Ilford XP2 Super 35mm film review: where black and white meets color

Ilford’s XP2S is a fine-quality black-and-white film that can be developed alongside your C41 color rolls

5 Star Rating
Ilford XP2 Super 35mm film canister on a wooden surface
(Image: © Gareth Bevan / Digital Camera World)

Digital Camera World Verdict

Ilford XP2 Super stands out not just for its photographic quality, but also its processing versatility. It delivers balanced images with bold shadow contrast and a fine grain that preserves details, offering a classic "film look” and its wide exposure latitude allows creative freedom and a few exposure mistakes along the way. Its most notable advantage however is its compatibility with C41 color film processing, making it convenient for those relying on labs with limited black-and-white capabilities or facing additional charges for services.


  • +

    C41 processing more available and often cheaper

  • +

    Great image quality with fine grain

  • +

    Wide exposure latitude is forgiving to mistakes

  • +

    Bold contrast but easy to manipulate


  • -

    A little pricier than other B&W films

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Ilford’s XP series was a black and white film first introduced in 1981 – then in its first XP1 iteration. Since then there has been two more revisions to the formula before reaching the Ilford XP2 Super 400 that is still going strong to this day. 

The big selling point of XP2 Super film was that it was designed as a chromogenic film – a versatile and easy-to-use film that could be processed using the C-41 color negative film process, which is widely available at most photo labs. 

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Film typeBlack and white negative film
Film speedISO 400/27°
Film format35mm, 120
Ilford HP5 Plus

Ilford HP5 Plus is a great black-and-white alternative film that can be had for less money. Although don't let the cheaper price put you off, HP5 Plus offers fantastic quality that gives more professional films a run for the money.


Kodak Tri-X 400 is perhaps the best-known black and white film. Its distinctive look with punchy contrast and signature grain has secured its place in many photographers' kit bags over its history.

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Gareth Bevan
Reviews Editor

Gareth is a photographer based in London, working as a freelance photographer and videographer for the past several years, having the privilege to shoot for some household names. With work focusing on fashion, portrait and lifestyle content creation, he has developed a range of skills covering everything from editorial shoots to social media videos. Outside of work, he has a personal passion for travel and nature photography, with a devotion to sustainability and environmental causes.