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HP5 Trouble

Discussion in 'Everything Film' started by MPB, Mar 9, 2013.

  1. MPB

    MPB Well-Known Member

    Hi all,

    has any one had any trouble developing/using HP5 plus. The problem I can not get the negatives to scan seem very dark all highlights and shadows no mid tones and when I stick it through enlarger even at grade one to grade 2 getting v dark prints with no mid tones. I dont know if I have left the negative in the developer in too long or had it too warm.

    I suspect it could be a metering issue possible over exposure.

    any help would be appreciated.:confused:


  2. MPB

    MPB Well-Known Member

    two of the offending images, the first a scan of print from enlarger

    [​IMG]the second a scan of negative prior to producing contact print

  3. thornrider

    thornrider In the Stop Bath

    There are so many possibilities.

    Does the negative look OK when you view it on it's own - or is it thin ?

    Is this the first film you have scanned - at all ? - in this scanner?

    Have you had good scans from this scanner before?

    Have you scanned HP5 before - it's not that hard - but XP2 scans easier.

    Did you dev the HP5 yourself ?

    If so did the time or temp drift off - did you measure both or guess one or the other?

    Unless we know the answers to the above it is impossible IMHO to help.

    Here is a successful scan - should be like this :

    Last edited: Mar 9, 2013
  4. skellum

    skellum Well-Known Member

    Your darkroom print lacks contrast- it needs a harder grade (3 or 4, not 1 or 2).
    Are you using 35mm? Which dev and how long? You didn't guess the temp did you (sorry if that sounds cheeky).
    Have you got a digital camera? Hold your negatives up to window light and take a picture for us- would give a quick impression of what's happening.
  5. MPB

    MPB Well-Known Member

    There are so many possibilities.

    Does the negative look OK when you view it on it's own - or is it thin ? Generally negs look of if a bit dark

    Is this the first film you have scanned - at all ? - in this scanner? No generally scan all my negs prior to processing

    Have you had good scans from this scanner before? Yes. It generally gives very good scans especially using ilford Delta ETC

    Have you scanned HP5 before - it's not that hard - but XP2 scans easier. Yes, and got some good scans

    Did you dev the HP5 yourself ? Yes 7 mins according to data sheet

    If so did the time or temp drift off - did you measure both or guess one or the other? Time measured to minute using a analogue watch to get correct agitation time. temp guessed mixing using hot tap
  6. MPB

    MPB Well-Known Member

    Your darkroom print lacks contrast- it needs a harder grade (3 or 4, not 1 or 2).
    Are you using 35mm? Yes

    Which dev and how long? Ilfosol 3 7 mins
    You didn't guess the temp did you (sorry if that sounds cheeky). forgot to check with thermometer so was a bit of a guess

    Have you got a digital camera? Hold your negatives up to window light and take a picture for us- would give a quick impression of what's happening.

    Here are a few examples



  7. thornrider

    thornrider In the Stop Bath

    Thanks for answering the questions. This gives us more of a chance.

    It looks to me like a combination of negative and scanner problems. The negatives are lacking in contrast a bit, the negative of the bridge was underexposed for the front of the bridge, but they are not so bad that the scans should have been so poor.

    Looking up HP5 Plus dev time 7 mins is the shortest time I could see for any developer - I use ID11 1+1 which needs much more than 7 mins. Also if you exposed your film for 400 ASA rather than about 280 ASA which is it's true film speed this won't have helped. The bridge location gave you some bad exposure problems also - the lit strip of the scene on the far side of the bridge is about right which is only a small part of the negative.

    I scan on a dedicated negative scanner and most current scanners are flatbeds. What scanner software are you running. My files on a Nikon Coolscan in black and white are about 25 Mb scanning just 16 bit to 8 bit grey scale - ie not scanning in colour and not attempted any HDR trickery. I scan full frame with no scratch removal for a finished print size of 12" x 9". Are you scanning just 1 for 1 and getting a scan which is just 36mm x 24mm? Not good and easily possible. Also are you scanning at the maximum resolution of the scanner ? - which is good.

    What file size are you getting in Mb's ?

