'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…

Christmas Markets, Copenhagen
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.

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


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.

‘Pre-Exam Huddle’, Hillsborough Stadium, Sheffield
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).

‘Exploring & Snapping’, Sheffield
‘Broken Windows’, Sheffield
‘The Gallery’. Sheffield
‘Through the Wires’, Sheffield
‘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.



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