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Black & White Film Revival – I. Film Selection

David Goldstein (dagoldst)


Keywords: film, bw, photography, kodak, ilford, fuji, nikon, dagoldst

With the resurgent popularity of black & white film and film cameras, there are now a wide variety of black and white film stock available for the 35mm format.  Also, while some 35mm film cameras have become quite expensive during this resurgence, there are still some good deals if you use Nikon F mount lenses and flashes.  Some quality, inexpensive bodies are the F/N80 Nikons and for a bit more, the F100.  They work with all the AF-S VR lenses, as well as autofocus support for the earlier screwdriver lenses.  In the flash department I personally can only say I know they work fine with my SB600 and literature shows some of the more expensive flashes supported as well.  I use my two N80 models in aperture priority mode with exposure compensation just like my D610.

The photo below is one of my Nikon N80s with the 24-85mm VR kit lens from my D610 – I paid $80 U.S. for the body last year from KEH.  I have a second body I have been using for years that I paid $65 for in 2012.

Click for an enlargement

 

On a quick check at B&H, I counted fifteen different vendor offerings, from Arista to an unusually named film called “Street Candy”.  The mainstays for me over the years have been, Kodak, Ilford, and to a lesser extent, Fujifilm.

I will principally focus on the Kodak and Ilford stock since part of this series will deal with home development and those are the primary films I have been working with.  This is not to say the other films are not worthy of trying out with so many offerings out there today.

Below is a list of films that I have personally used:

I have also developed all the films above at home and have obtained consistent results.

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3 comments

Dave Cody (davidacody) on August 24, 2021

Thanks for the article. I have just started using my film cameras again after too many years of digital and find that the real benefit is slowing down. I have to think a bit more about the shots I am taking. I was also reminded that metering for B&W film is opposite of digital (shadows vs highlights). I haven't gotten back to developing, but I will. Dave

David Goldstein (dagoldst) on August 6, 2021

Martin, Lots of choices on developer, but one that I found works great with HP5 Plus is Ilford DD-X. Since I don't develop a lot of film, the one shot is easy for me to use. I then use Ilfords IlfoStop and Rapid Fixer and finally Kodak Photoflo to keep water spots from forming while the film dries.

Martin K. Ross (Martinkross) on August 5, 2021

Thank you for a wonderful introduction. I couple weeks ago I bought a wonderful Nikon Photomic FTN, I purchased Ilford HP5 plus, a film developing tank, and I am almost ready to go, I last developed film in the 80s, do you recommend any particular chemicals to develop and fix the HP5? I am looking forward to the next installment. Thanks again for taking the time and energy to write this, Martin

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