For a few years now I’ve been working on a little project, which is to visit and photograph all of the Church of England Cathedral’s in Britain. This is usually combined with being closer to one on a vacation, rather than driving from one end of the country to the other to visit one! When I started, I chose to standardise on one film – Ilford XP2 Super (Don’t forget the super!). Why?
By nature I tend towards slower, finer grained films, but obviously I was going to need a faster film. I wanted any images to highlight the architecture and light, so I decided on black and white, to remove the distraction of colour. When I started this I hadn’t processed a film at home in ages, although the gear was in the loft somewhere, so I chose XP2. I could get this easily processed and scanned by a lab.
I have a tiny bit of history here…. way back, my first job from school was at a film processing lab called Photomasters – I wrote about it here. At the time, we were on XP1 not 2, and although it is processable in C41 chemistry, there was an actual “proper” process for it, and we had a separate machine and chemistry for it. I believe the last in the country at the time. Not that this had any bearing on my choice particularly. Neither am I patriotic at all, but I also like the idea that a project that is about Britain, should use a film that is made in Britain. So I started with XP2 Super and have continued since!
I have found that it gives better results if exposed at 200asa, rather than it’s box speed of 400asa. There is a technical sheet available from Ilford here.