I keep seeing this term bandied around but I don't really understand what it means. Most recently, on photo.net:
"...but FP-4 is more silver-rich, is smoother, with lovely gradation" compared to delta 100.
One can also see it on J&C's front page:
"Efke and ADOX films are old-school emulsions with very high silver content."
and again in their description of their polywarmtone fiber paper:
"The high silver content chlorobromide emulsion provides beautiful warm image tones..."
I understand that there was somewhat of a backlash against film manufacturers when new, manufactured grain emulsions were introduced 25 or so years ago, and I've heard the term "silver poor" used to describe t-max, along with jaded speculation that economic pressure over the rising price of silver had more to do with the new emulsions than improvements in image quality.
Now, I was probably born after the introduction of these products. I've always had the choice between tri-x and tmy. I've bought and compared fp4 to delta 100, and I like both neopan 400 and acros. My conclusion is that the newer films are usually less grainy and can produce lovely contrast.
So what's silver content got to do with it? Is pointing out the silver content of an emulsion just another way of saying that it has a vintage look? It seems psychologically in-line with labelling canned soup "HEARTY" and pasta "WHOLESOME."
Efke 25: Now with more silver! &c.