A Few of my Favorite Films

AudioBlog LogoClick on the audio logo to listen to this 10 minute discussion on my favorite films both black and white and color and which developer combo I use at Indian Hill Imageworks for the vast majority of my artworks.

17 thoughts on “A Few of my Favorite Films

  1. Can’t agree more on the ACROS 100. As a frequent night shooter this stuff is a godsend. I’ve been developing it in hc-110, but I think I’ll take your advice and try it in some xtol and see if I like it.

  2. I LOVE Acros, though I haven’t tried it in Xtol yet. I haven’t tried TMY2 yet either, because I still have a lot of the older TMY in the freezer, though even with a lot of the older Tmax 100 on ice, I still keep buying Acros.It scans beautifully for me too, and I love the look.

    Ive been processing Acros in hc110 and also in D76. Haven’t tried XTOL, only because you have to mix such a huge quantity at one time. I do have a bag of it under the sink though ….

  3. Surprised in the B&W 400 category no mention of Kodak BW400CN, which you spoke of so highly of in June. Has your opinion changed on it?

    1. No, I love the BW400CN but in this post I was focusing on films I process under B&W… I guess another way to look at it if you want to do all C-41 would be BW400CN and Ektar as the perfect marriage.


  4. Pardon me for asking a noob question but when processing Tmax 400 @ ISO1600 in Xtol, do you do any forms of compensation? Thanks a million

    1. I would shoot at 1600 and process as mentioned but be sure to meter for the shadows or bracket just a bit if you are unsure… at 1600 you should be just fine… at 3200 I would be more careful as the margin for error is much smaller.


  5. Stephen,

    I am a recent subscriber to your RSS feed. I enjoy the content you have on FR and I am slowing making my way through previous postings. Curious to know if you did a similar post for slide film? I agree on Ektar, it is just superb. I look forward to fall colours on MF Ektar.

    Question on Tmax 400. You mention the film’s real speed is 640; does that mean I can meter at 640 and not need to compensate in processing? Likewise, if I shoot this film at 800 or 1600 how would I process?

    Thank you,


    1. I’d rate it at box speed 400 but with the understanding that it will be a bit forgiving with regards to underexposure. At 800 there is no need to adjust processing so 400-800 just shoot and process. At 1600 and 3200 there is an increase in development, please refer to the Tmax 400 TMY-2 data sheet from Kodak for the most current processing times as it is different for the new Tmax 400…


  6. I think it’s important to underscore that favorite films/developers are often completely pretty idiosyncratic depending on who’s shooting and why. There’s a school of thought that films are like lovers and you want to really spend time with one and learn it’s ins and outs before you even think about trying something else. That has merit up and to a point, and certainly it’s a good way to go if the idea is to create a specific body of work or assignment, but I’ve found that I like a bunch of different films depending on the format, lens etc, and I wouldn’t know unless I had tried them all.

    I really like velvia100 in old cameras with lower contrast lenses, especially my olympus pen where the ultra fine grain makes up for the tiny neg size, but with my very contrasty Voigtlander lenses and my Olympus xa Astia works a lot better. I’ve had great results with acros in my ancient folding camera in 120 but for what ever reason it doesn’t work for me in 35. Recently tried plus-x and I like it a lot even though it seems to be on virtually no one’s rader– it’s much closer to being truly panchromatic than other oldskool films which is really great for skies etc.

    TMY-2 is the shiz nit. I could use that as my only b+w film and not miss having a 100 speed emulsion.

  7. Enjoyed the podcast Stephen as always, just wondering though what you consider a good/great 400 colour film, we in the UK need this most of the year it seems at times compared to you in the USA maybe only needing it in winter.

    I’ve been very lazy of late by using BW400CN after your rec’s but must now return to processing my own BW work after many years and can’t wait to try out T-MAX 400. Your rec of Ektar has taken me away from using Velvia 100 RVP and I thank you for that as I can get that processed foe 1/2 the price of an E6 film. Top stuff as always and look forward to your comments. 🙂

  8. I agree with Mr. Schaub. Fuji Acros & TMY-2 & for that biting look, Tri-X. He’s spot on da money-honey. As for XTOL… Agreed; though I do like the reliability of D-76… XTOL is a winning combo. with these films.

    DM Brown

  9. Film has never been better!! I tried for several years to get (old) Tmax100 to work for me and went back to Plus-X and embraced the grain for the sake of the tones and then came Acros and I have never looked back EXCEPT when I get the BUBBLES; little beggars, usually on the edge near the reel and on the first few images. 120 film, 2 reel tank, open tank, tapping, banging and using a Sharper Image (ironic, I know) vibrator to knock the little beggars loose. Edwal FG7, mixing the sodium sulfite and water 24 hours ahead. Anyway, Acros is the most amazing film ever. Compensates beautifully for over exposure/under developing. I print 120 to 18″square with no grain and the most creamy highlights. I do, however, miss licking the tape…

  10. Hi Stephen

    From the B&W films you have tested which films have beautiful grain? The Across has almost no grain and for the work I am doing, shooting with my new Rolleiflex 2.8a with a wonderful soft lens, I need an old-fashioned look where the grain structure will be present and visible. Of course I am scanning the negatives before the next steps of my workflow….

    Even though you have tested a LOT of films, I have not heard from you regarding the Bergger 200; I would love to hear your thoughts and any recommendations for developers for this particular film


    1. I like the film a lot but the production according to what I have heard is over for now and what is left is what there is… it works quite nice in Rodinal and PMK. I am currently working with Efke 25 in Rodinal and love it…

    1. I rate the Efke 25 at 25 but with Stand Deve in Rodinal it is fine but just be sure to meter for the shadows. I have tried the R50 and liked it a lot… I have not tried the 100 which is a different beast… the R25 and R50 both have a different sensitivity and very good reciprocity.


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