When it comes to shooting film in black and white, two reigning film stocks come to mind: Ilford HP5 Plus 400 and Kodak Tri-X 400.

These two films are celebrated in the way they capture the world around them – from historic moments, to sports, and family moments in your own home, they offer up a variety of features and options to let you capture black and white in your own way.

Not sure where to start, or which film to go with? Let’s have a look at what the deal is between Ilford HP5 vs. Tri-X.

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Ilford HP5 Plus 400

Ilford HP5 Plus 400 comes from a tried and true black and white film brand, and is one of the most widely used modern black and white film stocks out there.

It’s known for its versatile ISO at 400 where over- or underexposing is a common method. As a matter of fact, some photographers push the film up to 5 stops over or under exposed – and the images still come out legible, albeit with unique features among each stop!

When it comes to sharpness, HP5 is not prioritized to be as sharp as its Delta 3200 counterpart, but this is the essence of HP5. The subtle grain and softness adds character to the image, which is unique to HP5. The film stock adds just a hint of grain without being overpowering – something that’s really sought after in printing.

When it comes to how HP5 stacks up against Kodak’s Tri-X 400, it really comes down to the soft airiness of the shots within Ilford. The subtle grain, more overblown whites, and lifted shadows all will have your images looking brighter and moodier.

Check out Ilford HP5 Plus 400:

Ilford HP5 Plus 400 vs Tri-XPhotos via @alibi5753, @kwtnbphoto, @lorenzo.kikisch, @nikonsg

Kodak Tri-X 400

Introduced in the 1940s as a panchromatic film, then updated to a 400 speed film later, Kodak’s Tri-X 400 is a worthy contender in this black and white film game.

Made famous for its use throughout historic moments, sports and photojournalism galore, Tri-X is favored for its adaptability to many lighting scenarios, exposure latitude, and dark rich contrast.

It’s not a smooth grain structure, but people love it for that! What does this mean? It captures sharp images with noticeable grain, creating that timeless look.

Under exposing this film a stop or two brings out its unique look – the brightest of whites paired with the darkest of blacks. Tri-X is definitely the sharper, more contrasted black and white film when stacked up against Ilford HP5.

Check out Kodak Tri-X 400:

Kodak Tri-X 400 vs. Ilford FilmPhotos via @chrismscholl, @ekodachrome_portra, @mikeshoots.film

Which film stock do you prefer? Ilford HP5 Plus 400, or Kodak Tri-X 400? Let us know in the comments below and tag us in your black and white film photos on Instagram @gridfiti!

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