HP4 - now what?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Toffle, Oct 26, 2009.

  1. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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    I've been given a box of 50 sheets of 4x5 Ilford HP4. I know nothing of this film in general; nor do I know anything of the age of this particular box of film or how it has been stored. I'm guessing at the very least it will have noticeable fog, and may be totally unuseable. Still, I'm interested in trying it, if for no other reason than getting some practice with my new camera. (without paying $1+ per sheet for every mistake I make... :D )

    So... where do I begin? I've done searhes here and around the web, and can't seem to find anything more than a passing reference to this film. My standard developer is HC-110, and I suppose I could guesstimate some starting times by inspection, but I'd really like to know what I'm comparing to. Does anyone know standard processing times for this film? What were its strengths? How does it compare to the more recent Ilford films?

    Cheers,
     
  2. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Why not try the hp5+ dev times as a starting point. Your hp4 will have lost some speed and contrast. I'd be tempted to rate it at 200-320 or so and develop normally for 400. Why not expose a sheet and snip it up and develop each to different times and find your own answer...

    You should probably develop(<---fixed mistake) an unexposed sheet and have a look at the fog before putting time into it, but it's probably okay. I have shot 40 year old panatomic x at box speed and developed it normally and gotten good results.

    I use ID11 1+1 most of the time for fp4+ and hp5+, but you can find times for hc-110 on the massive dev chart.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 26, 2009
  3. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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    Thanks, Keith. If you mean develop an unexposed sheet, that's exactly what I was planning to do. It might not help much with starting times, but it will give me an idea of fog issues.
     
  4. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Yes, I meant develop, sorry :wink:
     
  5. Aron

    Aron Subscriber

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    I you do a search here on APUG you'll find times I posted using original Ilford publications as a reference. However, I'm not sure how useful they'd be. Your HP4 film is certainly pretty old (decades). I had very little luck with 25 years old HP5 (stored at room temp.), exposing it at ISO 25 seemed good, but the basefog was so high, that I could hardly locate the frames on my roll. :smile:
    I would suggest Rodinal 1+100 1 hour stand development, but others will have their own advices.
    Post a picture to see how it turns out.
     
  6. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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    Thanks, Aron. Am I to assume that HP4 is similar to Pan 400? I am optimistic that I will be able to get something useful out of these sheets. I may have to resort to extreme measures if fog is substantial. (that will make it more fun)

    Cheers,
     
  7. Aron

    Aron Subscriber

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    Tom, HP4, HP5, HP5+ and Pan 400 have similar development times.

    I would suggest to waste a few sheets to get your personal EI and development times. Also for a film which is this old probably trial and error is the only way to go.

    A developer for expired film:
    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum223/66525-ing-koblic-mpb-outdated-film-developer.html

    On the other hand if you want to try your new camera, doing so with fresh film might be a better idea. Freestyle sells Arista.EDU Ultra 4x5" also in boxes of 25 sheets at a reasonable price. Many people like that film (re-branded Fomapan 100) and it is much easier to achieve better results in a shorter time this way.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 30, 2009
  8. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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    Thanks for the link. I will try sourcing some of the chems as soon as my schedule opens a big enough hole.

    I am no stranger to "trial" and at times, "error" seems to be my middle name. :D On top of that, I take good notes, so I am certain I will be able to find something that works with this film.

    As for "trying out my new camera", (Calumet CC400) I've been using FP4+ and HP5+ with good success for just over three months. As yet, I don't have access to a 4x5 enlarger, but I've gotten some really nice contact prints from my negs so far.

    Thanks again.
    Cheers,

     
  9. AgX

    AgX Member

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    HP4 was introduced mid 60's and phased out most probably in 1975.
     
  10. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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    Well, I tried this tonight. With carefully measured temp and time, and thorough fix and wash, there are substantial fog issues with this box of film. (no surprise there) When I get a chance, I'll mix up some of the expired film developers to see what I can salvage.

