High Speed Black and White Film

  • Film with ISO 400

  • High-speed black-and-white films display more grain and somewhat lower image resolution than medium or slow material.

As with all other types of film, these differences are much less pronounced than they once were. Before, it was obvious when a print was produced from high-speed film; that is not necessarily so anymore.
 

High speed still remains the film of choice among photojournalists, sports, and black-and-white nature photographers, where success is dependent on high shutter speeds. Also, these films can be more readily "push-processed" to higher effective speeds than other classes of black-and-white films by using high-energy developers intended for the purpose. Admittedly, pushing does increase grain, but not enough to make the two to four times speed increase visually too expensive.
 

One final thought: Grain is not always undesirable. Under the right circumstances, it has a role to play, underlining powerful emotions at the heart of an image. Again, it's another case of a photographic condition having opposite aspects, on the surface seeming negative but when turned around in a creative manner, the result can be positive.
 

More about film photography


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