Ultra high Speed Black and White Films

Films with ISO 1000-3200.
Back at the time the introduction of Kodak T-Max P3200, it has caused a real stir in black-and-white circles. It took all the advancements in film design, T-Grains, and enhanced chemistry, and applied them to the problem of producing a superior ultra-high-speed film that not only controlled grain growth but was reasonably sharp and delivered decent blacks (D-Max). Kodak has succeeded admirably. P3200, developed in its special T-Max developer, can offer us usable ISO up to and sometimes exceeding ISO 6400.

For decades preceding T-Max P3200, the only ultra-fast film purposely designed for the marginal lighting some of us call "available darkness," was Kodak Data Recording Film, a not-so-wonderful emulsion whose grain structure looked like grotesquely enlarged salt and pepper. With fortune smiling on you, you could find some recognizable detail, but just barely. Since it did give a sometimes usable image under dreadful conditions, it was tolerated. What an improvement P3200 is!

Then, there is Fuji who has refined its ultra-high-speed film, Neopan 1600 Professional. Nominally rated at ISO 1600, it can be push-processed to ISO 3200 for more speed or down rated to 400 or 800 for finer grain. Like P3200, it takes advantage of Fuji's advances in the photo chemistry craft to deliver results with remarkably better grain and sharpness than one could reasonably expect from a film this fast. In some respects, 1600 Professional is a more remarkable achievement than P3200, for, at ISO 800, it performs just like a medium-speed emulsion.

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