Best 120 roll film for ISO 1600 processing

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by sassan_hazeghi, Jan 17, 2010.

  1. I am looking for a high speed (preferably ISO 1600) B&W 120 roll film that is
    comparable to Fuji Neopan 1600 and am wondering what would be the best
    choice for the film and developer to preserve shadow details, smooth tonality
    and avoid excessive graininess (I find Delta 3200 and TMY 3200 overly grainy).
    Would I be better off pulling TMY 3200 by 1 stop or pushing Neopan 400 or
    Tri-X by 2 stops ? Would the answer to the question be different if I were to
    settle on ISO 800 instead of 1600 (and take my chances with a slower shutter speed ?)
    Finally, if I one favors preserving finer grain over shadow details, would Xtol
    be a better developer compared to D-76 ?
    Would appreciate suggestions from those who have compared the push vs pull alternatives.
    Thanks !
  2. Well TMZ by Kodak is not made in 120 your only choices are the Fuji and the Delta. And Delta in HC-110 dilution b at 1600 is pretty good. but then again Tri-X in Diafine or acufine at 1200-1600 looks pretty darn good in 120 also.
  3. I can't say anything about Delta 3200 developed in HC-110. I've used it in 35 mm format developed in XTOL and while it was grainy, I was very pleased with the results. Since you're shooting in medium format, the grain problem is much less noticeable, and the tonal transitions will be smoother for a given enlargement ratio. You might like Tri-X developed in Diafine. Grain isn't too bad, and it is certainly less than what you'd get with any super speed film in any developer. You will need to be careful about contrast. Diafine will prevent the highlights becoming too dense to print, but will will need to meter carefully and allow enough exposure to get the shadows nailed. If the light is flat and there aren't any deep shadows, meter for 1600 and you'll have a good printable negative. If the opposite is true, you will need to allow for more exposure or live with little or no detail in the deep shadows.
  4. Yep Frank I agree as Diafine will tame contrast even with microfilm and Rollei Technical Pan 2.2 I did not want to say the old 1600 for Tri-X because I have found that 1200 is closer to gold to get shadows.
  5. TMY (T-Max 400) pushed to 1600 in Microphen (stock solution is best) will have finer grain and smoother gradation than Delta 3200, but will not have true shadow detail. There's no way around that. Whether this matters or is even noticeable will depend on the usual circumstances: subject, lighting, etc. If the subject is mostly mid tones in almost any light, you probably won't notice the absence of shadow detail. If the light is very soft or under overcast skies, you'll get the illusion of a nearly full tonal range altho' a sharp eye will still spot the absence of true shadow detail. But it'll pass for most uses where you may prefer a handheld camera in dim available lighting.
  6. Then why won't Kodak make TMZ in 120? I have always wondered this. And Lex I have heard the same thing from those who use Xtol the developer Kodak recommends for that reason.
    I have enough developers and i love pushing film but that TMY-2 is a great film.
  7. If you want shadow detail, and you need 1600, then the best way is to buy 1600. I'd suggest the Fuji product, and finding the best developer for the look you want is debatable...and also half the fun too....Robert
  8. LOL Robert You said it in less words and twice the time as that is the secret to any fil in B&W. You have to find the Developer and dilution to meet the style you want.
  9. When I need an ISO 1600 medium format film, I break out my 35mm gear. The increased DOF usually means that I can shoot film that is a stop or two slower than what I'd need with medium format.
  10. Robert that is too easy and I love using a larger format with fast film... that is why I own manyTexes sized SLRs in 120.
  11. I like Tri-X @1600 in HC110 1:100 (from syrup) stand development. After initial agitation I keep it 14min starting at 29C. In my experience it has better tonality than Diafine and I think it gives the best overall results at 1600 compared to other push processing. Here and here are samples and some technical details in the tags.
    Delta 3200 in medium format in pretty nice, very good tones and shadow details, but it is a bit flat.
