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Nostalgia Nexus - early and pre-digital discussion Want to discuss the really early days of digital and even film - here is the place for you.

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  #16  
Old 13th December 2015
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Re: B&W films for street photography - my daughter's latest A level project

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Originally Posted by David M View Post
I was always an Ilford guy so HP5 Plus.
Seems to be a popular choice.
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  #17  
Old 13th December 2015
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Re: B&W films for street photography - my daughter's latest A level project

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Originally Posted by Naughty Nigel View Post
I would say Ilford HP5+ is a safe bet for street photography.

At 400 ASA it is fast enough for most purposes and has reasonable grain. It also pushes well at up to 3,200 ASA but inevitably becomes quite grainy at that speed.

I personally like Ilford Pan F (50 ASA) and FP4+ (125 ASA) films, as they provide excellent detail and tonal gradation with fine grain, but they are probably too slow for street photography unless you have very good light and a fast lens. These slower films don't push particularly well, but you can squeeze an extra stop if needed.

If your daughter is processing the films herself (which I hope she is) she can also choose the developer that best suits her needs. A developer such as Acculux, for instance, provides a 1/3 stop effective increase in speed with only a minimal grain penalty.

Some subjects work well with grainy images, so pushing HP5 by two or three stops is not a problem. I have never done it myself, but some B&W photographers like to process film in print developers such as Bromophen, which results in tons of grain and contrast.

I haven't used Kodak B&W films for some time, but they are renowned for their fine grain and tonal gradation.

Some people swear by T-Grain films such as Kodak T-MAX and Ilford Delta, but I feel the traditional B&W films have more character.

Regarding metering, remember that unlike digital, B&W negative film has an enormous exposure latitude, so you don't need to worry too much about the exposure. If anything, a stop or two overexposure tends to give a more usable neg unless you want to loose shadow detail.

I like to use a proper light meter with my medium format cameras, but I also have a free light meter 'app' on my phone which is plenty accurate enough for colour and B&W negative films.
I assume the students will be doing their own processing, because the school has a fully equipped darkroom. Come to think of it, if I shoot film too I could probably get Freya to process mine! Your recommendation of HP5+ seems to make sense as it has a respectable speed and it is interesting what you say about having more character than T grain films. It would probably make a good starting point for Freya and if she really gets into using film she can always try alternatives at a later date.
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Old 13th December 2015
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Re: B&W films for street photography - my daughter's latest A level project

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Originally Posted by Bikie John View Post
Think about how the film will be processed.

If Freya is going to do it herself, much better to go for trad silver emulsions, as David and Nigel have suggested. If you need to get it done commercially, specially if you need it fast, she would probably be better off using a chromogenic film as it can be processed at any C41 lab. Not sure what they are called these days, but Ilford had XP1 & then XP2, Kodak had one that went through a variety of names and I think Fuji's is/was something like BW400CN.

But you probably know that....

John
I neglected to mention that Freya's school has a darkroom so processing should not be a problem. I assume that the teacher will give the students guidance as it will probably be the first time for most of them.
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  #19  
Old 13th December 2015
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Re: B&W films for street photography - my daughter's latest A level project

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Originally Posted by Ricoh View Post
I use a rangefinder myself, albeit a modern digital version, and through trial and error have found I get more keepers using zone focusing or by simply guessing than trying to focus the RF optically. However if operating in 'trapper' mode, where you select the framework for the shot and await your prey, prefocusing optically works fine. Another tip: if I'm using the optical alignment I always reset the focus to infinity after the shot has been taken, that way I know I have to move the focus ring in one direction only, and usually by a short angular rotation (reference to the focusing scale shows compression towards the disstance end of the scale).
Can't provide any advice on film, but you have plenty of feedback already I see.
Good advice, Steve. Freya has never used a manual focus camera and therefore I am going to recommend zone focussing so that she doesn't miss shots whilst trying to use the rangefinder.
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Old 13th December 2015
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Re: B&W films for street photography - my daughter's latest A level project

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Originally Posted by JonSchick View Post
I used FP4 and HP5 when I had access to a darkroom. But unless using a specialist printer, for high street printing it may be best to look for films that can be processed using C41 as others have suggested.

If shooting in the style of HCB you probably want quite a slow film (max 100ASA) and I read somewhere that once it came out, he used nothing but TriX.
I don't think I will handicap her with 100 ISO film on a dull winter day! HCB would probably have used faster film in his early days had it been available!
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Old 13th December 2015
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Re: B&W films for street photography - my daughter's latest A level project

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Originally Posted by Bikie John View Post
I just had a quick look at Silverprint to see what there is for C41-process B&W. They have XP2 from Ilford, Neopan 400 CN from Fuji and nothing C41 from Kodak. They also offer lots of the old favourites like FP4 and Tri-X.

