[pure-silver] Re: Kodak vs Ilford

  • From: Richard Knoppow <dickburk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: pure-silver@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 20 Mar 2008 18:59:58 -0700

At 06:26 PM 3/20/2008, you wrote:
How do they do with Kodak developers?

On Mar 20, 2008, at 9:05 PM, Graham Hughes wrote:

HP5 I'm not so strong on, but generally speaking TMax films are
considered to be very "modern" with an extremely linear exposure
curve and little to no toe; Tri-X and HP5 have a pretty linear
exposure curve but with a noticeable toe and shoulder.  What this
means in terms of shooting is that Tri-X and HP5 will record shadow
detail that the TMax films won't necessarily (something you can
correct for by mild overexposure in-camera), but if you have a wide
range of brightness in your subject the older films will show much
less separation in the high tones.  This can be quite irritating
and require extensive fiddling in the darkroom to bring those
highlights back from muddiness.  You can partially compensate for
this by using the right paper--Forte's Polywarmtone was much
beloved in my darkroom for its ability to tame XP2's absurd shoulder.

The Delta films are usually reckoned to be intermediate between the
two; less tolerant of exposure errors than Tri-X or HP5, less
grainy than either, and more tolerant of exposure errors than the
equivalent TMax films.  I haven't found Delta 400, the one I shoot
the most, to be meaningfully grainy compared to TMax 400 or Tri-X,
and it is generally a trooper.  Delta 3200 is great when you need
it but I prefer Neopan 1600 for general high speed use; the Delta
film is grainier and has an odd exposure curve IMHO.  I have little
or no experience with Delta 100; I generally shoot FP4+ when I want
something around that speed, which is a delightful film.


The above is partially the problem with tabular grain films. I think the main problem is that the contrast varies faster with development than conventional films. That means they are less tolerant of errors in time, agitation, temperature, than other films. Also all T-grain films are capable of very high densities so if you don't control exposure and developent carefully you can get negatives which have very dense highlights and are hard to print.

As far as developers, Kodak and Ilford developers are pretty much interchangeable. Xtol is probably the optimum developer for a great many films but some have had problems with it. For maximum speed developers with Phenidone derivatives have some advantage over other developers by perhaps 3/4 stop compared to D-76 which remains the standard of comparison. Out of those Xtol will yield finer grain then D-76 and the T-Max developers and DDX and Microphen will give somewhat coarser grain. For the finest grain use either Microdol-X or Perceptol at full strength. There is a speed loss of about 3/4 stop compared to D-76 but even finer grain than with Xtol. As mentioned above 100T-Max has a very short toe characteristic being in that way similar to the old Super-XX sheet film. For a long toe film use Tri-X Pan Professional. Tri-X Pan (not professional) in 35mm and rolls has a conventional medium toe curve as does the current Plus-X Pan and the Ilford conventional roll films. The characteristic curve is shown in the data sheets for all of these films and can be compared. For roll and 35mm film don't forget Fuji Acros, an excellent ISO-100 T-grain film. Due to the nature of the ISO standard its a good idea to shoot many films at about 80% of the ISO speed. This will often result in better shadow detail.

Richard Knoppow
Los Angeles, CA, USA
To unsubscribe from this list, go to www.freelists.org and logon to your 
account (the same e-mail address and password you set-up when you subscribed,) 
and unsubscribe from there.

Other related posts: