Both 35mm and 120 film are important to me, and I have been lucky enough to try a large number of different B&W and colour films. So what do I prefer to shoot and and why? Is there a particular reason I tend not to use certain films as much in my work?
My favourite B&W films I have tried so far are:
JCH Street Pan
When it comes to Tri-X, it is difficult to go wrong. It looks great, is easy to shoot, and you get consistent and great results. Tri-X was always my go-to film when wanting to shoot film at 1600 asa. The grain structure is lovely, and it scans well. What about the whole Tri-X vs HP5 thing? I am not a fan of HP5. I have shot it a number of times, and although it's not a bad film, I have struggled to get results I like. Tri-X will always triumph over HP5 for me.
Bergger Pancro is a cool film. You get contrasty results, with good acuity and sharpness/pop. This film is best shot at 400asa, but gives a really retro/ old school look when pushed to 800 or 1600. It is probably my most shot B&W film along with Tri-X.
JCH Street Pan 400 is a film I love using on the grey winter worn streets of London. This film is very contrasty, and is made to be pushed or pulled. It looks great when pushed to 1600, but I prefer pushing it to 800. The down side is, if you have a lens with great micro-contrast (ala Yashica ML 50mm F1.4), then the results won't be as good as you tend to find with those sort of lenses. I think this is down to the high contrast of the film. That isn't to say you can't do it, but why waste a nice expensive film by not being able to utilise its strengths?
My favourite colour/C41 films are:
Fujifilm Pro 400H
Portra is just a lovely film full stop. I can push this film to 800/1600 all day, and love the results. This film tends to yield ideal colour results at 400asa, but when pushed can give a grainier, more street friendly aesthetic. It also converts well to B&W once scanned. You can't go wrong with this film, save that it can get expensive to buy.
Fujifilm Pro 400H. This is a film I 'discovered' by accident. Having nothing to shoot for my medium format camera, and being fairly skint at the time and needed to cheaply process C41 film, I bought two rolls. I have to say, I love the look and feel of this film when pushed. It washes the colours out, adds a bit of grain, and is very welcoming to green and blue colours. A different flavour to Portra, this film offers me a lovely alternative when needing to shoot colour.
Ilford XP2 is an interesting one. Technically a c41 film designed to yield black & white results, this film is cheap, quick, and easy to process. I usually use this film to test a new lens or camera, but to say that it is for people new to B&W or for testing alone would be unfair to Ilford. This is a great film, and you can get some really interesting results with it. I tend to find that this film is very consistent in results, and works well when it has snowed or with lenses with a number of different issues. There will always be a place for XP2 in my film box.
Why is Ektar 100 not on this list? Simply put, although I have enjoyed shooting Ektar in the past, the results aren't something that speak to me personally. A great film, and certainly has its place, but for my street photography it just doesn't FEEL right.
Anywho, just a quick one. Signing off from Milton Keynes tonight - Sly!