HP5 or FP4 in Pyrocat HD - help me decide

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Jeff Bannow, Oct 1, 2012.

  1. Jeff Bannow

    Jeff Bannow Member

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    So, I'm currently using HP5 happily, but have decided to move to using Pyrocat HD. Since I'll be retesting my film speeds and development times anyway, now is a good opportunity to consider a different film.

    I was thinking of moving to FP4 for three reasons:
    I've heard great things about it.
    It's less grainy in 35mm, which I have started shooting again after a long hiatus.
    It's an Ilford product, and I'm sticking with Ilford.

    Looks like most people are shooting FP4 at 64-100, and shooting HP5 at 200. So, making the switch would mean losing at least 1 stop.


    Some details on my configuration:
    Shooting 35mm, 120 and 4x5
    Developing in Pyrocat HD
    Printing on Ilford Warmtone in Ansco 130, through an Ilford 500 multigrade head


    So, I know this is a very subjective question, but would you switch from HP5 to FP4?
     
  2. aleksmiesak

    aleksmiesak Member

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    I use both in PHD and love them both. My choice of film speed depends on what my subject is but they are both great films. And I don't really stick to one over the other. I'd say give it a go and see how you like it. I shoot FP4 at 100 and it works great in PHD with gorgeous tones.
     
  3. Shawn Dougherty

    Shawn Dougherty Member

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    Jeff,
    I've probably shot more FP4+ than any other film. I've developed it in Pyrocat HD and more recently Rodinal. It's flexible yet not too particular... FP4+ has pretty big grain for a slow film, smaller than HP5+ though.

    Generally I'd say FP4+ expands better while HP5+ contracts better, though I've done both satisfactorily with each film.

    Honestly, Jeff, I would say it comes down to film speed. 50 vs 200 in my experience. Depending on how and what you photograph either one could be an advantage.

    Good luck! Sorry I missed you this weekend. I had work and house warming party...

    Shawn
     
  4. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I have no experience with HP5+ in Pyrocat, but FP4+ in Pyrocat was a staple for a couple of years, and the results were phenomenal. I always thought that FP4+ was a lot more like Tri-X 400 in its final print appearance than HP5+. HP5+ is a bit lower in contrast, I would say, so I tend to give HP5+ somewhere between 400 to 800 exposure (it is really fast for a 400 speed film, actually), and FP4+ EI 100. The way I shoot I'd be losing two stops going to FP4+, so fast lenses is definitely a plus.
     
  5. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    If you're going to insist on one film then I'd say HP5+, I've been experimenting with it even at 800 in Rodinal and find it quite nice so believe it to have more flexibility and use. I like FP4+ a lot too but do find it a bit grainy for the speed but do not mind that so much, I'm getting a different look and use it too for that.

    Why limit yourself? Use both.
     
  6. Jeff Bannow

    Jeff Bannow Member

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    So, I guess you're all saying that I should keep both films then? :smile:
     
  7. arpinum

    arpinum Member

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    I rate my hp5+ at 320 in Pyrocat. This is for 35mm only. For 120 I use PanF @50. Is there a reason for you to standardize on a single film across formats?
     
  8. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    Well, nothing at all wrong with saying you want to stick to one film so as to take that out of the equation across the board. It's limiting yourself somewhat but has its positives too of course particularly if it will improve your personal workflow to an extent that you feel it will better suit your style and your results. Otherwise? Yes, use both!
     
  9. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Not necessarily. The question you need to ask yourself is: Will my pictures be any more important because I switch to FP4+?
    I think we get lost in technical aspects that, in the end, mean very little in the grand scheme of things.
     
  10. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    Jeff: FP4 is my film of choice, mostly because it is slower and presumably finer grained. I've never done a side by side comparison so can't say for sure. Occasionally if I need a faster film, a little smoother, for portraits, I'll reach for HP5.

    I have also switched from Pyrocat to Jay DeFehr's Obsidian Aqua. It is easier to mix, has fewer ingredients, works faster, and produces, to my eye, equal results.
     
  11. Jeff Bannow

    Jeff Bannow Member

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    Very true Thomas. It's so easy to get caught up in the technicals instead of spending time shooting. I keep trying to tell myself to simplify (not always the easiest thing to do either).



    Interesting! I'll have to check that out.
     
  12. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I switched to FP4 as I do not require speed with my work , I think its a great film.
    A couple of my clients who use a lot of film still use HP5 for all their work, I develop in D76 or PMK depending on the lighting of the original scene.

