Trying a few rolls of FP4+...

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by alroldan12, Oct 22, 2010.

  1. alroldan12

    alroldan12 Member

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    Hello everyone,

    I decided to give FP4+ a try. I normally use Tri-x in HC-110(B)/Orientall Seagull FB VC and I like the results. Now, I've seen samples online of pictures made with this film and most of them seemed to have very low contrast. I wanted to experiment with a slower film so I bought a couple of rolls of FP4+ . The paper I use is not as contrasty as Ilford MGIV.

    Any advice on how to use this film? I use a Mamiya RZ 67 and a Sekonic L 508. What's your opinion about this film?

    Thanks,

    Axel
     
  2. Rich Ullsmith

    Rich Ullsmith Subscriber

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    I shoot it at 64 and develop in PMK, 11m at 70f. 15s constant agitation, then 2 inversions every 30s. If the scenes were really contrasty, sometimes let it stand the last 3 minutes.

    Some people rave about this film with Rodinal, but have not tried it myself.
     
  3. tomalophicon

    tomalophicon Member

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    I really like the look of this film.
    I've been developing in Ilfosol 3. I've shot mainly lowish contrast seens with it and developed for 9 or so mins with agitation every minute.

    [​IMG][/url] Jackson by Tom McDonald1, on Flickr[/IMG]
     
  4. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    I love FP4. I shoot it in 120 format, EI 100, develop it in ID-11 1:1 and just love everything about it!
     
  5. Vincent Brady

    Vincent Brady Subscriber

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    I used it for years and always developed it in ID11 at 1+1 or 1+3.
     
  6. craigclu

    craigclu Subscriber

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    When I did more 35mm, I had great, predictable results with FG-7. It really seemed made for FP4+ but this is a film that's known for getting along with many developers. I found true speed to be 64-100 in different soups but I constantly read of others rating it at box speed and above and they seem quite happy with the results. I have a great deal of this film in the freezer and recently tried a roll in PyroCat-MC... It looked to be a very promising combination (this was 120). Years ago, I used the FG-7 w/o sodium sulfite 1:15 and the negatives had a great "bite" to them and worked very well on inanimate subjects. Here's an old 35mm, FP4+ @80 in FG7, printed on WTFB. I happened to have it on my desk just now and did a quick scan in gray scale so the subtle warm tone doesn't show here but you can get a general idea of how it handles contrasty light. This was a friend's almost-done Moto Guzzi police bike restoration at a Guzzi rally about ten years back, Konica 57mm 1.2.

    I found very little real difference with FG7 vs D-76 and ID-11 but had a local photo shop that promoted and stocked the FG7 so it became more of a habit than a great preference. D-76 1:1 was excellent with this film.
     

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  7. dasBlute

    dasBlute Subscriber

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    I love FP4+, use it mostly for 4x5 and 5x7, use it @ iso 100 in D76 1+1. It's just a gorgeous film, fine grain, reasonably priced, bombproof quality control, classic look. Not great for reciprocity situations [i.e. night shots can take a long time]. It prints really well on Ilford warm tone MGIV.
     
  8. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Yep, FP4+ is a fine film. You do need to watch out for reciprocity departure with it though. It is better than Plus-X in that regard, a film which I think has quite similar characteristics. But if it's long exposures you're looking for, it's not great. Fuji Acros would be a much better choice for that task. As far as it being low in contrast, that's simply not the case. You can't judge by what you see online or even in a real print. You don't know what the negatives look like, how they were processed, what sort of paper was used, etc. So don't be fooled into believing everything you read or see.
     
  9. Slixtiesix

    Slixtiesix Subscriber

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    My favourite B/W film. You can also try to expose it at half the box speed and develop it in Perceptol 1+1.
     
  10. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

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    My favorite medium speed film. Use it both in 35mm and 120. Develop in Ilfosol 3. I rate it at 100 and add 10-15% to the developing chart on the bottle. That's just what works for me.
     
  11. Luseboy

    Luseboy Member

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    I love love love fp4+. I shoot it at iso 125, and process in d76 1:1. Ive had great results in 4x5 and 35mm. You'll be happy with it, thats for sure. great all around film.
     
  12. alroldan12

    alroldan12 Member

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    Thanks everyone for your answers. It is funny, I've used my film/paper/developer combination for some time now (about 3 years) and even though I like the results, I felt I was missing something that a slow speed film could give me. I just ordered a couple of rolls and I should be able to report back pretty soon.

    Thanks again,

    Axel
     
  13. Luseboy

    Luseboy Member

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    Axel-
    you'll notice a finer grain with this over the 400tx. it will be a little tighter and it will make larger prints less grainy. make sure you set your camera to the right iso!
    -Austin
     
  14. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Hi,

    FP4 is my main medium-speed b/w film.

    One reason it often looks muddy is that it does not maintain its tonal relationships very well when either underexposed or overexposed. Quite frankly, most people underexpose and overexpose everything they shoot most of the time (and this does not even get into the variables encountered with processing), because they use reflected light meters that read the composition, as opposed to either tonal placement or a measurement of the light source (incident metering). Another reason is that most people aren't very good printers, so don't know how to best recover from poor exposure and contrast issues. Another reason is that when you are looking on line at photos, you are seeing photos from any old Joe Blow, and there are also some technical issues that have to do with how photos are viewed on computer screens (digitization, calibration, etc.).

    FP4 is somewhat "old school" in that it will readily compress highlights, which some people love and some people hate. I really like it for most things I shoot. However, this feature means that perfect exposure is more important than with some films. If you overexpose, you noticeably (with the naked eye) lose contrast with FP4. This is not the case with HP5, and certainly not with Delta 100 and 400, T-Max, etc. These films can capture high-end detail till the cows come home. Not so with FP4. As I said, depending on the shot, this is either a good thing or a bad thing.

