Suggestions on B&W Film to Purchase

Discussion in 'Black and White Film Discussion' started by Aushiker, Jun 7, 2015.

  1. Aushiker

    Aushiker FF Rookie

    13
    May 25, 2015
    Fremantle, Western Australia
    Andrew
    Hi

    I am completely new to film cameras, but would like to have a go at shooting black and white and maybe colour film. Not sure if this makes any difference but I will be getting the film developed professionally at this stage.

    Photography will be mainly street, urban landscapes and street art.

    I assume that expired or out of date film should be avoided (seems to common on eBay but). Keeping that in mind any suggestions on brand/type of black and white film that I should play with first?

    Oh the camera at least initially is a "found in the draw" Pentax zoom70-X but I am looking around for a nicer older camera to experiment with.

    Thanks
    Andrew
     
  2. phigmov

    phigmov FF Regular Subscribing Member

    174
    Mar 23, 2015
    Black & White or low-speed film generally ages better than high-speed or Colour Slide film. Good storage is also important. I've had reasonable luck with expired film but YMMV.

    You can't got to far wrong with any of the popular B & W films - I'd suggest something in the ISO200-400 range initially. Fuji Neopan is nice and smooth, Kodak Tri-X can give more of a gritty feel, Ilford HP5 is nice. At the cheap end, you can try the Chinese Lucky film - I've never used it but it looks OK.

    I'd try Kodak or Fuji first - maybe a roll of each - see which 'look' you prefer. After that, the world is your oyster :)
     
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  3. RichardB

    RichardB Super Moderator

    63
    Mar 23, 2015
    Maryland, US
    If you'll have the film developed by a lab, it will be easier to develop it locally if you use either color print film or the kind of black and white film (Ilford XP2 or Kodak BW400CN if you can find it) that is developed like color print film, with the C-41 process. Regular black and white print film and slide film usually have to be mailed out. On the other hand, regular (non-C-41) black and white film is the easiest to process at home.
     
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  4. Aushiker

    Aushiker FF Rookie

    13
    May 25, 2015
    Fremantle, Western Australia
    Andrew
    Thanks. I planned to check with the local camera shop to see what they will develop, otherwise I will have to explore my options further a field.

    Andrew
     
  5. Jesse_S

    Jesse_S FF Rookie

    11
    Mar 28, 2015
    My favorites are Fuji Neopan Acros 100 and Kodak TMAX 100, but they can be pricey just for learning.

    Since you're starting out, I highly recommend the Arista house brand film from Freestyle Photo. I think most of it is rebranded film from Fomapan these days but it's dirt cheap, perfectly acceptable quality and a much safer bet than questionable Chinese brands from eBay. The only thing to look out for is that the 100 ISO film scratches easily, so you have to handle with care if you start to develop yourself.
     
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  6. jai

    jai FF Regular

    68
    Apr 8, 2015
    If you want to go to a film lab that does black and white, like Fitzgerald's you should pick either Kodak Tri-X or Ilford HP5. If you want to stay in Fremantle, or proper B&W is too expensive (costs a fair bit more) then go for Ilford XP-2.

    For colour you want Kodak Portra 400.

    All those options I listed are ISO 400 speed films, this is important. These is the best film speed for starting out, because it is versatile enough to use either outdoors during the day, or indoors in half decent light.

    If you go for 100 speed film, it's only really useful in bright conditions outdoors or indoors with the flash on (which will look pretty ugly).

    Don't waste your time on cheap film, because the price difference is usually insignificant when you also consider what it costs to get it developed (especially in Australia). And life is too short.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2015
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  7. Aushiker

    Aushiker FF Rookie

    13
    May 25, 2015
    Fremantle, Western Australia
    Andrew
    Thanks. I did contact Camera House Fremantle and I believe that they use Churchills for the proper B&W processing. Know anything about them? I think to start I will go with the lower cost B&W option until I get my head around actually getting more than a 50% keeper rate :)

    Andrew
     
  8. jai

    jai FF Regular

    68
    Apr 8, 2015
    I can't say I do know much about Churchills, I have always used Fitzgeralds. I was told they are the best, and I believe it after using them. You do pay for it, its over $30 just to process and scan, and over $50 if you also want prints. So I now do all my B&W myself, but they are just down the road from me so I still use them for colour.

    There is a lot less skill in developing colour C-41 (including Ilford XP-2) than there is in true black and white. That's pretty much developed the same everywhere, the only difference becomes the quality of the scans (if you ask for them).

    Your best bet is probably picking up some Ilford XP-2 and using Camera House in Freo. If they don't have that film in Camera House, I know that Camera Electronic do. If you get serious about B&W I can give you tips on how to process at home.

    If you like what you get, you will probably have a lot more fun with a manual focus SLR than the Pentax point and shoot. This is a great guide to picking a system:

    http://www.japancamerahunter.com/2013/11/unsung-heroes-35mm-photography-part-slrs-dan-k/
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2015
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  9. pdh

    pdh FF Regular

    31
    Mar 25, 2015
    UK
    No apologies for sounding harsh here, but this is simply RUBBISH.

    The ISO speed of a film bears absolutely NO relation to the delicacy of the emulsion layers.

    This is the kind of nonsense that gets propagated and confuses beginners.

    Some older styles of film (e.g. those from the - now closed - Fotokemika factory) had slightly softer emulsions, but this was about their formulae and NOT the ISO rating.

    Treat all film with care when processing and you'll have no problems.

    As a further note - there's little point in telling the OP that he should buy from US retailers when he's in Australia.

    Now ... as to which film ... you want to do street, suggest you pick a slightly fast one, so just about anything in ISO400 will do fine.

    If you use one of the C41 films (Ilford XP2 Super or Fuji Neopan400CN) then they have tremendous latitude and can be shot at pretty much any speed over a very wide range on the same roll. But be aware that a local minilab can ruin your film ever so easily if they are not maintaining their equipment well - which is likely the case if they have only a small throughput of film. So best pick a busy one if you go that route.

    Film is film is pretty much film. Don't get too hung up on which one you use or listen to too much internet bollocks. For the vast majority of people when they look at your photos they won;t be able to tell (or care) whether you used Tri-X or HP5+ or expire Plus-X ... and frankly, nor will you.

    Obsessives who print large photographs of test charts and then examine them with a loupe might be able to tell the difference ...

    have fun, good luck, good light :)
     
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  10. Aushiker

    Aushiker FF Rookie

    13
    May 25, 2015
    Fremantle, Western Australia
    Andrew
    I also have a Canon AT-1, another draw find but it needs a battery which is proving little more difficult to obtain. Also watching e-Bay for a suitable bargin. Thanks for the link. Will check it out.

    Andrew
     
  11. Aushiker

    Aushiker FF Rookie

    13
    May 25, 2015
    Fremantle, Western Australia
    Andrew
    I was just at MainLine Photographics to get a replacement base plate for my Sirui tripod as I had managed to loose it :doh: and they have Ilford XP-2 at $9.95 a roll which seem a good price so I add a couple of rolls to get me started.

    Regards
    Andrew
     
  12. jai

    jai FF Regular

    68
    Apr 8, 2015
    Ah, cool! The AT-1 looks like it was related to the AE-1 which is recommended in that article. The Canon FD mount is a good choice, because unlike Nikon, the Canon FD lenses can't be used on modern Canon cameras, which means they tend to be cheaper. I shoot on Minolta for the same reason.

    eBay is often a good place for these weirder batteries, or maybe this one from Dick Smiths will work.
     
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