Black and white film remains one of the most popular ways to get the classic look of traditional photography. Fortunately, there are still a number of emulsions available for experimenting with monochrome images. Among them are special films like orthochromatic film. First time reading about this film type? The video above shows what results it can give you.

UK-based landscape photographer Steve O’Nions believes that the best way to get a real feel and understanding of different gear is to compare them. So, he recently set out in Snowdonia to shoot Ilford Ortho 80. It’s an orthochromatic black and white film that is recommended for landscape photography. He also compared it with Ilford Delta 100, a fine grain, general use panchromatic film. As for the camera, he used a Bronica SQ Ai with two backs. This allowed him to shoot side by side with the same settings. To further experiment with both films, he also used color filters in some shots.

Instead of just shooting Ilford Ortho 80 for test shots, O’Nions wanted to see if it can render his landscapes differently than what he usually gets. It’s great that he did the shoot in a variety of locations so we can see how it performs with color variations. He also mentions some important detail about this special film. First, it’s not sensitive to red light, so blue and green objects appear brighter but red objects appear darker. Also, only yellow filter works best for this film. So, he did his comparison with a yellow filter for both emulsions. Lastly, he put the shots side by side and shared his findings to help us decide if which one we prefer.

Do you have tips on how to get great results with orthochromatic films like the Ilford Ortho 80? Share them with us in the comments below, or in our film photography group discussions if you’re already part of the Photofocus Community!