B&W film choice less important when scanning

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Craig
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#1
Just a thought that occurred to me yesterday when I was developing and scanning some shots from the previous day. Is choice of film less important with regards to colour tone and contrast when you're scanning digitally?

I've always used HP5 and tried two different developers but settled on using ID-11 for now. I thought I'd try a roll of Delta 400 just to see if I could see any difference. I'm not sure I can. I do understand that if I shot Tri-X at 1600 and dev'd it in Rodinal it would look very different to a 50 speed film in ID-11. But at the less extreme ends of the spectrum, is there any reason to choose one over the other? From what I've read about scanning, one way to go about it is to scan a fairly flat negative to draw the detail out and then adjust in an editing program (LR for me). If you're doing this then the subtlety of the film is likely going to be lost anyway?

As I'm still fairly new to this, can anyone educate me on why this might be right or wrong? Or do you scan in a different way than I do?

These couple were shot with Delta 400 dev'd in ID-11 1+1. Maybe you could tell by looking which film I used? Maybe I've been heavy handed with my tone adjustment in LR?

EDIT - these look more contrasty with web compression.

tAfXlDcg
by Craigus89, on Flickr

GXsUJMbg
by Craigus89, on Flickr
 
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#2
So whether you are scanning, or printing in a darkroom, you are right - both methods allow for a huge variety of 'editing' and change in interpretation of what is on the negative.

What made me settle on using T-Max and Tri-X with a certain film developer (T-Max Developer) after trying several different combinations was that combination of film and developer together got me closest to the image I wanted, with minimal changes in scanning/post-production/darkroom tweaking. I found that I was having to do a fair amount of work with other emulsions (particularly HP5!) to get the image the way I pictured it.

You've found that Delta 400 doesn't work for you; that's okay! Just enjoy that you tried it.
 
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Peter
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#3
They're both perfectly fine results Craig, so my best advice would be to stick with what satisfies you and really get to know it in a variety of situations. I'm one of the worst for trying out every new wonder developer or film that comes along, and it really doesnt help with getting a reliable result that's pleasing. :rolleyes:
 
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Kevin
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#4
When I look at my own images, I can rarely tell what film was used, excepting for the extremes as you say of very fast / pushed films, or infrared. It is even less likely that I can tell what developer was used.

When looking at other peoples' images, because there isn't even the possibility of actually remembering the shooting situation, it is even less likely that I will be able to ascertain the film.

So, shoot what you like and process to taste.
 
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Craigus
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Craig
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#5
So whether you are scanning, or printing in a darkroom, you are right - both methods allow for a huge variety of 'editing' and change in interpretation of what is on the negative.

What made me settle on using T-Max and Tri-X with a certain film developer (T-Max Developer) after trying several different combinations was that combination of film and developer together got me closest to the image I wanted, with minimal changes in scanning/post-production/darkroom tweaking. I found that I was having to do a fair amount of work with other emulsions (particularly HP5!) to get the image the way I pictured it.

You've found that Delta 400 doesn't work for you; that's okay! Just enjoy that you tried it.
Thanks, I do enjoy the experimenting and I've got a couple of further rolls of Delta to shoot as one roll isn't likely to be enough to judge on. That is part of the enjoyment, I just don't want to spend extra on film if the cheaper alternatives like HP5 will do the same job for me.

They're both perfectly fine results Craig, so my best advice would be to stick with what satisfies you and really get to know it in a variety of situations. I'm one of the worst for trying out every new wonder developer or film that comes along, and it really doesnt help with getting a reliable result that's pleasing. :rolleyes:
Thanks Peter, I'm trying to be as methodical as possible and only changing the film type and dev time to suit so that I can try to spot the differences. But yes, I'm happy with the results for now.

When I look at my own images, I can rarely tell what film was used, excepting for the extremes as you say of very fast / pushed films, or infrared. It is even less likely that I can tell what developer was used.

When looking at other peoples' images, because there isn't even the possibility of actually remembering the shooting situation, it is even less likely that I will be able to ascertain the film.

So, shoot what you like and process to taste.
I do like looking at others images too and trying to spot the differences. I like a good contrasty image with deep shadows so I'm thinking of trying something like tri-x to see if that gives me anything different.
 
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Craigus
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Craig
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#6
Just a little update on this. I shot a roll of FP4 over the weekend at box speed and can see a difference in the grain, especially in the out of focus areas, it's much more pleasant. This is to be expected with a slower speed film, but this is the first time I've shot any black and white lower than 400ASA. Not sure on the tone, contrast etc, it seems to have retained very good detail in the shadows on a couple of shots in the woodland.

I might order a few rolls of delta 100 so that I've tested the 4 'main' Ilford films a few rolls each and see what's what.
 
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Ian
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#7
I think everyone's different.

I don't dev but I do scan my own. I get better results from Rollei 400 IR than I do from SFX because the Rollei film curls less in the scanner, giving me sharper results. I get better results from Delta 100 than (for example) Across 100 or Rollei 80s because I have to do far less work in post to get an image I like. (I.e. I use Delta 100 because I'm lazy). In short - I'm very much the same as @freecom2 above in that whatever gives me the result I want with the minimal fuss/effort is what I'll generally use. With enough tweaking and photoshop, I think any film can be made to look like any other which kinda defeats the point in my opinion.
 
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