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For those still interested in FILM
Old 06-10-2003, 03:15 PM   #1 (permalink)
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After about a month and somewhere around 50-60 rolls, I have to say that Fuji's new Neopan Acros 100ASA B/W film is really top notch. Extremely fine grain and acutence, moderate local contrast that is quite flexible according to development, and nearly as fast as advertised (I like it best exposed around 80, but it worked pretty well at 100 as well). A friend says that it looks even better developed in Rodinal, but here in Croatia (where I have no darkroom and rely purely on the only pro lab in town) I've had mine developed in TMAX developer with good results. A great, great BW film for skin tones, guys, some of you fine art guys who shoot nudes and still like to use film might want to give this one a try (and perhaps you'll appreciate the Agfa Rodinal 1:3 approach for even smoother grain, but definitely expose at 80ASA from my experience as Rodinal is quite slow). You'll eschew the grain you might normally appreciate, but instead end up with skin that looks smoother than butter.

And Fuji's also recently announced the reformulation of Astia (YEAH!) and Velvia as Astia 100F and Velvia 100F. That's right, Velvia will now be a stop faster. Finer grain than before, (RMF granularity of 7) but otherwise essentially maintaining their characteristics. Astia will be the relatively soft contrast, moderate saturation, color neutral film, Provia its slightly contrastier, more saturated, slightly warmer cousin, and Velvia will be the snappiest, most saturated and warmest of the lot.

This image was made on my first test roll of Acros (120 format) during a shoot where I otherwise shooting on Plus-X 120 and Tri-X 35mm. I like the image I made on Plus-X a bit better from a compositional standpoint, but now I'm wishing I had shot all the 120 stuff on Acros, the feel of this material was perfect for the shoot. Exposed at 80ASA and developed normally in TMAX developer in a dip-and-dunk tank (dilution and agitation unkown), a ringflash strobe was the sole light source on the subject (ambient light was about 5 stops slower) shot on a Hasselblad with 120mm f/4 Makro-Planar (I believe around f/8).
 
 
Re: For those still interested in FILM
Old 06-10-2003, 09:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Marko,

I still shoot film and just bought some Acros. I'll try shooting it at ISO 80 and try the Rodinal chemicals as well. I have a full darkroom and will see what develops (pardon the pun) by using Rodinal and the different ISO setting. I love the black and white medium and still like playing in a real darkroom. I shoot 35mm but have a 4x5 as well. Maybe I'll try that too and see if I can get some Acros in a 4x5 sheet and try some scenics or even a model shot to see how the skin looks.

Here's a shot on Acros. Model is Jade from Maine.



Good day!

Mike
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Re: Your print
Old 06-11-2003, 05:22 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Did the middle of the model's face get dodged?

By the by, exposure is really a personal issue based upon your equipment and meter, development method, shooting style (what type of light do you normally use, etc) and of course personal preference. I would always prefer to print a neg that is slightly dense to a neg that is thin. Always. Perfect exposure is of course perfect, but if I'm going to err, I'm going to err on the side of slight overexposure. You might find that 64 or 100 or even 125 is better for you given the circumstances.

Depending on your monitor, you might note that in my test image, the subject was filled with primarily 2 tones in real life: whites which were very close together, and tan and flesh tones which were tonally very similar. The technical trick was to render them in the photograph as similar enough to be recognizable, but to avoid any tonal mergers (the tan straps on her sandles had to separate from the skin tones of her feet and yet still look tan, the white of the pants had to separate from the white cushions and had to maintain detail, and so forth). My exposure at 80ASA with normal TMAX development accomplished that beautifully, hence the film has good local contrast without getting too excessive, nothing was blowing out or dropping off the scale too much at normal development. Conclusion: damn good film.

Here it is again so you can see what I'm talking about.

And the actual image I'm using from this series, shot with Plus-X which was the actual film I was using for the shoot that day, as I had not tested Acros at that point.

Compositionally a better image and matches with the other stuff I shot (because the rest was shot with the same film and technique), but if I had known beforehand that Acros would work as well as it did, I would've shot that film for the actual shoot. Tonally the Acros is significantly better, from a technical standpoint as well as to my taste, not to mention smoother grain, which in this shot is a virtue (I have a couple of shots later in the series where coarser grain is actually a virtue, IMHO).
 
 
Re: Your print
Old 06-11-2003, 08:22 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Good morning.

No, her face was not dodged. Some of what is seen happened from the scan. I scanned the neg. I do want to print it and play with some dodging but this is straight from the neg. I shot the picture below on Pan-X 125 with the ISO set at 125. My scanner has been doing weird things with black and white scans but I think I've got it worked out now. Nevertheless, what do you think of the shot? I'm still very much in the learning phase of working with black and white and chemicals in a darkroom but I enjoy it. Yes, it takes time and some would argue that I shouldn't bother given the power of Photoshop but I still like it. I don't do it too much for my clients though. That type of work goes to the lab. I do it for my own pleasure.

I've been reading some good things about Acufine. Have you ever used it? I'd like to experiment with some paper/chemical combinations to get more contrasty prints and I really like tack sharp photos. I suspect I won't really be happy until I shoot some B&W on my 4x5. I haven't done that yet. Should be fun! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

This is my friend Heather. She has never modeled before but wants to give it a shot. She's a kick-boxing instructor, aerobics instructor, Palades instructor, loves to lift weights, and run too. Needless to say, she's very fit and shapely. Be that as it may, I'd like your thoughts on the shot (and anyone else who cares to comment).



Good day!

Mike
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Re: For those still interested in FILM
Old 06-12-2003, 11:04 AM   #5 (permalink)
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i absolutely love acros...what an excellent film. xtol works just as well...



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Film?
Old 06-12-2003, 06:48 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Is that anything like an 8-track?
 
 
Re: Film?
Old 06-13-2003, 06:37 AM   #7 (permalink)
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If film were invented in the digital age, people would be saying something like "They've just come out with this stuff with a color depth WAY beyond CCDs, really high resolution, it stores gigabytes and gigabytes, it only costs a couple of dollars, and it comes in a nice little roll. AND it's archival!"
 
 
Not only that.
Old 06-13-2003, 09:33 AM   #8 (permalink)
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It is way easier to work with, without having to spend hours on the computer, to deliver an image.

Problem is........you can't deliver it in an hour, so it ain't as good as digital. Also, you can't look at it right the second you capture it, so how in the world do you know it is any good? (yeah, right.)

Of course.....if you use digital, you can become a pro overnight, because all anyone cares about, is it meets their immediate needs, right now. Good? Well, that really isn't necessary, you know!

P.S. It ain't archival, unless it is silver based, B&W, archivally processed. Nothing else stands the 100 yr. test, no matter what Epson claims.

[img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
 
 
Re: Not only that.
Old 06-13-2003, 10:35 AM   #9 (permalink)
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You know, I just shot a big job. I had to photograph 16 baseball teams and I shot with film; Portra 160. I told the parents of all the team members that the photo packages would take about 3-4 weeks to get back. Well, it's the high point in the season of baseball photos for little league and the lab is buried in work. It's been 3 weeks and now the parents are up in arms because they don't have their packages back yet. They say, "Holy smokes. I can take a picture of my kid and print it off on my home printer in about 20 minutes. Why do I have to wait 4 weeks for my packages?" I want to slap the piss out of these people because they are so self-centered and think that the entire photographic industry revolves around their needs. Whatever happened to patience and the anticipation of seeing a well-crafted final product? Yes, I love the ease of digital but I HATE this fast-food, easy applicator society where instant gratification rules. I still love my F100s and my film and I also love digital. What is a guy to do?

Good day!

Mike

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