Ilford Manual of Photography

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The Ilford Manual of Photography is a comprehensive manual of photography, first published in 1890, written by C.H. Bothamley, and published by the Britannia Works Company, which became Ilford, Limited, in 1901. It is still in print, now named The Manual of Photography.

Technical information regarding optics, chemistry and printing are described in far greater depth than in other photographic books, and therefore it quickly became the staple technical book for the professional or serious amateur photographer. It remained so for some time, and with each additional edition further information was added so that it might remain relevant. It still lines the bookshelves of many serious photographers, consequent to its tremendous depth, and the publication of many of the recipes for developers, including the popular ID-11 and IF-2, Ilford Photo's then non-hardening fixer. This represents a tremendous boon for the photographer, and did even more so in the early 20th century, when many would mix their own chemistry. It is comparable in many ways to Ansel Adams' books The Camera, The Negative and The Print, in its logical description of exposing film (and plates), developing the negative, and printing from those negatives.


  • 1890: Britannia Works Company, 1st edition
  • 1942: Ilford, 3rd edition (scan of 1945 reprint available from Internet Archive)
  • 1949: Ilford, 4th edition
  • 1950: Ilford, 4th edition, reprint
  • 1958: Ilford, 5th edition
  • 1971: Focal Press, 6th edition (renamed The Manual of Photography, which it retains today)
  • 1978: Focal Press, 7th edition
  • 1988: Focal Press, 8th edition
  • 2000: Focal Press, 9th edition
  • 2011: Focal Press, 10th edition

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