favorite b&w film for 120/220?

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by sallymack, Jul 6, 2009.

  1. Okay, that does it, I'm going back to b&w. This morning while shooting palm trees, light through the fronds, etc., I knew I should be using
    b&w film instead of color. Not having shot b&w for over 10 years, I don't know what's available, any more. When I shot 35mm b&w, I used
    B&W MF shooters: will you please tell me which b&w film(s) you prefer and why? I have both 120 and 220 magazines for my Hasselblad,
    mostly I shoot landscapes.<br>
    Looking forward to your answers.
  2. Kodak Plus X ASA 125 use to be my favorite, but is now dicontinued, so its either Tri-X or T-Max for me depending on the look I want.
  3. I am shooting mostly Kodak Portra 160NC now when I shoot 120 film. You get about the same range as a good B&W film, and you can control the filter effects in digital post-processing, except for polarization of course. It really simplifies shooting in the field. I find that I convert about half of what I do into black & white, and you can make the choice after you see the results. When I do convert, I usually simulate the characteristics of the "real" Tri-X. It would still be my first choice if I were to shoot just black & white - I always have some on hand.
  4. Ilford FP4 - Delta 100 or Kodak T-Max depending on availability
  5. The only black and white 220 film left is Kodak Tri-X, rated at 320. Good film.
  6. mizore

