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Ilford XP2 Super 400: The Soft and Frail Side of Black and White Photography

Technically, I don’t have too much to say about this film. Still, it works perfect in every condition. Yet, this film is special because of what it can bring out from your beloved pictures. In the end, it all depends on the Lomographer's tastes.

I have worked with this film for a long time, it is one of the films I use and prefer among any other black and white film. For all the time I’ve been using it, it has never disappointed me, and while thinking at the time of writing this review, I couldn’t find any single thing that I didn’t like about it. On the other hand, I found things that made me love even more this film.

Black and White photography stands out for its dramatic touch and the high amount of sensitive and emotional content. Most of the cases, black and white photography is powerful, to the point where all its fragile and gentle side vanishes. However, this film, the Ilford XP2 Super 400 seems to be the opposite. I came to love this film because it has something that I hadn’t found in any other black and white film, and that special feature is its tenderness. That smoothed thing the film gives to my photos is what I like the most. I like a well-contrasted picture, but I have come to love how this roughness slowly fades away and turn into something fragile, like a very delicate photograph.

The mood and atmosphere this film brings to my pictures is also one of the things I enjoy the most. It is not just like some frozen moment you decided to capture, but the large scale of grey tones makes it look as if you were having a deep thought, not like some random moment, but a special one. Unlike other films that may highlight the strength of an image, this one emphasizes the soft and frail side of it, without making it weak, but powerful at its very own way.

I have used it almost in every condition: on rainy days, cloudy, sunny, with very low light, and at night. The photos have turned out pretty well, the film captures something and it does it in a very large grey scale, literally. This film’s best feature is that, you will get many grey tones, from white to black. Which it may be as well its weak point, you’ll hardly get a high contrast picture.

Right or wrong, you can deny that this film has something. It isn’t powerful, but light. It isn’t dramatic but frail. It’s nostalgia taking over your photographs.

written by panefeky

2 comments

  1. slobill

    slobill

    I have good results with this film with everything I have tried it with.

    about 1 year ago · report as spam
  2. rbruce63

    rbruce63

    I will try it as I've used XP5-400 and it is highly contrasted!

    about 1 year ago · report as spam

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Deutsch.