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Old 29th July 2020, 06:06 PM
Svend Svend is offline
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 1,034

Originally Posted by alexmuir View Post
I tend to find in B&W that images with a visible, but uniform grain appear sharper than those with no obvious grain. I have always felt that colour photographs, generally of small size, seldom appear as sharp as an equivalent B&W print. Introducing some visible grain may alter that perception, as it does for me in B&W. I can’t offer any scientific evidence, but that is the way I see things.
Barry Thornton did a whole chapter on this in his excellent book Edge of Darkness. He describes doing a test with, if I recall, FP4 vs. Techpan -- same scene/camera/lens/tripod, etc.. He asked members of his photo club to view (at normal distance) and choose the sharper print. All chose the FP4 image, despite it having higher grain. I can't recall the developers used for the films. If you have this book, the chapter is well worth a read.

My own prints bear this out too -- I have four 16x20 and 20x20 prints on the wall beside each other; one with 135 FP4 in ID11; two with 120 TMY-2 in D76; and one 135 TMX in D76. At about one metre distance the 135 FP4 (traditional grain) looks just as detailed and a bit crisper than the rest (all Kodak t-grain). Someone who didn't know the cameras and format would be hard pressed to pick the 135 FP4 image as being small format.

Tonality is another matter, however. I find the 120 images have deeper, smoother tones. I think this is something not to be ignored in choice of format. Some time ago I read a quote by a well known photographer, who said that sharpness and grain are apparent with your nose pressed to the glass but tonality hits you from across the room. Hard to argue with that

Based on my own experiences above, I have pretty much stopped using Tmax films. I haven't decided yet if the Delta films are a good compromise between traditional grain and Tmax -- I need to shoot more with them and then do some larger prints.

So John, you are not imagining things! Your perception is right on

Last edited by Svend; 29th July 2020 at 06:13 PM.
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