    mizore A Gringa in Nicaragua

    Fujichrome Acros for the fine grain; Tri-X Pro (available in 220 as well as 120) for the faster film. I develop in Diafine.
  7. I like Tri-x, and Tmax 400...like their tone range. I also like ilford 3200, or Kodak 3200 for low light situation, or at night. Just the past sunday, when I sort out the films I shot 4 -5 years ago, I found out I did Fuji Acros 100 a lots.
  8. Ilford HP5+ for 400, Ilford FP4 for 100. Recently I've been using some Fuji acros for 100 and neopan for 400.
    Developper is mostly Rodinal.
  9. ilford delta 100 pro... seems smoother, less harsh/contrasty.
  10. Ilford Delta 3200 - allows me to do indoor/low light portraits and informals without a flash. Great combination with my Mamiya 645 and 110mm f2.8 short-tele lens, or Mamiya Universal 6x9 and 100mm f2.8 normal lens [sorry, no Hassy!]. And it also allows me to grab some untracked astrophotos too, although DSLRs have the edge there.
  11. Sally,
    I too was recently afflicted with the B&W bug. Many years ago (20-25) I shot nothing but Tech pan and FX with my F2's. I loved the stuff. Many years later, I'm shooting with Hasselblad gear. I've been experimenting with B&W for about two months now. I've tried three films: Plus-x (hated it), Tri-x 320 (Liked it), and T-max 400 (love it)!
    I've tried all souped in D-76 straight & 1:1, and Xtol straight & replenished. I now remember why I never shot Plus-x in college; I always seemed to end up with flat, thin negatives. User error I'm sure, but at least I'm consistent.
    The T-max 400 (exposed at 320) performed beyond any expectations. Even developed in D-76 1:1, It rendered very fine grain and good snappy negatives. Developed in the Xtol straight, grain was nonexistent.
    I just developed a couple of rolls of the T-max 400 last night that I hand-held with the Hasselblad (1/250 sec.) and am thrilled. I'm generally a stickler for tripods but these last rolls have been liberating, to say the least.
  12. Agfa APX 100 but it's dead too....Thankfully I have a freezer full of it :)
    Otherwise, FP4+ is very nice...
    For 220, TXP is the only one left, and it's actually quite nice!
  13. My favs have always been FP-4 rated at ISO 80 or Pan-F rated at 25. On occasion Delta 3200 for hand held available light.
  14. Normally:
    Fuji Acros: 70%
    Ilford Delta 100: 20%
    Tmax 100: 10%
    But I shoot a lot of other stuff now and then: Pan F, Rollei Tech Pan, Efke Ortho, Fuji Neopan 400 and 1600, Delta 400. The real issue is what you develop it in, and for how long. I think all the images in my portfolio are Fuji Acros, but they are all shot with Hasselblad.
  15. When doing a commercial assignment with my Mamiya 645's I prefer Fuji Acros 100 @ E.I. 80 in HC-110 dil. B. If out, I will use Delta 100. For high speed needs I use Tri-X.
    For fun, using my Yashicmat, I use either Tri-X or Plus-X.
  16. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    I'm struggling on the "why" bit, but what I did was to deliberately experiment widely with films, papers, toners etc during the first year of shooting b&w, and i spent a lot of time looking at negs and a lot of money getting prints made. The conclusions I drew were that i preferred the look of TriX (TXP) above all others and that if I couldn't have that well HP5 would do just fine. Neither is available in 220 sadly.
  17. Fuji Acros for low speed, HP5@800 for high-speed, both in D-76 1:1.
  18. Eventually every film will be named. Try the txp since it is the only black and white process film left in 220. Hopefully you will love it. Might be better to ask if there is a film to avoid but, no, every film would be again named.
    Acros is good and relatively cheap. Tmax 100, Tri X, Fp4, Hp5, Delta 3200, Delta 100 and 400, Fuji 400, Foma 100 and 200. It's all good kind of depending on your development.
  19. I know it's a 'fake' but I love 400CN. If you ultimately scan your negs, I really believe 400CN is vastly superior to any real B&W film I have used (TMAX, TriX). Of course, wet printing is another matter entirely :)
    If you do scan, give it a try - I really think you'll be impressed.
  20. It depends upon your subject and lighting conditions and restrictions.
    For me:
    If you can tolerate the low ISO, Ilford PanF+ processed in Rodinal 1+50.
