I find it most alluring about Ilford’s striking contrast from the outset. Although it can be overpowering at times, the starkness combined with the graininess produced under intense lighting imbues my photos with the mood and character I strive for. Additionally, I seldom need to make significant adjustments, provided I achieve optimal exposure. Ilford excels at capturing texture with clarity, thanks to the contrast in the film's images.
Kodak 400 T-Max, on the other hand, offers a smoother tonality, usually eschewing the harsh black-and-white effect for a more grayscale look. It imparts a glowy quality, evoking bygone eras, and this was precisely what I was aiming for in my work. Nonetheless, compared to Ilford HP5, I find myself making more edits during the post-processing stage, which I don't mind doing. When it comes to black and white photography, I am seeking a particular look, feeling, aesthetic, and texture. While both film stocks possess unique qualities, Ilford HP5 brings me closer and faster to my desired outcome than Kodak 400 TMax.
With the current price increase in film, I see myself shooting with black and white film stocks more. My heart is sold on Ilford HP5, though should the occasion arise where I need a rather softly classic look, I may find myself loading up my camera with a Kodak 400 T-Max.