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Thread: FP4 vs HP5- when to use one over the other?

  1. #61

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    Re: FP4 vs HP5- when to use one over the other?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Just for giggles, let's just imagine that the real world doesn't consist of just one standardized illuminance range, and that films are not always developed to the same
    level of contrast. So what are the implications of the "normal print range" involving something beyond those little red lines?
    The lines represent very roughly a straight print to grade 2 paper.

    Post 60 kinda answers your question.
    You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus. ~ Mark Twain

  2. #62
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: FP4 vs HP5- when to use one over the other?

    Ever try printing HP5 overexposed to the degree necessary to push the whole subject way up the curve? Good luck. I used to do it routinely, simply to get incredible
    midtone microtonality. But even with VC papers, I had to add a supplementary unsharp silver mask, and have a plutonium-powered cold light with enough punch to
    do it correctly, or else the highs would just plain blow out. HP5 has its distinct look, but with regard to strong luminance ranges, TMY or old-school straight-line films like Super XX and Bergger 200 make it SOOOOO much easier. So yeah, you are kinda reading the curves unrealistically.

  3. #63

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    Re: FP4 vs HP5- when to use one over the other?

    I don't disagree that there are challenges as exposure goes up but plutonium-powered?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    So yeah, you are kinda reading the curves unrealistically.
    How?

    The paper has a certain range, a negative generally has more, TMY might qualify as a lot more.

    We can play with the shape of the film curve (make the curve steeper or flatter), we can play with the print grade (spread or close the red lines a bit), or we can burn and dodge (to print from the areas outside the red lines).

    What am I missing?
    You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus. ~ Mark Twain

  4. #64
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: FP4 vs HP5- when to use one over the other?

    Oh you can do it, all right. But with what implications? I earned a phD in HP5 from the school of Hard Knocks. It might be a little bit easier nowadays given the superior quality of recent VC papers, as well as the PS curve-reconfiguration route. But the traditional way - compensating or minus development, or lower grades of paper (as if there were many graded paper left) - pretty much sacrifices the lovely midtone tonality potential which makes HP5 so special. I did it with masking, which I was pretty comfortable with anyway, due to all my color printing need of it. In this case, combining the need for a relatively fast film speed with big enlargement and high-contrast lighting conditions just made TMY the obvious candidate. I've certainly taken my share of shots under analogous conditions with both HP5 and FP5 and understand the practical shortcomings all too well. Under softer lighting, or without much wind or motion, that's a different story. These are all superb films, but each one has its particular strengths and weaknesses. None are cheap in 8x10, so I'd rather not guess.

  5. #65
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    Re: FP4 vs HP5- when to use one over the other?

    Quote Originally Posted by BenJT View Post
    Drew, are you saying that fp5 performs best when exposed at 50? Also, does fp4 and hp5 lack something in the highlight range? I'm pretty new to ilford films, recently switched from tri-x 400 and acros to hp5 and fp4, to support ilford. I know that hp5 is not a fine grain film, but I wasn't aware of it being more prone to blown highlights (read that earlier on in the thread). Also, and this is probably a dumb question and shows my lack of technical knowledge, does black and white neg film have less highlight range then CN films like portra? I've always thought black and white films had the same ability to take a lot of over exposure and still hold onto the highlights. I guess I thought the ilford films would be less finicky then this thread makes them sound.
    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    No. Did I make a typo? It is FP4 which I would generally recommend being exposed at 50. With HP5, most people will use either full speed (400) or maybe 320.
    Everything needs to be fine-tuned according to your personal development style, of course, just as with all film work. But I can certainly state that both from experience and formal lab testing, that you can get more contrast range onto TMY400 than onto either of the Ilford films, that is, if you factor in clearly visible
    tonal gradations. TMY is a bit fussier in terms of getting the initial exposure correct, however. Color neg films differ one from another too, but certainly aren't capable of crisply handling the same kind of contrast range as most black and white films, which can be developed all kinds of ways to tweak contrast, without worrying about what will happen to color rendition per se. But I think you're making all this a bit too complicated. Take your best guess (and I've at least attempted to skew that in favor of TMY400), and then just experiment with a single film and development and printing method until you're comfortable with that.
    When you're working subjects like horses, you'll need all that exposure business to become subconscious and second nature, so you're attention will be on the
    subject. But due to the cost of 8x10 film, you might want to experiment with the same film in a smaller format, making smaller prints, first.
    I think he made the typo. He wrote "fp5" which of course doesn't exist. I knew what he meant but you apparently read it as HP5.
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  6. #66

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    Re: FP4 vs HP5- when to use one over the other?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Oh you can do it, all right. But with what implications? I earned a phD in HP5 from the school of Hard Knocks. It might be a little bit easier nowadays given the superior quality of recent VC papers, as well as the PS curve-reconfiguration route. But the traditional way - compensating or minus development, or lower grades of paper (as if there were many graded paper left) - pretty much sacrifices the lovely midtone tonality potential which makes HP5 so special. I did it with masking, which I was pretty comfortable with anyway, due to all my color printing need of it. In this case, combining the need for a relatively fast film speed with big enlargement and high-contrast lighting conditions just made TMY the obvious candidate. I've certainly taken my share of shots under analogous conditions with both HP5 and FP5 and understand the practical shortcomings all too well. Under softer lighting, or without much wind or motion, that's a different story. These are all superb films, but each one has its particular strengths and weaknesses. None are cheap in 8x10, so I'd rather not guess.
    So, given that a mask just modifies the curve, I'm not missing anything.
    You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus. ~ Mark Twain

  7. #67
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: FP4 vs HP5- when to use one over the other?

    There are quite a few disadvantages to printing an overexposed "thick" negative. (Don't confuse this with "thick emulsion" terminology). That habit seems to be a
    tradition carried over from alt contact printing, but can be problematic in ordinary silver printing. Once you get too much density, it just equals headaches. And if
    you add a mask, you need more firepower (though many of us do have relatively strong light sources to print from). So not having time to elaborate at the moment,
    I'd just point out the distinction between "salvage" printing of less than ideal negs, and doing it the fast and easy way with something more reasonable. I break quite
    a few rules myself from time to time, so understand the implications in terms of practicality.

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