temperature? I did some processing at college,
    but was plagued by water marks and dust on the negs. I don't really want to
    spoil the shots so any tips to minimise this would be great.

    Also, does anyone know of a good tutorial on how to use filters for B&W

    best regards
  2. There is no best film. Ilford PanF is a nice film, but I'm not familiar with it and Rodinal. There are a lot of online resources about filters in B&W. GL.
  3. Use Tri-X or TMAx 3200. Why try to make a small format cameras imitate what larger formats do better?
  4. If you have to use 35mm instead of MF then I would use Kodak Plus X Pan developed in either full strength D76 or UFG, being sure to use the replensishers for them which extend the developer life indefinitely. This product will easily permit enlargements up to 20x30 inches if you (as a photographer) are good.

    D76 with normal development will yield ASA/ISO 160

    UFG works well at about ASA/ISO 320

  5. Cheers guys,
    I remember my college professor asking us to try a roll of ilford delta pro 3200 - not sure if that's anything like the 3200 you mention. I have to say that I was very disappointed with the results. I know that the whole point was to show as large a grain as possible, but I'm afraid large grain just doesn't float my boat!

    I've never used anything but ilford films (apart from Fuji slides), so I might just try some of the Tri-X for a change. Kodaks site has a great image taken using this - but then it would, wouldn't it!

    As for trying to make a small format imitate what larger format do better, I absolutely agree. Reason being that I only have 35mm bodies, and a load of Canon lenses and accessories. Of course a 4x5 body would be great to experiment with. mmmmm... now you've got me thinking - maybe I'll check out ebay. That said, I absolutely HATE printing - oh yeah, and I don't have an enlarger anyway. 35mm is easier to scan - especially with a scanner which only scans 35mm! Maybe if I can find somewhere which would scan 4x5 to a decent resolution (ie similar number of lines-per-inch as the 35mm scanners) then it would be worth it. I can imagine the file size though - probably get only one image on a CD, and I'm not sure my computer could do much in Photoshop with a 500MB(?) file!

    thanks for the tips anyway!
  6. I'll tell you, PanF+ is a really nice film if, and this is a big one, it is handled properly. I've used quite a bit of the stuff over this past summer, often in very harsh lighting conditions, and have gotten good results. I've had decent, but not great, results with this film in Rodinal. I've had far better results with this film using D-76 diluted 1+3 developed following Ilford's directions to the letter for the combination. Despite all the advice you're bound to hear to the contrary, it is that easy and you get box speed to boot. But if you're not comfortable processing film to your satisfaction, it's not the best choice in the world. Water marks can be controlled by careful use of a wetting agent like Photoflo. The recommeded dilution of 1+200 is too strong for my local water conditions. I use it at half that strength with filtered tap water and have no problems at all. Your local conditions may be substantially different and require a different solution. I recommend starting out with 1+400. If you see no water droplets on the film after a dunk in that solution, you're good to go. Dust? Well, you know what they say about cleanliness. To prevent a large part of the dust problem, hang your film to dry in the bathroom after having run the hot shower for a short time, just enough to get the room steamed up a little. Most of the floating dust will settle out with the added humidity and not stick to your film.

    Since you're scanning the film though, I really don't see the point in using a conventional B&W film. You'll be much better served with a monochrome C-41 film. Kodak makes BW400CN and Ilford makes XP2 Super. Both are beautiful films with a long tonal scale. Either is capable of capturing details over a very wide brightness range, far greater than you can get with a conventional B&W film. Adjust the contrast to your preference with the image processing software of your choice. Scanning is much less of a problem with these films and you can use digital ICE (if your scanner is capable) to correct the inevitable dust marks.

    Filters. Lots of references on the net about this, and there's no need to repeat it here. A couple of links follow. Check them out.



  7. Hi Guy,

    I like to recommend the ROLLEI R3 film to you. There, you would have a range from 25 - 6,400 ISO, to be developed with either ROLLEI LOW SPEED (RLS) or ROLLEI HIGH SPEED (RHS). Pre-soaking of the film before processing is very important. The ROLLEI R3 film can be ordered through FREESTYLE L.A. Dr5 can process this film also properly. Technical data sheet can be downloaded at: www.mahn.net

  8. despite all the carefully thought out suggestions,
    if the procedure is inconvenbient for you that it will limit your picture taking or otherwise inhibit you.
    what are you comfotrable doing? Unless you develop ( very carefully) your own 35mm film, you results will not be good at all.

    if you prefer to just scan and print with a pc or commercially, the c-41 monochome films would be most convenient to use.

    medium format ( a rolliflex or other 6x6 camera) will give better results, but no easy access to w.a or telephoto.

