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.