Slow black and white film

  • Film with ISO from 25-32

  • Film that is the sharpest, finest grained of all black-and-whites generally in use.

  • Films that feature high contrast that can be fine-tuned in film processing.

  • Capable of resolving more image detail than almost any camera or enlarging lens can reproduce.

A really first-class camera lens should be able to resolve 100+11/mm shooting a high-contrast subject; slow black-and-white films developed in fine-grain chemistry can resolve 200+11/mm. If it's just so much resolution overkill, why bother with the slow films at all? It is the overkill capability that makes slow black-and-white films so useful. The reserve capacity of these films allows them to deliver excellent results in less-than-optimum lighting conditions. Most can deliver 200+11/mm shooting a high-contrast subject and are still able to resolve 90-100+11/mm in low contrast—more than enough to record every line of resolution a good lens is able to transmit to the film. Additionally, it should be obvious by now that everything in photography involves tradeoffs. For slow-speed black-and-white films it has been speed for grain. Less speed—less grain.
Improvements in grain and overall image technology have made ISO 100–speed film the new standard. However if you desire to produce exquisitely detailed, grainless enlargements larger than 11 x 14, you should master the use of one of the slow black-and-white emulsions. With care in the darkroom, you should be able to make all-but-grainless, super-detailed 24 x 30-inch or bigger prints.

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