    On the low end, where you might expect the same to apply (except it is called toe instead of shoulder), you actually get up onto the straight line of the curve relatively quickly for a traditionally-grained emulsion. FP4 has plenty of "bite" in the low tones, and handles underexposure better than it handles overexposure IME.

    I like the film because it is naturally punchy and dramatic in the low tones, yet delicate and gentle in the high tones. However, the high end can also be given a little kick with overdevelopment.

    IME, HP5 is almost exactly the opposite. It is the low tones and mids that are soft and can easily become compressed ("mushy") or lost, and the high tones that bite.

    I rate FP4 at 200 for use with the Zone System (one of the only films that I rate higher than box speed when doing tonal placement), and at box speed for standard exposure (incident or sunny 16/exposure chart). I use HC-110 dilution B for normal and harsh negs, and dilution H for softer negs. I have also used it with Rodinal and D-23, but I like HC-110 best for general purposes.

    The film can get grainy. It is not like Delta or T-Max, with which you need to try to find the grain. It is there, and can readily be brought out even more by either sloppy exposure and processing or purposeful manipulation.

    I think it is a great all-around medium-speed b/w film. If I had to pick one, FP4 would be it. However, I supplement it with T-Max 100 for certain applications (flat light, long exposures, when I want extreme sharpness and/or lack of visible grain, etc.).
     
  15. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    2F/2F,

    I read your post with interest regarding compression in highlights. It seems that there is a contradiction in that FP4 "will readily compress highlights" and "the high end can also be given a little kick with overdevelopment" - doesn't that mean the same thing - compression in the higher values? Am I drinking too little coffee?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 25, 2010
  16. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Hi, Jerevan.

    I should have been more clear. By compressed highlights, I am speaking mostly of something you see in printing (usually when burning in). I meant things that are beyond the point of detail and texture – paper base white and just before it, and things that land on the negative much beyond this. When they are burned down, there is not nearly as much tonal separation and detail as there is with a film like T-max.

    As for giving the high end a "kick" with development, I am talking about a method to raise contrast by raising the values of the high mids and high tones on the print. Even though the film shoulders off relatively quickly, overdevelopment still increases contrast in the areas that are not on the shoulder. This is something you'd likely do with a neg that you think needs more contrast, not one you think you might have to significantly burn through, though theses two cases are one and the same sometimes (when you want more local contrast or mid tone separation, for instance, and will pay the price of having to burn in the higher tones to get it).

    My main points were that the film is aesthetically full of character, but it can be hard to work with technically, compared to newer-style emulsions, which can handle quite a lot of technical slop.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 25, 2010
  17. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    2F/2F,

    thanks for the clarifications. I think I understand what you mean, although I am not able to put it down in words. :smile:
     
  18. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    High tone compression on a print generally happens when you print from the areas of the negative with densities above those densities that will print to white in a normal print from a normally exposed negative. You do not see major compression in the print unless you actually place the densities from the high part of the shoulder of the negative onto the print. You must sometimes do this to darken an overexposed negative, and you may often do it when burning in.

    Because the compression is above the densities that would print to maximum paper white, bumping up the contrast can still be accomplished with development, even though the tones on the upper part of the shoulder would become more compressed. However, as I said, usually when you are bumping up contrast, you don't have many, if any, tones that are landing on the shoulder anyhow, though sometimes you might.

    Personally, I find highlight compression to be extremely aesthetically pleasing in many cases, and I like having that shoulder close by to work with when using FP4. It always depends on what you want for the shot. Nothing a film does is good or bad in and of itself. It just is what it is, and you learn what this is so you can decide whether or not to use it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 25, 2010
  19. Brian Legge

    Brian Legge Member

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    Its taken me a while to find a development approach that works well for me with this film. My first few rolls were... poor. Muddy pictures with excessively high contrast. In hindsight, I'm pretty sure these shots were underexposed by about 1 to 1.5 stops and slightly pushed. The negatives became very contrasty quickly.

    A semi-stand development example. I haven't verified this development approach is reproducible - I got this the first time I tried this approach - but this is my favorite so far:
    [​IMG]
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/cannelbrae/5097931503/
    Shot at 100
    Rodinal, 1:100
    Developed in a 120 tank with an empty 35mm reel on the bottom
    60 minutes, 15 seconds initial agitation, 2 slow agitations every 10 minutes

    A more traditional development example. Not a fantastic shot but it gives a sense of the look:
    [​IMG]
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/cannelbrae/5014466987/
    Shot at 100
    Rodinal, 1:50
    15 minutes, 21 degrees
    8 slow initial agitations, 2 slow agitations every 2 minutes

    An example of my earlier attempt with the film. I was trying to keep a bit of detail in the sky but underexposed the scene by about a stop as a result. Compared to my later development this was probably pushed a bit. The look works for some shots where I want higher contrast but that is less common.
    [​IMG]
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/cannelbrae/4781476369/
    Shot at 125
    Rodinal, 1:62 (4ml of 250ml)
    20 minutes
    8 slow initial agitations, 2 slow agitations every 5 minutes after

    A shot were this contrast and look worked well for me:
    [​IMG]
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/cannelbrae/4522330865/

    I want to get to the point where I can map what i like and don't like to proper terminology along the lines of what 2F/2F said. :smile: I'm a ways off.
     
  20. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    That is an accomplishment! Usually muddy pictures and high-contrast pictures are mutually exclusive. :D

    Take a look at the manufacturer's characteristic curve, or make your own, and you will see that FP4 is tough to work with when precision is not being employed...though likely beautiful if exposure is nailed within a certain range. In scenes with much contrast, something in the shot is going to have to be compressed.