'The Gallery', Sheffield

Kentmere 400

A Cheaper Black and White

Another day, another roll of film (two months after loading it…), and this time I tried out Kentmere 400, a cheaper alternative black and white film, using my Voigtländer VF135. I took the camera with me on a trip to Copenhagen, after deliberating for an entire blog post, and shot the rest of the frames out and around Sheffield. First impressions – I’m a fan. Now to the photos…

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Christmas Markets, Copenhagen
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Kastellet Windmill, Copenhagen

The Film

I chose Kentmere for my next test of b&w as a cheaper alternative to Ilford films, after trying and liking the look of HP5+. This seemed a promising move as Kentmere are owned by Harman Technology, the owners of Ilford Photo. Compared to HP5+. Kentmere has a much less noticeable grain and less contrast, but still gives some great tones whatever the lighting; lower contrast could be down to the VF135 underexposing in low light, as it only stops down to 1/30th at f/2.3. For £2 less per roll, it’s a great choice, and I personally prefer it. A little tweaking of contrast and levels to taste, and it can really give you some great results.

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Christmas Choir, Copenhagen
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‘Department Store Jazz’, Copenhagen
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‘Don’t Look Down’, Copenhagen

Developing

For this batch of film I tried out Harrison’s Cameras, Sheffield, and they sent the b&w roll off to Peak Imaging for processing. Scans came back at around 2MP for b&w, which is okay for general use, although I’ll have to see how it looks flatbed scanning it myself for future, for skintness purposes.

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‘Pre-Exam Huddle’, Hillsborough Stadium, Sheffield
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Patrick Downie, Sheffield

The Camera

I have to admit, the most surprising part of this roll has to be the camera. I’m still amazed the results you can get from a little £5 charity shop find. I’ll have to start using it more, as long as I can remember to focus the bloody thing (see review on that one).

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‘Exploring & Snapping’, Sheffield
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‘Broken Windows’, Sheffield
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‘The Gallery’. Sheffield
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‘Through the Wires’, Sheffield
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‘Happy Staff’, Ink & Water, Sheffield

Winding Up…

I like black and white. I like Kentmere 400. I like the VF135. Happy days.

For around £3.50 a roll it works out at about 25p per photo using a professional developer (at a somehow heart-attack-inducing £9/roll for me), or just 9p if you’re able and brave enough to go it alone. Hopefully I can manage that soon then, because I want to shoot more of this stuff. And I want to shoot it cheap. Poundland cheap.

//DC

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