Ilford Photo has just announced a range of new products to celebrate the 140th anniversary of the British film manufacturer. As well as offering a new updated range of resin-based photographic paper, Ilford will release their orthochromatic black-and-white film, Ilford Othro Plus, in new 120 and 35mm formats.
Ilford Ortho film isn’t totally new, per se. It had previously been available to large format photographers. However, medium format and 35mm shooters will now be able to try this 80 ISO rated (40 in tungsten light) film when it is released in November.
At this point you may be scratching your head wondering, what exactly is an orthochromatic film? The answer all comes down to light sensitivity. In the early days of film photography, many of the emulsions available were orthochromatic. Orthochromatic films are far less sensitive to red light than their newer panchromatic equivalents. If you were to compare an orthochromatic film such as Ortho Plus to a panchromatic one like HP5 Plus, you would notice that red and orange light were rendered much darker in the final back-and-white image.
There are very few ortho films still available on the market. Ortho Plus is Ilford’s only one. And out of the other manufacturers, Fujifilm’s Acros 100 (which was discontinued in 2018 and then later announced to be returning) was the only other example to get close. Acros was called ortho-panchromatic, which is a vague term that lands that film somewhere between rendering what the human eye sees (except in black-and-white) and ortho (red-blind).
Developed initially as a ‘technical, high-resolution copy film’, Ortho Plus should have a sharpness and tonality that is appreciated by landscape photographers.
Ilford has updated its range of Multigrade RC Deluxe papers. The new fifth generation of the Multigrade papers will supersede Multigrade IV RC, which was released over twenty-five years ago.
Ilford has worked on the new paper for over eight years, highlighting their ongoing commitment to analogue photography. The new range has a warmer base tint than the last generation. It has also been re-engineered for deeper blacks and more consistent contrast throughout the tonal range.
Our friends over at Emulsive have already had a chance to try the new paper. Craig Pindell engaged in a blind test of the new Multigrade RC Deluxe paper, and his resulting images and experiences are invaluable. Visit Emulsive to see the entire report.
What do you think of the new Ortho Plus film? Are you going to give it a try when it’s released next month, or will you be sticking to your tried and trusted stock? Let us know in the comments.