New hand at Ilford – What does this mean for the future of C-41 B&W ?

In the last few weeks, Harman Technologies (aka Ilford and Kentmere) has been taken over by a venture capital group.

Unattended Kids
Carlisle, UK, April 2014. Olympus XA1 with Ilford XP2

But what does this hold for the C-41 B&W market especially as Ilford are the last makers ? Truth is I dunno. I’m still grieving from Kodak’ s decision to pull the plug on the fantastic BW400CN. My only respite has been the facts at the mo’ you can still import slightly expired BW400CN for peanuts and the fact that Harman Tech still made Ilford XP2 (and for us lucky folk in the UK and those in Japan Fujifilm Neopan 400CN)

Coffee chat
Caffe Nero, Carlisle, Cumbria. June 2014. Taken with Yashica ME1 with K2 yellow filter using Ilford XP2

Harman had remained committed to XP2 and the C-41 market just last year when Kodak pulled out. Ilford has been in rude health and is still stocked by boots ( buying XP2 on their buy one get one half price is still one of the cheapest ways to get this film)

Why's a boys shoe there dad ?
Fujifilm Neopan 400CN on Olympus Trip 35.  Carlisle 2013

The C-41 status of these films is important as you can take ’em to any photolab and get them processed using the standard colour negative process. Yup purist feel they ain’t true B&W films  but for the casual shooter whom isn’t likely to do their own development, they are a an easy in road to B&W and excellent for folk like me who are time pushed and would be crucified by our other ‘alf if we started home developing too.

Given Kodak’s decision to withdraw the sublime BW400CN last year, Ilford was left as the only maker of C-41 B&W both as Ilford XP2 and for Fuji as Neopan 400CN (for us lucky souls in the UK & Japan  only). Ilford is also one of the major producers of Standard B&W films both under their Ilford and Kentmere brands but also for others including the bargain that is Agfaphoto APX100 in bulk

Low Tide I
Lomo LC-A with Ilford XP2. Kingholm 2015

You’ll have your views on venture capital companies from the benign  investing & building up a business to heartless asset strippers & runners. I for one hope Pemberstone Ventures Ltd are more the former.

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