1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

FP4/HP5 too dull?

Discussion in 'Everything Film' started by fulvio, Apr 12, 2006.

  1. fulvio

    fulvio Well-Known Member

    I have just bought a load more Ilford FP4 and HP5 (from 7dayshop, in fact). This is the only B&W film I have ever used (except for XP2, which is not for me at all). Am I missing out and what should I try?
  2. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Depends what you want it for. I always thought FP4 was lacking in character, but Big Will has proved me wrong on that. However, I always thought HP5 in Rodinal was full of character, and is one of my all-time favourites. Pan F is capable of wonderful results in a very different area, IR films are terrific, and if Ilford can be persuaded to make SFX again, it's a superb film. Then Ilford's Delta films are rather nice - nearly as grain-free (not the 3200, of course!) as XP2, but more of a traditional "glow". The 3200 is special, too.

    In fact, just try a few of any B&W non-chromagenic - most have something to like about them!
  3. Simon E.

    Simon E. Well-Known Member

    fulvio, if you're happy why change?

    One way would be to identify the things you feel are deficient and try a different developer - Acutol or rodinal for sharpness, Pereceptol or Aculux for fine grain.

    Otherwise, pick a film that appears suited to a job (e.g. Tmax 400 to replace HP5 or Pan F/Delta 100/Tmax 100 for tripod-based work) and give it a whirl. To be honest, you are already using two of the most flexible and popular b&w emulsions available.

    Nick, I've read poor opinions of HP5/Rodinal. Why do you like it, and do you print it traditionally or digitally?

  4. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Why do I like it? Tonality, and larger than normal grain (albeit "shapely"). I'm currrently just printing digitally, although I used to print this combo traditionally and will be again soon. I LIKE grain - for me, it's an integral part of shooting B&W film. Well, fil of any sort, for that matter, but especially B&W.

    And I ought to say that I mostly use 120 HP5/Rodinal these days.
  5. taxor

    taxor Well-Known Member

    I don't think you'll go far wrong with HP5 (especially in ID11 dev.). Never really got on with FP4 for some reason. SFX is definitely worth a try if you can get it (try it with a deep red filter). Pan F, although I don't use it much these days, is a classic emulsion; so fine grained and sharp, though the nominal 50 asa rating puts a lot of people off. After all this blather, I can only really recommend that for the time being , you pick one film (maybe two at the most) and test its capabilities under differing conditions and in different developers. In this way, I've found that my preferred film for 90% of my photography is HP5 (downrated to 200 asa and souped in dilute D76 for 10.5 mins, to be precise!)
  6. downfader

    downfader Well-Known Member

    Nothing boring about that matey. :cool:

    I'd like to tempt you into trying each of Ilford range though, but thats just me ;)
  7. AJUK

    AJUK Well-Known Member

    I recently developed some HP5 in rodinall from a film that came out of an MJU II, Irelivant I know, I got what looks like good results, but of course I cant print them. :(
  8. bagpuss

    bagpuss Well-Known Member

    I took some photos using FP4 in my F80 a few weeks back at around 11am on an incredibly sunny day, and got some superbly contrasty shots (park benches and shadows of trees). I was really pleased with the results, so I guess it's a case of personal taste.

    I find HP5 can be a bit too "flat", so tend to use Delta 400 instead.
  9. rephoto

    rephoto Well-Known Member

    Am a big fan of HP5 but would strongly recommend playing about with Neopan 1600. I always have plentiful stocks in the fridge and swear by the stuff.
  10. Barrington

    Barrington Well-Known Member

    After having tried heap of B&W emulsions I settled on HP5.It's such a versatile film.I tend to develop it in Ilfosol S for about a minute longer than recommended at around 24-26 degrees and gets great punchy results.I found that best results come from less agitation than what Ilford suggest but,hey,the great thing about home B&W dev is the way you can experiment to get the results you like.Rodinal gives great results too but be careful of the agitation.HP5 in that stuff prefers the more gentle approach.

    Go on,give it a go!

  11. taxor

    taxor Well-Known Member

    A kindred spirit!! Couldn't agree with you more. If you're using liquid developers, then Ilford LC29 is a good brew. Personally, I prefer HP5 in D76 (1+1) for 11 mins. Regards, Taxor
  12. johnriley1uk

    johnriley1uk Well-Known Member

    If you find these films too dull, then why not think about that superb classic Kodak Tri-X? This has more bite than the Ilford films, a superb sharp grain structure and a tonality that sings....

    My current combination would be to use tri-X in Paterson FX-39 developer, which gives very sharp, crisp grain. A lovely texture.
  13. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Because Tri-X is horrid? ;) IMHO, of course.
  14. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    I guess I should be more specific about what I don't like about Tri-X - and it's actually the two points you've identified as why you like it. I find Tri-X grain to be too intrusive, too gritty - I just prefer the look of HP5. As for tonality, I've always found it lacking, particularly in between the extremes. However, clearly others may disagree.
  15. ermintrude

    ermintrude Hinkypuff

    It does? :D Ick, I couldnt stand Tri-X :(
  16. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    I guess he meant "sings like Morrissey"! ;)
  17. dyncoed

    dyncoed Well-Known Member

    if ever you do decide to change films, always experiment with speeds/exposure/dev times/developers etc.

    sometimes the classic "ring around" is the only way to go if you want to get to know what a new film is capable of. it takes work to do it, but it will give you an idea what the film/developer combination is capable of.
    mike johnson wrote a good article on it last christmas in black and white photography magazine, just reading that will give you the gist of what to do.

    maybe this is what you need to do with fp4/hp5 you buy in bulk. experiment a bit more. play with it until you get what you want, if not move on to another film.

    film choice is very often personal anyway, personally i have 3 or 4 b&w films i like to use. each has its own character and merits, tri-x as well as hp5. overexposed tri-x in d76 is my favourite, but i like hp5 too, i find it copes better with being pushed a few stops(3200).

  18. johnriley1uk

    johnriley1uk Well-Known Member

    It's not just Tri-X in isolation that I like, it does depend on the developer. This is why home processing of films is so important - you can get the results you want.

    The "tonality that sings" can be brought out of most traditional high-silver content films, again depending on the film/developer combination. Anyone who has only ever used the Delta/T-Max type films, or more so the chromogenic C-41 process ones, will not have seen the effect I mention.

    Morrisey? No, more Frankie Valli at his peak - a perfect full range from shadows to highlights, or from Baritone to Falsetto if you prefer the analogy!
  19. AJUK

    AJUK Well-Known Member

  20. AJUK

    AJUK Well-Known Member

    FWIW, I have just exposed some Tri-x, I look forward to the results.

Share This Page