choice of b&w film : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I'd be interested to hear of any recommendations as far as black and white sheet films, with regard to sharpness/tonal range/etc. I have used Agfapan 25 in 120 film with great success and to date have been using FP4 Plus and Bergger 200 (in PMK). However on examining and printing the negs they don't appear to be as "beefy" as the 6x9 negs on APX25. I have just read in "View Camera"(magazine) that the Bergger film is a bit on the grainy side in 4x5, and this is true of the sheets I have exposed. The FP4 is better, but I was wondering if anyone out there has had good results from films such as T-Max 100, Ilford Delta etc (the Tabular grain emulsions). Also any suggestion as to a suitable developer!! To date I use Rodinal, PMK or FX 39. Many thanks in advance Paul

-- Paul Owen (, February 01, 2000


T-Max 100 is a great film for large format. Sharp, great straight line curve and fine grain.

-- Michael J. Kravit (, February 01, 2000.

Paul: I have been using Kodak HC-110 for many years with great results. It delivers beautiful negatives with brilliant contrast. It is very easy to adjust your negatives with this developer to get the contrast you want. I use it with both Tri-x and T-Max 100 sheet films. HC-110 is not a so-called fine grain developer, but I routinely make 16x20 and 11x14 fine art prints from both film. I make prints to sell at art shows and have never had any problems with sharpness and grain. I have never used PMK or FX39, but Rodinal is a great developer but it seems to increase grain. Incidentally, how are you checking for grain? Is it showing up in your prints or are you using a magnifier on the neg? Grain just does not seem to be a problem with 4x5 unless you are making murals. Good shooting, Doug

-- Doug Paramore (, February 01, 2000.

put me on the hc 110 and tmax bandwagon too baby! I think the combination can withstand larger than 16 x20 prints however, although I rarely go above that size.

-- mark lindsey (, February 01, 2000.

I agree with Doug,,,I use HC-110 w/ TriX and have no problem with grain or clarity.

-- tom Barrett (, February 01, 2000.

Personally,I find T-max 100 with the T-max RS developer to be an excellent combo for super sharp negs with good tonal range.It works great in a jobo too.

-- Emerald Estock (, February 01, 2000.

With large format, who needs the sharpness and fine grain on T-grain films. Conventional films have better gradation. The have lower micro contrast, which means fine detail is more easily preserved in the highlights. Go with conventional films. See The Film Developing Cookbook on this. As for developers, I am now using D-76H. I don't think that D-76H is all that speical (what could be more ordianry), but I have yet to find a developer I like better.

-- William Marderness (, February 01, 2000.

Delta 100 or 400 in FX-39 works for me, as does HP5+ in Acutol. Certainly the grain is finer with the Delta films, but up to 20x16 I can't see the difference with my naked (and weary) eyes.

-- Alan Gibson (, February 01, 2000.

You might as well have asked who the prettiest girlfriend is, it might have been easier to answer. Film & Developer choice is a difficult one as few see the subject the same. For me it comes down to one thing, if it works & I like it-that is good enough. From the TriX and HC110 crowd to the TMax & Xtol group, all can get excellent images and beautiful results. Pick any basic combination and go from there. Get as technical as you want, just as long as it meets two basic needs. First, it is repeatable and controllable for you. Second, it gives you negatives that print the way you like. If your choice does that then it matters little what I or anyone else uses. Some of the mentioned combinations I wouldn't use if you paid me while my choice elicits the same response from others. Yet we get good images, prints and satisfaction from what we use, the way we use it and viewers comment favorably on our choice as they enjoy the images. If it works, use it. If it falls a bit short, try something else because you will already have a standard for comparison-so even if you pick a combination you decide is lousy you will know when something starts working better.

-- Dan Smith (, February 01, 2000.

I like Arista 'cause Freestyle sells it cheap!

-- Sean yates (, February 02, 2000.

Another vote for Arista. Cheap. Develop it in HC110. Sure feels a lot like FP4+. DJ

-- N Dhananjay (, February 02, 2000.

Try FP4, Delta 100, PanF or T-Max 100 in an ascorbic acid developer, such as the one by DrCyril T Blood in British Journal of Photography issue, dated 10.11.99. I've yet to try it (whenevevr I can get round to getting enough cash for a drum or s/h tank processor) but as far as I can tell you can uprate PanF to 125 or 160, and still have easily printable shadow detail) by the way, I am qute new to LF, and am constantly unsurprised (in an ever cynical way) f the prices for materials in the UK, that and the COMPLETE AND UTTER IMCOMPETENCE of a certain high street (klicks) mini-lab when it comes to handling 120 film - we can hndle that, TWO weeks later they hand me a damaged spool of film, they could not handle. When I comliained they said that I had sent the film in that condition, so as a warning to anyone who takes some photos and prefers the convenience of dropping into a nearby minilab that claims they can provide a service, rather than going into Glasgow, walking all the way in to Finneston to a Pro-lab and paying that bit more (and on may wages, even with a student discount that is a bit much). Anyway, to get back to the pointusing an ascorbic acid developer with FP$ or Pan F inparticular gives 'nice' negs, please fell free to dispute this but that is my opinion.

David Kirk

-- David Kirk (, February 02, 2000.

Another vote for Arista 125 and 400 in HC-110. It responds very nicely to expansion and compaction. And like the man said, it's cheap -- make that inexpensive.

-- Tony Brent (, February 02, 2000.

Pyro with just about anything! I have used it on Tri-X 35-57 formats, Arisa 125 in 120 format, HP5, HP4, XP1, Plus-X, Tech-Pan 35-45, it does take awhile to find your nitch with it. Pat

-- pat j. krentz (, February 03, 2000.

What can I say, but thanks very much !!! I'll try and give some of the combinations a go pretty soon. Regards (again) Paul.

-- Paul Owen (, February 03, 2000.

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