Second part of my film project is testing B&W film. I decided to use Ilford XP-2 ASA 400 B&W film since it can be developed in any regular color film developer which uses the C-41 development process. It is cheaper and gives me more flexibility of locations to choose for the film development. I used my Canon EOS 500 film camera with this film. At home, I digitized the developed negatives by photographing each of them with my DSLR camera and 1:1 macro lens. I post-processed the RAW files in PS afterwards (reducing noise and adjusting contrast levels).
I chose a variety of architecture, scenery/landscape, and closeup motives. Especially for the landscape photos I added a Wratten #15 yellow filter on top of my lens to increase the contrast of clouds in the sky and to highlight some light green tones from grass and foliage. Part of my photo tour to explore this B&W film led me to the pier in Keyport/NJ where I took infrared (IR) photos last year before hurricane Sandy devastated the NJ coastline. The pier in Keyport was destroyed by Sandy, too. When I came back there in July 2013 to take the B&W film photos, most of the pier was already rebuilt. I walked to the same positions at the pier where I remembered myself being in 2012 and decided to take similar photos at this place. This allows me now to compare the newer film and the older IR photos with each other. As I mentioned in my blog about IR photography earlier, I convert my infrared photos in B&W during post-processing.
The two photos below show the same boat located at the pier - the left photo was taken in infrared in 2012, the right photo with Ilford B&W film in 2013:
As expected, the IR photo shows better contrast and reveals clouds better and more dramatic. The Wratten #15 yellow filter helps to see the cloud structure in the film photo, but a read filter might have been the better choice here, too. The US flag stands out better in the B&W film photo.
The boathouse on the pier was newly re-constructed after Sandy had destroyed it. The left photo in IR shows the old structure, the photo on the right is the new B&W film photo taken one year later with the new house. Main difference is the rooftop and the new ladder:
The IR photos is richer in contrast while the film photo is more evenly leveled. The IR photos were taken with the Canon 14/2.8 L lens on full frame, while the B&W film photos were taken with the 17-40/4 L zoom lens.
The photos below (left in IR, right B&W film) show the structure underneath the main pier. I got a more contrast-rich B&W shot in IR with the old pier but also the film photo with the rebuilt pier has something going for:
The Ilford XP-2 film has an amazing tonal range in B&W which can't be beaten easily with a conventional DSLR camera. The film is definitely a good addition to digital camera gear.