Ilford black-and-white photographic film.

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ChrisGreaves
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Ilford black-and-white photographic film.

Post by ChrisGreaves »

Coming as I did from a gold-mining town, in 1962 I was impressed with a footnote in our high-school chemistry text book that said the Kodak plant in Rochester New York (could have been on Mars for all a Perth high school student knew) used thirteen tons of silver per day. Thirteen tons! To make Silver Nitrate, for that, we knew was used to catch coin thieves amongst the 1,700 students in the high school, and was also used in photographic film.

So there I was listening to A.A. Milne’s “Not That It Matters (1919)” and around item 35 was an essay quoting Ilfracombe, which I thought was where photographic film was made. Wrong! “Ilford” is the film and it is made at Mobberly, just fifteen kilometres from where I lived as a very small child.

There is a YouTube video here

Not until after my trip to watch the Kodak plant being demolished did it dawn on me that the same plant processed the film and most likely reclaimed the Ag from the AgNO3. So yes, the plant “went through” thirteen tons of silver per day, but it probably took in twelve and a half tons in the form of silver-nitrate exposed on film.

So to all you keen photographers using film:
    (1) Do you use black-and-white film at all?
    (2) Do you use Ilford film?

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Chris
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Re: Ilford black-and-white photographic film.

Post by StuartR »

I live very near Ilford. When I was at school, I went to the factory in Ilford to buy photographic plates for making holograms.

https://analoguewonderland.co.uk/blogs/ ... lford-film
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Re: Ilford black-and-white photgraphic film.

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ChrisGreaves wrote:
19 Dec 2021, 15:12
...
So to all you keen photographers using film:
    (1) Do you use black-and-white film at all?
    (2) Do you use Ilford film?
...
Both your questions are posed in the present tense so my answer to both is, no.

In the past, I used film from 1971 until 2011 but in all that time I think I only ever used B&W film once or twice. I can't remember the brand but it's highly likely it would have been a film made by Ilford.

Ken
EDITED TO ADD:
I can't see me ever using film ever again, especially as with digital is is easy to emulate film, this one mimics Ilford FP4 Plus 125
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Re: Ilford black-and-white photographic film.

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Many years ago, yes, I used B&W film. Mostly I used Kodak film but dabbled with Ilford film and paper. I think it did a better job delineating the 10-step gray (grey?) scale than did Kodak's film.
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Re: Ilford black-and-white photographic film.

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(1) I did.
(2) I did.

in the '80s.
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Re: Ilford black-and-white photographic film.

Post by GeoffW »

StuartR wrote:
19 Dec 2021, 15:41
I live very near Ilford.
Come and say hello.
Ilford

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Re: Ilford black-and-white photographic film.

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:wave:

Hello Geoff.
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Re: Ilford black-and-white photographic film.

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GeoffW wrote:
19 Dec 2021, 22:03
Come and say hello.
Due west of Toronto, right?
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Re: Ilford black-and-white photographic film.

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ChrisGreaves wrote:
19 Dec 2021, 23:44
Due west of Toronto, right?
Yup.

And in several weeks I'll be moving NE from Toronto.

To Cardiff.

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Re: Ilford black-and-white photgraphic film.

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stuck wrote:
19 Dec 2021, 16:26
Both your questions are posed in the present tense so my answer to both is, no.
Hi Ken. You have, as usual interpreted my comments correctly.
My first camera (1959?) had B&W film and even after colour film became available, B&W was chosen for the cheapness of its processing.
In the past, I used film from 1971 until 2011 but in all that time I think I only ever used B&W film once or twice. I can't remember the brand but it's highly likely it would have been a film made by Ilford.
Ilford was available in Western Australia, that region being strongly "Anglo" back then; there would have been a demand for "proper" film, made in England, not "that American rubbish".
I can't see me ever using film ever again, especially as with digital is is easy to emulate film, this one mimics Ilford FP4 Plus 125
Now this puzzles me. I think by emulation (close to emulsify, no?) you refer to the ability to select different logical filters such as 'Sepia", "B&W" and the like on a digital camera/smartphone. But then you include "FP4 Plus 125" as if this bestowed a rather special B&W effect.
I have thought of digital B&W (and Sepia) as being just a careful filtering of the colour pixels to produce pixelated colour only in the white-gray-black scale.
Untitled.png
As can be done in MSPaint.
OK. I see that there are three more parameters besides the R, G, and B values, but all six are digital parameters.
Is there some especial significance to a digital interpretation of " Ilford FP4 Plus 125" B&W film rather than just " Ilford" B&W film?

My other puzzling thought is that I understand "film" to be a coated surface holding molecular grains of silver nitrate, so that the processed film provides detail at the molecular level, whereas digital cameras sense light many orders of magnitude above this. Film then provides a much finer resolution of light values than can digital.
That reasoning has always made me believe that digital cameras deliver, to a professional photographer, clunky approximations to the truth. Digital cameras approximate the true image whereas film cameras deliver the truth.

But perhaps you meant something else altogether.
My interpretation can be shaky!
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Chris
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Re: Ilford black-and-white photographic film.

