sharpest film currently on the market?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Developing and Printing' started by Sam Carleton, Jan 21, 2005.

  1. Sam Carleton

    Tom Phillips Guest

    He asked what POTA meant, not where it came from.
    POTA is the phenidone equivalent of soft working
    metol developers. It was first published by Levy
    in Wide Latitude Photography, Photographic Science
    and Engineering v. 11 p. 46 (1967).
    Tom Phillips, Jan 22, 2005
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  2. The "City & Guilds" rag from the UK? I am not sure this is
    a very trustworthy source. It's a nice and chatty magazine, but
    it could have been better titled "Some snaps we took after we got
    drunk in the pub".

    The author is testing gigabit film taking pictures on ASA 40 film,
    hand-held, using a 28-70 zoom and on a cloudy day. I am sure it
    looks better than the only other films he uses: they are ASA 400
    or nothing, he admits.

    From this auspicious start, we have, quoting for review purposes:

    "The leaflet that accompanies the film is complex ... it needs
    a few reads to get the point. A number of references are made
    to the aperture of the lens relating to resolution. This
    could be applied to any film, but I think is best ignored for practical
    photography, so don’t let this section put you off"

    The aperture of the lens for maximum resolution is best ignored when doing
    extreme resolution photography? This cat's from the moon.

    "Don’t bother with a handheld meter – far more exposure errors are made
    by people who haven’t got a clue how to use one than by the TTL system
    of a camera."

    The subtext: If you are dumb enough to still be reading this article you
    probably aren't smart enough to take your camera off 'Auto', so don't. I
    see his point about aperture and resolution now.

    "No problems with loading or rewinding were experienced."

    That's a relief to know.

    "Another point is made that TTL metering may not be
    accurate with this film, due, they say, to the film reflecting more
    light into the measuring cell than conventional emulsions. Ignore
    this only partly."

    At your peril if you are using TTL metering, but we've already decided
    most people are too dumb to use a handheld meter or set the ISO manually
    to compensate. Viz. the author left his camera on DX. And the manufacturer
    only 'says it': not like it's true, is it?

    "I developed the film as instructed ... the negatives were way too thin."

    Could it have been the exposure? Something about the film reflecting
    more light?

    "Most of the shots on the first roll were useless. I whipped
    myself with split birch twigs as a suitable punishment."

    The author would have you believe he went to Eton. He didn't.

    "I blew up a Gigabit negative to 20x30in and the result was still
    exceedingly sharp. I was gobsmacked."

    There it is folks, the result of all this testing is "the film hit
    him in the face."

    This may be great film, and it has been on my list to test (though if
    I liked it what would I do with ~1,000 feet of TechPan in the deep
    freeze), but this article does not make me want to go out and shoot
    some of the stuff: I just don't like getting hit in the face.
    Nicholas O. Lindan, Jan 22, 2005
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  3. Sam Carleton

    Sam Carleton Guest


    I HAVE to second Nicholas on this one. I had been having the same
    debate with a gentleman over the Internet. I finally gave in and
    sent him some of my 4x5 printed both 8x10 and 16x20. He was
    simply amazed at the difference. He became a believer!


    After thinking about how I want to pull off this shot, I have
    decided to use my 4x5 camera. I am still trying to figure out the
    details because I only have about 16 inch of bellow on the camera.
    I would mount an enlarger lens to the front except for the fact
    that I don't have a copal #1 shutter. So I am thinking that I
    will use the 6x7 back I have for the camera. How do I calculate
    the bellow draw I need to get the 2 1/2 magnification needed to
    get the image on the 6x7 back?

    Sam Carleton, Jan 22, 2005
  4. Sam Carleton

    Andrew Price Guest

    True, but the additional information which Larry provided was not
    without interest.
    Andrew Price, Jan 22, 2005
  5. Sam Carleton

    Alan Smithee Guest


    What's this heresy ? "Untruths" being told on the Internet, impossible.
    Blasphemer. LOL. OK OK're killing me...I just skimmed the article
    (first and last paragraph). My bad. You hit it right Nic. Dodgy factor is
    pretty high here. I agree with you it would be nice to see a real review
    done on this film to see if it lives up to it's claims. Maybe the
    manufacturer is just down rating some other brand and working some magic (or
    smoke and mirrors) with chemistry. And kind of pricey at what $12-15 per
    roll plus shipping?
    Alan Smithee, Jan 22, 2005
  6. Why #1? #<most anything> would work.

    If the enlarger has a flat lensboard it may be possible to hold
    the enlarger lensboard in front of the shutter with duct tape.

    If you have a speed graphic, problem solved.

    I think the problem will be getting the nose in the right spot.

    I suggest a wire frame that sticks out from the camera and delineates
    what will be 1) captured by the lens and 2) be in focus. Nikonos UW cameras
    do this. I think Kodak had a close-up attachment for one of its
    box cameras (Star-something?) with a projected wire frame.

    If I were trying this I would spend a few hours training my dog
    to cooperate before shooting film. If I aim a camera at my pooch she
    looks away, as she thinks _I_ am obviously no longer looking at _her_,
    I am looking at a camera.

    Digitals are great at taking those shots where it
    can take a 100 tries to get it and you don't know if you got it
    till you look at the result, which with film may be a week hence.
    Nicholas O. Lindan, Jan 23, 2005
  7. Apparently it is re-rolled Agfa Copex (?) microfilm.
    I heard the developer is similar to H&W Control, which is similar
    to POTA [phenidone, sulfite and water] but with extra flavorings.
    Not that bad. About the same as TechPan and Technidol when
    bought at list price.

