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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on February 11, 2010
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I have to admit I'm not shooting film the way I used to. However, when I do shoot film, I reach for Ilford XP-2, which is a black-and-white film that can be processed by "standard" C-41 processors (same as any color negative film, such as Kodak MAX, etc.). Translation: the film is black and white, but you don't have to take it to a special lab to get it developed and printed.

(I actually try to get it printed on B&W paper to avoid possible "sepia" tones; that is, on regular color paper there is sometimes an orange or green tint to the print. This is certainly not a big deal for 4x6 prints, but if you intend to enlarge and frame a nice shot, go ahead and splurge for true B&W paper.)

The film is sharp with a nice-looking fine grain structure.

Technical detail: I overexpose it by 2/3 of a stop (that is, I force the ISO to be 250 instead of 400), since it's typically much easier to correct for overexposure at printing than to make up for underexposure. (The lost wonders of film!)

I feel like this review is probably five or maybe even ten years too late, but for anyone still looking at such things, XP-2 is a great way to get your feet wet with the look and feel of black-and-white film without shelling out big(ger) bucks to get it developed in "true" B&W chemistry. Have fun while this is still available!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on March 2, 2013
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I love this film. I could go on and on about it, but this fellow does a much better job of that: theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2012/10/how-to-shoot-ilford-xp2-super.html

Bottom line is that it's a great B&W film that you can process on a regular color film processor at CVS, Target, Costco, etc. I highly recommend Costco who will develop a 36-exposure roll and scan at very high quality to CD for cheap.

For best results, expose to the right, meaning take care not to underexpose this film. Set your camera to ISO 200 or 250 even though the film is rated 400, and the results are really excellent.

An example shot of mine with this film: farm3.staticflickr.com/2054/2204085304_bd95152a4f_b.jpg

Addendum - I tried the Kodak alternative and didn't like it as much. Seemed washed out by comparison.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 13, 2012
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I've used the Kodak BW400CN and XP2, and after many rolls I give the nod to XP2. Yes, the mask is slightly purple-ish. Since it's negative film, inverting the image makes the film mask light yellow. However, none of this matters since it's all removed when you convert your scan to B&W. Not sure regarding the high contrast issue, my scans need a lot of levels and contrast boost adjust in PS. I get plenty of detail, a small amount of 400 speed grain, and I like it.

Tip that I didn't invent: scan as a positive with all adjustments turned off in your scanner. Setting black and white points (or levels) with some headroom above and below is OK, but nothing else. Import to PS, then either invert or desaturate, or use monochrome setting in color channels, and adjust the saturation of each separately for results. Don't know WTH I'm talking about? Then get and read Black and White in Photoshop CS4 and Photoshop Lightroom: A complete integrated workflow solution for creating stunning monochromatic images in Photoshop CS4, Photoshop Lightroom, and beyond
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 11, 2012
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I love this film. I have recently decided to get back to shooting film and this particular film has not disappointed yet. It is sharp and contrasty and delivers a nice mix of smooth tones for people and sharp grain structure. I have also been really happy with the ability to push this film. Shooting much higher than 400, I've gotten decent results (not amazing, but passable). I say this with the caveat, though, that I have only used a real pro lab to process and print my film, just because I am wary about what smaller labs like walgreens (just because my results from them have been kind of crappy-looking.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 2013
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ILFORD XP2 PROVIDES A BLACK AND WHITE LOOK THAT IS IMITATED BY DIRECT DIGITAL CAPTURE BUT NOT DUPLICATED. THE "DEPTH" AND GRADATION FROM HIGHLIGHT TO SHADOW IS VERY PLEASING (AND HAS BEEN FOR 30 YEARS) AND DOES NOT "BURN OUT" AS SILVER BASED FILMS TEND TO DO WITH SLIGHT OVER EXPOSURE. UNDER EXPOSURE IS ALSO FORGIVING WITH THIS FILM PROVIDING A WIDER RANGE OF PLEASING EXPOSURES UNDER WIDLY VARYING LIGHTING CONDITIONS. I HAVE ALWAYS USED THIS FILM WITH NIKON FM SERIES BODIES FOR MORE DIRECT EXPOSURE CONTROL. IF YOUR VISION REQUIRES BLACK AND WHITE FILM, GIVE THIS EMULSION A TRY...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 16, 2014
Verified Purchase
Best film I've used, hands down. Shot with a Nikkormat Ftn using a 55mm f/3.5 macro, 17-28 f/4 wide, 35-70 f/3.5 and 50mm f/1.8.
Check out some of my photos here:

[...]
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 18, 2013
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I picked up this film because I was getting impatient (and broke) from dropping Ilford's regular B&W film off at specialty camera stores for 48-72 hour development. I am just starting getting into rangefinder photography and love B&W film because it's forgiving if I don't have my settings just right.

I have yet to get one photo of true black and white colors with this film. That may be my camera settings, but it also may be the film (hence the 4 not 5 stars). The photo's come out a darker "sepia" color, which is still great. They aren't grainy, and very detailed. I plan on using this in regular rotation in my Zorki 4!
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2011
Okay, I have to admit to being a bit disappointed. This film definitely does interesting things in low light, lots of contrast, very dramatic. But outdoors, it's just plain weak. The contrast is too high even in good light. It works well for low-light band photography, very artsy. It just plain looks fuzzy in well-lit scenarios. Kodak BW400CN is, in my opinion, a MUCH better film and the grain is many times smaller. Also, they should call it "Purple & White" not Black and White, since the emulsion and film is quite cyanotic. I have no idea what that would do in a traditional enlarger, this film is probably made for scanning. Again, if you're going to do low-light band photography, this stuff does cool things. I can't think of any other use for it, myself. I'll be sticking to the Kodak BW400CN from now on.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 21, 2013
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It's Ilford, they make great film!
It's C41 process, That means just about any Walgreen's can develop it in an hour.
It's black and white,.. 400. Perfect ISO for everything.

Google search it and look at the images, then come back and buy it.
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on September 25, 2013
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I use this film in a Leica M6 body and I couldn't be happier. It's a fairly high contrast film compared to a lot of other b&w films and I love the look. Presumably this film doesn't hold up long after processing, but for me it's not an issue. My workflow for this film is as follows: I have it developed at the local 1 hour place and then almost immediately scan it on a Canon 9000F Mk2 at 4800 dpi to .tif files and then the film goes in the trash. From here I clean up any obvious imperfections that the scanner software missed in Photoshop before importing to Lightroom where I treat the images as I would any other. The .tif files give some room for adjusting exposure in Lightroom, which is a big plus. Prints, if they happen at all, come from a Canon Pixma PRO-100 and I'm in no way disappointed with the results.

Admittedly my workflow is a little out of the ordinary, but this film is far and away the best that I've found for the way I like to work. I love the high contrast images. I love that I can overexpose this film quite a bit with no overtly negative ramifications. I'm now at the point where I use this stuff almost exclusively and only stick something else in the camera when I run out. I'm extremely pleased.
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