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B&W film options


Active Member
For want of a more specific place for this thread, I might as well ask it here having suggested a more intuitive tree structure for such threads before, with little effect to date!

Anyway, I've enjoyed FujiFilm's Acros 100 for a while now; but I would be very interested to hear of other B&W films in MF I should try out - just in case I am missing something.

In 35mm I like the Deltas (100 and 400) but don't like the Kodak option much despite great applause from loyal users. And 120 produces a different look too.

My eyes prefer to see wide and progressive tonality even at the expense of some contrast although I like black black to look that way! But I do like to retain sharpness (yes I like my cake and eating it too!).

Anyway some discussion would be good for my senses!

Thanks for your time.

Regarding MF and LF B/W Photography , in my sense , you are not missing anything when you use the FUJI NEOPAN ACROS 100 (120 and sheetfilm 4x5) and also the ILFORD DELTA 100 (also available as sheetfilm) and 400 only . The ILFORD DELTA 400 (also 400 DELTA) is unfortunately not available as sheetfilm any more . I used to work with this film in LF . The tonality is great but that belongs to the past now. The ACROS 100 and the DELTA 100 can also be used , when working with the ZONE SYSTEM . I do so for 6x6 , 6x9 , 6x12 and 4x5 inches LF and get very good results . And i do not experiment with different other films and developers , as i believe that the differences are almost not visible and are not worth storing too many different developers , which go bad when not used in a given time . But i also know , that there are a lot of freaks who might or will contradict . My idea is to work as easy as possible and still getting brilliant results .
Hi all!

There are really too many variables in getting the wichlist that Simon wrote. Developer, consistency in developing (time/temperature), zone system ... The list of variables is quite long.
Given a careful development of the film for the given contrast ... the factor that gives the most difference is of course the choice of developer.
On other forums there are long and vivid discussions about all the different pyro developers and their pros and cons. I won't go into that, rather point out that those threads might be worth reading. I did a lot of "research" before buying one of the pyro developers. I'm not through testing yet, but I really like what I see so far.
There are similar discussions about the choice of film, often without taking the other factors (developer ...) in account.
I personally have not tested Acros, simply because I want to keep the numbers of variables down. But from what I read about the film, it should be excellent.
My personal choice of film is Adox CHM, i.e. repacked Ilford FP4 and HP5 and I develop it in one of the pyro developers. I have also begun testing Forte's 200 and 400 films. These films are also repacked as Bergger. These films are all a bit oldfashioned, but they work really well in pyro.

To conclude, there are many old dogs that would say that my use of four films is three to many. Really getting to know how to use one film in one developer takes a lot of time, but when you know how it works you've become a sourceror in the eyes of all us others who still are chasing silver bullits. "Can you make that with TriX and D76??!!"
Thanks to each of you for the great comments. Yes, keeping it simple is always good advice!

Jurgen, having seen your beautiful prints I concur.

What I understand from each of you is that the DIY developer plays a very important role. I might just return to that with the films I know and like and perfect the track I'm already on.

I use ILFORD DELTA 100 and 400 and also FUJI NEOPAN ACROS 100 films . 120 rolls and 4x5 sheetfilm , when available . The developers i use , are ILFORD ID11 and KODAK X-TOL .
I use X-TOL , when the image is of a more "technical" nature , but also architecture .
Contrast and sharpness is slightly higher , but developing times are also shorter . About 15% , in comparison to ID11 . And i always use a dilution of 1 part of stock and 1 part of destilled water , and pour this developer away , when the film is developed . If using this method , you always have a fresh dilution . I absolutely avoid developing times shorter than 6 minutes . And i never use the fixer to its full capacity . Only to about 90% . So you can be shure to obtain good results . Good luck . Cheers Jurgen .

I pretty much agree with other contributors. There is increadible flexibility and choice here. I basically use what is easiest for me to develop and print from at home.
Your Fuji accross is a bit of a pain to develop in my experience. It has a horrible purple cast which takes forever to wash out.
Neopan 400 is much easier to work with from the home front, and is great for portraits.
Again kodak tri x is a film which is easy to use from the home darkroom and you really have to seriously try this again. (its also very nourishing leica food!!)
Dont be put off asa400 in B and W as on medium format grain is really not a big issue with these films and what there is of it is in my opinion quite pleasing.
The other very reliable B and W for me is Ilford pan f if you really want fine grain.
The film i really wish could be resuscitated is Kodak technical pan. It has died. I have a few precious rolls left but there never seems quite a good enough occasion to use them. How sad is that?
I'm personally not a fan of the Forte films. At least the Forte 100 is extremely 'curly' (won't lay flat, its more like a coil spring) and I have seen quite some 'pin holes' where the emulsion seems to be gone / have gone missing. Obviously this results in a black spot on the print. Not nice.

If you can get access to it, take a close look at Fomapan films. I like 'm quite a bit better than the Forte films.

YMMV (a lot) of course,

Sorry... YMMV : Your Mileage May Vary. Or in other words: your experiences might be very different from mine. Comes from the US, about gas consumption of cars.

"Liter pro 100 km nach DIN" ;-)

Thanks everyone again for the very helpful comments and experience.

Jurgen, I'm grateful for the developing tips and will soon get back to home DIY.