By Oren Grad
Once again this year, Harman Technology is offering an open order window for ultralarge and other non-stock sizes of Ilford sheet film. These sizes are available at other times as well, but only to special order with a very substantial minimum—generally a few thousand dollars' worth. During the brief open season Harman will accept orders of any quantity, and commits to cutting all sizes ordered, even if only a single box in a given size.
In addition to offering FP4 Plus and HP5 Plus in a blizzard of sizes from 2 1/4 x 3 1/4" to 20x24" as in prior years, this year Harman is adding Delta 100 in two standard sizes that are not normally stock items for that emulsion (13x18 cm, 5x7") as well as in four non-standard sizes: 4x10", whole plate (WP) (6 1/2 x 8 1/2"), 7x17", and 16x20". Simon Galley of Harman Technology reports that these correspond to the non-stock sizes that have been the most popular over the past four years of the open order program. Note that popularity in this case is measured as total volume—i.e., the total sheet film surface area—ordered. (Of course, it takes far fewer sheets of, say, 16x20" to account for a given volume than of 4x10".
As a whole plate fan, I'm happy to see that the WP renaissance (reported in these precincts here and here) has some "legs." But I'm surprised that 16x20 is up there, too—it's been running about $16 per sheet—$400 per box of 25!—and that it's more popular than the classic banquet format 12x20.
The 2012 Ilford open order window begins April 30 and runs until June 22. Details, including a complete list of emulsions/sizes offered and of participating dealers, can be found at the Ilford Photo website.
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Original contents copyright 2012 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by Sal Santamaura: "Oren's a declared HP5 Plus fan, but my whole plate (WP) shooting has trailed off because neither it nor Ilford's FP4 Plus emulsions are really my cup of tea, though the latter can be acceptable to me some of the time. Since late 2006 I've been begging Simon Galley to include Delta 100 among Ilford's annual special order sizes. That he and the other Directors finally decided they would do so this time is, to me, extraordinarily good news. In fact, my response to his announcement post was "Simon, you've made my day/week/month/year!" Availability of WP Delta 100 will definitely motivate a second renaissance within the WP renaissance at my house. :-)"