Into Ilford?

Decisions, decisions.

Since leaving Japan (and my stash of film, currently in a fridge in Chiba…) i’ve been trying to work out what to shoot. The combinations of Fujifilm’s Neopan Presto 400 / Super Prodol, Acros 100 / Diafine, Kodak Tri-X / Rodinal had been serving me well for a couple of years, but each was it’s own niche.

Presto pushed to 1600 in just 9 mins @ 20C was pretty much grain free for well exposed shots. Acros in Diafine was amazingly easy to work with, had highlight and shadow detail that i really liked (who knows if it was technically any good? all i know is that it worked for me…) and Tri-X was something that i could always mess around with, and understand exactly how it would look after a trip through the purple soup.

All in all, it was quite neat.

And then Presto got canned. Great. Now i needed a new film that would push. T-Max has long been a non-starter for me, it has always looked too contrasty and sharp edged. Maybe that’s what some people want, but it doesn’t do it for me. Perhaps if i’d gone the whole way and learned to love the smell of T-Max developer… but all that talk of “gallons” just feels barbaric.

Travelling with made up Diafine isn’t a recipe for airport / shipping success, so that’s gone. To make that worse, Acros isn’t exactly cheap in Europe, and i’m not even sure that Fuji will continue to make it for the next five years… especially in 120. Which is a shame. It was really growing on me… anyway, it was never going to fill that niche of film that pushes to 1600.

Ilford sounds pretty committed to continuing to produce black and white film:

HARMAN technology Limited, trading as ILFORD PHOTO, is “Passionate about Black and White” and intends to continue this commitment.

It’s pretty much all they do… Yes, it’s a bit pricey, but better than Japan. If it works out, and sticks around, it’ll be worth it. So, here we are. I’m going to try shooting Delta 400 @ 1600, and HP5+ @400. The Rodinal is there to deal with the bunch of rolls of Tri-X in the fridge, and any random rolls that come my way. Bottom-line: if it doesn’t develop in Rodinal, it probably isn’t worth calling film!

Hopefully i’ll have results in a few days.

5 thoughts on “Into Ilford?

  1. I’m shooting mostly fp4+ and hp5+ souped in rodinal standing (1/100 more or less, I’m sort of a punk when it comes to souping, no temperature control, no real concentration control, sometimes I forget the tank overnight …) and I’m happy with it. Granted you cannot push.
    Of course from time to time one likes to shoot an exotic film (remember the shanghai-based film and the necessity of a piece of tape to keep it closed after exposure, hehe?)
    Never really saw the difference between hp5+ and delta, but maybe I’m too punkish …
    Looking forward to see what you’ll come up with.

    • My understanding is the fp4+ and hp5+ are traditional cubic grain films (akin to Tri-X) and the delta films use tabular grain structures (akin to T-Max / Neopan Presto). The theory is that the tabular films are less grainy, and consequently a little smoother.

      People usually say that t-grain films don’t push so well, but that hasn’t been my experience… guess we’ll have to just wait and see how it works out.

      Edit: what he says.

  2. I’m interested to hear your impressions after the first rounds. I’ve ended up committed to t-max for a while thanks to Charlie. I was a bit worried about that but I’ve started using the T-Max developer. It’s not cheap but it gives a much less contrasty result and a whole lot more grain free than done in Rodinal (not that I don’t love that stuff).
    Trick is picking one film, learning what it will do and sticking to it. joy!

    Let’s see how we both get on.

    • i remember putting a bunch of rolls of t-max through the Diafine for someone… probably Manny, or maybe it was the cheapest stuff to give to M. for her XA2? anyway, i don’t think the results were terrible, but it does have a pretty low film speed (640 maybe?)

      you’re dead right about picking a film to work with… it’s really tempting to just default to tri-x, if only for the fact that it feels like it can never be killed!

  3. Pingback: Ilford: first blood « It'll All End In Tears

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