Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Ilford Photo

Ilford Photo

Ask a question about 'Ilford Photo'
Start a new discussion about 'Ilford Photo'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
Ilford Photo is a manufacturer of photographic materials known worldwide for its black-and-white
Black-and-white, often abbreviated B/W or B&W, is a term referring to a number of monochrome forms in visual arts.Black-and-white as a description is also something of a misnomer, for in addition to black and white, most of these media included varying shades of gray...

Photographic film
Photographic film is a sheet of plastic coated with an emulsion containing light-sensitive silver halide salts with variable crystal sizes that determine the sensitivity, contrast and resolution of the film...

 and papers
Photographic paper
Photographic paper is paper coated with light-sensitive chemicals, used for making photographic prints.Photographic paper is exposed to light in a controlled manner, either by placing a negative in contact with the paper directly to produce a contact print, by using an enlarger in order to create a...

 and chemicals, as well as its range of Ilfochrome
Ilfochrome is a dye destruction positive-to-positive photographic process used for the reproduction of slides on photographic paper. The prints are made on a dimensionally stable polyester base, essentially a plastic base opposed to traditional paper base...

 and Ilfocolor colour printing materials. Ilfochrome was formerly called Cibachrome, developed in partnership with the Swiss company CIBA-Geigy
Ciba Specialty Chemicals
Ciba was a chemical company based in and near Basel, Switzerland. "Ciba" stood for "Chemische Industrie Basel" . It was formed as the non-pharmaceuticals elements of Novartis were spun out in 1997, following the merger in the previous year of Ciba-Geigy and Sandoz that created Novartis.In 2008,...

. Formerly, it published the Ilford Manual Of Photography
Ilford Manual of Photography
The Ilford Manual of Photography was first published in 1890, written by C. H. Bothamley, and published by the Britannia Works Company, which became Ilford Photo in 1901....

, a comprehensive manual of everything photographic, including the optics
Optics is the branch of physics which involves the behavior and properties of light, including its interactions with matter and the construction of instruments that use or detect it. Optics usually describes the behavior of visible, ultraviolet, and infrared light...

, physics and chemistry of photography, along with recipes for many developers.


The company was founded in 1879 by Alfred Hugh Harman
Alfred Hugh Harman
Alfred Hugh Harman was a pioneer of photography and founder of Ilford Limited.Harman established a photography business in Peckham in 1862 using William Fox Talbot’s Calotype negative/positive printing process...

 as Britannia Works. Initially making photographic plate
Photographic plate
Photographic plates preceded photographic film as a means of photography. A light-sensitive emulsion of silver salts was applied to a glass plate. This form of photographic material largely faded from the consumer market in the early years of the 20th century, as more convenient and less fragile...

s, it grew to occupy a large site in the centre of Ilford
Ilford is a large cosmopolitan town in East London, England and the administrative headquarters of the London Borough of Redbridge. It is located northeast of Charing Cross and is one of the major metropolitan centres identified in the London Plan. It forms a significant commercial and retail...

. In 1902, it took the name of the town to become Ilford Limited, despite the objections of the local council.

In 1983, their UK
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 headquarters was moved to Mobberley
Mobberley is a semi-rural village and civil parish in the unitary authority of Cheshire East and the ceremonial county of Cheshire, situated between Wilmslow and Knutsford. Mobberley railway station lies on the Manchester to Northwich and Chester line and was opened on 12 May, 1862 by the Cheshire...

, Cheshire
Cheshire is a ceremonial county in North West England. Cheshire's county town is the city of Chester, although its largest town is Warrington. Other major towns include Widnes, Congleton, Crewe, Ellesmere Port, Runcorn, Macclesfield, Winsford, Northwich, and Wilmslow...

. In 1989, Ilford was acquired by the USA
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

-based International Paper
International Paper
International Paper Company is an American pulp and paper company, the largest such company in the world. It has approximately 59,500 employees, and it is headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee.-History:...

 company, also owners of graphic arts materials manufacturer Anitec. The two companies were merged in 1990 to become Ilford Anitec. In 1996, the sales and admin offices were also moved from London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 to Mobberley.

In 2004, the company went into receivership
Bankruptcy is a legal status of an insolvent person or an organisation, that is, one that cannot repay the debts owed to creditors. In most jurisdictions bankruptcy is imposed by a court order, often initiated by the debtor....

