In my last blog post I discussed Kodak black and white film, specifically Kodak Double-X. Another B&W film that to my eyes gives a classic look is Kentmere 100 film. Kentmere film is only able in 35mm format and comes in two speeds, 100 and 400. I have only shot with Kentmere 100 but I liked the results enough that I didn’t look to try Kentmere 400.
I bought my first rolls of Kentmere 100 film in the US at either Adorama or B&H I think during a photography workshop I was running in New York. What I didn’t realise at the time is Kentmere film is actually made by Ilford film. It was first available in the US as a budget alternative to Ilford films but is now available in the UK also. With all the great black and white films available on the market I have not bought another batch of Kentmere film yet as I am still experiementing with new films. The latest film I tried was Ilford Pan 100 so I will share some samples and thoughts once I have shot a few more rolls of it.
Kentmere 100 – Flickr Photos
(Click any image to see the camera used)
Kentmere 100 Film Summary
Originally I bought this film because of the low price plus I like to experiment with different film stocks. I was pleasantly surprised by the sharpness and fine grain of Kentmere 100 when compared to other classic film emulsions such as Ilford FP4 plus and Ilford HP5 plus. I find 35mm FP4 a little to grainy for my portraits and similar to 35mm Kodak Tri-X 400 in that regard. That said I happily shoot 120 format HP5, FP4 and Tri-X in my medium format film cameras such as the Hasselblad and Mamiya 6 / 7 / RZ67 as the grain in the larger negatives is less pronounced.
Shared: Fstoppers.com – 5 Popular B&W Films Compared
Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica
I read an interesting Fstoppers film photography article a few days before flying out on my last photography trip comparing five popular black and white film stocks. I think I was searching for a comparison of Ilford Delta 400 vs. Kodak T-Max 400 film as I enjoy using 35mm T-Max 400 but wondered if Delta 400 would be even “better” for me. I love and really appreciate Ilford Delta 100 film and think it is one of the best films I use in terms of detail and sharpness and to showcase what a camera-lens setup can achieve. Ilford Delta 100 film example image:
The Fstoppers film review however compares five ISO 400 film stocks and illustrates side by side example images of the same subject captured with five of the “best”/ popular black and white films. Each film is compared for tonality, grain and apparent sharpness.
I wont spoil the article if you want to read it in full but overall I was very impressed with the C41 B&W film – Ilford XP2 Super 400. I wont say anymore ahead of the link but if you want to hear my thoughts please see my conclusion below.
As hinted above Ilford XP2 Super 400 was the clear winner for me for detail captured (in this test example) but the image consisted of varying shades of greys and lacked interest. The film with the most impact for me and seemed to be the best compromise for all desired traits (for me) was the very popular Kodak Tri-X 400 black and white film with its classic grain structure, good apparent sharpness and thick blacks. I have shot Kodak Tri-X film in the past but found 35mm TriX too grainy for my female portraiture so instead I favour the fine modern grain of Kodak T-Max 400 film. I find 120 Kodak Tri-X 400 film much more useable as the grain is less apparent and I have used it a lot in my Hasselblad 501C /500CM cameras, especially if I need to push film to ISO 800-1600 in low light. In abundant light I often use the low-cost Fomapan 100 film (35mm and 120 Foma 100) and rate it from 100-400. That said I must give Kodak Tri-X another try soon!
Ilford XP2 Super 400 film
120 Kodak Tri-X 400 film
35mm Kodak Tri-X 400 film
And for a comparison, the B&W film I maybe use the most – Fomapan 100..