If you're part of the analog community still representing, using and respecting film, then Ilford's announcement to bring its Kentmere 100 and Kentmere 400 stocks to medium format photographers in 120 rolls is sweet music indeed.
Not only are we being treated to more choices within the market, we now have a more affordable option than other offerings from Ilford – I'm thinking about the legendary Ilford HP5 film.
Now, I love HP5 and its high-contrast look and feel, but because of its fame, it has become a pricey black-and-white film stock to keep replenishing your film cameras with – especially if you're using medium format cameras that, at the generous end, give you 16 shots per roll of 120 film, while 6x9 cameras only give you 8 shots per roll (that's coming from a slightly nervous Fuji 6x9 owner!).
However, we can now rejoice as these wonderful film stocks that have been within Ilford's lineup of 35mm for years are now available in 120. The Kentmere Pan100 is a medium-speed panchromatic film that offers fine grain and good sharpness. It has a broad tonal range with ‘medium’ contrast and a wide and forgiving exposure latitude.
Kentmere Pan100 sample images
If an ISO 100 film is a little too slow for your tastes, then Kentmere 400 will be right up your street (it's been a personal favorite of mine in 35mm for years). Kentmere Pan 400 has a classic-looking grain with great sharpness, tones, and pleasing contrast.
It also has a wide and forgiving exposure latitude with excellent ‘push’ characteristics. Compared to Kentmere Pan 100, this is a faster film with more noticeable grain, a touch less contrast, and better latitude for pushing.
Kentmere Pan400 sample images
Kentmere films aim to offer the perfect balance of quality, value, and performance. By introducing Kentmere Pan100 and 400 in 120 format, Inford is primarily targeting budget-conscious photographers who still demand high quality, consistent performance and want to create beautiful images that they can print or scan.
Ilford also makes it known that the Kentmere brand of film is not designed for professional use, but can produce results that professionals can be proud of. Make of that what you will, but I know I have personally developed many rolls of Kentmere 400 in 35mm and have always been pleased with the result – and now that it's available in 120, I will certainly be picking up a few rolls to try out.
For those that are wondering what the price difference between Kentmere and Ilford's HP5 Plus in 120 is, the new Kentmere Pan100 and Kentmere Pan400 will be priced at £5 per roll (roughly $5.80 / AU$9.00)