    I believe the issue is more speed as both films are fantastic.... thanks Simon.

     
  13. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Dan I have been considering trying Jay's stuff.. how easy is it to mix from scratch and any oddity's with it one needs to watch out...... like PMK oxidizes very quick ,or issues like that.

     
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  15. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    Bob: The stock A solution is very easy to mix. I make it in a 250ml batch: 175 ml distilled water at 50c, 5 grams sodium metabisulfite and 62.5 grams catechol, then top off to 250 ml.

    You can either mix up a stock B solution of sodium carbonate which is diluted before use, or just dissolve an appropriate amount of sodium carbonate in plain water and add the A solution just before pouring into the tank. That is the option I use. Either way calls for a 6.66% B solution.

    The A solution is used very dilute at 1:500. For my 55oz developing tanks it takes only 3.25 ml of A, diluted in 55 oz plain water into which 10 grams of carbonate has been dissolved.

    You can also use potassium metabisulfite and potassium carbonate instead of sodium.

    There is a big thread started by Jay on the LF forum that gives more complete (and maybe more accurate) information.

    I am developing normally exposed negatives for 12 minutes at 21c with 1 minute initial agitation followed by 10 seconds of agitation at 4 and 8 minutes. Quite a bit faster than Pyrocat.

    I think it does oxidize pretty quickly, but I have no experience with PMK so I don't know how it compares to that. I do know that mixing just before use, and using it one-shot that oxidation is not a problem. I have found no other issues with the developer, and as I wrote to Jeff, to my eye the negatives look equal in sharpness to Pyrocat HD semistand.
    Dan
     
  16. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    I've been shooting almost exclusively FP4+ for my large format b/w work. I do have a stash of Tmax400 in whole plate size that I need to go burn through. But FP4+ in Pyrocat HD has been my go-to combination for everything from 120 to 14x17 (although I do wish I had the Tmax400 for the 14x17 to help manage the bellows extension factor). I typically shoot the FP4+ at 64. Beautiful stuff.
     
  17. ROL

    ROL Member

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    FP4+ is my go–to LF sheet film (5X7). If I need more speed, though practically it is only one stop, I'll use HP5 which is a bit more contrasty and has only slightly larger grain. Both developed in Pyro. Not a fan of Pyrocat. I'm happy to have both in my film holders. For 120, I really have to give FP4+ in Pyro a try, though my current preference is to use slow 25 ISO films in Rodinal.
     
  18. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I rate FP4 at 50 ISO for use with Pyro and it is wonderful.

     
  19. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    I have a hard time getting the (high) contrast I need with HP5+, so I go with FP4+ (sheet film and alt processes).
     
  20. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    So irrespective of how long you develop you don't get enough contrast?
     
  21. ROL

    ROL Member

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    Thanks, I'll have to try a comparison of FP4+ @ 50 with PanF+ @ 50 (which I'm not terribly enamored of) in 120. I shoot the sheet :smile:D) @ 100.
     
  22. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    For 35mm I vote for FP4, I develop it WD2D+ and DD-X, both work really nice.
     
  23. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I would try cutting the PanF ISO in half as well rather than rated, I would be interested in your observations of what the negative physically looks like.
    It seems to me that when you use lower ISO films with Pyro the edge effect seems more pronounced and when looking at the neg on a light table you actually see concentric rings
    around the edges, much like a map.

     
  24. climbabout

    climbabout Member

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    Jeff - I have been using FP4+ and Pyrocat HD exclusively for several years and I can attest that it is a fine combination. I tested this film/developer combination and I rate Fp4+ at 160 with Pyrocat HD. Feeling that I made a mistake, I retested and came to the same rating. Sandy King (the one who developed Pyrocat HD) will tell you it gives enhanced film speed. Bob Carnie printed one of my negs of some train wheels from this combination at a workshop at Steve Shermans 2 years ago and can attest to the quality that this combo can produce. Do test it for yourself and I think you will like it.
    Tim
     
  25. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I will attest that it was an amazing negative. I was surprised actually as it was in a workshop and I was able to get to a decent print very fast.. which I attributed at the time to a lovely negative.

     
  26. Jeff Bannow

    Jeff Bannow Member

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    If I could get 160 out of it then FP4 would be a no brainer! I'm getting 200 in HP5 now.