    Also HP5 is not as easy to scan as chromogenic emulsions - XP2 really good for scanning because it has no silver grains - less exciting for enlarger based prints I know.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2013
  8. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    Well HP5+ scans ok for 35mm but on 5x4 it is easy. ;)

    The negs look alright - not perfect but should scan ok with care. From my experience it can take a while to develop a scanning workflow which works well but once sorted you will enjoy the benefits indefinitely. Best to take control and not leave it on full-auto.
  9. P_Stoddart

    P_Stoddart Well-Known Member

    I have some B&W Ilford negative myself from the past.

    Could be just me but the edge marking look abit thin.

    One thing you can do is shoot a exposure balancing shot on the first frame under highly controlled conditions. Say using flash on a test chart so you know the exposure is bang on.

    Then if that comes out too thin or too dark you know the processing is screwed.

    So try that the next time you take the camera out for a spin. It's only one frame. :)

    I used to do this when process E6 to make sure the push processing was working.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2013
  10. MPB

    MPB Well-Known Member

    I used to use a jesses own neg scanner but now use HP scanjet G4010 and its base drivers generally get good scans from it with care. the jesses scanner gave up ghost 18 months or so back. generally do a first pass for contact print at 300ppi then scan at 2400 or above for any serious digital enlargements. fact sheet suggests seven mins for ilfosol at iso 400 as printed on side of cartridge.
  11. MPB

    MPB Well-Known Member

    exposure balancing shot ?? maybe been a bit thick here but confused. please reply here or pm me more info.
  12. P_Stoddart

    P_Stoddart Well-Known Member

    Simply it is a frame you know is correctly exposed.

    Pros (shooting film) used to do colour test chart shots on the first frame to make sure the processing was not messing with the colour balance. Also because of batch issues.

    Usually done in a studio under controlled conditions. In alot of cases not even using the cameras meter.

    So if your balancing shot is not as expected you know something wrong. Either the camera's meter is off or processing has issues.

    Do have hand held meter as well for film shooting? To compare what the camera is saying.
  13. thornrider

    thornrider In the Stop Bath

    In general your shots are underexposed - best to rate HP5 Plus at 280 to 320 ASA.

    2400 ppi scans are really going to see you struggling too.
  14. taxor

    taxor Well-Known Member

    Good advice but would suggest 200 asa as a starting point. You really must make sure the dev temp is correct otherwise you'll never get consistent results. I would also standardise your film/developer combo and development technique - that way you can then test for your personal film speed. The advice about XP2 is sound. HP5 scans like s***e even with GEM (far better to print optically with this emulsion).
  15. P_Stoddart

    P_Stoddart Well-Known Member

  16. IvorCamera

    IvorCamera In the Stop Bath

    Place the neg strip on a clean sheet of newspaper, you should just about read the print through the darkest area on the negs! if you cant then you have over exposed or over developed! if the negs are ok then its your scanner not reading the negs properly........or being fooled by something! its best to scan in complete darkness, for a starting point and then carry on tests from there......
  17. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Or your metering technique is at fault.

    Rating films at a lower EI (NOT ASA or ISO) than it says on the box normally means one of three things:

    1 Metering technique at fault

    2 Under-development

    3 You just like the results better at the lower EI

    It's also worth remembering that the penalties for a stop of over exposure with conventional B&W film (slightly bigger grain, slightly reduced sharpness) are as naught when compared with the penalties for the same amount of under-exposure (no shadow detail, lousy tonality).

    I find that I can rate the same film (Ilford HP5 Plus) at anything from EI 250 (sunny day, primitive TTL meter) to 500 (1 degree spot meter reading of the darkest shadows in which I want detail, using shadow index/IRE 1 on the spot meter -- NOT the 'mid-tone'.)


  18. thornrider

    thornrider In the Stop Bath

    I know this is an old thread but the logic of rating HP5 at less than 400 ISO ( I am looking at an HP5 film box now and that is what Harman Technology call it) is that :-

    1. The true speed of HP5 is less than 400 ISO - magazine tests put it at 280/320

    2. At 320 ISO HP5 and Tri X given 10% less development produces finer grain and greater shadow detail.

    I know that Roger Hicks (the one with the long beard anyway) has forgotten more than I ever learned - but liking the results better this way seems to be the sort of thing you would have done - and written about.
    It's probably different with us using domestics amateur enlargers like the Durst F30 - and the kind of enlarger used by pro commercial dark rooms close to Fleet Street at one time.
    Last edited: May 28, 2013
  19. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    ISO refers to speeds developed to ISO standards of density and contrast. Unless you develop to ISO standards, the speed you quote is an exposure index (EI) and not an ISO speed.

