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Black & white film - Here's a round up of black & white film that you can choose for creative shooting
A film liked by landscape and pictorial photographers, available in three speeds - ISO 25, ISO 100 and ISO 400. All three are sold in 35mm cassette or bulk and 120 versions, with the ISO 100 version also in 5x4in.
The ISO 25 stock is one of the finest black & white film going and, providing you can cope with the slow speed, will give you vast enlargement potential. The ISO 100 film is a good all rounder that competes well in its field, offering prints with superb tonality and good sharpness.
The ISO 400 version isn't as sharp as some of the competition, but stick it through Agfa Rodinal developer and you get lovely crisp grain.
Kodak broke tradition when it introduced T-Max film back in the 80's. This new film boasted T-Grain technology that claimed to offer unseen fineness and sharpness and the tests backed up the claims. Three speeds are available - ISO 100, ISO 400 and ISO 3200. The ISO 100 and ISO 400 varieties are available in 35mm up to 10x8in, while the ISO 3200 is just in 35mm. It's recommended that all three are processed using T-Max developer, but the films can produce excellent results in old favorites such as ID-11/D-76.
This type of film needs twice the fixing time normally used to clear it, otherwise you get flat results.
The ISO 3200 version was the fastest film available when introduced in 1988 and has remarkable fine grain for the speed.
Kodak Technical Pan
A specialist film in 35mm 150ft roll, 120 and 5x4in that's rated at ISO25, but many prefer to up it to ISO 40. It offers unsurpassed sharpness and incredible fine grain, but you need good lenses to get the best from this film, and good light. Process it in Technidol for the best results.
Kodak Recording Film
This special Estar based film can be exposed at anything between ISO 1000 and ISO 4000, making it ideal for low light photography and action. It's only available in 35mm format - ideal for the fast motordrive action.
Ilford Pan F Plus
Available in 35mm fixed and bulk lengths or 120 rolls, Pan F Plus is an old favorite offering fine grain and negatives that print easily. Its a good choice for studio work and used by many for portraiture.
Ilford FP4 Plus
A wide format range from 35mm right up to 10x8in sheets, this legendary film is loved by many and it only lost followers when the T-grain technology appeared. Its still a good choice if you need a medium speed with fine grain and good sharpness.
Ilford HP5 Plus
Also in every size from 35mm up to 10x8in HP5 Plus is the film for action photographers. It takes kindly to push processing and can easily cope with being rated at ISO 1600. A film favored by sports photographers and often used by the press.
A pair of films in ISO 100 and ISO 400 speeds and 35mm, 30.5m bulk, 120 roll and 5x4in formats. The ISO 100 is arguably the sharpest film in its class and has fine grain to back it up both made possible thanks to special emulsion technology. It's a great choice for the commercial user and preferred by many wedding and fashion photographers. The ISO 400 has a similar claim in its field and the extra two stops speed make it more suited to the sports and action shooter. Both have good exposure latitude.
This Japanese manufacturer has two choices aimed at low light and action photographers. The ISO 400 version is sold in 35mm, 30m bulk lengths and 120 roll film. It has special High-Efficiency Light Absorption Grain Technology to give superb grain structure and takes kindly to push processing. You also benefit from shorter developing times, making it a good choice when quick results are essential.
Neopan 1600 is in 35mm and 30m rolls and has great push/pull processing potential from ISO 250 to ISO 3200 making it a very versatile option when you aren't sure of the lighting conditions of the job ahead. It's naturally grainy considering the speed, but it's not as bad as its competitors.
A black & white film with a difference. It's processed in normal C-41 chemicals, so you can stick it through with your colour negative stock. The difference is you end up with black & white results, well almost - most labs introduce a slight colour hue - usually of a sepia shade. This is fine for romantic portraits but doesn't go down too well if you have a modern architecture to shoot. Two types are available - the long running Ilford XP2 - sold in 35mm, 17m roll, 30.5m roll, 120 and 5x4in - and its new competitor, Kodak T-MAX T400 CN, which currently has just 35mm and 120 under its belt. Both films have a very wide latitude range to let you get away with difficult exposures and they have smooth tonal range.
Agfa Scala 200X
The only black & white tranny film made, offering a very good range of tones, fine grain and excellent sharpness for the ISO 200 speed. It's sold in 35mm, 120 roll and 5x4in sheet film.
It's the obvious choice if you want to copy documents or black & white prints and is great for presentations and slide shows.
Unusual film that sees the world in a different light. The result can be white foliage, black skies, demonic eyes and unusual grain. Great if you're trying to make a living selling creative images, but not much use for the wedding and portrait photography - unless you've been asked to do a Gothic ceremony! There are currently three types made - Kodak High Speed Infrared, Konica 750 and Ilford SFX.