Ilford FP4+ or Delta for an HP5+ user

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by agenkin, Dec 10, 2007.

  1. agenkin

    agenkin Member

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    About a year ago I asked here about choosing film for starting with film photography. I decided to pick one and stick with it for a while, so I went with Ilford HP5+. Now, about a hundred rolls later, I think that I'm ready to try another film. It's not that I'm unhappy with HP5+ - I appreciate its exposure latitude very much. I've been shooting it at ISO 400 to 3200, and it's been very good to me.

    I'm after is a little more richness of the tonal ranges (I understand that this is not a function of film alone). I've been looking at FP4+ and Delta 100/400. I found lots of shots from both films online, but it's hard to evaluate the scanned pictures on the monitor: I keep thinking that, perhaps, a shot that I don't like may be fine on the negative, but something was not done right during scanning and preparation of JPEG.

    So I would like to hear opinions of forum members, who have substantial experience with Ilford Delta or FP4+, and, preferably, also HP5+: what would you advise me to try next?

    This time, also, I don't want to just pick a roll or two, but would prefer to commit for at least 20-40 rolls. The reason is that it seems to me that to make an opinion about some film, I really prefer to shoot it under a wide variety of conditions.

    I shoot 35mm and develop in Ilford DD-X.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 10, 2007
  2. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member

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    Personally I prefer FP4+. But that preference is likely to be coloured (huh) by the fact that I use FP4+ in all sizes from 35mm to 8x10", and mostly in MF to 5x7"...
     
  3. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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    My personal preference is FP4 as well. But I've never tried Delta.

    I like the old technology films--Pan F, FP4, HP5, Tri-X, Plus-X, etc. These days mostly HP5 and FP4.
     
  4. Uncle Bill

    Uncle Bill Subscriber

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    Third the nomination of FP4, it's more forgiving than Delta emulsions and I consider it one of the classic films out there.
     
  5. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    I’m sure you realise that you will receive all possible permutations of answer to your question. So this is the one that says Ilford Delta 400 is best; at least for me.:wink:
     
  6. david b

    david b Member

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    I love FP4+ in rodinal.
     
  7. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    I thought it might sound odd to say this, but now that it has been said... me too.
     
  8. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    If you liked HP-5, then you will probably like FP-4. They are more closely related than the Delta group is. HP-5 and FP-4 are "old-style" emulsions (still quite valid, however) and Delta is a t-grain emulsion. T-grains have a different look to them.

    Now, if you wish to continue with the "old-style", but want a different look than Ilford, try Efke. Fair warning: the photographs you take can be great, I love the emulsion, but the QC isn't so hot. You should take two shots of everything!
     
  9. Trevor Crone

    Trevor Crone Member

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    At the end of the day what really matters is what you like. But as you are asking for opinions. Like you I've used HP5 extensively but I've found Delta 400 to be finer grained with a smoother tonality especially when developed in PMK Pyro. Its not a quantum leap but I've found there is a difference which I prefer.

    For the slower emulsions I've always favoured Agfapan 100 but since that is no longer available I use Delta 100 which comes close.
     
  10. Dave Krueger

    Dave Krueger Member

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    Can you elaborate on the different look? I don't mean to hijack the thread, but I was wondering about how Efke and Foma films look as compared to Ilford films particularly in terms of graininess.
     
  11. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I would say that FP4+ has inherently more contrast than HP5+. I would probably try Delta 100 for a medium speed emulsion to use alongside HP5+. Trying to be objective here. To me FP4+ is more like Tri-X in how it renders contrast, that is - more of it!
    That can, of course, be cured by changing your development regimen to a degree. I usually dilute my developer more when I process FP4+ to cut contrast.

    - Thomas
     
  12. GeoffHill

    GeoffHill Member

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    All of the films you have listed will give good results, but if you are often shooting HP5 at 1600, why not try Delta3200. It'll probably give better results at higher speeds
     
  13. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    I haven't tried Foma films, but the Efke 25 is less (???) sensitive to red; you'll have to put a deeper red filter on the lens to get the sky to come out bluer than with ordinary pan films.

    Efke films are generally considered to be grainier, but I've only tried the 25 and in medium format, so grain wasn't a big issue.

    Describing the "look" is difficult. I just really clicked with this emulsion with Pyrocat HD. It fell right into place on the first roll. You just have to get past the QC problems: pieces of emulsion missing and light leaks around the paper backing.

    all I can really say is to try it and see if you like it.
     
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  15. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member

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    If you put a deep red filter on EFKE 25, you won't get anything. The film is almost orthochromatic, which means it's not sensitive to deep red at all!

    If an orange filter doesn't give you dark enough skies, use a different film.
     
  16. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member

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    FWIW I find FP-4 easier to handle in the darkroom, and easier to get the bullet proof negs I favor.
     
  17. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear Arkady,

    It seems that Delta needs at one more supporter. Delta 100 will give you as smooth a print as you will ever see. Unless you are a graded paper person, the "new emulsion" products are no more difficult to use than the old. My main suggestion is to avoid the desire to overexpose and overdevelop.

