The Sorcery Of Ilford XP2 Super

For as long as I’ve been shooting black and white film, I never gave much thought to Ilford XP2 Super.

I had seen some nice work done with it, so it’s not like I had a negative impression of its quality but I just figured that a chromogenic black and white film (meaning it can be developed in chemicals for color film) was nothing more than a convenience for people who didn’t have a way of getting “true” black and white film developed.

Obviously, that was a shortsighted view. People apparently use this film because it’s actually good (and also convenient if you don’t have a way of getting true black and white film developed). I began to think I should give it a try.

Enter Colin Bloodworth.

I follow Colin on Instagram and YouTube. Aside from just being a great dude, he produces some incredible videos centered around his film photography.

One of the first videos of Colin’s that I watched featured him shooting a roll of Ilford XP2 Super in his Canonet 28. I was impressed with his results and decided I was going to pick up a roll for myself.

It took me two months, but I finally got around to it.

So, here’s my “review” of Ilford XP2 Super.

I like it.

I like it much more than I expected to. One of the wonderful features of the film is that, despite a box speed of 400, XP2 Super can be shot between 50 and 800 ISO…on the same roll!

Awesome sorcery (actually science).

I didn’t do the whole variable ISO thing, however. I shot my roll at 200 (Minolta Hi-Matic AF2) on a partly sunny day and was quite happy with the contrast. When it comes to black and white film, contrast is the first thing I look at when deciding if I’ll use it again.

I will definitely use XP2 again.

It’s also sharp and fine-grained — if you’re into those things. It also dries flat. I’m very much into that.

Did I mention XP2 Super is chromogenic? I developed my roll of XP2 in tandem with a roll of Kodak UltraMax 400. 

Awesome sorcery (actually science).

Thanks for the inspiration, Colin.

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