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 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).
As I said others options do exist and many with a better build quality and additional options, however, anything to keep film and LF alive is cool by me! Ive been shooting a lot of LF in the last few months… but more on that and a review of some LF films and processing options in a few weeks.