Question: Tips on how to use Ilford FP4+ roll film.

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by TheToadMen, Mar 3, 2013.

  1. TheToadMen

    TheToadMen Subscriber

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    Hi everyone,
    I'm a (mainly) Kodak Tri-X user. Since there where some (unfunded??) rumors that Tri-X might be discontinued somewhere in the future as well, I started to look for an other good B&W film, just in case. My other favorite was Agfa Scala, but that film IS discontinued already and my stock is getting low).
    Reading several discussions on the APUG forums, I decided to go for Ilford HP4+ film (125 ISO). I got me several rolls and want to test it with my Bronica SQ-B (6x6) and my Bronica RF 645 rangefinder (I love these cameras and the Bronica lenses).
    I'm planning to go out in a few weeks when the weather gets better and test these films.

    Before I do I would like to ask you - more experienced users of Ilford HP4+ - for your experiences, tips and tricks for making good (contrast) negatives.
    - is it really ASA 125? (under- or overexposing)
    - what about the contrast?
    - your preferred developer and times?
    - other interesting facts or experiences?

    Thanks,
    Bert
     

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  2. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    I'm assuming you mean FP4+. It is a wonderful, flexible film. It will work in a very wide variety of developers. Exposure index and contrast depend on your working methods and your preferences, so you'll have to test for yourself. Some people rate it at its ISO speed (125), some people prefer to rate it lower (100, 80, 64 etc). You'll have to decide for yourself based on testing and printing. I would suggest starting with a standard general purpose developer such as Ilford ID-11 (Kodak D-76).

    If you are used to shooting Tri-X you might prefer a faster film such as Ilford HP5+.
     
  3. kevs

    kevs Member

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    You probably mean FP4+; HP4 is an older film and any stock will be decades out of date. If you want a film to match the speed of Tri-X, HP5+ is a good choice.

    First I recommend that you read Ilford's spiel here: http://www.ilfordphoto.com/products/producttype.asp?n=3&t=Black+&+White+Films

    I use mainly FP4+ and I can tell you that I get excellent results from it; it's very forgiving of exposure errors, especially overexposure. It's versatile and can be pushed to 400 ASA, or possibly higher. I find my exposures, metered with a hand-held Lunasix and exposed in my SQ-B and Yashica 124-G, and 35mm SLR, to be spot-on the 125 ASA / 22 DIN rated by Ilford - these guys make the film, they know what they're talking about! I don't faff around with 'personal film speed testing' - I'd rather take pictures! If exposed properly (meter and expose for shadows - film's exposure latitude is mostly in the area of over-exposure) the film can record a full range of shadow and highlight detail.

    I develop exclusively in Ilford ID-11, which gives fine grain and excellent sharpness. Unless you're printing billboards or photographing black cats in coal cellars I don't think you'll be disappointed by FP4+. I cannot comment on HP5+ since I haven't used it for a few years.

    Cheers,
    kevs
     
  4. TheToadMen

    TheToadMen Subscriber

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    Hi guys,
    Sorry for my typo. I did mean Ilford Fp4+ (not HP4+):
    thumb.asp?a=fit&w=150&h=180&d=webimages&f=2006125221434233.jpg
    I got the name mixed up wit HP5+. Sorry. It seems I cant edit the original post and title (??).
    I don't have a need to match up the ISO 400 of Tri-X. Fp4+ can be easily pushed to ISO 400 if needed. And it was my (uneducated) conclusion - based on many discussions and shown images - that I like the tonal range and contrast of FP4+ better than of HP5+. (Now, don't start a war here, mind you!!).
    I had to start somewhere, so I decided to try FP4+ first. So my original question should have been how do you use your Ilford FP4+ and how do you develop?

    There are two suggestions for Ilford ID-11 so far. I never used this developer. I started with Kodak D-76, but didn't like to work with powder. I switched to liquid Amaloco chemicals and had good results. Later I also tried Kodak T-MAX developer and Rodinal developer but haven't used it enough to have an opinion yet.
    Amaloco AM 74 is a local product (Holland, Europe) as a replacement for Agfa Rodinal.
    The paper developers from Amaloco are:
    - Agfa Neutol NE = Amaloco AM 2002 Extra Bromax
    - Agfa Neutol WA = Amaloco AM 1001
    - Agfa Multicontrast = Amaloco AM 2002 Extra Bromax
    - Agfa Neutol Plus = Amaloco AM 8008 Ecomax.
     
  5. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Thread title corrected.
     
  6. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    FP4+ is a wonderful film. I recommend it without reservation. Try D76 at 1:1.
     
  7. whowantstoast

    whowantstoast Member

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    You said "I started with Kodak D-76, but didn't like to work with powder. "

    Have you thought about using Ilford Ilfosol 3? It comes in liquid and I really like it with Ilford films (and even Acros). FP4 is one of it's "most compatible films" if you believe the company line.
     
  8. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Ilford ID-11 is the same as D-76. If you do not like powders, Kodak's HC-110 is similar in working characteristics to D-76/ID-11. Ilford makes an excellent developer called DD-X, which again will give similar image characteristics to D-76 but with slightly higher film speed. You can also use the TMax developer you have (TMax RS if shooting sheet film). It too gives slightly higher film speed than D-76, but is slightly grainier. These are all standard solvent developers that will give you excellent image quality.

    Rodinal will be grainier, slightly sharper, and tends to give slightly lower film speed. It has it's own "look" which is prized by many. If you're shooting pinhole images I'd suggest one of the solvent developers listed above.

    You should also read Ilford's publication on FP4+ (available on Ilford's website).

    And be sure not to make decisions about any film/developer combination based on a few rolls or sheets of film. It takes time. And print the results.
     
  9. Richard Jepsen

    Richard Jepsen Member

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    I know you prefer not to mix dry chemicals but I'm in the chorus who sing praises to ID-11 or D-76. These identical general purpose developers are the baseline to compare if you experiment with another developer. Plus, they work well each and every time with FP-4+. If you change developer from the standard, it should be for a specific purpose. FP-4 has a shorter toe than Tri-X. I suggest shooting at EI 80 unless the light conditions are flat. In low contrast shoot at box speed and slight over development to increase brilliance.
     
  10. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    FP4+ is an awesome film but if its Tri-X you've been using HP5+ would be a more natural "replacement" if you're worried about Tri-X maybe going away.
     
  11. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    If you don't care about film speed AT ALL then go with PanF+ if you do, I would try out HP5+ as a match. I know you said you don't care much about film speed, but it will be a big adjustment. Going from 400 to 125 in speed.

    I would first suggest trying 1 roll of all 3, shoot the same exact scene with all three, and over and under expose and stick with your standard developer for now....

    On a side note, I LOVE Ilfsol 3 and DD-X they are both amazing... Ilfsol 3 for PanF+ and FP4+, and DD-X for HP5+ and the Delta line.

    However they are really very expensive in comparison to Rodinal. I STILL haven't found a comparable developer to Ilfsol 3 with longer storage and more capacity... But I would say after you decide on a film with your current Dev, that you give Ilfsol 3 a try.


    ~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
     
  12. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    They used to make (might still... I haven't tried to buy any for ages) one called LC29 which I found to be better then Ilfosol (not 3, earlier versions). Standard dilutions of 1:29 and 1:19 (depending on film) so pretty economical. End results seemed comparable but life of an opened container was vastly superior. Ilfosol used to go off very quickly once opened, no idea if 3 is better.
     
  13. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    I can recommend FP4 highly. It's a great film. I also love the RF645 and shoot FP4 in bright conditions at EI 64 and develop 10 min in ID-11 1:1. In overcast conditions try EI 100 or 125 and develop for 13 min 1:1.
     
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  15. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    Thanks, I'll give it a try.


    ~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
     
  16. Jim Taylor

    Jim Taylor Member

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    I've got to agree with all of this. Being a relative youngster, I cut my teeth on FP4+ and love it! Like Kevs, I use it at box speed in both 35mm and 120 format. Really forgiving, can be pushed, pulled, played around with and has nice, fine grain etc. etc.

    I also develop this film exclusively in ID-11 @ 1:1 - I feel to get slighly high acutance, but that's a "by-eye" estimate, nothing sensiometric! :smile:
     
  17. TheToadMen

    TheToadMen Subscriber

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    There is a big photography market on Sunday in Holland with a lot of shops and 2nd hand dealers.
    I'm gonna try to score some ID-11 and LC29 developer and some extra Ilford FP4+ film (35 mm en 120 roll film) to do some testing.
    And maybe score some other nice goodies :smile:
    There are always nice deals to find on old equipment (high end + low end), films, books, etc.
     
  18. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    I would test extensively before assuming FP4 can be pushed to 400. I haven't seen that ever work well. Shoot HP5 when you need a faster film.

    i shoot FP4 at 64 and develop in XTOL 1+1 or Pyrocat HD and get excellent results. Both require mixing, so they are possibly not for you, but I think the hassle is worth it.
     
  19. jm94

    jm94 Member

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    FP4+ is my favourite film so far, i shoot 35mm. Box speed and developed in ID11 1+1 with a minute thrown on (13 minutes for a bit extra shadow detail) at 20C, gives me outstanding results and with good glass every hair on someone's arm could be made out at 12x16 size. Texture is lovely, the grain is barely visible but gives a nice texture. Go any bigger you will find that the fine details start to 'break up' at least in my experience. But up to 12x16 it is great in 35mm, but as you are using roll film you have much more leeway! Tonality is stunning. Enjoy!!!! I like HP5 for some portraits at 800 if i want more 'texture' or speed, but otherwise, FP4+ all the way. Never really been a Tri-X fan but that just me. I always get FP4+ in bricks.

