I have a thing for pushing b&w film. I don’t remember the last time I shot a roll of b&w film at its box speed. Maybe it’s because I like using film at home with my family and iso 400 doesn’t always cut it, or maybe it’s because the inherent need to experiment when pushing film.
I have been exclusively shooting Kentmere 400 for the last few months (35mm). Kentmere is manufactured by Harman Technology in the UK. Harman also manufactures Ilford films, including my favorite, HP5+. It is sold as a budget-friendly iso400 film, which can offer even bigger cost savings if purchased in bulk and loaded into re-usable canisters as I am currently doing.
Recently I’ve been shooting more 35mm because of some new (to me) cameras that I’ve gotten my hands on. I pushed my first roll of K400 a few weeks ago and was pleasantly surprised by the results. I wasn’t expecting much, but under even lighting conditions, the film seems to do great. I rated the film at iso3200 and developed in Xtol 1:1 for 22.5 minutes.
The first two shots were taken with a Minolta SRT 201 with a 50mmm f1.7, while the last photo (of the aforementioned Minolta) was taken with a Nikon FE with a Sigma 28mm f2.8 Macro.
35mm typically doesn’t lend well to pushing due to the grain size. The real hero here is the developer that I used. Kodak’s Xtol seems to do the trick when pushing this film as well as HP5+. I have tried stand developing this film in Adonal/Rodinal with less than ideal results. Xtol is certainly the way to go.
As I slowly run out of the 100ft-roll of Kentmere 400, I’m considering whether it’s worth to “splurge” on a bulk roll of HP5+. With a $20 premium over K400, I might be better off saving that money and spending it on HP5+ in 120 size…decisions decisions.