Testing Leica Monochrome and Film


I shoot both with the Leica Monochrome and my Leica MP. I find that for lens work the Monochrome is pretty hard to beat especially if you understand the proper Monochrome workflow: most work I see online made with the Monochrome is not done to maximize what the camera is capable of doing. I will post a more in-depth review on the MM in a couple of weeks. Right now, however, my testing is looking at the MM compared to my MP using three different films (Bergger BRF400+, Ilford Delta 3200 and Kodak BW400CN) and my pinhole systems and long exposures at high-speed EI. I have been testing a variety of different developers from Rodinal to Xtol and of course Caffenol. There is just something I like about the Caffenol negatives.

I’ll be posting an in-depth article in a couple of days looking at these films and developers all for the purposes of high-speed use and scanning. Of course this info will be valuable to any low light shooter as well….stay tuned!

Viva la Revolution- Stephen

PS- I did test in Diafine BUT as I am looking for speeds of a solid 1600+ it was not a good choice….


Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah!

Have you ever logged on to a photo web site and heard photographers argue about the merits of one film over another? This 100 speed vs that 100 speed. XP2 Super vs REAL black and white films. What a bunch of #$@$%!

One of my favorite arguments I recently came across online was one in which a handful of “photographers” (they sounded more like a bunch of old hens) clucked on and on about Kodak and the “crappy” quality of BW400CN. Ok, this film is new to me so I decided to try something novel…

I’d test the film myself! There’s a thought.

So having now done a quick and rather unscientific test here are my blah, blah, blah thoughts.

1. Fine grain when scanned on our Imacon scanner (oil mount) (professional processed C-41)…I don’t know about wet darkroom printing from these negatives and don’t really care as I am not heading back into the dark any time soon.

2. Not quite as sharp looking as say XP2 Super (smoother grain tho) or some other black and white negative films (REAL Black and White that is) or films processed using the very cul dr5 process but acceptable and perhaps ideal for portraits.

I just made using my in house workflow (oil mount scan, PS, ect…) a 16.85″ x 24″ print that is simply amazing. The grain is fantastic and at any “real” viewing distance the print has the sharpness one would expect from an analog process and not that hyper-digital sharpness crap. Oh, yeah…this is 35mm!

So what does this mean? First, stop kicking Kodak in the face. They make some good films (not all) but most problems photographers have with Kodak are the same problems other photographers have with Fuji and Ilford. Rather, we are a bunch of prima donnas(who me, YES you) that can’t get out of our own way and we want what we want now(I hear the hens clucking)! This demanding position of total excellence is fine from time to time but we need to be careful about spewing random meaningless talk that does nothing to help promote/ enhance our medium. That is not to say that Kodak and these other companies (The Photo Industrial Complex) don’t deserve to get kicked in the ass now and then but most of the talk I read on the web is meaningless and based on personal issues and not real photographic observations.

I have attached a sample image made using the BW400CN for those of you who need to see it to believe it (I’m in this group myself). The first is full size, the second (crop) is a crop from the full sized image (16.85″ x 24″)….very cul! This is 400 speed 35mm film!

Which process do I use (film)…when I can dr5 with FP4 or HP5 or if time is tight and the lighting is unsure XP2 Super or now BW400CN.