    Try Delta (in any flavor), you'll like it.

    Neal Wydra
     
  18. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    I'll second that. Developed in Perceptol, even at box speed the shadow detail isn't bad and the prints are remarkable grain free at up to 5, x8.

    pentaxuser
     
  19. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    My own feelings: fp4+ is quite close in tonal character to hp5+. Delta and acros strike me as less inherently contrasty-they are both smooth in a way that can give the impression of softness. The graininess of hp/fp can give an impression of edge sharpness that I think enhances texture. I find it easier to get an edgier, earthy tone with hp and fp, and easier to get a more abstract and dreamy tone with the low speed deltas and acros.

    After trying fp4+ in 5x7 I am totally sold on the film. I loved it already in medium format, but in 5x7... you get supersmooth edges and that contrasty character. That was probably the first time I ever (contact) printed a neg and didn't immediately want to try again at a different grade. For me, it's simply right in the pocket.
     
  20. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    Thanks, Ole!
     
  21. dxphoto

    dxphoto Member

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    Fp4+ great in D(761+1) too.
    I like Delta 100 in Rodinal(1+50) too.
     
  22. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    As you are using 35mm film, have you thought about buying it in bulk rolls?
    There is an enormous saving to be made and if you can purchase the film cheaper you can make your hobby cheaper, or do more of it.

    I use heaps of FP4+ and HP5+ and also use reasonable amounts of Delta 100/400, Fuji Neopan 400 and occasionally Tri-x 320. and TMax 100

    If you are quite used to HP5+, then the closest film with a better sparkle would in my opinion be FP4+. It’s a great film and one that I use in 35mm and 4x5 format extensively. The tonal range, compared to HP5+ is quite noticeably better for what I call added sparkle.

    Assuming that after shooting and processing 100 rolls of HP5+ you are reasonably good in technique and consistency in processing, as well as being reasonably proficient metering then perhaps you are ready for the slightly tighter exposure and processing techniques for Delta.

    Delta is marvellous, but you will have to be careful of technique in comparison to HP5+

    Think of HP5+ as a Volkswagen Beatle, it will keep on running day in day out as long as there is something resembling petrol in the tank, it will keep on going.

    Delta is more like a high-powered sports car that requires a good selection of high-grade fuel, to get the performance. But what a performance, when it’s good, Delta is very good!

    Mick.
     
  23. Jean Noire

    Jean Noire Member

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    I use FP4 in 35mm and 2 1/4 sq. Found it better that delta for tonal rendition, delta can be so smooth that it seems "plasticky".
    Develop in ID11 (1+1) and FP4 can be pushed/pulled and generally mistreated and still give reasonable results. Can be a little grainy in 10 x 8 enlargements from 35mm if overexposed or overdeveloped or both, but what do you want?
    Hope this is of some help,
    Regards,
    John.
     
  24. haziz

    haziz Subscriber

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    FP4+ Works for Me

    FP4+ works for me in all formats from 35 mm to 5x7. I use HP5+ when I need a faster film in the smaller formats and in 8x10 and 7x17 where the extra speed helps when using apertures of f45 and f64. My main use however is with 35 mm, MF and 4x5. FP4+ has served me well developed in Sprint developer (1:9 for 10 minutes using a daylight tank). It is versatile, fairly tolerant of abuse (I do however try to be fairly meticulous with exposure and development), it also provides me with the tonality I seek. It gives me a true speed of at least 125-160 (I shoot at an EI of 125), having densitometer tested it to be approx 160-200 using my equipment, conditions, and technique, making the HP5+ only 1 to 1 1/3 stop faster unless pushed, it also makes it a true medium speed film unlike a lot of the 100 speed films which have to be exposed at an EI of 64 to 80 at least with my equipment and technique.

    I have experimented a little with Delta 100 and 400 developed in both Sprint and Ilfotec DDX, and do use occasionally Fuji Acros (EI 80 for me) specially when the convenience of Quickloads is appreciated in 4x5 when traveling, however I have usually returned to FP4+ as a reliable old friend that gives me the results I want.

    Sincerely,

    Hany.
     
  25. Dave Krueger

    Dave Krueger Member

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    Mostly interested in the 400 speeds and no plans to use red filtering, so that shouldn't be a problem for me.

    Ah-ha! That's good news. After 40 years of warring against grain, I have now discovered its aesthetic appeal and purposely cultivate its qualities. :tongue: On the other hand, some people look at my pictures now and say, "Wow, that is really grainy. Your work has really gone down the shitter!" :D

    I plan to use Rodinal, but may experiment with Pyrocat as well. The reported quality problems scare me a little, but I've used Efke sheet film and not had any significant trouble. What I find a little odd is that B&H has priced Efke 35mm bulk rolls higher than Kodak or Ilford films. Adding high prices onto a reputation for defects doesn't seem to be a winning strategy.

    I included a couple rolls each of Foma and Efke 400 speed films on yesterday's order, so I will try them out over the holidays.
     
  26. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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