First time with b/w film

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by raymondc, May 12, 2013.

  1. Hi all, I have HP5+ and Trix 400. Do I rate them at 1000 ASA and develop at 1000 and for metering is it ok to meter the scene like neg film so not as accurate as slides? I don't have any b/w filters, doing city overseas photography when I want some b/w shots. Will have another for color slides.
  2. Why are you rating them at ei 1000?
  3. SCL


    If this is your first time with B&W, you should probably try box speed and standard developing until you get a feel for how to properly make adjustments.
  4. Depends on the lighting as to how you rate the film and meter accurately for the important to you tones to be where you want them.
  5. Ok, would you suggest ASA 400? It's overseas travel, so b/w for me is just handheld photography round the clock. Slide film will be tripod etc .. I want a multi purpose street photog, journalism kinda look. I thought about 1000 as I've been suggested in the past but now I am planning this trip with b/w :)
  6. ASA is now ISO and has been for a while. EI is when you deviate from box/manufacture speed.
    General rule for handheld photography:
    1/lens in use focal length at any aperture is as slow as one should shoot and expect sharp results (no camera shake).
    Sunny 16: 1/film speed @ f16 for bright sun; f8 for open shade.
    Combine the two and you will find that you will meter most daytime street scenes to be 1/125 to 1/250 @ f8 to f11 at ISO 400 from 1 hour after sun rise to 1 hour before sunset. Street scenes in between highrises 1/60 to 1/125 @ f5.6 to f8, all typical press/journalism exposure range.
    Rating a film at a higher EI and extending developing is pushing. Pushing a film increases grain and contrast. Pushing to EI 800 to EI 1600 (one stop to 2 stop push) will be appropriate for very early morning, very late afternoon and night photography.
  7. Yep, I know about push and pulling not done any myself thou. For b/w film, you think it's ok to push it to 1000 ISO? Some shots will be in darker places ie - alleys, indoor subway stations, after sunset ..
  8. Use the box speed. You can push Tri-X to higher speeds, but the image quality won't be as good. I'd advise not to unless
    you really need the speed. If you insist on it, there is data on push processing in the Kodak data guides if you can still buy
    them. It generally involves over-developing the film to compensate for the inadequate exposure. 400 is fast enough to
    shoot hand-held in most circumstances. I've shot it at 1200 in the old days (different Tri-X then) for journalistic purposes
    but I probably wouldn't do it for artistic purposes.
  9. Shoot a roll at box speed and one at your target EI in your current local or nearby city and compare the results and use what suits your taste best.
  10. I recommend you test the film before setting off on a trip. Why risk getting it wrong? You don't have to do a super involved zone system test or BTZS. Just take a roll and set it for box speed. Bracket one stop under and two over exposure. Have the film processed normally. Check the negatives (and make a few prints) to see which setting gives you the shadow detail you like best.
    When I travel, my go to film is Tri-X rated at EI 200. I also carry Ilford Delta 3200, rated at EI 1600 and developed for the time specified for 3200. These EI's give me the look I like--YMMV. I think the two films complement each other. Most people would have a hard time telling which pictures were shot on which film. If I expect sunny conditions, I will also take some FP4. I take extra film with me on the trip. Each day, I load my camera bag with the film that will be best for that day's shooting. For example, if I plan on doing mostly street photography, I will take a majority of Tri-x. If I am going to be inside, I will take a majority of 3200.
  11. I don't have any b/w filters​
    You should buy a few filters for your b&w film photography. Purchase them for your test rolls before your trip. I know you're not in the US, but I have seen drawers full of quality used filters for b&w in Seattle and elsewhere. A basic filter to start with is a Yellow #8. Use step-up rings if you wish to have just one filter, and buy the filter for your largest filter size. Of course this affects the use of some hoods (if you do use hoods).
    Here is a filter guide for reference:
    Black and white photography is often a pursuit of contrast. Understanding the use of filters for b&w allows you to manage your contrast levels at the time that you expose your film.
    If you are still shooting digital with your D70, it does not have a b&w mode. Although the best digital b&w is a raw capture b&w conversion, the b&w mode on models D80 and up allow you to experiment with filter effects at the time of exposure (or, convert in PP). This can help you to "see in black & white" and help you to discover what filtration you prefer in different environments. This is a decent tool for saving costs in film & development.
  12. It looks to me like the OP thinks you can change the ISO, frame to frame, like a digital camera.
    Not so...You set the ISO for the whole roll! Slide film sometimes can be pushed a stop. Provia says two stops, even with Black and white, maybe two stops. Some expose Tri X 400 at 200 and then cut the dev time by 20%.
    All this depends on the film. Some can be pushed, some can't. Do the research, beginning with the guidelines on the spec sheet found on the film manufacturers' website.
  13. So, it is your first time with B/W film, you have two different brands and you want to use it at higher sensitivity than its nominal one.
    How will you to develop your films? Looking at your non usage of this kind of film, I guess you don't have any darkroom experience either.
    Excuse me for asking, but don't you think you're dealing with too many unknown variables?
    On the top of it, you're going to shoot street with different lights and environments.
    There were many well known european street photographers in the old days that made excellent images with films well bellow 400 ISO, so i'd second the opinions expressed by other members - just stay with normal ISO and if possible take just one of the indicated films, after making some experiences at home to realize which one you prefer.
