I think I’ve reached a first milestone in my B&W film work. I’ve logged enough rolls to confidently select my next, bigger, allotment of film. I’m comfortable with my developing technique and developers.
To date, I have bought only 5 rolls at a time. I’ve tried, in roughly this order, Ilford Delta 100, Kodak Ektar 100, Ilford FP4+ 125, Kodak Tri-X 400, Fuji Neopan Acros 100, Rollei 80s, and Kodak TMAX 400. My experiences have been spread across both 35mm, medium format (120, or 2 1/4″ x 2 1/4″ / 6×6), and large format 4×5. I’m used Kodak D-76 developer, Clayton Chemicals F76+, and R09 One-Shot (a Rodinal equivalent).
I’m certain that some of my go forward preferences (or more accurately, dislikes) are as much due to my inexperience as the characteristics of the film/developer combination that I used. Never-the-less, here is where I have landed.
I’m really enjoying the results from Clayton Chemicals F76+ available from Freestyle. It is liquid, not expensive, available locally (from Freestyle), and easy for me to see how changes in my developing approach is effecting the film.
I’m also enjoying Rodinal for Fuji Acros and want to continue to experiment with it for push-processing some night-time street work.
My work is falling into two main categories: Quiet Nature in medium and large format and Street in 35mm and (soon) medium format TLR
For street I’ve picked Kodak TMAX ISO 400. The choice was between TMAX and Tri-X. The ‘net is filled with forum discussions about the differences and preferences between the two. I’m going with TMAX @ 400 for most of my work because I like the whites. However, I’m ready to start evaluating Tri-X pushed to 800 and 1600 for indoors and night street work.
For 4×5 I’ve picked Ilford FP4+ ISO 125. Even with the little 4×5 work that I’ve done, I love the tones and smoothness of this film. I don’t know how to express this yet, but I love it’s whites. It could be that it just matches Clayton F76+ really well or I just like it. It is also a good price-point in 4×5.
I’ve not shot a lot of FP4+ in 120, but based on my 4×5 work, you bet I’ll be looking to exploit it in medium format too. But I also am committed to Fuji Neopan Acros ISO 100. I’ve yet to find a single person on the planet who doesn’t like this stuff. It has a completely different look than FP4+ and I still need to wrap my mind around when to use which.
The Rollei 80s is the odd man out here. I’ve actually loved the stuff I’ve done with it shooting it with a 3-stop red filter. However, it feels like an outlier film for me. For now, I’ll not be replenishing my stock, but may go back at some point.