. The UK site was subject to a management buyout, which resulted in the formation of Harman technology Ltd in February 2005. The company, now traded as Ilford Photo, produces high quality monochrome photographic products. The Swiss part of the company was bought by the Oji Paper Company of Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 in July 2005 and by Paradigm Global Partners LLP in May 2010. It produces inkjet
Inkjet printer
An inkjet printer is a type of computer printer that creates a digital image by propelling droplets of ink onto paper. Inkjet printers are the most commonly used type of printer and range from small inexpensive consumer models to very large professional machines that can cost up to thousands of...

 products and high quality colour photographic products under the name Ilford Imaging Switzerland GmbH.


Ilford produced a number of camera
A camera is a device that records and stores images. These images may be still photographs or moving images such as videos or movies. The term camera comes from the camera obscura , an early mechanism for projecting images...

s, starting with a 'box' camera
Box camera
The box camera is, with the exception of the pin hole camera, a camera in its simplest form. The form of the classic box camera is no more than a cardboard or plastic box with a lens in one end and film at the other. A simple box camera has only a single element meniscus fixed focus lens and...

 in 1902, but most were made in the 1940s and 50s. The Ilford Witness was a rangefinder
Rangefinder camera
A rangefinder camera is a camera fitted with a rangefinder: a range-finding focusing mechanism allowing the photographer to measure the subject distance and take photographs that are in sharp focus...

 with interchangeable lenses announced in 1947, but not released until 1953 because of manufacturing difficulties. In the mean time, the simpler Advocate series 1 was released in 1949 and series 2 in 1952. A pre-release Advocate series 1 camera was given to Princess Elizabeth
Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize,...

 in 1948. It was stolen, but later recovered when it was sent to be repaired. Also released in 1949 was the Craftsman, a twin-lens reflex
Twin-lens reflex camera
A twin-lens reflex camera is a type of camera with two objective lenses of the same focal length. One of the lenses is the photographic objective or "taking lens" , while the other is used for the viewfinder system, which is usually viewed from above at waist level...

 (TLR) which took 120 or 620
120 film
120 is a film format for still photography introduced by Kodak for their Brownie No. 2 in 1901. It was originally intended for amateur photography but was later superseded in this role by 135 film...

 film. Then 1951 saw the Prentice folding camera
Folding camera
A folding camera is a camera that can be folded to a compact and rugged package when not in use. The camera objective is sometimes attached to a pantograph-like mechanism, in which the lid usually is a component. The objective extends to give correct focus when unfolded. A cloth or leather bellows...

 which also took 120 film.

In 1957 Ilford released the Sportsman, a relabelled West German Dacora Dignette, as a lightly built and cheap 35 mm camera to compete with the better made and more expensive Kodak Retinette
Kodak Retinette
Kodak Retinette is the name of a classic series of cameras manufactured by the Eastman Kodak company. They were introduced in 1939 as a less expensive alternative to the Kodak Retina series. The first models were of the folding type using bellows and their lenses had three elements as compared to...

. In Germany, a comparative Dignette was about half the price of a Retinette, both coming from the Stuttgart - Black Forest area. The Sportsman became a series of camera models produced over the following 10 years. Finally, in 1958, Ilford released the Monobar, a monorail camera
Monorail camera
Monorail cameras are the studio workhorses that are still used today in the digital photography age to make many of the images for catalogs, magazines, and advertising around the world....

 manufactured by Kennedy Instruments with a 35 mm back that resembled the earlier Advocate camera (which KI had also manufactured). The Monobar allowed the front (lens) and rear (film plane) of the camera to be moved and rotated, bringing the scheimpflug principle
Scheimpflug principle
The Scheimpflug principle is a geometric rule that describes the orientation of the plane of focus of an optical system when the lens plane is not parallel to the image plane. It is commonly applied to the use of camera movements on a view camera...

 to the 35mm
35 mm film
35 mm film is the film gauge most commonly used for chemical still photography and motion pictures. The name of the gauge refers to the width of the photographic film, which consists of strips 35 millimeters in width...



  • Pan F plus 50
  • FP4 plus
    Ilford FP
    FP is a cubic-grain black-and-white film from Ilford Photo with a long history. It originated as Fine grain Panchromatic roll film in 1935. Like HP film, it has gone through a number of versions since then, with the latest being FP4 plus .- External links :*...

