My usual goto B&W film stock is ILFORD HP5 PLUS, which I shoot at box speed up to EI 3200 quite regularly. I love to try out other B&W films and compare them to HP5 PLUS so when Lomography announced Berlin Kino 400 I immediately bought some with the intention of shooting each at different speeds.
This first roll was shot at the film’s box speed of EI 400 and developed in Rodinal 1+50 dilution for 13.30 mins. Berlin Kino 400 is a German cine film stock and according to Lomography, it can be pushed up to 3200 and still retain sharpness and dynamic range.
I loaded up my trusty Nikon F4s with the 50mm f/1.4 Nikkor AF-D and went to a local 1940’s wartime event here in Bridgend town centre with Army/Airforce personnel and paraphernalia, which seemed to be appropriate for this film stock.
Once developed I was very happy with how the negatives looked and they scanned very well, the film was pretty flat after drying. It had quite a pronounced chunky grain structure which to my eye seem less uniform compared to HP5 but as I like grain it did not distract from the images it gave it a quite distinct look which when comparing a HP5 scan it looks far more gritty.
Whenever I process in Rodinal I always get sharper-looking scans than when I use my usual goto B&W developer, ILFOTEC HC and this Berlin Kino stock is pretty sharp, It is lovely and contrasty with nice deep blacks but also held the highlights well but even though it has a gritty look it had a lovely wide tonal range.
Overall I will happily use this film again it may not be a film that I would take portraits with unless in a specific sort of setting maybe like the street where the gritty look really brings something to the overall look and feel.
It gave a timeless look to these images that really suited the subject matter and I was glad that I used it in this setting. Berlin Kino 400 won’t replace my HP5 PLUS, which is probably slightly more versatile but I really do recommend that you give it a go.
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