As a film photographer, unless you have been living under a rock the last few weeks you will know the exciting news that ILFORD Photo launched a new film, ILFORD ORTHO PLUS on October 24th. It is an orthochromatic black and white film which ILFORD suggests should be rated at EI 80 and EI 40 under tungsten light.

The technical amongst you will know that amongst other things the film is not sensitive to red light. To me with my non-technical head, this does not mean a lot but I know from my previous times shooting an orthochromatic film, that I liked the look and contrast of it.


It is true that other manufacturers already sell orthochromatic film and yes, ILFORD has had it in sheet format for a while but for a company like ILFORD to add another film to their more mass-market range, i.e. in 35mm and 120 format is big and exciting news and a huge demonstration of their belief in the viability of the film industry.

I lost no time ordering some rolls in both 35mm and 120. and on receipt, I decided to load up my Olympus OM-1n with the Zuiko 50 f/1.4 lens. Looking out the window of my office building, I could see it was a nice bright day, so off I went on a lunchtime walk. I had no clear plan of what I was going to shoot but knew I wanted to shoot the film as a test roll thus take different types of images. I also brought along an orange filter, whilst I planned to use no filters for most, I figured it would be good to see a few frames with the filter to compare.

I took a walk through my land in a big loop. For those of you wondering, my land centres around the area of St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Millenium Bridge. I made a point of taking pictures with the sun both behind and in front. I also made a point of trying shots of different scenarios – close up, architecture, city landscapes and general photography. This was not about trying to take great pictures, but simply to test what the film looked like. I finished the entire roll in that lunch hour and duly sent it to the lab to be processed. Apologies but no I don’t know what they used to develop it.

Oh and as a little bonus EM and I figured we would give you an extra eight frames so you can compare with and without the orange filter, think of it like a 5 Frames Plus on ORTHO PLUS.

So what do I think? You can judge for yourself with these 5 frames. I really like the look of the film. I like contrasty black and white and having it readily available is great.

I think I will try it with a yellow filter next time as in my opinion, the orange was probably too strong for some scenarios. It looked good where the sun was shining on to the subject I was shooting. I will experiment more to narrow down what works best.

See also:  EMULSIVE interview #62: I am Sandeep Sumal and this is why I shoot film

~ Sandeep

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  1. I can’t wait to try out this film. I have seen a number of photos of architecture taken 100 years ago on orthochromatic glass plates and they look gorgeous. I am curious to see if this film will produce a similar look.

    Also, in portraits, I believe the eyes of blue eyed people will be reproduced extra bright because of the blue sensitivity of the film.

  2. Fabulous….and I love the filtered images. Now I have a starting place for my own images. I’ll be loading up the 120 and I’ll let you know what happens.

  3. Photos with orange filter looks underexposed. Usually you should compensate exposure about +2EV for it but it depends on particular filter. How did you measure light? External or internal? Did you compensate for the filter?

    • I thought so too – how do the negatives look? Clearly for an ortho film compensation for an orange filter should be much more than usual filter factor. I’d also be interested to know how you metered for the filter, given the insensitivity of the film to most of the light transmitted by the filter.

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