    As a matter of fact b/w film has more latitude than most slide films and will give you some room but don't take it as a given insurance. On the other hand, keep in mind that b/w exposure is not the same as for digital or slide films that "ask" you to exposure to the right - with b/w the norm is to expose to the shadows (one of the zone system "laws" is expose to the shadows and develop to the high lights).
    Sorry to refer this as you may know it because you already seem to use slides, but b/w films require some use before you can explore all its possibilities. But you are not prevented from taking an unknown film to a trip abroad as all depends as how critical it is if you end up with results short from your expectations.
  14. It's okay to push or pull the film, Ray. Here's the thing: what you're going to get is film that's pushed or pulled. Is that really what you want your first time out? How about a good baseline first?
    You might try to play it safe with some plain ole center weighted average metering, plain ole box speed setting, and some plain ole D-76 processing. Then, when you can see that you've recorded an image on the film, play with it in printing or digital post-processing for hybrid photos.
    I like to wreck my exposure plans on purpose. Truth is, you need to be on top of your game. Even then, there will be many useless losses. Imagine many sweaty afternoons, lugging it up and down the trail, only to come home and pull your roll from the tank in time to discover that you were so stupid you can't recover a decent image. That's what happens sometimes. It's not a good plan for trip photos.
    There is nothing wrong with a properly exposed and commonly processed roll of film.
  15. When you push or pull with film, because the sensitivity of the roll is constant, part of the price you pay might be in image loss. That is, if you pick your adjustments right, and they are well within tolerances, things can balance out. However, if you go to far, are off a little, or if you make a bad prediction for the exposure of what later turns out to be a critical part of the picture; then, the results may be that the image just doesn't come out right. If the adjustments contribute to an increase or decrease in contrast, then there may be surface areas that blend in to one another. This condition can be used creatively; however, a lot of times it may just look like a loss of detail or recognizable structure.
    With the many potential combinations of topics, local exposure plans, development plans, printing plans: it's difficult to predict and articulate what you're going to get out of "push or pull." That's why experimenting and experience is an important part of learning this process.
  16. Jumping in with no experience and considering special tweaks to the film increases the chances for something to go wrong. Pushing film speed involves compromises in the image quality. Even experienced film photographers often hesitate and do it as a last resort. If you'll be in low light, that's what f2.0 and f1.4 lenses are for. I'd really advise shooting both those films at 400 speed. Asking for special push development complicates things and you need to clearly communicate the push processing requirements. And don't think about using your valuable rolls from the trip for learning to develop the film yourself. Send the film out to a lab for processing. Keep it uncomplicated and you will increase your odds of success.
    A side note. It occurred to me that Tri-X is shot at E.I. 1000 for developing in Diafine. I have no experience with that developer. And Diafine is very unique and not likely that processing labs are familiar with it. So use the tried and true approach: conventional box speed and conventional developing.
  17. Thanks all, I'll use it at the box speed :)
    I am in little NZ, so yeah, processing b/w film I probably only get one developer to choose from. I've just shot two rolls of C41, but both came back with scratches not sure if it is my camera or their lab and no one else does C41 here, there is really just 2 labs that does it, the other lab got a "few" marks on my slides too. Other labs just outsource developing to these (2) labs. Hence I send my slide film to the USA and proably would just stop using C41 and develop b/w myself.
    So I've just fired off another roll of C41 and ask them to develop that - to check if they still have scratches... For me there are just no labs to use here other than sending the undeveloped film to another city or overseas.
    These travel shots will sit in the freezer until I shoot enough unimportant roles where I can then develop myself.
    Yep, I am aware that pushing/pulling is done for the whole roll or at least with ac clip test.
    I won't be printing them in the darkroom can I use filter effects on the computer? I booked a last minute sale fare so won't be in the position to get some filters. I bought the tickets last week and it departs this weekend.
    Yes, I have a Nikon D70, I have a D600 bought recently. I use a Nikon FM2N for film and a F100, the FM2N was the camera that came back with scratches. It never had scratches before, hence I shot off one more roll of C41 and got them to check it.
  18. If the scratches are on the side opposite the emulsion then check the pressure plate, if they are on the emulsion side then check the rollers. Make sure the rollers rotate freely too.
    You should use filters on the camera as you won't get the same effect on the computer. Yellow and red are the first 2 that I would recommend.
  19. You can push either to 1000 or 1600 if you want. I use Microphen or Tmax developers to do so. Both films hold up pretty well considering.
  20. Just curious, I have recently started shooting b/w. I ended up, after looking around for quite some time, getting a Nikon n90s (most bang for the buck) and a 50mm f2. I have been shooting HP5+ @ 400 and using a circular polarising filter to adjust the exposure at different times of the day, throw it on during the day, remove it in the evening. The N90s is nice because of the high shutter speed. Could Ray do something like this to allow for different lighting scenarios?
  21. If you develop with stand, you can change up iso within a single roll. I use TD3 for all of my stand with a few exceptions (FK, Plus-X, TP). Experiment and enjoy. Definitely read and respond, but shoot a roll or two of some nonsense (selfs???) and work it out. You have to create your own flow.

Share This Page