After a short social media campaign, Ilford finally revealed something new: Kentmere Pan 100 and 400 films are now available in 120 format. Cheap, reliable and dependable film in medium format is always a good thing!
Kentmere Pan 100 and 400 are general-purpose films, targeting photographers “new or returning to film photography, as well as budget-conscious photographers” – as stated by the manufacturer.
Slower, 100 ASA film has a “fine grain and good sharpness, a broad tonal range with ‘medium’ contrast, and a wide and forgiving exposure latitude”. Faster, 400 ASA film has a “classic-looking grain and good sharpness, a broad tonal range with ‘medium’ contrast, and a wide and forgiving exposure latitude with excellent ‘push’ characteristics”. Aside from the obvious differences in sensitivity, the slower film has more contrast and finer grain, the faster film has more grain and a better latitude for pushing.
In the current environment, when almost every film has gotten quite expensive, having a cheap(er) option is a good addition. With black and white film, the situation is not as dire, price-wise, as it is with colour film, with options like the Fomapan series of films, but not everyone has access to Foma’s films, or not everyone would prefer Fomapan films, with their notoriousness for curling.
Currently, right after the announcement (1st of December 2022), without it being available in any EU-zone shops, discussing the price of the film is not entirely possible. According to UK-zone shops, it looks like it will cost the same as Fomapan 100 film, making it a good alternative for UK film photographers. If the same price will be kept in the EU zone, Fomapan films would still be a cheaper option, by a non-insignificant margin – Fomapan 100 is available for sub-4€, Fomapan 400 is available for sub-5€, while Kentmere films would, purely and entirely speculatively, cost closer to 6€, that price would pit it directly with Rollei Retro 80S and 400S, but that would still be cheaper than Ilford Delta films.
All in all, a welcome addition, definitely a film I plan to use as soon as I get the opportunity.
Disclaimer: prices are correct on the date of writing of the article only!
Update: the film hits European store shelves, the price gets revealed. Check the coverage.