Film recommendations for Yashica TLR

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by kyle_opitz, Jun 25, 2006.

  1. I recently bought a Yashica TLR 6X6 camera and I am looking for a nice black and
    white film to run through it. Any recommendations? I am looking for a sharp,
    fine grained black and white film for landscapes and architecture. I�ve tried a
    bunch of different B&W films in the past, Ilford, Agfa, and pretty much
    everything from Kodak, and I have to say that I don�t see much of a difference
    in any of them. (because I don�t know what I�m doing!) I have a pro lab soup my
    film and will most likely be scanning the negs to play with online, and maybe if
    I have something worth printing, making mega enlargements someday. Any tips
    for film or processing would be greatly appreciated! Thanks a lot.
  2. Well, if you're not seeing much of a difference, then why does it matter what you shoot? Stay away from Ilford, they're not what they used to be. And the T-grained films from EK as well (super finickey).

    Since Agfa's no more, that leaves a smaller arena to pick from.
    These days I'm mostly shooting Efke 100 (dev'd in Rodinal), and Tri-X for faster speeds. Will be trying out the Fomapan 400, as I hear it's the closest to Agfa in that speed range.

    IMO Fortepan is a bit difficult as well. That's my $0.02
  3. My suggestion is to pick a film that is considered 'standard', i.e. somehting that has been around for a while and is considered to have average results. I would suggest something in the 100 speed range if you want to do big enlargements, but I would also suggest considering why you want big enlargemnts. My personal favorites for landscape work are FP4+ and PanF+, but everyone who chimes in will have different suggestions.

    If you want to get good, repeatable results, do your own developing. Pick one film and one developer, stick with that combination until you can get the same type of results everytime, and then only change when you know specificaly what you want to get that is different from what you have. I have used FP4+ primarily for years and been able to get the results I wanted repeatedly. I use PanF+ when I want the finest grain, but slow speed films mean long exposures and you will find that the wind is not often cooperative.

    Read the "Film Developing Cookbook" to gain an understanding of what film types there are, what developer types there are, and what each of these will yield in terms of results. Think. I repeat, THINK, about what you want the end result to look like and learn by experience how to get that result. This is a big part of why you need to do your own developing. By doing your own developing you choose the developer, you choose how to adjust contrast and density, you choose how to work with grain, you choose how the end results will be.

    By picking one film and one developer you gain the ability to change one single thing each time, and therefor actualy learn how to make the results happen the way you want them to happen. If you just change films and developers everytime someone says 'This is the greatest combination EVER!', you'll never learn anything. Never forget that you have to understand the process in it's entirety in order to get what you want. Lastly, do not get discouraged by people like me. Listen to what everyone says, and think about what they say. Take suggestions from people who give specific reasons and validate their comments with details. Do not give any weight to the comments of those who just simply repeat what they heard from someone else; they have no understanding and will only lead you astray.

    This process can be rewarding, or it can be frustrating, or both. It is up to you to go at the pace you are comfortable with and to keep an open mind. Remember, THINK, always, why should I change what I am doing? If you have no answers, you need to ask more questions before you do anything else. Only change when you know why.

    - Randy
  4. I just got my own Mat124 the other week. I also just got into developing my own film and making contact prints because of it (it's easier and cheaper than you think). I have to support what Randy just said. I use FP4+ in Ilfosol and even as a beginner I'm getting great results that I love. p.s. If you haven't discovered yet, check it out.

  5. Kyle, you said: "..I have a pro lab soup my film and will most likely be scanning the negs.."
    As no one else has mentioned it I'm going to suggest you look at Ilford XP2 Super film (I wouldn't be discouraged by the poster who states, we know not on what basis, "Stay away from Ilford, they're not what they used to be.")
    You are using a pro-lab for processing: XP2 is a C41 process B&W film, same cost/time to process as colour negs.
    You want to scan the negs: In my experience you will have a MUCH easier time scanning this film than conventional B&W negatives and yet will be able to make fine enlargements when you want to.
    Good luck!
  6. I'm also curious as to why one should "stay away from Ilford" and go with Foma and EFKE? Nothing wrong with using the films out of Eastern Europe but in terms of quality control Kodak, Ilford and Fuji are light years ahead.
  7. My Ilford film is just as good as it's ever been.

    There are differences between films, but honestly, if you're using an outside lab, shoot what they develop a lot of. If you're doing it yourself you can learn the intricacies of a film yourself and exploit the film to its greatest advantage.

    I shoot lots of different black and white films but the three standard Ilford films (Pan-F Plus, FP-4 Plus and HP-5 Plus) are my favourites. The Delta films are also very good. I also like Plus-X and Tri-X a lot although I haven't shot them in a few years. Efke 50 is also a very nice film, if you can find it and has a nice tonality.