  12. I have not tried this and 29c seems pretty high but then again we are pushing limits here. Have you tried this with Other films?
  13. Fuji Neopan 1600 is not available in 120. Not really an option for the OP.
  14. Based on the comments, I'm wondering whether you didn't like Delta 3200 because you used a less-than-ideal developer. I've found that Delta 3200 shot at EI 1600 or 2000 and developed in DD-X 1+4 (for more time than Ilford recommends) looks pretty good: the grain is not at all offensive in enlargements up to 7x or so, and there's pretty good shadow detail--this is really only about a 0.7 EV push. If for whatever reason you can't or won't use DD-X, then Xtol would probably be the next choice, although I've never personally used that combo.
    But really, I'd probably be happier with 35mm and Delta 400 or Tri-X. On the whole, 35mm has about two stops more depth of field, and the lenses are about two stops faster. So for a given shutter speed, generally speaking, all else equal, 35mm at EI 400 and 120 at EI 1600 will give you about the same shutter speeds and depth of field. And the 35mm cameras are a lot handier.
    And as others have said, last I knew, in the US at least, the only 120 film faster than 400 was Delta 3200--no TMZ, no Neopan 1600, etc.
  15. are right! I had forgotten that....blushes . So it's gotta be the Ilford
    3200, pulled to suit the use.
  16. Ilford is the only high speed b&w Film in 120 left?
  17. Thanks much for the suggested alternatives and observations (I had missed that
    TMZ-1600 does not come in 120 rolls :-()
    I certainly would have preferred to shoot this project on 35mm film/camera (@ ISO 400)
    but since the end goal is 16x20 prints, I hope to get smoother tonality & sharper results
    from 6x7 negatives even when shot @ ISO 1600. So it looks like the choices are
    wither pull Delta 1600 by one stop (developing in DD-X) or push Tri-X or TMY-400 by two stops ?
    Am I likely to see less grain by pushing the ISO-400 films 2-stops ? And in terms of preserving
    as much shadow detail as possible, is there a clear preference for increasing the developer
    temperature vs increasing the development time ?
    Thanks again !
  18. Sassan,
    For what it's worth I have found Fuji Neopan 400 at EI1600 in Xtol 1+1 to be marvelous. The grain is very fine, and this has become the 400 film of choice when I need to shoot at 1600. There are a couple examples in my folders, but here is the most recent.
    Hope this helps.
  19. "Am I likely to see less grain by pushing the ISO-400 films 2-stops ?"​
    Depends on how large you print, or whether you scan rather than print. With 35mm, my 11x14 prints (optical enlargements) from TMY pushed to 1600 in Microphen have finer grain and smoother gradation than 8x10 prints from 35mm Delta 3200 rated at 1600 in Diafine. While the Delta 3200 negs had true shadow detail the overall look was clumpy and the grain was too noticeable in mid tones and skin. So I generally preferred the overall appearance of pushed TMY, since the actual content of these photos relied on mid tones, not shadow detail.
    With medium format you would need to print (uncropped or nearly uncropped) to much larger print sizes to notice the same differences in grain. So if you print only 8x10 or so from MF, you won't see as much grain from Delta 3200 and you may find it perfectly acceptable.
    Regarding developers for Delta 3200, while I haven't tried a fine grain developer like Perceptol, I haven't found that any developer significantly reduces the grain, including stock solution ID-11. It's a grainy film, no way around that.
    But, again, if you're using medium format and printing smaller than, say, 16x20, you may find the grain acceptable. And if you're scanning, you'll need to use other tricks such as Noise Ninja to minimize grain.
  20. "Robert that is too easy and I love using a larger format with fast film... that is why I own manyTexes sized SLRs in 120."
    I'd probably reconsider and shoot medium format in low light if Neopan 1600 were available in 120.
  21. Well, you'd still need to do a true 2/3- to 1 stop push on Delta 3200, as it is, in actually an 800-1000-speed film.
    Hi, Sassan,
    I think it really depends upon the application whether or not 35mm would be a better choice here.

