CatLabs 320 B&W film stock ..... My assessment!
First, I should preface my assessment, by stating that I always minimally adjust my scans as well as my digital files in Lightroom. I shoot both digital and analog, currently shooting with a Leica R9. That is my disclaimer … now onto to the topic.
CatLabs 320 is a budget price film. Which has its place, great for beginners or for those of us who cannot put the camera down. It is available in both 35mm and 120mm rolls. Although I purchased both, I have just been testing the 35mm. CatLabs as stated on the packaging is made in the EU. So that piqued my interest. A little online searching yielded interesting results. Yes, it is a rebranded film stock. Seems quite a number of popular 35mm films are not made by the company selling. CatLabs 320 (along with Rollei Superpan 200) is rebranded Aviphot Pan 200.
What is Aviphot Pan 200. An aerial photography film manufactured by Agfa. This is not necessarily a bad thing. All B&W films have a fair amount of latitude. So, designating a different ISO whether higher or lower, specifying different developers and different developing times will yield a variety of results. Rebranded films are rather common since there are only a few actual film manufacturers, Kodak, Ilford, Agfa, Fomapan, and ORWO. Catlabs X Film 80 is actually ORWO UN54 repackaged.
Now returning to CatLabs320, I had purchased a ten pack 35mm film. After shooting 4 or 5 rolls I realized it was actually a little too contrasty for my everyday use. Yes, I had nice deep blacks, but whites were sometimes blown out, seems to be that look that is popular on IG. However, I was lacking detail. Even with a fair amount of LR work, what I was getting from Ilford Delta 100, and Fomapan 100, wasn’t there. Again, not necessarily a bad thing if this is what you are going for. See below.
Here are 2 examples of CatLabs320, shot at ISO320
After some thought, I wasn’t quite to give up yet… Thought I would try shooting at ISO 200, of course this would require different dilutions and a longer developing time. I found the results much more pleasing, greater detail. Perhaps only a medium contrast, but that can be addressed in LR.
Here are some examples of Ilford Delta 100, Fomapan 100, and CatLabs320 @ 200.
Ilford Delta 100