Oh, Ilford SFX 200, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
Ok, I’m not going to actually count the ways. Just know that I do love this quasi-infrared black and white film. SFX 200 often comes up in conversations about infrared film and almost just as frequently gets labeled as such, but this isn’t a true IR film nor is it advertised by Ilford as being one. SFX has an “extended red sensitivity” which can sort of mimic the look of IR film, especially if you use a red filter.
I recently loaded a roll into my Bronica SQ-A and hit the Conservatory Garden in Central Park on a mostly cloudy spring day. Though I typically prefer to use the waist level finder with my Bronica, I decided to pull out the prism finder, which has a built-in light meter. I’ve discovered the meter tends to overexpose a bit, which really isn’t a problem; in fact, in this case, I’m quite happy it works the way it does. I don’t currently have a red filter, but I think that touch of overexposure kind of sort of contributes to the faux IR look.
I shot the roll of 120 film at box speed (ASA 200). Nice contrast, fine grain, high sharpness. To be sure, I don’t see Ilford SFX 200 as an all-purpose black and white film, though it certainly has applications beyond landscapes/foliage. I image it could make for some intriguing portraiture. Maybe I’ll dedicate my next roll to that idea. For now, have a look at a few selections from my Central Park outing.
Be sure to check out my Film Photography Archive to see examples of various film stocks.