    4x5 is a very high quality choice but even more inconvenient to purchase film.

    despite the lower quality from 24 x 36 mm negative, there is much to be said for 35mm .

    wide angle lenses are almost unheard of in larger formats, unless you have big dollars.

    try using what you have follow the suggestions and evaluate the results.
  9. My favorites for all around use in 35mm and medium format are Tri-X and HP5+. Both are very easy to work with and are capable of fine grain and excellent sharpness when exposed at around 200-250 and developed accordingly. ID-11 or D76 is fine for this.

    Used this way these films are fine enough for all but the most demanding work from a tripod, while allowing the flexibility of handheld photography in most lighting.

    Pan F+ is a good choice, but I found it tricky to expose and picky about development. My best results came at EI 50 in Diafine. In other developers I was lucky to squeeze out EI 25, which tends to discourage handheld shooting.

    My favorite for landscapes, architecture and fine art pretensions has been T-Max 100, usually developed in Microphen. It has a unique tonality I like for landscapes, etc., almost melodramatic without resorting to filters. While Microphen is usually regarded as a speed enhancing developer I just found that it eased processing of TMX shot at 100 - less picky about minor variations in exposure and development.

    I'm not fond of TMX for photographing people but must admit that some folks get excellent results using it for this.

    For landscapes, architecture, etc., just try an orange filter. Red is too extreme for some daylight conditions and yellow is too subtle to be worth bothering with. Expose some frames without a filter, then repeat those frames with the orange filter. You'll readily be able to evaluate the differences and whether it suits your taste.

    Regarding filter use, all of the websites for manufacturers of filters do a good job of describing their effects and, in some cases, provide illustrations. Try B+W, Tiffen, Cokin, Singh-Ray, etc.
  10. Thankyou gentlemen and ladies, for your detailed (and quite varied) advice!

    I do think that I am committed to running with 35mm, and I was only considering using PanF because I happen to have about ten rolls lying around.

    Reason I bought the rodinal was so that I could develop the PanF, because there's nowhere in my town (and few places that I know of nationally) who will develop true B&W film (ie non-C41).

    I have had some bad experiences recently with sending films for developing (albeit they were slides) and I was unsure about having to send films away for fear of losing them. Hence I thought maybe I could do it myself.

    I have an old fish tank and heater which I can use to heat water to a steady temperature and keep the chemical bottles in there for 12hours before processing to stablise the temperature. I also got a tip from someone to record my voice telling myself when to fill, pour, wash etc. So I thought the process should be pretty straightforward.

    Perhaps C41 is the better way to go - seeing as I'll be scanning the negative anyway, rather than printing in a wet room.

    As you guys have mentinoed, maybe PanF is a little too unforgiving to "experiment" with. The reason I posted this was that I'd heard that PanF was maybe a little "too" contrasty.

    many thanks to all.
  11. Guy,

    There are many good responses already offered, but my two cents for what it's worth:

    Recently, I have been shooting quite a bit of 35mm PanF+ and developing in Rodinal. I agree that it can be contrasty and a bit of a difficult film with which to work. It took me a few rolls to get the results I was hoping for.

    That being said, I've had good results shooting with and EI of 25 - 32 and developing in Rodinal 1:100 with limited agitation (first 60 sec, then 10 sec every 3 minutes for about 21 minutes at 68 degrees), or semi-stand development (40 - 45 minutes, 60 seconds then 10 sec agitation at the half way point). In other words, I find that it needs plenty of exposure to bring up the shadows, and proper development to control the contrast.

    Your mileage may very...

    I enjoy the results (good tone, interesting edge effects in some cases, and crisp grain but enlarges well), but it's a much different result than other film/developer combinations.

  12. For me Tmax 100. shoot at 80 and develop in D76 1-1 68 degrees for 9 minutes. Even in 35mm grain is not an issue and it's about as sharp as it gets.

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