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Thread: HP5+ Processing and EI

  1. #11

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    Re: HP5+ Processing and EI

    McAir, I would like my answer to stick to the statement in your post. Since you're going next week and shooting HP5, you may have little available time for testing, and, as hinted in the comments above, there are more than a few variables -- and we haven't even started with shutters and meters.

    Welcome back to LF photography. I returned about four years ago and chose HP5, which was already an old friend, but I switched developer and had to start my testing again.

    Black and white, as you may well know, is rather forgiving, and HP5 is a very forgiving B&W film. Naturally, one wants to fine-tune exposure and development, but that's not likely to happen by next week in your case.

    Unless your meter or metering, and/or shutter(s) are way out-of whack, I would side with those suggesting either box speed or a stop more exposure (EI 200) for subjects of relatively normal brightness range and normal development. For subjects of low contrast, that will do, but you can also stick to 400 to let the low values fall as they may and give an extra 10-15% development. If you encounter situations of very high brightness range, 200 and perhaps 15% less development will get you in the proverbial ball park. HP5 will offer you elbow room when you go to print; highlights are not likely to block up easily. Enjoy your trip and enjoy your photography. Just take good notes. Perhaps you'll return with some images to share with us!

    Have a good time! You fine tune later.
    Philip Ulanowsky

    Sine scientia ars nihil est. (Without science/knowledge, art is nothing.)
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/156933346@N07/

  2. #12

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    Re: HP5+ Processing and EI

    Quote Originally Posted by paulbarden View Post
    First of all, ultimately I believe that its in your best interest to make a few exposures and vary the exposure + processing and evaluate the results to determine what works best for your tastes. We all do things differently to achieve the specific results we want, and film + developer technique has a large effect on the result.

    But I do have one suggestion, since you're specifically asking about HP5: I have found that for my tastes, HP5 lacks separation of values in the upper tones. I find it renders the light values a bit flat, with poor tonal separation. But there's a developer that is known for delivering a better tonal range on HP5 and is capable of rendering better separation of higher values, and that's FA-1027, available from Photographers Formulary.

    "FA-1027 produces a very fine negative with Ilford HP-5 film, for example. There is a very distinct high value separation in Zones VI and above. In Zones V and below, there is just as impressive a separation, without the dumping of those values into murky darkness; as is the case with the Tri-X/HC-110 effect. The chemist responsible for the FA-1027 formula tells me that 2 restrainers, Potassium Bromide and Benzatriazole are responsible for this phenomenon; that one affects the upper end of the film curve (high values) and the other affects the low end (low values)."

    I've used FA-1027 a lot in the past 2 years and I find that the statements about its performance are accurate and truthful. I have rarely liked images I've made on HP5, no matter what the choice of developer: I've always found the results lack "sparkle" compared to - for example - Delta 100. (You can view two photos I made to compare the two films here The differences are subtle, but what I'm describing should be perceptible)

    FA-1027 improves the results I've gotten on all films, not just HP5, but its definitely made my HP5 negatives better. (for MY tastes - YMMV) So you might want to consider trying this combination for yourself. I've found that FA-1027 tends to give a bit of a speed boost to films: I'm able to expose HP5 at 250 to get what I want, instead of 160ASA. Also worth noting is that FA-1027 is a liquid concentrate, and it lasts for at least a year after opening the bottle. At the 1:14 dilution, its very economical.
    Thank you for your comments. I can see the subtle difference in the images you mentioned. Makes me interested in trying the Delta 100 and making some comparisons. FA-1027 is also a consideration. Thanks again

  3. #13

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    Re: HP5+ Processing and EI

    This is interesting before you dive into HP5+ : https://www.photrio.com/forum/thread...ilters.195160/

  4. #14
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: HP5+ Processing and EI

    Paul, that upper and midtone tonality problem you describe mystifies me; doesn't resemble any HP5 I know. In any event, a number of people including myself learned long ago that HP5 is happy in staining pyro formulas like a duck in water. Delta 100 is a different animal completely, but worthy of trying in its own right. I think of Delta as more the poor man's TMax, that is, if you boost the shadows further up onto the straight line using 50 as your speed instead of 100. Very different fine grain structure versus way faster HP5 with its large "watercolor grain" effect, at least in pyro. Frankly, I don't like shooting HP5 in any format smaller than 8x10 for that reason. But around 2X to 3X magnification in print, it can deliver some amazing results.

    The double restrainer effect mentioned in relation to FA-1027 obviously comes with an inherent speed penalty. Even 250 versus 164 sounds awfully slow to me, though I don't know the specific metering style involved. The benzotriazole behaves as a toe cutter; no secret there.

