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Hey all...

I have been a lifelong user of HP5 but have found myself being tempted by more and more films lately. Also, I find myself scanning more and more even though I'm a pretty dedicated PMK user.

So this weekend I had a chance to do a little testing. I went to Monterey with some Bergger, FP4, HP5, TMX, and Delta 100. No Tri-X. I made N, N+1 and N-1 shots, processed them all at pretty close to their standard EI's in PMK (I use Bergger at 100 and FP4 at 100). Then I scanned them, inverted them, desaturated them and printed them raw in black dot density with no contrast manipulation. I wanted lowest common denomiator raw. I was testing as much for how the scanner reads the film as I was for tonality, grain, acutance, etc.

The results astounded me. I expected differences to be pretty subtle. They weren't:

1) HP5 and FP4 were both the most contrasty with siginificant patches of blown out highlights and blocked up shadows. Both looked the most printable when scanned raw and in need of the least manipulation because the contrast was already so high. Of course FP4 was less grainy and a bit sharper.

2) Delta was not as contrasty but still had blocked up highs and lows. It was much less grainier than FP4.

3) TMX was as contrasty as HP5 but a lot sharper, like Delta. I think edge contrast was better.

4) Bergger was the most interesting of the bunch. It scanned VERY low contrast and would need the most manipulation of all the films. But it had all possible detail in both highs and lows. With Bergger, the most information passed through the scanner BY FAR. It was grainier than HP5 but held the PMK stain so well that the PMK edge effect made it look almost as sharp as TMX and Delta. Also, there was one shot where I mis-metered terribly and overexposed by two stops. Bergger actually held quite a bit of highlight detail AND it scanned through. The others scanned as white.

All un-scientific testing, of course. Gordon Hutchings would never approve. But I don't have a densitometer and all I want is a system that produces negatives that are easy to print and easy to scan. So take the info as you need to.

I would love to hear your experience with different films, developers, and scanners versus enlargers. This is why I love this forum so much!


-- David G Hall (me@davidghall.com), April 18, 2002


How does the grain showing in the sky compare for Bergger with HP and FP? Thanks/

-- Willhelmn (bmitch@comcast.net), April 18, 2002.

Bergger is grainier than both. Delta has the least grain, followed by TMX, then FP4, then HP5, then Bergger.


-- David G Hall (me@davidghall.com), April 18, 2002.

Sounds like you just need to reduce the development time of everything except the Bergger film.
Unless all the films are developed to the same gamma, and exposed to give the same Dmax, then there's no real comparison to be made.

I've generally found that scanning is able to bring out more detail from negatives than you can get on a straight print, and as long as you don't overdevelop, then a halfway decent filmscanner can get everything off a neg that it's got to give.

-- Pete Andrews (p.l.andrews@bham.ac.uk), April 19, 2002.

Would it be possible for you to post some of the scan results?


Rich www.rcodaphotography.com

-- Richard Coda (rcoda@pctype.com), April 19, 2002.

I'm with Pete. Which one will you settle on? If you optimized your ev and developing for the scans would the fp4 or tmax or delta be too flat to print well then? Are you saying the bergger will be the best cake and eat it too for both traditional printing and scanning? Good post.

-- Jim Galli (jimgalli@lnett.com), April 19, 2002.

Hi David,

A few years ago, I used about 50 sheets of the Bergger film for a photo project on Cumberland Island, Ga. and developed in PMK/Jobo.

Like you, I was amazed at how this combo held both shadow and hightlight detail in the negatives, which subsequently printed and scanned very well.

Most of what I shot using this combo was long-scale sunlit beach scenes with brite-white sand on beaches and deep shadows in vegetation and decaying liveoak skeletons. Everything seemed to print and scan better than I'd hoped.

I did have one complaint with the Bergger film I used, however. It seemed that quality control was somewhat lax as I had a number of sheets with "phantom" dark spots appearing on the developed negatives, and the edges seemed to be a little rough in the trimming. Of course these were usually on a favorite negative, a la Murphy's Law.

I'm curious if the QC has improved since then (1998) because I'd really like to give the Bergger another try.

Thanks for the post!

-- David Haynes (studioblsp@mindspring.com), April 24, 2002.

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