Kentmere 400 Black and White Film

Kentmere 400 Black and White Film

Analog Film Review

Kentmere 400 Black and White Film

Ilford B&W negative alternative?

Ilford film is pricy but with high quality. If you are looking for low-budgeted film that allows you to shoot more extensively, Kentmere is the best option for you to take some nice black and white photos. It is cheap, reliable and has the “Classical” grey tone. This film only available in 135 format. It would be great if it has medium format too.

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Name: Kentmere

ISO: 400

Film type: Black and white

Character: Broad tonal range, fine grain and good sharpness

Broad Tonal Range with Good Contrast

I would say the Kentmere 400 is with great price and quality. I discovered this film from Free Style Photographic Supplies back in 2010 (mainly because of the cheap price offered). After trying several of it I was quickly attracted by its tone, a classic mood with nice texture produced in the images, the tone gradation has so many layers. I have been shooting the film under daylight, indoor or even with studio flash, under different situation the film produced stable and unique character, especially the silver glittering highlight and it gives you a general nice grey tone. Overall, the white tone stands out more than other black and white film. Here is some images review below.

Kentmere 400, Hong Kong

Grainy Film but with Good Sharpness

Grainy Film but with Good Sharpness

It is a relatively grainy B&W film. Even I developed it with Ilford DDX developer (Great pair with fast film). However, the grain makes the film quite special because it enhanced the micro-contrast and the grain is not heavily done. I would describe Ilford HP5 grain is “Heavy” and this Kentmere film grain is “Soft and light”. If you are looking for fine grain black and white film, I would suggest you to use Ilford Delta series. It has high sharpness and portrait every detail in the film.

Kentmere 400, Rigid Type 1

Pushing Kentmere 400 to ISO 800 or 1600

This film is not that flexible to push compare with Ilford Delta, HP5 or Kodak Double-X. It will lose details and textures in the highlight easily and also the darker shadow will become rich dark black. I have tried to use it at ISO800 or up to ISO1600.

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  1. I recently got a bunch of rolls of this and love it. I shot it through a Minolta SRT101 and went between box speed and ISO360 for much of it. I did try pushing it to 800 and 1600. While the 800 wasn’t bad, the 1600 was grainy to distraction. at 360, it was wonderful. Kind of dreamy. It’s quickly becoming my primary B&W film.

    • Hey Matthew, I am happy that you are using Kentmere as your primary B&W film now. Did you develop it by yourself? You may try to develop it with Ilford DDX to give you better grain control.

  2. Really enjoyed your reviews of both Kentmere 400 and Delta 400. Thanks for including a wide range of photos with different lighting shown. The grain here is definitely lower than the Foma 400 I tried. I just ordered a 100′ roll of Kentmere from B&H in NY. Looking forward to processing it in Caffenol. Cheers!

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