visual spectrum: elegy for Neopan
In addition to Provia 400, Fujifilm recently announced the discontinuation of it’s Neopan 400 black and white film. Fuji stopped production of my very favorite Neopan film — Neopan 1600 — some time ago, and now it looks like 100 speed film is all that remains in the Neopan range. While there are lots of black and white films still in production, Neopan 400 and 1600 are unique in terms of the strong contrasts and dark, inky blacks the film generates — not to mention a grain structure that’s to die for. It’s a film that’s quite tricky when it comes to exposure, and I’ve had lots of shots come out poorly when the subject I’ve wanted to shoot hasn’t been properly lit, but when the exposures come right, it’s really right. Neopan 1600 was the standard film used by the amazing street photographer Junku Nishimura until it was discontinued (he now uses TMX 1600), and I think it’s this that gives a special midnight glow to so many of his photographs. (You can read a fantastic interview with him here.) I’ve had some good experiences using Ilford 400 pushed to 1600 — it’s a bit more contrasty than Kodak’s films, though the blacks don’t seem to be as deep as with Neopan — but nothing is going to replace Neopan 1600 for me.
(All photographs were taken with either a Voigtländer Bessa R2A with 35mm Ultron lens, a Voigtländer Bessa-L with 15mm Heliar lens, or a Voigtländer Bessa-T with 50mm Nokton lens.)
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Tags: black and white film, black and white photography, discontinued film, Junku Nishimura, Neopan 1600, Neopan 400, Voigtländer