My Favorite B&W Films

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by 25asa, Jul 3, 2019.

  1. Ektar: I didn't forget the B&W of the OP. I shoot a lot of my B&W film images in color and convert to B&W in digital scans. It's like having a bag with a thousand filters in it.
    rodeo_joe|1 likes this.
  2. Only a thousand?
    The B&W options in Photoshop are incredible when working from a colour negative. (Or any other colour image.) The shot can go from bland and sunny to stormy and moody with the flick of a slider, turning a mediocre picture into a real eyecatcher.
  3. Yes..... Ektar is probably my "favorite" color negative as well.
    What i like about Color Plus 200 is the price.
    Super cheap and the color does not disagree with me at all. It reminds me of the pictures my parents took of us kids, at Disneyland, in 1972.
    It looks a Kodak Picture Spot Film taken with the family Instamatic....... :)
    Days gone by. :(
    10976165 likes this.
  4. If I remember Disneyland in 1972, they sold Ansco film. I think, my dad bought me a roll
    to use while we were there, in a Canon VI. I have my black and white negatives from that
    far back, or even earlier, but not those.
  5. I'm headed to Disney World in a couple of weeks, and part of me is tempted to take a lightweight package like an FG or even FM2 with a small lens like the 45mm f/2.8. The last time I was there 10 years ago, I shot Velvia 50, since "Disney Chrome" seems the correct film to use there. At the same time, I'm not sure if the person I'm going with this time will appreciate me taking the time to futz around with film, so it might just be the Df I'm waiting on delivery of now(assuming it all checks out and works okay-I'll shoot it plenty before the trip) and a lightweight AF prime like a 35mm f/2D.
  6. Of those that are no longer available, VP was my all-time favorite:


    followed by Plus-X:


    followed by TXP in rollfilm sizes:

    Last edited: Oct 4, 2019
  7. I love Tri-X. So much grain, yet so much detail.
  8. Heres's one Tri-X of my own:

  9. ORWOUN54 016 RS.jpg I've been using ORWO UN54 for a while now. Its detail amazing.
    Really worth giving it a go.
    kmac, mark_crown|4 and allancobb like this.
  10. Two observations:
    • Most films of "my favorite" variety are discontinued. Is that because they're truly great, or because they're gone and it sucks? If they were awesome, why they disappeared and others remained? I can't tell because I just recently got back into B&W and haven't used any of the older emulsions.
    • Tri-X is consistently described as "grainy" and "gritty". I suspect it used to be like that prior to 2006 reformulation. But Tri-X I get from B&H is finer grained than all Ilford/Ketmere ISO400 films, including Delta 400, which is always described by everyone as "fine t-grain" emulsion. Feels like film descriptions are being copy-pasted from the 90s, or perhaps people are using frozen old stock?
  11. AJG


    In my experience both old and new Tri-X isn't that grainy unless it is developed poorly. When I am really interested in maximum sharpness/fine grain I shoot larger film rather than slower film in 35 mm. I actually switched from 4x5 Tri-X to 4x5 HP5 after Kodak changed 4x5 Tri-X, supposedly to eliminate a dust problem that I had never experienced over 5000+ sheets. What had changed was the tonal range with my custom dilution of HC 110 developer in a Jobo tank on a Unicolor roller. I tested a box Ilford HP5 4x5 and never looked back. I still use Tri-X in 35 and 120 with good results.
  12. Some years ago, I was scanning some of my grandfather's negatives, maybe Tri-X from the 1950's, and could see grain in the scans.
    It might be that 1950's Tri-X was grainier.

    For many years when I was young, my favorite was Panatomic-X in Diafine at EI 160 or 250 (different boxes of Diafine give
    different suggestions.) Maybe because of that, I still consider it one of my favorite.

    But yes, I suspect some things people claim as "favorite" just because they are harder to find, so we miss them more.

    In college years, I bought a 50 foot roll of Tri-X, for many pictures in my dorm. Mostly I did that with flash, and I
    think the reason for selecting Tri-X was that was what the store had in 50 foot rolls.


    From my college dorm days on Tri-X. The last roll from the 50 foot roll, which stayed in the camera 30 years before getting developed in Diafine.
    cameragary, Supriyo and stuart_pratt like this.
  13. That must have been a blast looking at those shots after all those years!
    cameragary likes this.
  14. Well, I have lots of others, both slides and black and white negatives, so it was only a little surprise to me,
    but then I posted them on FB for other dorm members to see.

    Now people expect their pictures to end up on FB, but 40 years ago (by now), they didn't.

    So, yes, all my dorm mates had a blast looking at them. (And maybe some that they
    would rather not see, though no complaints so far.)

    Each dorm gets some pages in the yearbook, but only black and white. That is what the 50 foot
    roll was for. The last roll was still in the camera after the yearbook was sent out for production,
    in addition to all the other end of year things to keep me busy.

    I also have lots of pictures from 7th and 8th grade, where I was a yearbook photographer,
    also posted for friends to see. And some back to 5th grade.
    cameragary and stuart_pratt like this.
  15. I too was a big fan of Plus-X, its tonality was old school but also love FP4. These days I use FP4 or Tri-X and agree that if the latter is developed properly, grain is not a problem - great detail and tonal gradation inside or outdoors. The problem with Tri-X in the UK for me is finding the 24 exposure version. I also agree that XP2 is an extremely good emulsion. Having said that, I have just loaded some AGFA APX100 to my camera and I am looking forward to the results. I have just finished a roll of Kosmo Photo 100 that I bought from a film only camera shop in Berlin.

    HP5 - I just do not get on with it. But for taking documentary photos of the family over the years Tri-X rules for me. However, XP2 beckons in the long run.

    Also have a roll of both Deltas to try. Acros - too expensive now. Some beautiful photos here BTW.
    cameragary likes this.
  16. There are three Delta films ...
  17. I would add, that when I was in high school and college my favorite black & white film was what ever kind we had in our bulk loader. My dad tended to keep Plus-X in the loader during summer months and as days got shorter with the seasons he tended to keep Tri-X.
  18. Fuji Across, possibly the smoothest but sharpest film I have ever used and Kodak infrared. The Kodak was about £10 a roll but worth every penny. I still use Ilford Delta 100 and Pan F which are both fantastic but somehow I felt confident with the Fuji. Cant put my finger on why exactly, I just grew to love that film.

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