finest grain B&W film?
Old 12-20-2018   #1
splitimageview
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finest grain B&W film?

What's your choice for a fine grained B&W that can be developed using easily obtained chemicals? Speaking of 135 format, and what developer would you use?
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Old 12-20-2018   #2
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For 35mm and 120 my choice would be Ilford PanF for LF it would be FP4+
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Old 12-20-2018   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by splitimageview View Post
What's your choice for a fine grained B&W that can be developed using easily obtained chemicals?
By far the finest grained film on the market is Adox CMS 20 II. But it works best in Adotech IV developer.

Then there is quite a gap. The next fine grained films are Adox HR-50 and IR-HR Pro.
After that comes Acros. TMX is very close, only a slight difference to Acros in fineness of grain.
After that comes PanF+. And then Delta 100.

Concerning sharpness and resolution the ranking order is a bit different: Delta 100 is sharper and higher resolving than PanF+.
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Old 12-20-2018   #4
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I find it sometimes hard to tame the contrast of Pan F under strong lighting conditions (high mountains or sw deserts). I like Acros.....but we can weep over its disappearance. My failsafe is Ilford FP4+ & my standard developer is Pyrocat HD in glycol. If I have to print larger than 11x14 then I use medium or large format.
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Old 12-20-2018   #5
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Whatever film one chooses, a lot depends on how it's developed. I like to use Microdol X, which gives a tight, smooth film grain. People have gotten excellent results w/ the Pyro developers too. And I agree, if one wants fine grain, move up in film size. I have some shots made with Tri-X in 120 format that look very, very different than 35mm grain. For the films that Skiff mentioned, I like Delta 100 for its sharpness and beautiful tones. Great film.
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Old 12-20-2018   #6
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Remember, too, that fine grain and sharpness have to be traded off against one another: the finest grained films suitable for general use are never the sharpest, and the sharpest films suitable for general use are never the finest grained.

As well as affecting sharpness and grain, developers affect speed very widely: in most normal developers, Pan F is ISO (NOT EI) 25-80.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 12-20-2018   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
Remember, too, that fine grain and sharpness have to be traded off against one another: the finest grained films suitable for general use are never the sharpest, and the sharpest films suitable for general use are never the finest grained.
That generalisation is not true. Just some examples:
1. Adox CMS 20 II is both the finest grained and the sharpest film on the market.
2. Adox IR-HR / HR-50 is significantly finer grained than TMX, Delta 100, Acros, PanF+, and also a bit sharper than the sharpest of these (which are TMX and Delta 100).
3. T-Max 400 is both the sharpest and finest grain ISO 400 film.
4. Ilford XP2 Super is both a bit finer grained and a little bit sharper than Delta 400.
5. Agfa APX 25 was both the sharpest and finest grained ISO 25/15į back in its days.
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Sharpness vs. grain
Old 12-20-2018   #8
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Sharpness vs. grain

Thank you Roger for pointing out that "the finest grained films suitable for general use are never the sharpest, and the sharpest films suitable for general use are never the finest grained." I found Tmax100 had very fine grain, yet I didn't like the way the images looked because to me, they weren't very sharp. I found that the rendering of Tmax400 is much sharper to my eye with only slightly more grain. This has become my go to film for just about every situation.
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Old 12-20-2018   #9
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I guess Roger and Skiff are both right. Often grain adds to the perception of sharpness as does higher contrast in both cases it's not really higher sharpness but perception of sharpness.

Finest grain is probably Adox CMS-II but the film does have its shortcomings; its low speed is one of them.

Finest grain medium speed film is probably Tmax 100 or Fuji Acros.
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Old 12-20-2018   #10
lawrence
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KenR View Post
I found Tmax100 had very fine grain, yet I didn't like the way the images looked because to me, they weren't very sharp.
Agreed. It's nice for some portraits, however.
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Old 12-20-2018   #11
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rollei retro 80s/adox HR-50 is the finest, followed by the usual suspects, pan f, tmax 100, acros and RPX 25. Rmember, you asked for film that can be developed in general developers. otherwise Adox CMS 20 is far and away the leader, even finer than tech pan

see this thread for some good info, post 19
https://www.photrio.com/forum/thread...lution.115244/
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Old 12-20-2018   #12
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Yum to Tmax 100 and 400 .... HC 110
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Old 12-20-2018   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J enea View Post
rollei retro 80s/adox HR-50 is the finest, followed by the usual suspects, pan f, tmax 100, acros and RPX 25. Rmember, you asked for film that can be developed in general developers. otherwise Adox CMS 20 is far and away the leader...
I really like RPX 25, yes I realize its the same as Retro 80S.