Post by ChrisGreaves »

BobH wrote:
19 Dec 2021, 18:57
Many years ago, yes, I used B&W film. Mostly I used Kodak film but dabbled with Ilford film and paper. I think it did a better job delineating the 10-step gray (grey?) scale than did Kodak's film.
Hi Bob, but please see my "puzzle" comments in response to Ken.

When you say " a better job delineating the 10-step gray (grey?) scale" how did you measure, detect, or know it to be better? I can accept that selecting and printing a small area of an image and 'blowing it up" and printing would be the old trick of showing a newspaper photo in all its pixelated glory. That is, the newspaper B&W image was shown to be a collection of black dots of varying diameter.
But we can usually see that with a drugstore magnifying glass; no mystery there.

Stated crudely,
(1) "What made Bob think that Ilford was "better than" Kodak? and
(2) Was the test being made at the level of human eyesight, or at some more detailed (technical) level? I assume that you did not have access to electron microscopes.


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Re: Ilford black-and-white photographic film.

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GeoffW wrote:
20 Dec 2021, 02:37
To Cardiff.

Get OUT! Just 10 Km WSW from my first job, and not 5 Km west from my first residence for my first posting! You will travel north to holiday in Wallsend or Gateshead?
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Re: Ilford black-and-white photographic film.

Post by GeoffW »

ChrisGreaves wrote:
20 Dec 2021, 12:08
Get OUT!
We haven't even arrived there yet, and you want me to get out!

For those following our international destinations, Toronto and Cardiff are both in Newcastle environs. In South Wales (New).

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Re: Ilford black-and-white photographic film.

Post by ChrisGreaves »

GeoffW wrote:
20 Dec 2021, 12:23
We haven't even arrived there yet, and you want me to get out!
Of course I want you to get out.
I want only the best for you, Geoff.
Besides which, I drove through Cardiff once and it rained the entire time I was there; didn't stop.
When you land at St John's, get a $30 flat-rate cab to Enterprise Car Rentals on Kenmount Road, ask them to point you to the Trans-Canada-Highway, and tell the removal truck to follow you. Two hours to Clarenville then hang a right. Stop and phone me when you see the two water towers. If you leave it too late, you will have to stop and phone me when you see the one remaining water tower.
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Re: Ilford black-and-white photgraphic film.

Post by stuck »

ChrisGreaves wrote:
20 Dec 2021, 11:51
...emulation...
Emulate = mimic.

The light sensitive emulsion of every film, B&W or colour, has it's own characteristic response to light so every film has it's own characteristic 'look and feel' when developed and printed. And that's even before you get into tweaking the chemistry used to develop and the lighting used to produce the final print.

Modern photo editing software (NB MS Paint is not a photo editing application) allows the user to create an image that mimics the innate characteristics of the emulsion of a film, as well as the myriad of darkroom chemistry / lighting effects.

In this case I used software called 'Silver Efex Pro 2' to apply, by selecting from a drop down list, a bunch of edits that give the end result of a B&W photo taken on Ilford's 'FP4 Plus 125' film. I could have just as easily picked 'Ilford PAN F Plus 50', etc. The drop down has a huge range of film types to choose from, and not just ones made by Ilford.

Ken

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Re: Ilford black-and-white photgraphic film.

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ChrisGreaves wrote:
20 Dec 2021, 11:51
...Film then provides a much finer resolution of light values than can digital...
No, that's not been true for a long time now.

The amount of fine detail, i.e. the resolution, that a film can capture is determined by the size / number of the light sensitive particles in the emulsion. The smaller those particles are the finer the detail you can see when an image is enlarged.

The amount of detail, i.e. the resolution, that a digital sensor can capture is determined by the size / number of pixels on the sensor. It's a bit of an over simplification but digital SLR cameras began to have better resolution that film once the sensors got to over 7 megapixels (MP). My first DSLR had a 10.1 MP sensor. My current one has a 32.5 MP sensor.

Again it's an over simplification but the 'dynamic range' of film, i.e. the range of the minimum amount of light needed before the film captures something to the maximum amount of light that overexposes the film is also usually less than that of a modern digital sensor.

If you want a good starting point on digital photography try these tutorials:
    https://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials.htm

Ken

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Re: Ilford black-and-white photographic film.

Post by BobH »

Mr. Greaves, I don't want to disappoint nor undo your (erroneous) impression that film is a 'true' image. Look up "circles of confusion" in photography and apply it to film photography. While I don't know it to be true - and lack any means of scientific comparison - I suspect that the circles of confusion associated with digital photography might be a lesser problem.

As for Ilford film rendering B&W 'better', it is simply an empirical observation. Perhaps it was somewhat less confused in its own circles.
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Re: Ilford black-and-white photographic film.

Post by stuck »

BobH wrote:
20 Dec 2021, 19:03
...I suspect that the circles of confusion associated with digital photography might be a lesser problem...
No, circles of confusion / depth of field is a property of lenses:
    https://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutor ... -field.htm

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Re: Ilford black-and-white photographic film.

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Of course. I stand sit corrected.
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Re: Ilford black-and-white photographic film.

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Good optics are the reason why photographers often say, "Date the body, marry the glass."