why do you use old films ?

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by ian_kie, Feb 5, 2008.

  1. why do you use old films like HP-5 or tri-x , instead of T-max or delta?
    what is your reason : )

    and what is the advantage of old film?

    thank you : )
  2. -easier to develop and fix
    -real big and sharp grain with accutance developers
    -wider exposure latitude
    -maybe old look
    -better tonal range
  3. It's the old chocolate vs vanilla thing. Each has it's own "signature" look so as a creative decision I choose the film that will support what I am trying to create. There are also purely technical considerations such as expansion and contraction characteristics that might be important.

    A good forum to consider checking out if you want lots of discussion about the technical side of B&W is www.apug.org .
  4. TMax and Delta are more contrasty with less subtlety in the tones. I have used TMax 100 extensively in 35mm and 120. It is good for considerable enlargement, but the tonality suffers. That said it should be noted that Clyde Butcher, a first rate landscape photographer, uses it quite successfully.
  5. Bruce brings up an interesting point. It kind of comes down to how much effort you want to put into making a particular film work for you, when you can get 95% of what you want from some other film and process you already know.

    My example is Fuji Acros. It has huge potential in my opinion, but I just can't get the look I want from it. I've tried a lot of developers and process changes, but haven't found the right one yet. But I don't blame the film, I blame myself for not being able to conquer it. This may well be the case with many new film formulations. Another example is Ilford HP4 and HP5. I don't quite get what I want out of them either, but I've seen some killer images made with them.
  6. The only reasonable answer to this question of yours is this.

    In the old days AgHal was more irregular in size and the emulsion contain more of it per square meter and that technology they used wasn't aloud manufacturers to "save silver" out of the emulsion.

    It means of course that the more silver in the emulsion could or able to reproduce a fine shade of differences in the shadow arias but even on the highlights which on the print gives you a wider range of greys when a good quality paper are used.

    Now, today it's possible to measure the AgHal crystal's size with laser and this of course result the less silver more organised on the entire film aria. Which of course means cheaper manufacturing costs and less of the contrast in your image. Now, your image is sharper with the new films but on the costs of the contrast which is gone.

    In the old days film would have something like 3-7g or more silver per square metre but nowadays it's probably not more than some grams. And than I'm talking about colour film which must or have higher silver contain in the emulsion as any B/W film, something around 5g. If we talking about B/W film it's not more than a maximum 1g

    Now with the scientific use of film they still use much more silver baked into the emulsion as they just can't save anything there. X-ray film for example still contains (medical) 10g but the films they use in the industry have 40g.

    The good paper for the right esthetical use should have 3-5g silver which today's paper hardly has above 3g but probably less
  7. Frank's answer is somewhat political, or maybe "conspiracy theory", charging Kodak with trying to save money by "scrimping" on silver. The reality is that they have engineers trying to make the best films.

    The tabular grain films required a very large capital investment, growing the more complicated and uniform size grains requires much more complicated equipment. Both the capital cost and manufacturing process costs for the T-grain films are higher than for traditional films.

    The color T-grain films really show an obvious benefit from the T-grain emulsion. If the T-grain films weren't superior, the movie studios wouldn't be buying them. The number of non T-grain color films is now very small (Kodachrome 64 and the pre-E-Series Ektachromes like EPR, EPN, and EPP).

    The Kodak TMAX films have had a very different look from the traditional films. Their H-D (exposure-density) curve is much straighter, less heel and toe. This means that they offer less tone differentiation in the midtones, and more tone differentiation in the shadows and highlights. Also, TMAX 400 is prone to blocking up highlights with overexposure. This can make for prints with much less "snap" than on films like Plus-X and Tri-X.

    The new TMAX 400 (not quite available, just test rolls), known as TMY400-2, addresses a lot of the issues people have with the original TMAX 400. A somewhat more traditional H-D curve, and grain as fine as TMAX 100.

    The other reason that many photographers came to hate TMAX is that it is very sensitive to small variations in processing time. This was to some degree deliberate, making it easier to do N-2, N-1, N+1, and N+2 processing for the zone system. But for those with sloppy processing procedures, who don't take the time to calibrate to their developer and film, they will easily wind up under or over-developing the film.

    People also get mad at Kodak having to discontinue their favorite film because the market is so small that Kodak can't sell one production run, and the dealers get stuck with film expiring on their shelves. When a dealer has a particular film type keep expiring on the shelf, they stop buying it. Kodak can't raise the price high enough to break even on those films. An example was Kodachrome 200 Professional. It was discontinued once, there was an outcry, they brought it back at $20 a roll, and it was available for a few years more. But I don't know that Kodak really profited from that re-introduction. Making production runs smaller doesn't save enough money, some of these runs are just a few master rolls, the setup costs are large.

    Kodak's not a charity, they're struggling to survive in the consumer/professional film market, where sales fall by 25% a year.

    Has Kodak made some bad business decisions that lost lots of money, that have been eating up the film profits? You betcha! But they are now in a competitive marketplace, with Fuji as a serious competitor, they aren't the near monopoly they once were.
  8. I prefer the more random grain pattern, and the softer look. To me, it looks more realistic...or at least closer to the look I want. T-Max and Delta have a "technical" look to me, and their attempted "idiot-proof" nature actually makes them harder for me to get "non-standard" results via manipulation. I like a film with some slop to it.

  9. :) No John. Nothing of a kind neither political or conspiracy theory here at all. :) Simply technical as if the emulsion contain high amount of AgHal crystals per square meter than those overlap each other on the base which gives no space between the crystals which of course can be exposed and developed and the result would be a nice tonal reproduction.

    I have many old glass plates which is a fine example for this statement which had been coated with only one layer on the base.

    Now if those crystals measured and are of the same size (between tolerances) it's aloud manufacturers use less amount of silver and it's more close to each other but not overlap each other. This would create spaces which in not exposable and therefore there isn't any latent image appears which shows in the shape of luck of tonality.

    Because of this phenomenon they cost many layers but still there is uncovered aria on the base. The multiply coating is not giving you more silver as the amount is the same but it comes in a multiplied layer. It's a brave action and engeenering try to get our little friends (the AgHal crystals) overlap each other. But AgHal after al creating our images and I like to have a lot's of it baked into an emulsion. This of course requires high technology which is costs a lots of money there is no doubt about that.

    I whish you could see my X-rays in original.

    And John, don't forget one thing! I like Kodak, I were grow up on it. :) I always told to everyone that I was an Agfa, Forte and Im a Kodak man! :) I still have each of those films in my freezer!

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