What happens with CMS 20 if its in some other developer? I am itching to try it but not really looking forward to altering my usual Rodinal 1:50 formula. I have seen several different and sometimes-contradictory recommendations for Rodinal.
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Old 12-20-2018   #14
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Fine grained is TriX. IMO.
I use Kodak 50D @25 for fine grain results as well.
It develops, scans and prints as BW. I like it in Rodinal.
I like it as fine BW film without boutique price tag.
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Old 12-20-2018   #15
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Freestyle sells a Microdol-X clone.

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Old 12-20-2018   #16
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PanF+ at 25 in Perceptol 1:1 is pretty darn fine, and isn’t hard to control.

Rollei Ortho 25 in Rodinal 1:50 and the document films are low grain but finicky with exposure and development.

Delta 100 in many developers is remarkably fine grained, as is ADOX Silvermax in the dedicated developer or Rodinal.

APX25 and Panatomic-X used to be.
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Old 12-20-2018   #17
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I'm likely to be run out of town on a rail for mentioning this, but the few rolls of C-41 black and white film I've shot over the years had no discernible grain at all. None. However, the gradation from dark to light isn't terribly even, so keep that drawback in mind.

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Old 12-20-2018   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by splitimageview View Post
What's your choice for a fine grained B&W that can be developed using easily obtained chemicals? Speaking of 135 format, and what developer would you use?
FP4 with Ilfosol3 is a nice combo.
TMax films with TMax developer are also excellent.

If you need finer grain than those can offer you might consider medium format which makes grain a bit less of an issue.
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Old 12-20-2018   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J enea View Post
see this thread for some good info, post 19
https://www.photrio.com/forum/thread...lution.115244/
That thread cost me an hour. I blame you. :-)
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Old 12-20-2018   #20
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Agree with Lawrence that Tmax100 is fine grained but isn't as sharp as other films but adequate for portraits.
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Old 12-20-2018   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by css9450 View Post
I really like RPX 25, yes I realize its the same as Retro 80S.

What happens with CMS 20 if its in some other developer? I am itching to try it but not really looking forward to altering my usual Rodinal 1:50 formula. I have seen several different and sometimes-contradictory recommendations for Rodinal.
I bought two rolls of it a few months ago myself that I am yet to shoot. Given that the dedicated developer is not particularly cheap I have been curious about alternatives myself and have done a little searching online.
You can find some examples using Rodinal at this page from The Online Darkroom.

Also there are further images and information about processing methods in a continuation of the same discussion as above in Part Two and Part Three pages at The Online Darkroom.

The bottom line is if you don't use Adotech, expect a considerable loss of speed. I've never shot a really slow film before so the idea of rating it at EI 6 or so has some novelty value, I am not afraid to use a tripod when I need to. I thought the examples shown using HC-110 were good enough to try and it is a developer I have so will probably give that a go. But I think that Rodinal might be OK also if you are willing to alter your normal times and dilutions, see the linked text.
Cheers
Brett
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Old 12-21-2018   #22
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T-max 100 is a very sharp film it just doesn't always look that sharp because of its flatter contrast, lack of grain and grain structure. John Sexton used Tmax 100 and his results are pretty sharp not just because he shoots 4x5 but because he fine tuned the film. The secret of Tmax is that you have to fine tune the film it is in fact one of the most versatile films currently on the market. You can make it look like a film from the 1930's (glamour and such) or a very modern film with superb sharpness.
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Old 12-21-2018   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarcophilus Harrisii View Post
The bottom line is if you don't use Adotech, expect a considerable loss of speed. I've never shot a really slow film before so the idea of rating it at EI 6 or so has some novelty value...
Hello, Brett,

Indeed there is an appealing novelty factor to this film. I have paired it with an ND filter for some interesting effects with very slow shutter speeds; well, slow that is for sunny daylight conditions! I have tested it extensively with many developers and recommend all aspiring CMS photographers to do the same. Best done using a more-modern camera (IE, electronically-controlled) for more consistent long shutter speeds as opposed to very old vintage equipment where the slower speeds are often longer than specified. Bracket your exposures and take detailed notes.

Cheers, Robert
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Old 12-21-2018   #24
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T type films.

Size of neg makes a difference.

Camera and lens. My Rolleiflex gives me some sharp contrasty beautiful negatives.

Developer, to me, nuances. I like ID-11/D-76. Also Mic-X from Freestyle. I use Rodinal with slow speed films. Stand develop.

I like ‘em all!