  • HP5 plus
    Ilford HP
    HP is a cubic-grain black-and-white film from Ilford Photo with a long history. It originated as Hypersensitive Panchromatic plates in 1931. Since then it progressed through a number of versions, with HP5 plus being the latest...

  • Delta
    Ilford Delta
    Ilford Delta is a series of photographic films manufactured by Harman Technology Limited. Delta films are tabular-grain black-and-white films....

     100, 400, and 3200
  • XP2 Super 400
  • SFX
    Ilford SFX
    SFX is a black-and-white film from Ilford Photo with extended sensitivity into the near-infrared at 740nm. It can be used as a panchromatic film on its own, or with different red/infrared filters to give varying levels of the effect seen in infrared photography; i.e dark skies and bright plant...

  • Ilford PAN 100 and 400 (consumer grade, on selected markets)

Film developers

  • Ilford ID-11
  • Ilfosol 3
  • Ilfotec DD, DD-X, HC, LC 29, and RT Rapid
  • Microphen
  • Perceptol
  • Phenisol

Specialist products

  • Surveillance film
  • Traffic surveillance film
  • Nuclear emulsion
    Nuclear emulsion
    In a Particle and Nuclear physics, a nuclear emulsion plate is a photographic plate with a particularly thick emulsion layer and with a very uniform grain size. Like bubble chambers, cloud chambers, and wire chambers nuclear emulsion plates record the tracks of charged particles passing through...

  • Ortho
    - Orthochromatic photography :Orthochromatic photography refers to a photographic emulsion that is sensitive to only blue and green light, and thus can be processed with a red safelight. The increased blue sensitivity causes blue objects to appear lighter and red ones darker...

     copy plus
  • Q plates
  • Process control


  • Ilfospeed RC Deluxe
  • Ilfobrom Galerie FB

Variable contrast
  • Multigrade IV RC Deluxe
  • Multigrade IV RC Portfolio
  • Multigrade RC Cooltone
  • Multigrade RC Warmtone
  • Multigrade RC Express
  • Multigrade IV FB
  • Multigrade FB Warmtone
  • Multigrade FB Art

Digital Panchromatic
  • Ilfospeed RC Digital
  • Galerie FB Digital

Direct Positive
  • HARMAN Direct Positive - FB Glossy
  • HARMAN Direct Positive - RC Glossy & Luster

Paper developers

  • Bromophen
  • Harman Cooltone developer
  • Harman Warmtone Developer
  • Ilford 2150 XL and 2000 RT
  • Multigrade developer
  • PQ Universal

Fixers, toners and other chemicals

  • Hypam fixer
  • Ilford 2000 RT Fixer and Rapid Fixer
  • Ilfostop
  • Ilfotol wetting agent
  • Ilford Washaid
  • Harman Selenium Toner

Lab services

In January 2008 the Ilford Process and Print Service (formerly Ilford Premium Direct) was brought in-house to the manufacturing site in Mobberley, Cheshire, UK.

In February 2009 Ilford Photo re-launched the in-house black-and-white lab service as "Ilford Lab Direct". The mail order service offers black-and-white film processing and silver gelatin printing from film or from digital files. The launch saw the introduction of a dedicated website www.ilfordlab.com.

In 2009 Ilford Lab Direct was awarded a Gold Award by Digital Photo magazine "Best online Black and White Printer"

In 2010 Ilford Lab Direct upgraded the range of print sizes up to and including 30x40 inch print capability.

See also

  • Photographic film
    Photographic film
    Photographic film is a sheet of plastic coated with an emulsion containing light-sensitive silver halide salts with variable crystal sizes that determine the sensitivity, contrast and resolution of the film...

     and List of photographic films
  • Photographic paper
    Photographic paper
    Photographic paper is paper coated with light-sensitive chemicals, used for making photographic prints.Photographic paper is exposed to light in a controlled manner, either by placing a negative in contact with the paper directly to produce a contact print, by using an enlarger in order to create a...

  • Darkroom
    A darkroom is a room that can be made completely dark to allow the processing of light sensitive photographic materials, including photographic film and photographic paper. Darkrooms have been created and used since the inception of photography in the early 19th century...

External links