    Need a bit more speed, Ilford Delta 100 processed in DDX 1+4.
  21. I've been shooting about 50% Fujifilm Acros 100, the rest mostly split between Kodak 125PX and 400TX. I believe the Kodak TXP320 is the only B&W available in 220.
    I recently picked up some Ilford PanF but haven't really wrung it out yet.
  22. Check the auctions from time to time. Once in a while some PXP 220 (hopefully frozen) will turn up.
  23. TMax 100, especially for landscapes.
    But boy I would love it if Fuji made 1600 in 120 for late night street stuff.
  24. Kodak Plus X ASA 125 use to be my favorite, but is now dicontinued, so its either Tri-X or T-Max for me depending on the look I want.​
    Plus-X hasn't been discontinued. Both B&H and Freestyle have the 120 Plus-X in stock - Adorama has it on backorder.
    Maybe you're thinking of the 'old' Plus-X - there was a reformulation of it several years ago.
    Kodak doesn't emphasize Plus-X on it's website - its listed at the bottom of the B&W film page almost as an afterthought. While it's not as big a seller as Tri-X or T-Max, Kodak is remiss in not promoting it - it is an excellent fine grain film with great tonal range.
    But then again, who knows what goes (or, more likely, doesn't go) through the minds of Kodak execs...
  25. If you shot Tri-X in 35mm and liked it, you are gonna love it in 120. Same great blacks, but a little smoother and less grainy. I shoot Ilford FP4 sometimes, and Fuji Arista is worth a look, but only Tri-X looks just the way that I think B&W should look. If they quit making it I'd probably stop shooting B&W.
  26. Tri-X. You may flirt with the others, but you'll always come back.
  27. i'm a big fan of TMAX 100 in the 120 format, i've been using it for a few years and am very happy with it...
    You can see some of my low-res scanned work here, all of the 6x6 is Tmax100:
  28. Well,my rf654 is filled with delta 3200!!!!!
  29. Ilfords Delta 100. Arguably the best b&w film ever made. Needs precise development but if you got that right than you have the best tonality around.
    Kodak's Tri-X. Arguably the best allround film ever made. You have to be a real dud to screw that one up. Nice grain as well.
    Neopan's 1600. Simply the best highspeed film ever made.
  30. I use Tri-X most of the time. It is reasonably priced and the development time in D76 is bearable. Standing over the kitchen sink shaking a developing tank for 9-1/2 minutes (delta 400) gets old!
    Mamiya 6MF Kodak Tri-X
  31. However, I shot my first roll of Ilford Pan F+ 50asa a couple of weeks ago, and I'm going for a second roll soon. The price per roll is reasonable and I think it is well suited for landscape work. I like the results, but I made a mistake loading my A12 back, and the film may have suffered for it.
  32. For what it's worth, those to films get my vote. Opinion with examples. I hope you post some of your work when you get the chance!
  33. My (current) favourite is FP4+ developed in Prescysol.
  34. It's all good. I have been using a bunch of Ilford (Pan F+, HP5+ and Delta 3200); but, it's all good.
  35. Tripod and Pan F at 25 or 32 ISO. Also Acros at 80 ISO or TRi-X for handheld, except when using filters which often requires a tripod for generous depth of field. Cannot answer the question re 220 as I generally do not like to use it and it is really hard to find anyway.
  36. It's been said but Pan F. HP5+ is nice too, it's a bit grainier but it's beautiful all the same
  37. Thank you for your answers. It's heartening to see so much enthusiasm for b&w film.<br>
    I'm going to buy b&w film today, see what the store stocks, maybe buy some of each. . .<br>
    For processing, I'm sending the film to a pro lab instead of doing it myself, I imagine they'd do some custom developing but I
    don't know how much.<br>
    Viva film!
  38. Tripod and Ilford Pan F. Tonality is exquisite. D76 works fine, but be careful not to overdevelop.
    Plus-X and FP4 are nice too, for a little more speed.
    I've never gotten what I thought was a successful image with the T-Max films, probably my fault.
    If you want 220, Tri-X is your only option, I thnk. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
  39. TMax for me too (both 100 and 400).
    Pitty they do not come in 220 format.
    But then, 120 is often too long already.
  40. bms