    ASA is of course the pre-ISO standard, itself derived from a Kodak standard in the late 1930s and later revised to a fixed-density criterion instead of a fractional-gradient criterion for the speed point. Personally, I'll trust Ilford and ISO standards over "magazine tests" any day: I'd be obliged if you would tell me which magazine writers conduct ISO (not EI) tests. My suspicion is that since Geoffrey died, there is none. True ISO of HP5 Plus varies: in Microphen it's 650+; in a non speed increasing developer, around 400; and in a fine grain developer, 320 or less (possibly much less, depending on the developer).

    Also, yes, if you cut development time speed falls. Probably not all that much, but then, a 10% development cut shouldn't lose you much speed and 1/3 stop extra exposure should just about even the score. You'll end up with a slightly less contrasty and slightly finer grained negative, but I'd be quite surprised at more shadow detail. Of course, as I said in my earlier post, a lot depends on how you meter.

    The enlarger type will obviously have an effect, as will enlarger lens flare, but really, "Because you prefer it this way" is the only convincing argument.

    Finally, my beard isn't really that long.


  20. thornrider

    thornrider In the Stop Bath

    Thank you for replying to my submission. The initial OP had submitted a scan from an HP5 Plus negative - and he wasn't happy with it. There seemed to be both negative and scanner problems.

    I am not a scientist so my language is aimed more at the average Joe rather than the pro with access to advanced high priced enlargers or drum scanners - say they are using a consumer Durst enlarger either say a Nikon or Minolta lens, or a Nikon Coolscan/Canon flatbed negative scanner.

    I take the point about EI versus the terms ISO or ASA having now read up about them. So lets talk about EI. In the case of HP5 Plus or Tri-X then I have effectively suggested 320 rather than 400. i.e. that the OP would getter better results setting his camera to 320 manually rather than the 400 that would be set automatically by the marks printed on the film cassette. Then the film to be developed in ID11 or D76 diluted 1+1 for 10% less than the recommended development time. This would give finer grain and more detail in the shadows due to lower contrast - both would aid scanning. But using XP2 rated at 320 would be even better.

    You have asked for sources of information - I admit I am not clever enough to come up with this myself - I read it and it works better for me. The sources were :-

    1. John Garrett - "The Art of Black and White Photography" page 34 Choosing Film. In this he says that "In my experience manufacturer's film speed ratings are generally optimistic and therefore I always rate ISO 50 films at ISO 32, ISO 125 films at ISO 80, and ISO 400 films at ISO 300.

    2. The Darkroom Cookbook - which says that there is an element of overexposure in Ansell Adams zone system to increase shadow detail - and goes on to recommend an EI of 320 for ISO 400 films with development reduced by 10%.

    3. Roger and Frances excellent tutorial on choosing black and white films which says :-

    We normally rate Ilford HP5 Plus and Kodak Tri-X at 320 (in-camera meter) or 500 (spot meter), developing in Ilford DD-X for a true ISO of about 650; Ilford Delta 3200 at 2500, developed at the time recommended for 3200; and Foma 200 at 125, typically in DD-X again which gives ISO 160+. In other words, we normally rate the film at least a third stop slower than the full film speed, because we prefer the tonality that way - though partly, too, this is a matter of metering, as explained in the module exposure for negatives. You may also find it worth while to read about the markings on old Weston meters, even if you don't own one, as it may help you understand more about metering technique.

    The tutorial also suggest using chromogenic films if they are to be scanned.

    The tutorial is found at :-

    http://www.rogerandfrances.com/subscription/choosing bw films.html

    Now I know that it is possible to be very pedantic about accurate use of scientific language - but this will only confuse issues for us ordinary Joes. But in practical terms a 400 ISO film in the camera (preferably chromogenic) with the camera meter set at 320 and development reduced by 10% would give the OP a better chance of improved scans.

    PS. Not in ZZ Top territory I accept - but longish anyway.
    Last edited: May 29, 2013

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