Rolleicord (Pic: Peter Heeling/Skitterphoto)
(Pic: Peter Heeling/Skitterphoto)

More than 90 black-and-white films began the inaugural World Cup – and now we’re down to the last eight.

Already out of the cup are some firm favourites such as Fomapan 100, Ilford Delta 3200 and Ilford XP2 Super, aswell as some modern classics like Adox Silvermax and Bergger Pancro 400.

There are just eight films left.

So which ones scrap their way through the quarter-finals to the semi-finals? And which one will finally lift the cup?

QUARTER FINALISTS

 8th place – Kodak TMax 100 (83 pts)

While we wait to judge just how different the recently revived Fuji Acros 100 is, Kodak’s TMax is probably the pre-eminent 100-speed film on the market.

This modern T-grain film is exceptionally sharp and with very fine grain.

Read more: Technical review by Adrian Bacon

7th place – Kosmo Foto Mono (85 pts)

Well, Kosmo Foto is as surprised as you are. Our very own 100-ISO film – a repackaged version of a wonderful Foma film which featured in the Round of 16 – made it all the way to the quarter finals.

In some cultures, seven is regarded as a fortuitous or lucky number. We can’t help but agree.

Read more: Review on Down The Road

Kosmo Foto Mono (Pic: Bernt Sonvisen/Flickr)
Kosmo Foto Mono (Pic: Bernt Sonvisen/Flickr)

6th place – Ilford Delta 400 (89 pts)

Think of an Ilford 400-ISO film and most people will plump for the superlative HP5 Super. But the Delta family of films also includes a 400 film, and it’s clearly a firm favourite with many photographers.

It’s not as gritty as the likes of Tri-X, but it still has bags of atmosphere. There’s a reason it’s done as well as it has

Read more: Review on Casual Photophile

5th place – Cinestill bwXX (89 pts)

Cinestill’s bwXX is a Kodak cinema film very similar to Kodak’s much-missed Double X film. It has an EI of 250 under daylight and 200 under tungsten lighting. This is the film to use if you want your stills to have the classic look of such movies as Schindler’s List and Raging Bull – but none of the hassle of actually rolling it yourself.

Read more: Review on Kashphoto

SEMI FINALISTS

4th place – Kodak TMax 400 (171 pts)

The other Kodak 400. Not everyone wants the grit and grain of Tri-X in every situation, so Kodak brought out a finer-grained T-grain film aswell. TMax is incredibly sharp but has more restrained grain than many other 400-ISO films. It’s a fantastic all-round black-and-white film.

Read more: Review by Alex Luyckx

3rd place – Ilford FP4 Super (205 pts)

With the loss of Kodak’s Plus-X, Ilford’s FP4 is the last 125-ISO black-and-white film left. A favourite with landscape photographers and others wanting fine grain and sharpness.

It’s flexible – you can set it for ISO 100, for instance, instead of 125 – and it reacts differently depending on which developer is used. This flexibility is one of the reasons photographers love it so much.

Read more: Review on Ilfordphoto.com

2ND PLACE

Kodak Tri-X (502 pts)

To many photographers, Tri-X is black-and-white film; a classic emulsion born in the jazz age of the 1950s, Tri-X has extraordinary atmosphere as well as killer contrast – it has a characteristic “chalk-and-charcoal” contrast which is superbly dramatic.

Kodak Tri-X (Pic: Wikimedia Commons)

Long a favourite of photojournalists and documentary photographers, the chemistry of Tri-X has been tweaked a little in the last few decades, but at its heart this is very similar to the film which has been capturing the world since the 1950s. I’ve been using it for the last decade on a music soundcheck project, and I’ve been never less than impressed with the results. A superlative film.

Read more: Profile on Kosmo Foto

WINNER

Ilford HP5 Plus (533 pts)

In the end it was only 30 points which separated Kodak’s Tri-X from Ilford HP5 Plus.

There’s no surprise in this film getting near the top of the table. Alongside Tri-X and Fujifilm’s much-missed Neopan 400, HP5 Plus is an incredibly versatile film. Grain is atmospheric rather than in-your-face, and the film’s ability to capture subtle graduations in tone is almost unmatched.

Ilford HP5 Super (Pic: Wikimedia Commons)

Ilford had a rocky start to the 21st Century, going bankrupt before being rescued by a management buyout. It’s future now seems a lot rosier, thanks to new generations discovering its fantastic films. Make no mistake, HP5 Plus is one of its finest.

Read more: Review on EMULSIVE

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David Luttmann

It’s HP5+, Not HP5 Super