I have a desire to shoot B&W with some of my old classic 35mm SLRs that I have collected over the years. I had a full blown color/B&W darkroom (including that German mastepiece of mechanical engineering-a Leitz Focomat V35), but I gave it up several years ago. I am 69 and my wife and I sold our old home and moved to a small 2 BR, 2 bath condo, with no excess space. With that background, I was thinking of shooting the chromogenic B&W films that I could have locally processed in C-41, and then scan and print digitally. Do these films show the sharp edged grain patterns that I had come to love from conventional B&W? I plan on making 16"x24" prints. Some of my old B&W negs scanned and printed that size, have a texture I can't get from digital capture files converted to B&W. My alternative is buying a changing bag, delevoper, fixer, and shooting conventional B&W, but space is a premium in our new home, and after putting up with 47 years of my smelling like Hypo, this would not thrill my wife. (Neither would negatives hanging in the bathroom!)
Any feedback from users of this B&W film?
I know just where you're coming from, as I've lived that wish myself. I loved b/w photography using TXP 120 but FP3/4 with the occassional HP5 on 35mm. I did try the Ilford chromo film but the problem for me was getting a lab to process it. I had two darkrooms of my own earlier in my career, but like you, darkrooms are now out of the question, but mainly because I now live on an island in the Med and there is a hell of a water shortage which makes washing prints properly very irresponsible. Anyway, the lab which I used for the chromo tests is the same one which does excellent E6 for me, but the problem is convincing them that the film should go through negative COLOUR processing - I'm certain that the test films I sent them were developed (badly) in another, sub-contracted lab, or by a very junior member of staff. Either way, I didn't feel like re-doing the exercise.
But you have made me think again. I have married myself to a D200 but still retain an F3 which I bought out of frustration with trying to load an F4s - it was a nightmare, time after time. I have scanned a lot of my old b/w films and there is something very nice about them on digital paper (I use humble Epson heavyweight matte.) The ease of use of the D200, particularly its matrix metering which I find incredibly accurate, may make using the F3 again less than perfect (I don't think much of IT'S metering system) but as the Ilford chromo films seem to be very very wide in latitude, perhaps that's not such a problem. Try 320 or 400 for best results - at least, the way I worked that was what the test films showed me.
Anyway, enjoy the photography, it is very good for us older guys to have something like that to do...
Ciao - Rob C