Getting back into photography (again)

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by doug elick, Sep 3, 2011.

  1. It seems like I go through cycles where I get back into photography with gusto and others where work, life, etc. slow things down. I went through a "major life change" recently and find myself alone in a new house with a bit more time to kill. In moving, I found long lost equipment. Sitting in my basement is my Omega B8 with Ektar lens, my trays, timers, drum dryer that could use some help, etc and a good supply of tightly sealed Rodinol. The Rolliecord IV, C330F (55, 80 and 180) and RB67 (various focal lengths I don't remember) all sleep in various photo bags.
    I find myself feeling the urge to get back into B&W with these cameras, but am largely unaware of the current state of films, papers and developers. I still have a container in the fridge (from the old house) with some Fomapan 100, Efke 100 and Ektar 100 (color of course) in 120 rolls. I shot and developed a roll or two of Fomapan a while back, but never got around to printing it. My gold standard for "look" was Verichrome Pan. I managed to get a few rolls and fell in love with it right prior to it being discontinued. Needless to say, I was much younger when VP was in my camera.
    Where do I look in the world of B&W films? What's the current state of non-T-grained film? Older feeling emulsions? Long toe... And even more confusing, what's left for paper? Think cool and rich. RC and regular. I think I'll still stick with good ol' diluted (starved) Rodinal as my developer for most situations (film) unless a much better contender has come along.
  2. What's the consensus on Rollei Retro? Online examples catch my eye.
  3. What's the consensus on Rollei Retro? Online examples catch my eye.
    And now I find that it was APX 100. No wonder! And it's gone too. What's the Best current APX-100 clone?
  4. Umm Clone? Well in 100 I like the Efke/Adox 100 or the Foma 100 if you want something close. Comes in 120 too. To bad they killed Plus-X.
  5. I forgot to mention, I'm specifically looking for 120 size rolls. When I say clone, let's take it to mean, "as close as we can get".
    Seems all my favorite films have been killed. VP, Plus-X, APX-100.... I like that non-linear curve of those films. Stuff like T-MAX seems to flat, too clinical and accurate to me.
    I suppose I should ask about paper in the other forum.
    I feel like I need to get back to B&W and love the process before it's gone forever.
  6. Why not give Tri-X in 120 a try? The slower lenses used in 120 (vs. 35mm) will love the extra speed. I have a Rolleicord III, Yashica D, and Fujica GS645 that all do well with Tri-X. If you want finer grain, give Fuji Acros 100 a try. I use it when the light is better. Another good film to try in 120 is Ilford's FP4+. BTW, if you really want Plus-X or APX 100, you may find some frozen stock for sale on various online auction sites from time to time. I use HC110 developer mostly, but occasionally some D-76 Rodinal. APX 100 (when you can find some) does really well in Rodinal.
    Good luck getting back into B&W photography and share some examples of your work with us when you can.
  7. I, too, have a C330F and an RB67. My main film of choice is Ilford FP4, which I think will give you the look you want.
  8. I shoot all Ilford. Beautiful!
  9. Ilford FP4 and HP5, Tri-X, Arista EDU 200. Also, look for Shanghai GP3 film from international sellers on eBay. It's
    cheap and doesn't look like much, and might take a while to get there, but it has a certain look to it that you might like.
  10. Since Rodinal will be your developer, I suggest your try Ilford Pan F+.
    Unfortunately nothing will be the same as APX-100; Rodinal and APX-100 were literally made for each other.
    If you will try a different developer, Delta-100 in DD-X gives excellent results.
  11. Hello Douglas!
    Welcome back to the cabal! For long toe films, Tri-X Pro (TXP) is hard to beat. In slower stocks, I'm with Larry- Foma 100. I use it in its cheaper, re-branded Freestyle Arista Edu Ultra guise, but it's the same stuff. I've mostly gotten away from the EU films in favor of TMY-2, which I consider the best film ever made, and Fuji Acros in medium speed, which I consider a close second to TMY-2, but I still have a freezer full of TXP and Foma, etc.
    If you like the look of Rodinal, it's as good as it ever was. It doesn't make my top ten best developers list, but it still does what it's always done. Good luck!
  12. Doug,
    According to the Silverprint website, Agfa APX100 (120) will be available towards the end of this year.
  13. Chris, do you know if they have actually started a fresh production run of APX 100 or is it still stocks of the last batch kept frozen? From what I'd read, I was led to believe that there was no chance of production restarting.
  14. Welcome back, I am also rekindling my interest in photography. The shocker to me was the exit of Kodak from the enlarging paper business. So far the only change I am making in this regard is using Ilford Multigrade IV, and its matching paper developer. I am using Kodak stop bath and fixer, only out of familiarity.
    I am shooting Tri-X and developing in D-76, just like the good old days. I am shooting 4x5, but Tri-X is available in 120 also. BTW I have an RB67 also and shot mostly Tri-X in it.
  15. Thanks for the great information. I should say that I have perceptions based on past (old) experience that might not be valid anymore. I never took to T-grained style films because they seemed to "clinical" to me. They seem(ed) very sharp and accurate, but these days, I'm not sure what advantage they have over a good digital sensor and someone adept with Photoshop. I'm not necessarily going for all out sharpness and accuracy. My goal has always been to squeeze out as much tone as possible. To that end, more classic films seemed to fit the bill. If I could have anything, I'd take APX-25 and APX-100 in Rodinal.
    Trying to get back into the game, I find the landscape quite confusing. Old films being resurrected under different names and/or different companies. Old stock rebranded and sold under different names. Old names returning under different banners. Kodak has changed and dropped emulsions so many times I've completely lost track outside of good ol' TX and TXP (and Pro is dying too?). I wish there was a master chart of what is currently available, what its heritage is, what the curve looks like and how long it's projected to be around.
    I'm sort of mentally excluding 400 speed films from my quest because Tri-X has always been my "go to" in that range. Also, when I get to a point where higher film speed becomes important, I usually switch to a smaller format. If I'm going to go to the trouble of lugging the RB out, it's because I want that tone and small grain....lower speed films seem more appropriate here.
  16. Thanks for the info. I have a couple light seal replacement kits for my RB67 on the way, VC filters and the under the lens holder for my B8 on order (B&H actually has that part available for order!) and I'm eyeballing a small closet in my basement (and I mean SMALL) that was clearly a darkroom at one point. I think I'm going to grab a Photoflex film changing tent (go big) so I can load reels with a little less pressure as well. No darkroom I ever assembled was 100% light tight even with meticulous and judicious use of aluminum tape and light seals. I've had issues loading certain films onto steel reels before. I learned with plastic reels, but since I've gravitated to diluted/compensating developing techniques, I've tried to move away from them.
    They're probably a couple years old, but I have a tub of various films in the fridge I wanted to try and there's already some Fomapan 100 in there. I also found a set of 6x6cm negatives on FP4 that I souped in Rodinal at the old house and never printed. They look a little dense, but will be good practice for printing. A couple frames are a rusty old railroad bridge and with the B8 all the way up (90 mm lens), the rivets are clearly visible and sharp. A few more are the moon over my home town of Cincinnati, reflecting off of the river. I need to get my printing groove back and these images will be good practice. It's been so long since I dodged and burned and I've never tried split grade printing. I haven't used VC paper since high school.

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