Kentmere 400

At the end of 2022, Ilford launched its budget-friendly Kentmere range in medium format. Both 100 and 400 ISO options have been available in 35mm since 2007 and were very often praised by the film community, so I was excited to hear they were stepping up the options in size, especially as I gravitate more towards medium format when shooting film.

Ilford is a big name and recognised for delivering high-quality black-and-white film to professionals and amateurs.

Bawdsey East Lane Beach, Suffolk.
Bawdsey East Lane Beach Detail

The cost of film is something that has been scrutinised by many for some time, and entering 2023, it’s already hit the community that Kodak is set to raise the price of their film by as much as 40%. Therefore, the launch of Kentmere in 120 gives an affordable option to both film aficionados and new beginners alike that want to experiment or learn without breaking the bank, especially as more and more people are getting into film photography.

This blog highlights just the Kentmere 400 film stock. I ordered 5x rolls just before Christmas and set out to shoot several frames over the holiday. After seeing the scans, I will definitely be giving Kentmere 100 a look, which, from reading, naturally has a finer grain structure, higher sharpness and stronger contrast. Both options are panchromatic.

Cliff Erosion at East Lane, Bawdsey
East Lane Bawdsey World War 2 Remains
Tree Fallen On Beach at Bawdsey, Suffolk.
Bawdsey East Lane World War Defences at Sea

With it being December, I wasn’t expecting glorious sunshine over the Christmas period, so using a 400 ISO film certainly helped with having usable handheld shutter speeds.

I decided to opt for large scans this time round and I was impressed with what I received from the lab. They were quite flat in terms of tone, but this was something that I’d expected as I heard about this before shooting with it. I chose to add a little contrast to these images with a curve in Lightroom. With Kentmere 100 offering stronger contrast, I’m keen to see how it compares.

Kentmere 400 offers a nice balance of detail in the shadows and the highlights, along with a moderate amount of grain which can naturally be expected with an ISO400 film. However, it’s nothing that’s offensive, and overall, the images have a nice smooth and classic look to them.

Dead Trees at Trimley Marshes, Suffolk.
Shack at Old Felixstowe, Suffolk.
Old Felixstowe Sea Post
Old Felixstowe Boat Yard
Caravan at Old Felixstowe Ferry, Suffolk.

At the time of writing, Ilford sell Kentmere 400 for just £4.92 per roll, which is really good value for money. it’s a great quality film stock and easily one of the cheapest black and white films on the market at the moment.

All images shot with a Pentax 6×7 & Pentax 105mm Takumar f/2.4 Lens on Kentmere 400.

Develop and Scan by FilmDev (Noritsu)

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