Black & white ISO 100 films – my picks for 2021

Hey dear readers! I produced a video for my YouTube about the black & white ISO 100 films I’m shooting now (2020 & 2021) … as we analog photographers all know, there’s not a huge choice of “standard” films anymore. (I’m not covering all the re-branded old and/or “creative” or Lomo-style film stock out there.)

Anyway, below there’s my video. And if you scroll further down in this post, you’ll find most of the photos that are shown in the video, and also the “high resolution” samples!

How I scanned the negatives

All these samples were digitalized by using my Fuji X-E3 camera and Olympus OM Zuiko 50/3.5 macro lens. Basically what you do is position your negatives on a light table and then take a digital photo while your camera is mounted on a tripod or repro stand. Then you process the RAW files in the RAW converter of your choice. This method works very well for black & white negatives.

I provide all samples below in 3,240 x 2,160 pixels which is exactly 7 MP. There are a few images that I “scanned” with 6,000 x 4,000 – the full 24 MP resolution of my Fuji. You can find these below, towards the end of this post!

Important note:
Please respect copyright – you’re welcome to download these photos for yourself to check resolution or grain characteristcs of the film.

As I say in my video, scanning negatives always is a bit of a compromise when you really want to determine all the characteristics of analog film. Because the moment you import your scan in your RAW converter, and adjust the blacks, white point, contrast, highlights, shadows, etc. – you inevitably add “your flavor” to the process! Subtle differences in tonality between the different film might get covered up.

On the other hand, if you are an experienced guy in your analog lab, you’d basically do just the same – adjust contrast, etc. to your liking – when you do an analog print of your negatives!

Having said all that, I’m actually surprised how similar the results do look with either of the films – even the budget-oriented, classic emulsion Agfa APX 100 can deliver pretty detailed results. Yes it shows more grain than the super fine-grained films, but judge for yourself if you find that difference important or irrelevant!

Kodak T-Max 100 (35mm)

These shots I took with the Olympus OM-1 and 50/1.8 or 135/3.5 lenses on Kodak T-Max 100 in March 2021:

Ilford Delta 100

I also love shooting Delta 100. In my opinion, it’s very similar to Kodak T-Max 100 though Delta 100 produces just a slightly more “classic” look with a little bit more grain. I also would love Fuji Acros 100 but I prefer to buy my film locally at the last surviving big camera stores – I’m happy that they still offer analog stuff there! – and Acros 100 isn’t available through them at the moment.

Anyway, this set of photos was shot in September 2020 in Tilburg and Cologne on Ilford Delta 100, again using the Olympus OM-1 with 50/1.8 and 135/3.5 lenses:

Note that for long-time night shots, you have to compensate exposure due to the so-called reciprocity failure that is inherent to most analog film. In the case of Ilford Delta 100, when your exposure meter indicates 45 seconds, you have to expose 120 seconds instead! Only very few films don’t suffer from this effect, and one of those is Fuji Acros 100.

Agfa APX 100

This film is one of the “classic” emulsions – as opposed to Delta / T-Max / Acros that all feature those special flat silver crystals for ultra-fine grain. So, Agfa APX 100 is maybe more similar to Ilford FP4+. I don’t shoot the latter anymore, but I sometimes shoot APX 100 cause it is sold in regular drug stores where I live, and it’s also really cheap.

The photos below where made with a Praktica Super TL1000 and Zeiss Jena Tessar 50/2.8 lens, in March 2021 in Cologne:

High-res samples

Here’s a few photos in 6,000 x 4,000 pixel resolution.

Important note:
Please respect copyright – you’re welcome to download these photos for yourself to check resolution or grain characteristcs of the film.

Agfa APX 100

Kodak T-Max 100

At this resolution, you can definitely see that T-Max is finer grained than APX 100. Still, the level of detail that APX 100 provides, is also very good – and note that this film is only half the price of T-Max! (As of the time of this writing: €4.45 vs. €9 per roll.)

Okay, that’s it for this post. Don’t forget to like my YouTube video and also subscribe to my YouTube channel at:

https://youtube.com/tomscameras/

Thanks!

Thomas

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