    Cheers,
     
  11. Aron

    Aron Subscriber

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    Tom, I also developed a quarter-inch sheet (one of my last HP4 sheets...) in Rodinal 1+25 and I confirm your results :D, indeed the film is fogged after spending decades on a shelf. :wink:

    Does anyone have HP3? :rolleyes:
    It'd be interesting to check the difference in fog.
     
  12. steven_e007

    steven_e007 Member

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    I developed some HP4 120 rollfilm a few years ago that had sat in my Dad's loft since the 1960s...

    I contacted Ilford and they supplied me with development times. I'll find these and post them if you wish, although I supect they are of little use.

    The base fog was very high, thus bringing the effective film speed right down and probably making a nonsense of any development times anyway - but I did get useable, printable images.

    The bottom line is, do you have even fog? (nice and uniform, so the film is useable) or patchy and irregular? (in which case forget it unless it can be used for 'arty special effects'!) My film had lots of fog, but perfectly even, almost like it had been coated on a hazy, matt backing.
     
  13. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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    Oh, ya... nice even (deep) fog. :D I imagine enough to diminish the film's latitude by at least 50%. I was able to reduce about one half the fog with some Farmers' Reducer. I don't know how much that would really help when it comes to printing. A very contrasty scene might yield a printable negative.

    I would like to see your dev times, but as I'm doing tray processing, I can easily inspect the negative as it progresses.

    I haven't actually shot anything with this film yet. I'm being held hostage in a theatre orchestra pit for the next two weeks, so I won't have much opportunity to do any sort of meaningful shooting. (Opening a production of Evita with Theatre Kent tomorrow.. Yikes... :D )

    Thanks for the hints.

    Cheers,
     
  14. steven_e007

    steven_e007 Member

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    Ok,

    These times were sent to me by Ilford, about 15 years ago...

    These times are for rollfilms. 35 mm times are a bit quicker for HP3 and HP4, but a bit longer for the FP3...?

    FP3 @125ASA Microphen: 6mins normal contrast, 8.30 high contrast.
    FP3 @125ASA ID-11: 7.30 normal contrast, 10:00 high Contrast

    HP3 @400ASA Microphen: 8mins normal contrast, 12min high contrast.
    HP3 @400ASA ID-11: 10min normal contrast, 14min high contrast


    HP4 @400ASA Microphen: 6mins normal contrast, 7.30min high contrast.
    HP4 @400ASA ID-11: 9min normal contrast, 11min high contrast

    Also, years of introduction:
    Selochrome 1937
    Selochrome FG pan1938
    HP2 1938
    FP2 1939
    HP3 1941
    FP3 1946
    PAN F 1948
    HPS 1954
    HP4 1960
    FP4 1968
    HP5 1976
    HP5 plus 1989
    FP4 plus 1991
    PanF plus 1992
     
  15. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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    Ok... this is an OLD thread... but seeing as I'm the one who started it, I might as well finish it.
    It's amazing how easily I get sidetracked. I finally returned to this film after nearly four years, and picked up right where I left off. I tested a couple of sheets in HC-110 and got the same deep fog as before. (not appreciably worse, at any rate) I tried a quick bath in Farmer's, and did cut the fog, but also reduced everything else on the sheet. No better than before.

    So I tried adding 10ml of 10%KBr to 500ml of HC-110 Dil-b and Eureka! Not a magic bullet, but the fog is cut by about 75%, while still having reasonable contrast and I have negatives I can print.
    I did shoot the same scene with FP4+ and the HP4 came out only a little underexposed in comparison. I think that I can rate the HP4 at 200 and get some reasonable results.

    Question for those who know this kind of thing... Now that I've resurrected this film, I'm wondering if there are tweaks to improve it even more. Could I get similar/better results by adding Farmer's A solution (ferri)?

