5 frames with...

5 Frames with Kentmere 400 – by Simon King

August 7, 2019

Now that I’m very comfortable with my film workflow I’ve been looking for a way to switch things up for the probable majority of my images in London, whilst still maintaining consistency throughout. I’ve shot most of the “popular” film stocks in both black and white and colour, and now want something a little cheaper to maybe even bulk load into rolls, which I can use confidently every day. This will allow me to feel a little freer than I do with not only the quantity of images I make, but also the content and style of those images.

I’ve really enjoyed shooting with Ilford films, and haven’t been let down in any area so far. Looking to try something different Ilford was naturally my first port of call. It was close between their Pan and Kentmere lines, but I was more intrigued by the Kentmere after seeing some results online. I bought a few rolls and shot the first few images during a piece of performance art by Willi Dorner.

I then shot at a Hare Krishna chariot festival in Central London, which was great fun.

I wanted to go into this experience with an open mind – not that I was particularly worried for any reason. I don’t mind grain in my images, and I know the exposure latitude would give me a very different feel to my images than I’m used to from my “usual” film – Delta 400.

I ended up being really happy with the results. The combination of grain and muddy tones gave my images quite a timeless aesthetic. There was a wonderful rendering of the shadows, especially when directly contrasted with bright light. For example in the shot of the dancer (first image in this post) the sheer darkness of his silhouetted face against the sky, which is what I exposed for, is wonderful, and all of the other shades of grey are not invasive enough to spoil this point of interest in the frame.

I’ll definitely be shooting this film throughout the summer, and will be really interested to see how it reacts to push development in the winter. I’ll also be trying Pan 400, just in case, as well as the 100 variation of Kentmere!

I really hope you enjoyed the images in this post! If you did, you might be interested in following my Instagram, where I post a steady feed of my best work.

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  • Reply
    Robert E Smith
    August 7, 2019 at 4:27 pm

    Kentmere films are great, I use them a lot – particularly good developed in Perceptol

  • Reply
    Dan Castelli
    August 7, 2019 at 10:49 pm

    Hi Simon,
    Three years ago, I spent a summer shooting ‘fringe’ film stocks (ha!): JCH, Kentmere, etc. These films humbled me. I’ve got 50+ years in the darkroom, and I had to re-learn some things. The bottom line? Kentmere films demand accurate exposure and development. A perfect film for a beginning, serious film photographer & a good film for experienced film photographers to sharpen skills that may have become sloppy over the years.
    My favorite pic is the little girl planting her flag! The little boy with his arms outstretched seems to be telling him mom a fishing story.
    Your post are always a good read and I always get something out of them.

    • Reply
      August 7, 2019 at 10:54 pm

      I’ll hopefully be experimenting with a few more films over the winter. Always good to keep myself on my toes!
      Really glad you enjoy my work, that means a lot to me!

  • Reply
    August 8, 2019 at 1:57 am

    Kentmere 400 is the cheapest B&W film I can buy over the counter in my town so I was very pleased when the results were pleasant and smooth.
    I’m intending to buy it again sometime but there’s just so many other great films to shoot!
    Don’t hesitate to try it : )

  • Reply
    Battle of the Budgets: Fomapan 400 & Kentmere 400 - by Simon King - 35mmc
    March 4, 2020 at 10:00 am

    […] to other, higher end 400 speed films, as they fill roughly the same space. I started shooting with Kentmere a few months ago, in the hopes that it would provide a cheap, versatile walk-around film for […]

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