    TMAX 100 and 400 - still quite new to MF film and want to keep my results consistent. Have shot some Pan F on 35mm and have some TMAX 3200 somwehere..... I would try a few different films and stick with what I like....
  41. it


  42. Ilford Delta Pro gives a much "smoother" tonality than the Kodak films in my opinion. TMAX may be a little sharper and more contrasty so it largely depends on your taste and the subject you are shooting.
  43. If you are not going to develop yourself, then try a bunch and see what you like. If you are going to develop it yourself, then choose one and stick with it. I shoot Tmax 400 at 1250 and develop in Daifine and it has been working fine, but I only have 6 months of experience with developing. In my area it is more expensive to have B&W film processed than C-41 film, so one of the C-41 films like Kodak BW400CN may be interesting to try too.
  44. TMAX 100 in Xtol 1:1.
    The new TMAX 400 comes second.
    I like the smoothness of 100 better and the tonality of 400 a tad better.
  45. I just developed a roll of 35mm Tmax 100 in Tmax developer 1-9 @75 degrees (24C) for 12 minutes. Results floored me. Can't imagine why I'd want to use anything else for tripod work.
  46. What's available in medium format B&W you ask. Lots, really. But let's get one thing straight first. Kodak's Plus-X is NOT discontinued. It is a fantastic film that doesn't get the credit it deserves.
    From Kodak, there is Plus-X, two flavors of Tri-X (320 and 400), TMax 100, TMax 400. If your tastes run to B&W films than can be processed in C-41 chemistry, there is BW400CN. From Ilford there is a corresponding lineup, FP4+, HP5+, Delta100 and Delta 400. There is a super speed film called Delta 3200. Ilford's monochrome C-41 offering is called XP2 Super. Fuji has Neopan ACROS 100, and Neopan 400 in medim format size. There's more from small suppliers, too many to go into here. All the fims mentioned are better than good. I've used them all and found them all to be excellent products. I will not attempt to influence your decision except to say that of them all, my favorites are from Kodak, with the Fuji products a very close second.
  47. Michael, you will get much smoother grain and sharper negs from TMX 100 on Xtol 1:1 than on TMAX dev.
    If you already like the results from TMAX dev your are in for a treat with XTOL.
  48. This is from the same negative cut in two and developed in XTOL and TMAX alongside:
    100% View:
  49. Tri-X Pro @ 320
  50. Ilford FP4+ I'm not old enough to have used any of the "classic" emulsions that many people talk about, but for my money, this is the best. It has a nice amount contrast without loosing shadow and highlight detail and has a nice grain that lets you know it's still film. TMAX just always seems washed-out looking to me... too much like a color image converted to B&W. I have not tried the new emulsion that is supposed to be higher resolution yet, so maybe I would like it better than what was available 10 years ago.
  51. I really like the TMax films (100 and 400) and am finishing off some I have, but I am trying to standardize with Tri-x for all cameras. I do like Tri-x just fine. I mostly develop in D76 1:1.
  52. Remi, Agfa APX 100 still exist and is called new Rollei.
    If you are from Europe, you can find it at a good price at macodirect.de.
    Tmax 400, Ilford HP5+ 400, Agfa APX 100.
  53. Pushed TMAX 400:
  54. Thanks, again!<br>
    I purchased five 120 rolls each of Tri-X and TX400. Although I use a tripod, I like shooting at 400 ASA for the depth of field.
    Just for fun, maybe I'll post a photo from each roll for comparison purposes.<br>
    The lab which processes my film does standard developing in Xtol (I think), what they call "dip and dunk" but can arrange for
    custom, hand processing at a considerably higher cost. I know b&w is easy and cheap to do at home but I don't have time
    and please don't remind me how much I enjoyed darkroom work all those years ago.
  55. Sally- I'm a big fan of TRI-X Pro (ASA 320) for studio or landscapes. Generous latitude (TRI-X) and handles expanded or contracted development times nicely. I've been recently using Ilford's PAN-F rated at ASA 50. It's not Panatomic-X (that might be a good thing as Panatomic-X was really contrasty) but it definitely has very fine grain. Still a fan of TRI-X with D76 1:1.
  56. Mauro Franic [​IMG] , Jul 07, 2009; 04:16 p.m.
    Michael, you will get much smoother grain and sharper negs from TMX 100 on Xtol 1:1 than on TMAX dev. If you already like the results from TMAX dev your are in for a treat with XTOL.
    I believe part of the perceived sharpness improvement with XTOL in your posted comparison is due to increased contrast you obtained vs. the TMX developer image. Any further insights based on other comparisons you've made or examination of the original negatives would be useful to me as I currently use TMAX Developer and the Zone System.
    Regardless of the differences in sharpness/contrast the smoother XTOL developer grain is motivating me to consider switching. That's a big deal for me because I would have to re-calibrate my EI and Zone System development times and temperatures. If you use the Zone System do you have any suggestions for times, temperatures, dilutions, and agitation method for development for N-1, N, N+1, N+2?
  57. Tri-X 320.
  58. Michael,
    You are right on the increased in the mistones (at the expense of maybe a stop on the shadows) when using XTOL vs TMAX Dev.
    Xtol 1:1 gives sharper, higher resolving and finer grain results than TMX dev. Consistently and by a wide margin.
    TMAX Dev's only advantage is to dig a bit more detail in the shadows when pushing. Xtol mainly affects the highlights only when pushing.
    TMAX 100 I do in general N or N+1 since it has plenty small grain already (shot at normal speed).
    TMX 400 I do in general N or N-1 (shot at 400 or 800) since it has a bit of a tendency to block the highlights when compared to TMAX 100.
    I also do TMAX 400 N+2 or N+3 (shot at 1600, 3200 or 6400) - more for fun than anything else.
  59. Here is another example of TMAX 400 in Xtol:
  60. I agree with Frank. Plus-X 125 is better now that Kodak re-engineered it with the technology from T-Max. It's no longer "mushy", and I use it for portraits with D76 1:1. Outstanding tones for portraits.
    However, I still miss the old Tri-X, specifically from the late 1980's and early 1990's (Type 6049). Not much dye, with a lot of silver. Outstanding tones with HC-110 dilution B without blown highlights. Now, I use the current version of Tri-X 320, with ACU-1 developer, not too diluted. This combination generates nice mackie lines between high and low values, and gives me some of my sharpest images from 120 film. It also brings back some of the look and atmosphere of the old Tri-X mentioned above in my post, without too much "grayness" that X-tol many times gives me.
  61. I've found that Ilford FP4 developed in Rodinal 1:50 is superb, as well as Ilford FP4 in Diafine.
  62. Ilford Pan, FP-4 or good old Tri-X. Dependable, good and consistent. This also gives you a range of grain. For the price, now that I have found it again (used to use it in the '80s in Africa) I am happily surprised with the saturation and midtones of the Ilford Pans and am switching to that for my slower film.
    I have also had very good results with the T-max films but have found them inconsistent, even within the same batch and in the same developer tank, and much more finicky in development overall. (There's a good reason most photojournalists used tri-x till they switched to digital.) Other people have had better luck and may be better at being consistent.
    There are literally dozens of small run companies in various countries that make (or label) traditional B&W emulsions, usually "pan" variations: Negrapan, Perupan etc.
    Of course, within the great middle of the bell curve, more will depend on your own skill and technique.
  63. Wow, there is some great work here. The Pan F looks excellent. TKS.
  64. My favorite was Agfa APX 25, now I'm working with Fuji Neopan 100, 400 and efke films.
    But I'm unsatisfied with their poor sensitivity to red light, they're tricky to use with red filter...
    Any sugestion...?
  65. Try to find old TMAX 100. Awesome.

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