Running a test with my new ORTHOTOPOSCOPE SS camera (6×12) and a non optimized pinhole of around F70 (optimized is around F130 for the 25mm focal length). I am looking at the following films with EI from approx 100-1600 all in developers I have found that works best for maximum compensation and best overall tonality with each specific film. Reciprocity corrections were kept to just a gerous doubling to time— with this type of camera and work I like to keep it simple if possible. Exposures ranged from 1 second to 30 seconds all handheld as that is my standard way of shooting with a pinhole system.
400TX • Diafine
400Tmax • 510 Pyro
Delta 3200 • 510 Pyro
Fuji 400CN • C41
Portra 400 • C41
CineStill 800T • C41
All test results will be converted to B&W as that is my current need with these materials.
UPDATE: So I’ve looked at the film and I am very drawn to the Porta 400 and VERY drawn to the Cinestill 800T when both are converted to B&W. The regular B&W film was amazing but due to the pinhole capture I had a lot more range of possibilities in the conversion process that really helped to bring out crazy tonal separation in the two color negative materials.
I am heading to the Cotswolds (UK) in just over a week and running one last set of tests over the next few days…. looking at chromogenic B&W films (and converted Portra 400) compared to traditional B&W films processed in Pyro 510 (stand development)… all for the purposes of scanning.
PS- and yes that is Fuji Neopan 400CN… very hard to get here in the USA as it is not imported… made by Ilford for Fuji, based on XP2 Super but it is a different film made to Fuji Specs… time will tell.
So I am heading back to Paris tomorrow provided I can make it to Boston to get my flight!
On my last trip to Paris 5 weeks ago I shot with the Leica Monochrome exclusively…. on this trip it will be my Leica M4 film cameras exclusively! Hint… my next big article here on FR.
I have also been testing a lot of film and developer combinations the last 5 weeks… a lot! I really like the Bergger BRF 400+ in Caffenol CL and Caffenol CH with EI in CL out to 3200+. Rodinal provides a very crisp negative and Xtol is another good choice at 1:1. Another film I have been testing a lot is Delta 3200 processed in PMK double strength… nice range of tones and usable out to 6400 and perhaps 12,800 with proper shadow metering. Today I am running a test looking at the Delta 3200 in PMK with 1.5 strength as at double the highlights get a bit hot at lower EI’s… I want it all- 400-6400!!!!!! Stay tuned!
Oh and the Bergger BRF400+ in PMK is around 200-400 with a beautiful tonal quality. I have heard many people compare the Bergger to Tri-X… Yes, but only if you are talking Tri-X from the 1970’s and even then it is more like XX than TX. It is very low contrast film which is a good thing for scanning and has a softer rendering then most modern films… perfect for a classic look. In Diafine it is nice but the grain needs a bit of a kick in PS with some structure and a “S” curve to add depth- in Diafine a usable EI of 1600 is not a problem.
So currently in my JOBO CPP2 I am running Diafine full strength Part A and full strength Part B for 5 minutes for all BW films at rotation setting “F” which is around 40 rpm. After part B I increase the rotation to “P” which is around 80 rpm and keep it at that for the remainder of the process. My tests have shown that times around 7+ minutes in A/B can stain some films- yet 5 minutes in A/B at 75F seems about spot on to me and perfect for most scanning applications. The 1:1 development of Diafine decreases the shadow detail at higher EI… for example at 1:1 TX dies after about EI 800 whereas with the full strength process as outlined above EI 1600+ is very solid (note: box speed at 1:1 is about perfect- for box speed). With regards to streaking…. none, full strength or 1:1. An obvious advantage to full strength is that Diafine can be used over and over again for a lot of film where as the 1:1 is a one shot developer. I have personally used Diafine (1 gal A/B) full strength for well over a year without issue…. if it becomes a bit dirty just run it through a new clean coffee filter and presto! Perfect developer ready for more film.
So my testing has confirmed that with the 1:1 dilution of Diafine in a JOBO at Rotation P you need to extend your development time to 6 minutes in part A and part B and also run at a temp around 25 C. If you choose not to, you will find that films like 400TX die after about EI 800 (shadows get a bit too thin for me) which is about a stop lower than is expected with the Diafine/ 400TX combo. If you only want box speed to say 800 with 400TX then the standard 3 minutes in A and B is fine.
So today I ran a test to compare 1:1 and full strength Diafine also in a JOBO. Density as you would expect is a tad bit higher at the full strength but not by a lot… again I am extending the time to 6 min in A and 6 min in B. The contrast of the full strength is also a tad bit higher, but nothing a good scanner could not work with…. but the 1:1 is soooo nice.
My advice…. Diafine 1:1 at 25 C for 6 min in A and 6 min in B, rotation setting P. (Note: 1:1 with Diafine is a one shot developer!)
With regards to high speed films, Kodak TX400 works out to a usable E.I. range 1:1 (6 min A and B) from about 200/400-1600 with 3200 somewhat usable…. maybe! Ilford Delta 3200 is amazing with this developer and is nice from about 100/200 – 1600 with 3200 also quite usable in a pinch ( note: you have to love grain to love this film)! The now killed Kodak P3200 is still undergoing tests as it is still around in good supply and it looks like it will have a very solid 3200 but much more grain than the Ilford… which could be nice! I love grain!!
The Kodak 400TX has nice grain but wow the Ilford is just stunning…. The Ilford is only long term bet as of now – much lower contrast and very easy to scan across a wide range of EI. All the scans above are 100% crops from a very large 35mm scans at 3000 dpi on my Imacon Scanner (I decided not to do 6300 dpi on the scan just to save time and sharpening is off on the scanner, -120 setting).