    Cheers,
    Tom

    I like when things work out. :smile:
     
  16. steven_e007

    steven_e007 Member

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    Benzatriozole is suppossed to be the real magic bullet - not that such things really exist :wink:
    I've never tried it myself as a nice fresh film seemed much easier to obtain and was cheaper - kind of defeating the point. Maybe it might work out a bit more viable for a box of 4 x 5. How many sheets do you have?

    Interesting how you say you get distracted. I suffer with the same affliction. Work, real life, commitments - all get in the way of the fun stuff :-(
     
  17. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    Suggestions..

    Why not cut the sheets into smaller sizes like 6x7 and load that into an MF back to cut down on waste as you test the film. Or even 35mm... All you need is a dark bag, load the cut film in the back and close it expose the one frame and repeat. You can do it on your back porch (or inside if you use lighting). Saves a lot of waste.

    Secondly, give Ilfsol 3 a try, I've had really good results with old film and Ilfsol 3, I know everyone says HC-110 is the go to anti-fog film but I've developed film from 1947 that had less fog than new film with HC-110 (this was only the case of 3200 speed film in HC-110).

    Anyway just my thoughts. Also as I understand it and in my humble experience the rule is 1 stop per 10 years or so, assuming your film is at least 20 years old, rating at 100 would still be fine.

    Again just an estimation. Try EI 160 as a new testing mark.




    ~Stone

    Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1, 5DmkII / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic | Sent w/ iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  18. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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    How many sheets do I have?... It was opened by the previous owner, and he may have used a few... I've tested maybe a half-dozen sheets... I'm guessing perhaps 35 sheets remaining.

    As for getting distracted, when I started this thread, I was working full time and volunteering six months of the year as the musical director for a community theatre group. Since then, I have retired from the real job, but have kept up with the theatre, and have invested many hours (and dollars) into trying to make a business from my photography. No rest for the wicked.

    Stone, seeing as I already have a good estimate of the exposure for this film, I may try exposing a sheet and cutting it down for different development. I will see what mysterious developers I inherited when I bought a former pro's darkroom a few years ago.

    Thanks for the suggestions folks. I am a little more encouraged now that I can get reasonable results with this film after all.

    Cheers,
    Tom
     
  19. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    It it was an old darkroom, it may have Ilfsol S... I want to stress that this is different than Ilfsol 3... Ilfsol 3 is new and much better than the older stuff.

    It's not too expensive and I guarantee you'll like the characteristics at least for normal films and hopefully for this older film :smile:


    ~Stone

    Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1, 5DmkII / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic | Sent w/ iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  20. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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    Here is a test print from yesterday's negatives. 4x5 pinhole image shot on 40 year old HP4, developed in HC-110 with 10ml of 10% KBr to reduce fog. Printed on Central Camera house-brand FB Matte paper, in Caffenol, and partially toned in Selenium.

    dole-pinhole-caffenol.jpg

    Definitely useable after all these years. :smile:
    Cheers,
    Tom
     
  21. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    So I decided to challenge myself since I was talking and everyone else says HC-110 is best so I took some and diluted it 1:25 instead of 1:31 and the difference is huge, I had MUCH clearer images with less base fog. I'm not sure why such a seemingly minute change in ratio would affect it, but it did, I also didn't really change my dev time from what I estimate, but unfortunately the film is old GAF film so the actual times are just made up, no one has a GAF Aerial film data sheet so I can't be entirely sure :/

    Anyway, there are 3-4 examples in my gallery.

    But the differences I noticed were that the HC-110 (S) yes I'm calling it dilution S for Stone :tongue: was very smooth grained, fine but not defined grain, gave a nice tonality but not at all contrasty, strong shadow detail. With Ilfsol 3 the grain is VERY defined, very sharp, the shadow detail is less but still there however the grain potency in sharpness is very heavy in a good way (IMHO). Umm the previous example of the nude in the MSA I posted (the one with the sprockets) is the same film in Ilfsol 3 to give you an example.

    Anyway, please feel free to try both of those. I now accept HC-1110 (S) as an anti-fog option :smile: