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The Ultimate ILFORD Film Guide

ILFORD makes several black and white films. It’s not easy to make sense of all of them. This article will help you get acquainted with the different ILFORD films and choose your own.

Ilford films

Here are the black and white films we will compare in this article:
– Ilford Delta (100, 400, 3200).
– Ilford FP4 Plus.
– Ilford HP5 Plus.
– Ilford Pan F Plus.
– Ilford XP2 Super.

What are the differences between Ilford PLUS and DELTA PROFESSIONAL films? According to Ilford, the main difference between the two is that DELTA PROFESSIONAL films use a more modern emulsion. This gives less grain at similar ISOs.

Whereas PLUS films use their classic emulsion technology, which has a greater exposure latitude than DELTA films (making them more suitable for PUSH/PULL processing and more tolerant of over/under light).

To summarize:
DELTA PROFESSIONAL: less grain at the same ISO, cleaner and sharper look.
PLUS: more grain, better for push/pull, more tolerant of exposure errors.

Note: All sample images are shown as originally scanned without any post-processing for more objectivity in the comparison.

Ilford Delta 100

There are three different types of Delta films in Ilford’s lineup: Delta 100, Delta 400 and Delta 3200. The higher the ISO number, the lower the contrast and greater the grain size of the film.

With the Ilford Delta 100, you get amazingly sharp images with virtually no grain.

I love the deep contrast and fine detail this film provides, even if you have to sacrifice some light sensitivity.

This is a great film for shooting in bright daylight because you can shoot at a wide open aperture to get your favorite bokeh and isolate the volume.

Examples of the Ilford Delta 100:

Ilford Delta 400

The Ilford Delta 400 is an amazingly fine-grained and versatile film. If you expose it at ISO 400), you get a lot of medium tones that you may or may not like.

Examples of Ilford Delta 400:

Ilford Delta 3200

The Ilford Delta 3200, as the name implies, has an ISO sensitivity of 3200But in most cases it’s better suited for shooting at ISO ~1000.

Its sensitivity makes this film ideal for low-light photography or capturing fast-moving subjects.

Ilford Delta 3200 Examples:

Ilford FP4 Plus

The Ilford FP4 Plus is a good all-around film that is best suited for good lighting. The original FP4 was released in the 1960s, so it has definitely stood the test of time. It has since been updated in the ’90s to the new improved FP4 Plus.

Ilford FP4 Examples:

Ilford HP5 Plus

If you’re looking for a film that looks cool, look no further…the Ilford HP5 Plus has long been one of Ilford’s most popular films. And for good reason-it has medium contrast, a wide shutter speed range, and is perfect for action or documentary photography.

The HP5 was originally introduced in the ’70s and was upgraded to the HP5 plus in the late ’80s. Many consider it Ilford’s answer to Kodak’s legendary Tri-X 400.

Ilford HP5 examples:

Ilford Pan F Plus

The Ilford Pan F Plus is noticeably less sensitive (ISO 50), but how it captures landscapes with its exceptional tones and details is a masterpiece! The Ilford Pan F has exceptionally fine grain, outstanding resolution and sharpness and is best suited for bright conditions and sunny days.

Ilford Pan F Plus Examples:

Ilford XP2

The Ilford XP2 is a unique black and white film that does not appear in either PLUS or DELTA PROFESSIONAL. This film develops using the C-41 process, which is normally used for color films. Also, you can shoot it in the ISO 50-800 range.

This is one of my favorites, as the Ilford XP not only has beautiful tones and aesthetics, but also a lower price per developer.

Ilford XP2 Examples:

Specialized Ilford films

This concludes our comparison of the “standard” films from Ilford, but it does have special films such as the Ilford SFX 200 and the Ilford Ortho Plus 80. The Ilford SFX 200 has an extended red sensitivity, which allows for infrared style imaging, while the Ortho Plus 80 is an orthochromatic film that is sensitive to blue and green, but not to red.