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My First Roll Of Ilford XP2 Super 400 Black and White 35mm Film

Church, Elson Rd, Gosport

Look at it large.

I have a strong attachment to film photography with 35mm SLR's. It could be the story that my Dad told me a few years ago about a "lost" birthday present. Back in the early eighties when I was a kid we lived in Hong Kong, and I liked using my Dads Peafowl Chinese SLR, so for my birthday, my parents got me a very nice Minolta Film SLR. Unfortunately the camera got left in a taxi, and I never got to see it, but sometimes I wonder what might have happened if I'd gotten into photography at that early age instead of now, when I'm pushing forty.

Anyhow, last week I finished my first roll of Ilford XP2 Super 400 black and white film, shot using my Canon 50e slr. One of the problems with shooting 35mm is film is that you have to get it developed, and unless you want to invest in a dark room or chemicals, you'll have to rely on your local film processor, which probably only does colour film.

However, if you really want to shoot black and white 35mm film, c41 process Black and White films like Ilfords Super 400, offers an answer. C41 is the name of the process used to develop colour film, and Ilford Super 400 is a black and white film that can be developed using that c41 process, so it offers the opportunity for everybody to try black and white easily, and importantly, cheaply.

Forton Lake Bridge

I had this first roll developed at our local Asda, and I have to say that they made a mess of the prints. Apparently Asda will be getting rid of their Film Processors soon, and it looks like they haven't cleaned them for a while. I had to do quite a lot of cloning and healing on the digitised prints, so next time I'll take them somewhere else, probably Boots.

Mason Repairing Window

The Ilford XP2 is rated at 400 ASA, so it's pretty sensitive to light, and in the film world that means a grainy look. I picked up three rolls from Boots for under a tenner, but if you haven't got a local photo store there's plenty on offer at eBay or other online retailers.

Flower Close-Up (2)

VIew Towards Holy Trinity Church

So what's the wait? Grab a 35mm film camera, get yourself some Ilford XP2, and get shooting black and white!

Cheers, Rob.

Reader Comments (5)

Hi Rob, the photos look great...I do like the tonal qualities of B&W film, and of course the grain. I somehow missed ordering the XP2...instead I hope to process soon my first roll of Neopan 400CN and Kodak 400CN. by the way, did you have the negs scanned at ASDA?


May 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMozuk

Yes, I used Asda to scan the negatives, but never again!

May 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRob_Nunn

Hi, I picked up a Minolta Maxium 7000 on ebay the other week and got a Ilford XP2 400, I haven't used a film camera in a very long time and when I got my first film developed they all turned out black! apart from the silhouettes. To say I was disappointed was an understatement, but looking at your pics has encouraged me to pickup another film tomorrow and give it another shot (excuse the pun). You got any advice?


September 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBarry

Hi Barry,

Check that your battery is new, and I'd put the camera in shutter priority mode (without film in it), and cycle through the speeds, firing the shutter, starting at 1 sec and then get faster. Is the shutter speed changing? Then go to aperture priority and cycle through the apertures, firing the shutter, can you see the hole changing size? If it looks like the metering isn't working, maybe go manual and just use the sunny 16 rule when shooting photos outside, or get a meter.

Good luck, Rob.

September 10, 2011 | Registered CommenterRob_Nunn

Have not tryed the llford film yet but am going to get a few rolls to try. At the present time I am using Kodak Professional BW400CN black and white film, (On sale at BOOTS for £4.12) it's cheaper than llford and is also C41 process.
The results are great hardly any grain and the contrast is great to.
BTW loved your 2 photo's with the bridges.



September 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMr Wynn

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