View Full Version : Transitioning to Ilford

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08-03-2011, 12:05 PM
I know it's a lot easier to complain than praise online. I thought I'd take some time to offer praise, backed by money spent.

The time that Simon Galley takes to communicate with his customers here has impressed upon me the sort of values that I'd like to see in the companies that I do business with. To that end, I've begun transitioning key consumables in my workflow to Ilford products. This isn't meant to bash any of the products that I am transitioning from, which are all good products, but I don't feel confident that they will be around for long.

I picked up some Ilford Ilfosol 3 developer and Ilford Rapid Fixer today. Still have quite a bit of Tri-X in the freezer but when that is gone, I'll evaluate the Ilford products and very likely end up making a full commitment to one of the products I test from Ilford's lineup.

Your products aren't exactly the most value-priced over here, to be honest, but I don't want to have to change film emulsions every couple of years and you have impressed upon me that you're in it for the long haul, and that any product I standardize on today will probably still be available for the foreseeable future.

08-03-2011, 12:33 PM
Seems like every 3 years I transition to Ilford products. I'm no fan of Kodak, but Tmax film and Tmax developer are so good I keep coming back.

08-03-2011, 12:41 PM
The great thing about Ilford is their products are available across all formats. I'll have no problem when I have to, for example, shoot HP5 in everything. I love TMY, but it's not available in 8x10 anymore. Tri-X isn't available in sheets at all.

But then again Ilford doesn't make color film...

Jeff Kubach
08-03-2011, 12:46 PM
I like Ilford, I use other stuff , but still like Ilford!.


Colin Corneau
08-03-2011, 01:04 PM
I like the 'values' angle, too. Simon has been terrific here on APUG and that says something about Ilford.

I use some other films here and there but Ilford is the mainstay. Quality is never ever an issue and I do like the idea that they are committed to the long haul.

08-03-2011, 01:04 PM
Same here. I tried, on recommendation from a shop, fp4+ for the first time in several years, and I had completely forgot how freakin' good it is. It will be my slow speed film from now on.

08-03-2011, 01:15 PM
...I love TMY, but it's not available in 8x10 anymore. Tri-X isn't available in sheets at all...

Canham had a special order for TMY2 8x10 a few months ago, and I have a dozen boxes in the freezer.

He is trying to get an order together for 5x7 as well, but not as many folks are jumping in on that size.

Jeff Kubach
08-03-2011, 01:23 PM
Fp4t is a great film but so is Acros Neopan 100.


08-03-2011, 01:44 PM
Your products aren't exactly the most value-priced over here, to be honest

Ha. Try buying the same stuff in England. Sometimes it would be cheaper to reimport it from the USA.

Peter Schrager
08-04-2011, 01:42 PM
yes-kodak makes the best film ever and then goes and shoots themselves in the foot....TMY2 should be available in all sizes...I'm using FP4 for my whole plate camera and like it very much....
Tri-x not available in sheet size?? you had better recheck your info...
have a great day...Peter

08-07-2011, 05:07 PM
Well I tried some Delta 400 in Ilfosol 3 (1+9), 7 minutes at 20C with three gentle inversions every minute. It didn't grab my eyeballs like the same film in Rodinal 1:50. Perhaps some more experimentation is called for.

08-07-2011, 05:42 PM
I did the same about five years ago, and for similar reasons. Now I have mostly come back to Kodak because Ilford's prices simply got too high for me, and they did it really quickly. The paper and chemicals are particularly ridiculous in price. While other brands of paper such as Oriental have gone up maybe 5 to 10 percent in the past five years, Ilford's have gone up about 30 or 40 percent in the same time period. And I cannot argue with Arista Premium while it lasts. I still shoot Delta 3200 and from time to time SFX, because there are no equivalent products from other manufacturers. But for paper, chemicals, and other films, I use Kodak, Efke, Adox, Oriental, Fotokemika, etc. Principle can only be taken to the point of affordability in my case. And Kodak films are so outstanding...and Ilford's papers so bland in my eyes, compared to all the others out there (and for significantly less money).

Kodak Flexicolor Fixer is so cheap that – as long as it is being made – buying any other general-purpose fixer makes no sense to me. It's about $10 for 5 gallons worth of the stuff (film dilution) cannot be beat unless you are mixing from powders. How much Ilford fixer does one get for about $10? 20 percent as much. Ridiculous!

Apparently Ilford needs the money badly (poor sales, maybe?), and/or they are trying to position themselves as "The Luxury Photo Supplies Brand" simply by inflating prices. In the latter case, I think they are jumping the gun. The market is not quite to the point where film is a boutique item.

08-07-2011, 05:46 PM

Hopefully I can link to that image without too much trouble. That should explain a lot about what's going on with B&W film prices now. Those who haven't jacked it up yet will be once they have to buy more silver.

08-07-2011, 05:48 PM
If that was the only reason for Ilford's price increases, then the percentages of price rises should be similar to other manufacturers. But see my comment above. Their price rises in the past five years on paper are at least 4x the rises of my favorite competitor, Oriental. And it is NOT just products containing silver. Chemicals have gone up significantly, and the price of silver should have no effect on that. Some possible explanations floating around in my mind are as stated above: the business is suffering badly and they have figured that these are the prices they need to charge to stay afloat, or it is a premature attempt at positioning themselves for an "elite" group of film users.

08-07-2011, 05:49 PM
Well I tried some Delta 400 in Ilfosol 3 (1+9), 7 minutes at 20C with three gentle inversions every minute. It didn't grab my eyeballs like the same film in Rodinal 1:50. Perhaps some more experimentation is called for.

Well of course more experimentation is called for. :D

Just checked the Ilford data sheet and unless you shot it at about EI 250 or so I think you probably under developed it.

Have you tried Delta 100?

08-07-2011, 05:53 PM
I pulled the 7m figure from the Massive Dev Chart as a starting point. I suppose that since I was using Ilford film & developer, I would have had better luck starting with their data sheet. Lesson learned? Maybe.

I've worked with Delta 100 in Rodinal before and was pretty happy with it. Though honestly unless I'm doing a portrait or fashion shoot with my monolights, chances are I'll be shooting in anything from overcast to dark indoor conditions (bars & night clubs). So I had been using Tri-X for everything from EI 200-3200.

08-07-2011, 06:40 PM
I actually have had great luck with Delta 400 over the whole range you have been using Tri-X for.

With an incident meter I normally shoot at box speed and develop with DD-X per ilford instructions and print at grade 2.

08-07-2011, 07:32 PM
Thanks for the pointers. I know this film can do better, based on previous experience using it with Rodinal. I'll try some DD-X next time I stop at the local camera shop.

08-07-2011, 07:36 PM
One way to never be able to get the same results twice, be they good or bad, is to constantly be switching films and developers. Pick a few things and stick with them until they are nailed down, IMO. There isn't much one cannot do with a simple general purpose developer like ID-11, Ilfotec HC, or DD-X. But always switching from one to the other simply because your last roll didn't turn out well will not serve you well. There is nothing wrong with any of these developers, or any of Ilford's films, that will cause bad results related directly to the materials. Metering, developing, and printing are the likely issues that cause people to say they dislike a film or developer. But most developers and films are very general-purpose oriented, and with diligent technique and trial and error, any combination of standard film and standard developer can produce results that are great. We each just need to put in the time to learn how to work with them.

08-07-2011, 07:41 PM
I'm not hopping around. I've been using Tri-X and Rodinal. I'm transitioning to Ilford products with the intention of finding my new standard film & developer. That rather calls for a bit of experimentation.