  5. #15

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    Re: HP5+ Processing and EI

    Drew, just for fun, what is this “watercolour grain” you always mention when talking about HP5+ developed in PMK? Is it like you use the wet emulsion as a support for watercolour painting or washes? Is it cold or hot pressed first? What’s your favourite brand of brushes?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Paul, that upper and midtone tonality problem you describe mystifies me; doesn't resemble any HP5 I know. In any event, a number of people including myself learned long ago that HP5 is happy in staining pyro formulas like a duck in water. Delta 100 is a different animal completely, but worthy of trying in its own right. I think of Delta as more the poor man's TMax, that is, if you boost the shadows further up onto the straight line using 50 as your speed instead of 100. Very different fine grain structure versus way faster HP5 with its large "watercolor grain" effect, at least in pyro. Frankly, I don't like shooting HP5 in any format smaller than 8x10 for that reason. But around 2X to 3X magnification in print, it can deliver some amazing results.

    The double restrainer effect mentioned in relation to FA-1027 obviously comes with an inherent speed penalty. Even 250 versus 164 sounds awfully slow to me, though I don't know the specific metering style involved. The benzotriazole behaves as a toe cutter; no secret there.

  6. #16
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: HP5+ Processing and EI

    It works well with duct tape, Michael, that is, to wrap over the mouths of certain people to keep them from disturbing the calm of my developing session. There are a few of my old watercolor brushes in that room, not only for print spotting use, but for applying bleaches like Farmer's reducer. Ever been bound and selectively bleached yet?

  7. #17

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    Re: HP5+ Processing and EI

    LOL ok, ok I’ll stop poking the ibex on this one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    It works well with duct tape, Michael, that is, to wrap over the mouths of certain people to keep them from disturbing the calm of my developing session. There are a few of my old watercolor brushes in that room, not only for print spotting use, but for applying bleaches like Farmer's reducer. Ever been bound and selectively bleached yet?

  8. #18

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    Re: HP5+ Processing and EI

    Quote Originally Posted by McAir View Post
    Okay, I am returning to 4x5 after quite a few years. I have a trip planned next week and will be shooting Illford HP5+. I shoot landscapes only. I want to make sure I have good detail in the shadows without blocking up the highlights. My thought was this: Either rate the film at 320 and develop normal; or shoot at 250 and reduce development time (not sure how much). Anyway, I hope to get some advice. Any thoughts appreciated.
    Hi,
    I like and I use HP5 but it lacks contrast in my opinion which can be good or bad, depending on your taste.
    I love instead FP4 which has a better contrast and handle the high lights better, with a very pleasant vibe, without any valuable loss in the shadows.
    I develop both in HC110 form 1+31 to 1+47 depending if it is winter or summer (I can't control completely my water temperature). D76 (1+1) works better but it is now too expensive.
    Since you want to do landscape, I'd go with the FP4 with no doubts (box speed or a touch lower if the scene has high contrast).
    If you want to go with HP5 anyhow, I then suggest to stay at box speed, if you expose it any lower than 400 I found it too dull form my tastes. Sometimes I use it at 500 and give like +10% of the developing times.
    Pressing the shutter is the only easy thing

  9. #19
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: HP5+ Processing and EI

    Recognizing the differences between the characteristic curves of these films, and how those in turn are affected by specific exposure and development, is far more valuable than anecdotal observations. I can take ANY black and white film currently on the market and make compelling landscape photos. It's just a matter of which shoe fits the foot best, because lighting itself is not a constant, and there are many other potential variables, including individual taste.

    Besides its finer grain and lower speed, FP4 has less of a toe and more long straight line than HP5, and is indeed likely to be more cooperative in high contrast scenes, but not to the extent of films with still longer linearity down into the toe like TMY and TMX. Then we might narrow down our selection based on format availability, cost, or speed (it is often windy around here). No sense going on and on. I've shot quite a number of films in 4x5 and 8x10 over the years, and have gotten superb shots outdoors with every one of them; but of course, I do have my own favorite and good reasons for them. And can't carry around a big selection all at the same time. So we look for versatility in a film appropriate to the lighting and contrast scenarios we are most likely to encounter, as well as that "look" we might especially like, which differs from one person to another. But there is no "best" choice. It all depends.

    It can take a fair amount of time and experimentation to truly understand the personality and potential of any given film. But in terms of a middle of the road product which is relatively easy to learn and quite versatile, it would be hard to beat FP4. Even though it hasn't been my most-used film for a long time, I still always keep sheets of it on hand.

  10. #20

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    Re: HP5+ Processing and EI

    Been using HP5 for decades, it is FAR from being "low contrast"... it is much more a matter of how any B&W film is used.. effective EI used, contrast ratio in the image area to be recorded on film, film size, developer used and development process, how the film negative will be used (wet darkroom print, scan digital print), print goals and much more..

    There are no absolutes with B&W, simply the image maker's creative goals due to the very nature of monochrome images..
    All films or digital or image process remain mere tool and means to an end.


    Bernice

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