John
Thanks for the heads up on Silverprint, they are cheaper for HP5+ than Amazon!
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  #22  
Old 13th December 2015
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Re: B&W films for street photography - my daughter's latest A level project

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Originally Posted by Ricoh View Post
If it's in the style of HCB:
* She should allow, no expect, someone else to do the processing for her, including the printing, that's what he did, he kept to capturing images.
* Zone focus, he did.
* Concentrate on Geometry with People.
* Don't worry about spot on focus, he didn't.
* Don't worry too much about image quality, 35mm film has its limits.
* Use a Leica M3, that was his choice of light-painting machine apparently.
* Finally, pack in photography and start drawing / painting instead; he did.
Haha! We should be able to do most of that, but in the interests of her overall development (pun intended) as a photographer I think she should do her own processing. And she is NOT getting a Leica M3, at least not from me!
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Old 13th December 2015
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Re: B&W films for street photography - my daughter's latest A level project

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Originally Posted by drmarkf View Post
I used to use Tr-X back in the day for that gritty, photoreportage look. I recall that it was said to be a tad grainier and contrasty than HP5, but frankly I never compared.

Lee Friedlander is possibly easier to emulate than HC-B, since hitting 'the decisive moment' in a good photograph relies on a vast amount of luck. She could always stage an image, I suppose (but that's a deniable comment!): plenty of puddles around at the moment...

LF specialized in car images - especially American scenes reflected in door mirrors - and did a slightly creepy series on mannequins in shop windows, so that should be easier. Also shadows of people in the street. Lots of ideas via a Google image search.
Hmmm, I suppose we could stage some reconstructions, but no doubt it would be me leaping into puddles......

Mind you, it would be a good excuse to buy a couple of bottles of wine to carry under my arms whilst I look as pleased as punch for the camera.

Thanks for posting some examples, we will prepare ourselves with a google search.
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Old 13th December 2015
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Re: B&W films for street photography - my daughter's latest A level project

I always used HP5 with standard development in Microphen rated at 640. I preferred the grain to Tri-X. I think personal preferences is maybe what it comes down to, as always.
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Old 13th December 2015
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Re: B&W films for street photography - my daughter's latest A level project

Another thing I do with my manual RF is to meter off an average grey in the scene, if it exists, or meter off the palm of my hand in the prevailing light. Once set, it only takes a slight tweak up or down in EV value as you walk around, or choose to expose differently for 'artistic' reasons. With a film camera the ISO is fixed, and if zone focusing the aperture is fixed, so once the SS is set it truly is a point and shoot camera, far quicker than any AF camera on the market. In fact with practice you don't need to raise the camera ito your eye, just fire off a frame or two. Extremely stealthy.
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Old 13th December 2015
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Re: B&W films for street photography - my daughter's latest A level project

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Originally Posted by Zuiko View Post
Hmmm, I suppose we could stage some reconstructions, but no doubt it would be me leaping into puddles......



Mind you, it would be a good excuse to buy a couple of bottles of wine to carry under my arms whilst I look as pleased as punch for the camera.



Thanks for posting some examples, we will prepare ourselves with a google search.

John. I don't recommend racing up stairs on a Greek island, anymore. Lounging on the banks of a river might be more appropriate at our age😢
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  #27  
Old 13th December 2015
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Re: B&W films for street photography - my daughter's latest A level project

Personally I would go with Tri-X myself, preferably developed in D76.

I think it does depend on what developers are available in the darkroom she would be using, though. If they have D76 then Tri-X would be an obvious choice. If they lean towards Ilford developers, such as Ilfosol or DDX, then HP5 would be the obvious choice.

Just one point about XP2, by the way, since several people mentioned it - I love XP2 and it doesn't have to be developed in C41 chemicals. It goes very well stand developed in Rodinal 1:100 for 60 to 90 minutes. Not that that has any relevance to the HCB look - either Tri-X or HP5 would be the best for that.
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Old 14th December 2015
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Re: B&W films for street photography - my daughter's latest A level project

Tri X 400 deveploped in D76 or Rodinal 1-50 for a more gritty and sharper look was always my favourite for street and candid John,.

Tri x 400 neg scan.


Ilford Delta 3200 dev in ID 11
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Old 14th December 2015
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Re: B&W films for street photography - my daughter's latest A level project

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Tri X 400 deveploped in D76 or Rodinal 1-50 for a more gritty and sharper look was always my favourite for street and candid John,.

Tri x 400 neg scan.
Thanks Paul, that is impressive. I've just ordered 10 rolls of HP5plus, so maybe I'll get her Tri X in the next batch.

10 rolls sounds a lot and it certainly wasn't cheap, but it's only 360 shots! One little girl really will have to change her shooting style for this one!
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Re: B&W films for street photography - my daughter's latest A level project

The Delta 3200 shot is also impressive, Paul - much more detail and a lot less grain than I would have expected.
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