I am an eclectic shooter in every sense of the word. I like shooting multiple cameras, I like digital, film and would LOVE to learn glass plate photography, I shoot multiple genres including portraits, architecture, landscape and street. This being said, I have recently decided to shoot only one B&W film.
This has nothing to do with having found the 'perfect' film, but has allot to do with versatility. Up until now, my 35mm go-to film has been Ilford's HP5+ and Fomapan 100. I liked this combination as it gave me an ISO 100 film, for fine grain work and a high speed film that could be pushed from ISO 400 to 3200! With these two films I had fine grain all the way to the low light stuff!
The two drawbacks were that I had to keep two films in stock and I have to process both films differently. If I could consolidate to one film type, I could standardize my development, reducing changes for error and simplifying my life. But I needed a slower film for some of my work and HP5+ at 400 just was not slow enough.
Then I started pulling HP5+ to an Exposure Index of 200. The first few attempts were not really noteworthy and I dropped it. Then I tried exposing at 200 but developing at the recommended timings (as if I had exposed at 400). This came VERY close to what I wanted. When I reduced the time by 10% I found a result I fell in love with!
The one stop difference in speed is not worth keeping both Foma and HP5+ so I have consolidated my film to Ilford. I still have a 100ft bulk roll of Foma100 film that I will enjoy shooting. I love this film, it is inexpensive, fine grained and easy to work with. It is a bit thiner than HP5+ making it more likely to curl but this is easily fixed with a heavy book.
So for my B&W 35mm work I will be purchasing HP5+ in bulk exclusively. For my other formats I buy what I find. While I love HP5+ in medium format there are times it is too expensive or difficult to find. So I will shoot whatever I can find. Same for my 4x5.
Patrick...confirmed film & digital photography addict.