    In short... learn to process film yourself, and try a few. But at the beginning, stick to only one or two and get to know them before you start tinkering too much.
  8. I have a Yashicamat myself, and I'd suggest you to stay as close to Ilford as possible, they're great film, XP2 is very good, now if you plan to develop films yourself in the future, HP5 is probably the best film available now (Delta is also very good). There's no problem with grain when you shoot 6x6.
  9. Like Daniel and Jim, I cannot understand how anyone could say that 'Ilford isn't what it used to be'. The quality of their films is superb and I use nothing else.
  10. Ilford Delta 100/Rodinal.
  11. Ilford Delta 100 at 50 ASA, Rodinal 1:50.
  12. As you want to scan your negs, you might search in the web for advice on scanning b/w-negs. I'm not an expert on this, as I do wet lab, but I read that some films are more suitable for scanning than others, like the T-grains from Kodak. Maybe this also depends on the scanner you use.
    Otherwise I also recommend Ilford films. They are excellent! May favourites are FP4+ and HP5+, both slightly overexposed for deeper shadows.

  13. I personally haven't noticed any degradation of Ilford products' quality, and even though Foma is readily available here in Poland, and considerably cheaper, too, FP4+ has been my favourite for years. I shoot 35 mm only, and I can easily imagine what one can do with it loading a roll into a 2 1/4" sq. camera.

    As regards faster films, I love both HP5+ and TRI-X, and it would be difficult for me to state decisively which one's better. Depends on the subject, I guess.

    I haven't had much experience with Pan-F, but if you plan for mega-mega-enlargements, that's surely the way to go.
  14. I was the one who said the above statement. Based on almost 40yrs of processing/printing. My statement comes after years of shooting Fp4+, XP2 (originally started with XP, then XP-1 etc, which is probably the best film Ilford's got), HP5+ and occasionally PanF. All printed on Ilford MG papers. In the mid-'90s I noticed a change in the look I was getting from this brand. Nothing in the chain of command had changed. By the end of the decade it just wasn't giving me what I'd come to expect. I switched back to Agfa, and that cleared things up a bit, but now as Agfa is gone, there are very good films from outside the mainstream which come exceptionally close. The main one being Efke 100. I've no idea why anyone would want to downgrade a film with such high silver content which is what it takes to get "that look". Both Efke & Foma are 9001 compliant, and so far I've found no signs of change from one batch to another. The Fomapan I haven't shot yet, but it is only as a replacement for APX 400. Tri-X is still in my freezer as is Plus-X, Neopan 400, and Acros. My main film is now Efke 100, and am printing on Foma papers, but will be trying the Efke papers very soon. Efke 100 gives me fine grain (which is never an issue in MF anyway), and most importantly, the tonality (aka "look") I like.
  15. If you don't develop your own film, use either Ilford XP2 Super or Kodak BW400CN (or whatever it's called now) -- simple as that.

    And I disagree with the recommendation to stay away from Ilford. They make fabulous films. Efke, Foma etc. have nice tonality, but quality control is still a problem, and these thin-based films are very hard to work with in the darkroom (they curl like crazy).
  16. I know that seems to be the opinion swirling about the net lately, but in all the rolls of 120 I've shot, I've had no instances of curling of any sort.

    BTW, if you'll look, you will see where I stated that XP2-Super seems to be the best film Ilford has out these days. But as a case in point re: the problems of Ilford, I've just come in from the darkroom printing a full frame 35mm shot of Grand Central Station (shot on Tri-X), onto 16x20 MGIV, Agfa MCP, and Foma.

    Agfa comes in 1st, Foma 2nd, and Ilford last. Of course, I'm not on a crusade to convert everyone to Ilford, and help spread the lie that they are the only company in business since the demise of Agfa, and with Kodak no longer making papers.

    These are just my observations, as what pertains to my personal shooting/processing/printing standards. YMMV.
  17. Joe, correct me if I'm wrong but it seems to me that you simply prefer the look of other films and paper compared to Ilford. This is fine but your original comment implied that Ilford had some issues with quality which hasn't been the case in my experience. Thanks for clarifying.

    I also think there are some companies outside of the big three (Ilford,Fuji and Kodak) making nice products. Nevertheless there always seem to be compromises in quality-control somewhere along the line. Personally I have been burned enough times in the past by these small market companies and stick to Ilford and Kodak for my B+W. The products do what I want them to do and they have the technology and budget to ensure batch consistency and minimize defects.
  18. Kyle, a poster above mentioned the Kodak C41 B&W film; you stated you wanted to be able to print from the negs as well as scan and you may find this harder using the Kodak than the Ilford (XP2) if the Kodak has the orange mask similar to a colour negative material. In my experience this makes printing with a conventional enlarger and VC paper rather a struggle, the XP2 on the otherhand I have found rather easy to print from.
    (Joe S, thx for clarifying your Ilford comment, it doesn't seem to apply to Kyle's situation)
  19. Everyone seems to be avoiding the dsalient point in this conversation. The Yashica TLR is a great camera, usually has very nice lens... but...

    Lack of contrast is an issue unless you have a good lens hood for this beasty. Either get a good lens hood for it, or shoot PanF. The contrast on this film is a bit tough to control, it's a nice balance for a camera that might be lacking in the contrast department. And develop your own, as advised above. Control is the name of the game in improving your photography.

    Other films that work well would be Tri-X shot at rated speed (400)or FujiPan 1600 developed in Diafine.

    Of course, if you do get a nice lens hood for it, shoot 100 or 125 speed film and revel in the superb tonality you should be able to pull out of your TLR.

    tim in san jose

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