I was asked to create a film simulation recipe for Ilford XP2 Super 400 monochrome film. This is a currently-available black-and-white negative film that’s designed to be in developed in color negative (C41) chemistry. While this is unusual it’s definitely not unique. I’ve shot with some of these films before (namely Kodak BW400CN), and they’re surprisingly good, but a disadvantage is their archival characteristics. While I’ve used many Ilford films in the past (Delta 100 and Delta 400 were my two favorites back in the day), I’ve never shot with XP2 Super, and so I have no firsthand experience with it. Thankfully, I was able to find some good sample images (and other information) to help with the process. The film is somewhat contrasty and bright with fairly fine grain. It can be shot anywhere from ISO 50 to ISO 800, although ISO 400 is what Ilford suggests to shoot it at; whatever ISO you choose will affect the exact outcome.
I wasn’t having good luck with this recipe at first, but as I experimented, I stumbled into what I believe is a fairly accurate facsimile to the film. The White Balance settings (combined with Acros+R) turned out to be the key. Getting the exposure correct can sometimes be tricky, depending on the light and scene, so that’s why the “typical” exposure compensation is such a wide range.
This “Ilford XP2 Super 400” film simulation recipe is compatible with all X-Trans III cameras, plus the X-T3 and X-T30. If you have a newer X-Trans IV camera, you can use this recipe, but you’ll have to decide on the Grain size (I suggest Small).
Dynamic Range: DR400
Noise Reduction: -4
Grain Effect: Strong
White Balance: 10000K, +7 Red & +7 Blue
ISO: Auto up to ISO 12800
Exposure Compensation: -2/3 to +2/3 (typically)
Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs captured using this “Ilford XP2 Super 400” film simulation recipe on my Fujifilm X-H1:
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