Painful Film



   Oh how I yearn to shoot film every day. I love my D610 so much that I'd be pretty sad if I ever had to move up to a more "professional" body any time in the future. But film just captures something more than can be explained. I don't know what the difference really is but something about film has character that digital images just do not. That's not to say digital does not look good, it looks great, but there is a subtle difference between the two I can't quite put my finger on.

   Recently I wanted to break out my Pentax camera. I love this camera. It's completely manual, no light meter, small, relatively light, just all around a basic but fun camera to use. I thought well sure, but instead of going with my regular Kodak, why not try a new film stock. Now, I've tried Kodak black and white and color, and I've also tried Fuji Film color. I like Kodak and I usually reach for it when I am in the mood to shoot film. Plus with the easy C-41 processing black and white I usually just get that for cheap and throw it in my camera.


   This time however, I picked up some rolls of Ilford mainly because Matt Day switched to it and I like his work, so I figured it couldn't be too bad. But I didn't know what to expect from it really. What he gets from the film and what I get are two different things entirely. I shot both rolls of 400 and I haven't yet found a proper place to use the roll of 3200 I bought. (I'll explain why in a minute.) I was pretty impressed with the look of the 400. It is quite grainy especially compared side by side with the Kodak 400 I usually get. In hind sight, I guess the grain is just different between the two. In any case grain is not bad. It's part of what makes film special, and I loved the look of the Ilford grain.
Kodak BW400CN

Ilford Delta 400

   I am not disappointed with the film in the least. In fact from now on whenever I get the itch to shoot film again, I will definitely grab a few more rolls of Ilford. It just performs really well. 

   What I will NEVER do again is send my film off to a lab. I thought, since I don't have the chemicals or equipment readily available, I'd just send it off to a lab to be processed. My thinking was, yeah I may pay a little extra and it will take them a bit longer than it would take me, but so what? It's the convenience. I was wrong. It was just downright painful.

   It took them 3 weeks to develop the film (where it would have taken me....30 minutes?) and I ended up paying over $60 for high res scans and slow processing! For $60 I could have just bought all the chemicals and developed all the rolls I have laying around that I shot a long time ago! This was completely ridiculous I thought. It's no wonder film is fading away. It pains me to say that but no one wants to do this any longer. We know that with film you must be patient. But $60 and a 3 week wait? Yeah... I don't think so. From now on I will just develop my own film and take them to a lab for scans.

   Anyways I am happy with the results of the Ilford 400 film stock so far. I haven't used the roll of 3200 yet, and I am dying to get my hands on their Ilford 50. I really like that Ilford is keeping traditional B&W film going. It's a bold move, and one that many photographers appreciate I am sure. I know I appreciate it. Hopefully this will be another film stock that finds its way into my bag too often. I won't really know until I shoot a bit more with it, but so far I like it! Tell me what you think.