    If you are willing to roll your own, microfilm is dirt cheap.
    Some older cameras [Leica M and Nikon F/F2, Exakta ...]
    take high-quality reloadable/reusable cassettes with no-felt
    light traps. I use TechPan in a meterless F2 and in a
    Leica M5 for snapshots. I don't know if the M5 takes Leica
    cassettes. I am going to have to be respooling bulk Tech
    Pan pretty soon, and after that I guess it's microfilm,
    so I will be finding out.

    The other half of using microfilm is the developer. POTA
    has to be the cheapest developer around (apart from
    Caffenol: old coffee and washing soda). TTTH, I haven't
    tried it.

    H&W Control, formulated for use with Kodak High Contrast
    Copy, is no longer available. _But_ it was patented, and
    the patent lists the formula. You can use patented information
    freely if it is for personal use.

    Delagi #8 is often used as a Technidol work-alike. I haven't
    yet compared Delagi with the H&W patent, it might be interesting.
    My results with Delagi #8 and TP were a bit contrastier than
    Technidol and with a bit more grain.

    I ran with horror from results with Rodinal & sulfite and
    ultra-dilute HC-110.

    It looks like the future is going to be home-brew.
    Nicholas O. Lindan, Jan 23, 2005
  8. For the record:

    The sharpest silver base film is made for holography.

    It can probably be bested by non-silver processes as photo-resist.

    I have not heard of anyone using either for pictoral photography
    but I am sure I will.
    Nicholas O. Lindan, Jan 23, 2005
  9. Sam Carleton

    MXP Guest

    I think the sharpest film out there is "Gigabit". A ISO 40 film which should
    be able to
    resolve 700 lp/mm.

    For normal B/W film I find Agfa APX 100 very good. I think I like it better
    than TMAX100.
    Kodak CN400 must be the most fine grained ISO 400 B/W film? .....I was very

    MXP, Jan 23, 2005
  10. Sam Carleton

    Tom Phillips Guest

    Info he didn't verify.
    Tom Phillips, Jan 23, 2005
  11. Sam Carleton

    jjs Guest

    Perhaps, but what is the sense in using a film that resolves far beyond the
    capability of the lens?
    The pure metrics of high-resolution might be against AXP100, but the fact
    that it has grain, and yields well to occasional adjacency effects certainly
    makes it a sharp-looking film. I like it best of all conventional films.
    jjs, Jan 23, 2005
  12. Sam Carleton

    Neal Guest

    except that it isn't really a b/w film - however i agree with you. if
    i didnt have doubts about the archival quality of cn400, i would use
    400cn a lot mroe - even though i cannot process it myself. fast, fine
    grained, huge exposure lattitude, sharp, contrasty.
    Neal, Jan 23, 2005
  13. Sam Carleton

    jjs Guest

    Usually lattitude and contrasty are mutually exclusive.
    jjs, Jan 23, 2005
  14. Sam Carleton

    Hemi4268 Guest

    The sharpest silver base film is made for holography.
    Yes, it's called SO-253 Holographic. It has an ASA of about 2 and will do
    about 400 lp/mm or more in noon summer sunlight.

    Typical exposure is 1/125 at f-2

    Hemi4268, Jan 23, 2005
  15. Sam Carleton

    jjs Guest

    Larry, in your job did you ever mess with nonsilver photo sensitive
    materials? Metal/Diazo? (1,000 lp/mm?) Applications are probably limited to
    contact-printing circuits, but I was just curious.
    jjs, Jan 23, 2005
  16. Ilford Pan-F in Acutol.
    uraniumcommittee, Jan 23, 2005
  17. Sam Carleton

    MXP Guest

    For those who liked the discontinued Tech PAN? .....the Gigabit could be an
    I like the film. Only 20 sec. fixing time in normal film strength has to remember.
    MXP, Jan 23, 2005
  18. Sam Carleton

    Helge Nareid Guest

    Having some experience with holography and holographic materials, I
    can say with confidence that 400 lp/mm is pretty useless for
    holography. Typically, you would want resolutions on the order of 2000
    to 7000 lp/mm, depending on the geometry and type of hologram. It has
    to be said, however, that both the exposure and processing
    requirements are quite different for holographic usage compared to
    general photography, and so are the resolution criteria and
    definitions thereof.

    The SO-xxx series of emulsions are Kodak emulsions. To the best of my
    knowledge - and I investigated the matter pretty thoroughly about 6
    years ago, Kodak has not manufactured any holographic materials for
    some considerable time (about 20 years or so, if memory serves me
    right). In the holography field, the technology leaders have
    traditionally been Agfa Gevaert with their 8E75HD and 8E56HD emulsions
    (they also had some lower resolution emulsions named 10E75 and 10E56).
    Unfortunately, Agfa-Gevaert discontinued their holographic materials
    in 1996. However, I believe they still manufacture make their
    "Millimask" series of plates (the primary purpose is chip masking),
    which according to tests we carried out is pretty much identical to
    the 8E56HD emulsion. We have certainly used it successfully for

    That particular emulsion is orthochromatic, has a resolution of at
    least 5000 lp/mm, is only supplied on glass plates, and is pretty much
    useless for general photography.
    Helge Nareid, Jan 23, 2005
  19. Sam Carleton

    John Guest

    I would have to that's being kind !


    John S. Douglas, Photographer -
    Please remove the "_" when replying via email
    John, Jan 24, 2005
  20. Sam Carleton

    John Guest

    But C41 films don't work the same as B-&-W materials. The
    response seems to stay linear even with variation in exposure.


    John S. Douglas, Photographer -
    Please remove the "_" when replying via email
    John, Jan 24, 2005
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