Happy holidays!
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Old 12-21-2018   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by css9450 View Post
I really like RPX 25, yes I realize its the same as Retro 80S.
I have tested both films in the past, too. In comparison the Adox HR-50 delivers
- better shadow detail
- higher real speed
- better tonality, a more linear characteristic curve; it is easier to print
- lower price than RPX 25.

Quote:
Originally Posted by css9450 View Post
What happens with CMS 20 if its in some other developer?
You will lose performance: Especially you will lose speed (1-3 stops depending on the developer). And tonality, you will get worse characteristic curves.
It's like buying a new Ferrari, and then exchanging the engine and putting your old motor from your 50 year old VW Beetle in it .

Adox CMS 20 II and Adotech IV developer are a closed imaging system, two fine-tuned components for optimal results.
And its quite cheap, because you get medium format quality with 35mm and LF quality with 120.
Instead of buying 3 roll films I buy only one 35mm film. Therefore the cost per shot is lower with CMS 20 II compared to roll film (and lower for 120 compared to sheet film).
The price-performance ratio is excellent.
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Old 12-22-2018   #26
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Thanks everyone for the replies!
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Old 01-03-2019   #27
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Fine grain? Have you considered shooting medium format?
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Old 01-03-2019   #28
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Yes, but I'm sticking with 135.
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Old 01-03-2019   #29
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Finest grain is t Max 100 as a regular film not needing exotic developers. I mix D76.

Bergger 400 shot at 200 gives wonder results , somewhere between old films and state if the new ones.

One must realize there are other considerations other than fine grain. Delta gives a wonderful image with fine grain.
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Old 01-03-2019   #30
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Tmax100, Neopan Acros 100 (gone), Kodak Technical Pan (gone), Bluefire Police (maybe not gone), and I've developed them all in HC-110 and/or Rodinal.

Years ago, 50 now, there was something called H&W that had to be developed in their own developer. But I could never get a good print until I tried to do H&W with a Digital editor.


H&W Copy Film; H&W developer by John Carter, on Flickr

then a blow-up:


H&W Copy Film; H&W developer by John Carter, on Flickr

But to answer your question in 2019 Tmax 100.
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Old 01-04-2019   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by splitimageview View Post
What's your choice for a fine grained B&W that can be developed using easily obtained chemicals? Speaking of 135 format, and what developer would you use?
I always used Neopan Acros for fine grain needs with 35mm film. Sadly no longer available.
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Old 01-04-2019   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by splitimageview View Post
What's your choice for a fine grained B&W that can be developed using easily obtained chemicals? Speaking of 135 format, and what developer would you use?
Kodak TMAX 100 or Ilford PAN F, in Kodak D76 / Ilford ID11.
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Old 01-04-2019   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by helenhill View Post
Yum to Tmax 100 and 400 .... HC 110
Yes! TMax 100 in HC 110 dil h is both fine grained and quite sharp. Itís my go-to film for bw landscapes in 35mm. Beautiful tones too.
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Old 01-04-2019   #34
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Quote:
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Yes! TMax 100 in HC 110 dil h is both fine grained and quite sharp. Itís my go-to film for bw landscapes in 35mm. Beautiful tones too.
I'm with you, I like the full tones you get with this combination.
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Old 01-05-2019   #35
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I use some ADOX CMS 20 II occasionally but I always soup it in the Adotech developer. That film is by far the finest grain I can get.

But for my day to day adventures I turn to TMX100 in either FX-37 or in Beutler(since I mix my own soup.) For those who are not inclined to mix their own developers then HC-110 is also a pretty good option.

This is all 35mm or 120 roll film. For large format I pretty much stick to HP5+ and D-23. I really don't see any need for the more exotic stuff in the large sheets.
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Old 01-05-2019   #36
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I always thought shooting 35mm is all about showing grain. The essence of film photography is grain, isn't it? If you don't want grain, better shoot digital of MF film.
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Old 01-05-2019   #37
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I always thought shooting 35mm is all about showing grain. The essence of film photography is grain, isn't it? If you don't want grain, better shoot digital of MF film.
Ah, the beauty of film is it has character and even zero grain films show more character than digital.
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Old 01-05-2019   #38
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^^ "Giganova" , to see the master of grain ( around here anyways ) you need go no further than "lynnb's" pictures of Aussie ferry travels , Peter
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Old 01-05-2019   #39
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There is ‘zero grain’ film?

My inquiry was ‘finest grain’ , not none.
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Old 01-06-2019   #40
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When I want a fine grain I go to Ilford Perceptol.
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