    FP4+ is bullet proof. I use it with a flash in poor lighting for casual photography and because of its insane latitude, it will NOT destroy highlights even if your F stop is quite a bit off, my cameras sync the flash with 1/100 on my pentax body 1/125 on my miranda body. which amazed me when i discovered that it retained highlights under extreme over-exposure, even with the extra minute of development. so for indoor flash photography it is great as well, it preserves the tonality that alot of flash photography ruins. Accidently shot a frame with a flash with my lens wide open at F1.7. A very dense negative, but the highlights were intact, and it was at like 5ft. distance. Now that is latitude! It even printed well at grade 2, but i sometimes like to print at grade 3 if i fancy a contrast boost with it. And even for experienced users, FP4+ is a great film. Its dynamic range is stunning. I do find it likes the development temperature not to fluctuate too much.

    PAN F+ in my experience will annihilate you if you mess up the exposure! And i find the need to maintain developer temperature at 20C as much as E6/C41 has to be maintained at 38.
     
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  20. TheToadMen

    TheToadMen Subscriber

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    Hi Gebhardt,
    I have heard about Pyrocat several times, but never seen or used it. Could you tell me about it? Some people are very enthusiastic about it. Do you buy & mix the ingredients yourself or do you get it as a kit?
    Pyrocat is an other thing on my (long) list of "things still to do".
    And if you have had good results with Pyrocat and Fp4+, why not try this myself?
    (Mixing won't be a hassle for me)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 9, 2013
  21. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    I mix Pyrocat HD myself, but you can buy it from the Photographers Formulary either as a powder kit or mixed as liquids. The advantage that it has is it's a staining developer. This means part of the image is made up of stained gelatin along with the rest being silver grains. Because there is less silver grain you get smoother, less grainy, images. Probably best to try it out for yourself to see if it works well for you.
     
  22. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    So, in theory, could you add the staining chemistry to something like Rodinal to get a finer grain image with a Rodinal look?
     
  23. kintatsu

    kintatsu Member

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    I use FP4+ and develop in either HC-110 dil h, Tetenal ultrafin 1+20, or Ultrafin Plus 1+9. With all three chemicals the results are quite nice, and given the versatility and shelf life of Ultrafin Plus, worth the effort. 1 liter of Ultrafin plus 1+9 will do 12 rolls, or 48 sheets of 4x5. I use it until about 8 rolls or 32 sheets. At 1+9, I get 11 liters working per liter concentrate. My times for developing were running 12-13 minutes.

    The Ultrafin Plus is one of the best.
     
  24. TheToadMen

    TheToadMen Subscriber

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    I went to a kind of Photography Convention today and got me some Ilford FP4+: 10x 120 roll ($50.00) film and 3x 135 film ($14.00). I also bought a bottle of Ilford Ilfotec LC29 and Ilford Ilfosol 3. Unfortunately there wasn't any other developer available. I would have liked to get me some Pyrocat-HD or MC to test also ....

    I'll expose one 135 film with my Leica M7 and 35 mm Summicron lens, making 36 exact the same images (subject, exposure & diaphragm). I'll cut the film into pieces and will develop it in my 4 different developers.
    The new Ilfosol 3 and LC29. And I still have an unopened bottle of Rodinal lying around and should have a box of Id-11 (powder) that I never tried before.
    I think I'll rate the film at ISO 125 use the times mentioned on Digital Truth to start with. See:
    http://www.digitaltruth.com/devchart.php?Film=FP4&Developer=&mdc=Search

    It was a pitty there wasn't a photo chemic sales man at the convention today (there used to be someone from Germany with a lot of film, photo paper and chemistry). I'll need to get me some STOP and FIX as well for this testing and wanted to find me some Pyrocat. Maybe I'll get on the internet and find me a nice webshop for these chemicals in Europe.

    Now that I think of it: I'll expose all three of the 135 films for this experiment at the same time, so I can use other developers as well on the same film later and compare the results.
    To be continued .......

    BTW: testing tips are welcome :D
     
  25. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    I would love to see and hear your opinion on the comparison of Rodinal to LC29. I've been told LC29 is like a finer grained version of Rodinal and lasts a long time like Rodinal, but I've never picked up a bottle, I've meant to but it seems less discussed so I wanted to try the more popular ones first. Anyway any reports on those two would be surely welcome!

    I can say I love Ilfsol 3, however economically it's not financially viable as you use a LOT up, but I have re-used it up to 6 times and just added 30 seconds per additional roll and been able to develop more, but it's TECHNICALLY a one shot, so I'm not sure my method is recommended just something I tried once and kept pushing the limit when testing it.

    Anyway enjoy your testing :smile:
     
  26. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    ID-11 would be a useful test as it would give you a benchmark against which to compare other developers. In general, however, you can't realistically "test" anything with one roll, or a piece of a roll, and expect to come to any meaningful conclusions.