    I assume, that due to the 3200 speed you need no-flash abilities. Unless you have a very fast, very expensive MF lens, you can get those extra one or two stops of speed with a cheaper 35mm.

    Same thing with magnification, you can get much faster, longer lenses than with MF equipment.

    What format are you using? 6x7, 6x6, or 6x4.5cm? I remember reading on the now-defunct MF users group that 6x7 400 film was as grainy as 6x4.5 160 film in color (about a stop for every doubling in negative area, if you do the math). So, if you are using 3200 in 6x4.5 (keep in mind this is like a one-stop push in terms of grain already), using 400 film with a two-stop faster lens would, arguably, give you better results.
    If you give me more information, I could make a better recommendation. I am not the best darkroom printer or developer by any means, but I find that the best development is giving ENOUGH TIME, PROPER DILUTION to the film over any "magic" formulae.
    I know D-76 1:1 is grainier than straight D-76. But keep in mind, technically, most fine-grain developers use silver solvents that actually eat away at the edges of the silver grains, reducing sharpness in giving you finer grain.
    I think the only developers that I could actually recommend as potentially giving better results than D-76 (or ID-11) would be T-Max Developer, HC-110, or XTOL. I remember reading somewhere that T-Max gives you the best true speed and best pushability (though maybe only with T-grain type films), though I've only worked with HC-110 out of those three personally.

    Each developer may differ in developing the toe and heel, as well as the curve shape across density (I know HC-110's curve is very different than other developers), but it seems like what you are worried about here is maximum speed, which may mean you want T-Max.
    Of course, so many B&W hobbyists (no offense to this group, as science is secondary to composition and printing skills) don't actually measure curve shapes, film speed, or run control strips with their developers that the results will vary wildly by how precisely you control the process.
  22. Hate not being able to edit on here.
    Sorry, I missed your follow-up Sassan.
    6x7 gives you 5.6 times (assuming 58x69.6mm full-frame negative area for "6x7cm" and 24x30mm cropped negative area for 35mm composed onto a 4:5 image aspect ratio) as much negative area as 35mm, so unless you have a much faster lens that allows you to use slower film in 35mm, I think you're right that 6x7 is the better choice. Even TMY-2 or Delta 400 will be grainier than Delta 3200 at full-speed.

    Another question I have for you is the shutter speed you'll be shooting at, and the movement of the subject, if any. With an RB, the slowest you can reasonably shoot at is a 60th or a 125th (assuming a 90mm (50mm equivalent on 35mm))
    With a 35mm you can easily shoot at a 30th, so you loose another stop there (again with 50 mil).
    So I would still like some more information on what you're shooting. Finally, are you SURE you aren't able to use more light? It might take more work, but will give you better results.
  23. Travis, Lex & Karl: Thanks much for the additional comments (the example of NP400 pushed to ISO 1600 was very helpful !)
    To provide more context, the camera is Mamiya 7 (6x7 format) for handheld interior (available light) work using a 43mm wideangle, and trying to stay at 1/30th sec. or higher shutter speed (DOF is usually sufficient at f 5.6). The negatives would be printed at 16x20 using a cold-head enlarger (i.e. no digital manipulation to control grain or shadow details.) Given this, it sounds like Delta 3200, processed at ISO 1600 in Xtol 1-1 or DD-X 1-1 would be the best compromize (sharpness, grain & tonality ?)
    Thanks !
  24. Thanks for the further info Sassan.

    I would personally recommend against using *any* developer at 1:1 with film that is pushed (yes that is still a push, although only about two-thirds- to a full stop). My advice would be, whatever developer you use, to use it straight in a push-process application, or else you will get further grain. Personally, since I have heard that T-Max (is there an Ilford equivalent?) produces some of the best speed for B&W push applications, I'd recommend that product over these other two. Of course, if it is difficult to obtain, other developers should produce fine results too, just don't dillute them.

    Also, 1/30 sec. shutter speed may do you more damage at 16x20" print size than graininess. Shake could be very pronounced when blowing up a negative that much! What is your subject matter? From what distance will you be, on average, from you subject, when shooting?
    When you talk about cold-head, I assume that is a diffuser enlarger? I'm out of practice with this, having learned on condensers, but using diffusers for most of my optical-prints since then, but I know they are different. I believe you need a contrastier, denser negative with diffusion than with condensation.
    And, at 16x20" size, you really shouldn't have any trouble dodging and burning to control shadow detail. It's the smaller sizes that are trickier.
  25. When I was shooting my silly Kiev 60 handheld at night, Ilford 3200 was a godsend - pulled to 1600, it's a really nice film, and delivers more detail than Neopan 400 pushed - I love Neopan @1600 for a film noir look, but for shadow detail and fine graduations, the Ilford wins.

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