TriX vs HP5+
I recently tried a few rolls of Ilford HP5+, instead of my normal "go to" rolls of TriX. I shot the HP5+ with the F100 and the 24-70 2.8, and then developed it in XTOL at 8.5 mins according to the Massive Development Chart's instructions. After scanning the negatives, I thought I liked it... But after trying it on some 5x7 VC RC paper, I'm not sure.
The HP5+ seems to be a lot grainier than the TriX, and it's SOOOOOOOO much more contrasty. I have some working prints that are drying right now, and I'll scan them later, but the image on paper is so contrasty that I am not liking it very much. I had to use a "0" filter for 25 seconds to get it even remotely useable, and I suspect that I'll have to go up even higher for me to be satisfied.
Am I nearly correct in that HP5+ is more contrasty and grainier, or am I doing something wrong?
What do you agitate, Ilford style,
"Fit the sealing cap and turn the tank upside down four times during the first 10 seconds and again for 10 seconds (that is, four inversions) at the start of every further minute to agitate the developer. Each time you invert the tank tap it on the bench to dislodge any air bubbles which may have formed on the film."
I thought HP5+ was 8 mins also in Xtol stock not 8.5 mins, Massive Dev has 8.5 mins, could that extra 30 seconds (6% more dev than the manufacturer recommends) be your issue?
It's hard to make a judgement based on a single roll. With any new film it takes a bit of tweeking to get the best results. But having said that I have never like HP5+.
Originally Posted by ChristopherCoy
My experience with HP5+ has been that it is far less contrasty than Tri-X. In fact, the first few rolls I hated because they were so...blah...no snap to them at all.
It definitely sounds like you have over developed. Keep trying. it is a lovely film (but, I still prefer Tri-X).
What Gerald said. Both are great films and capable of more grain or less grain, or more contrast or less based on how it's handled thru exposure, EI, developer used, dilutions, development technique, etc, etc. Some favor one over the other but few who do have taken both to the limits in many situations with many different developers to see the true potential of both. Those that have know that both are capable of terrific results in many circumstances. If I was somehow forced to use one over the other I would not lose sleep over it, I'd just dial it in until I was happy and stick to it.
If one develops TriX by Kodak's recommendations, and HP5+ by Ilford's, I think one may find that the two are closer than one might imagine. The massive development chart is handy, but not always accurate, IMHO.
I switched years ago from Trix. Using hc110 solution b at minutes , grain is less and no contrast issues. Altho, i do print at grade 3 and make my negatives to fit the light source.
So here is my in progress work, and this is why I believe that HP5+ is more contrasty.
Here is the original negative scan.
WranglerF100fweb by ChristopherCoy, on Flickr
Here is the digitally tweaked negative scan. Notice the detail in his front legs.
WranglerF100f by ChristopherCoy, on Flickr
Here is my test sheet.
TimeSheet by ChristopherCoy, on Flickr
Based on my test sheet, I thought I could go a little longer than 14 secs, so I went with 17 seconds at with no filter. I didn't like the blown highlights on his front legs. There's barely any detail there.
17SecNoFilter by ChristopherCoy, on Flickr
So then I thought that if it was too contrasty, I would lower the contrast with a filter. I went with 0 because I didn't feel like dicking around from step to step at the time. 17 secs with 0 filter. This opened his eyes up a little, and gave me more details in the blacks, but I knew I could add some burn time.
17Sec0Filter by ChristopherCoy, on Flickr
So I upped it to 25 seconds with a 0 filter, and this is where I ended up. I'm satisfied with his eyes and the detail in the blacks, but the window and highlight in bottom right can use some burning, and then the highlights in his head and front legs could use some burning too.
25Sec0Filter by ChristopherCoy, on Flickr
I am using an Omega B600 enlarger with a 50mm lens set at F16 or f11. I developed in Ilford paper developer I think (its been mixed for months, Kodak indicator stop bath, and Ilford Fixer. The paper I am using is Arista RC VC something or nother. Its basically the 100 sheet 'student special' box I believe.
With all of my input aside (i.e. printing, paper choice, chemical choices, time choices etc...) I find the HP5+ negatives a lot more dense, than my usual TriX negatives. To me TriX was or is a lot more forgiving. During a usual printing session, with a TriX negative, I could pretty much get my print where I wanted it within just a few test prints (excluding dodging, burning, and all the fine details.) But then again, all I've used since starting film again has been TriX so maybe its just because I'm used to it and know what to expect and how to work with it.
But then again... as I am typing this, and looking over my working prints, I am realizing some things that I can do to make the final print better. Mmmmaybe I just needed to talk it out. Mmmmmaybe HP5+ isn't so bad. hmmmmm.....
Try D-76, or or Perceptol for HP5+, I did develop HP5+ few times with D-76 and got nice results even it is not my developer of choice, it wasn't contrast roll, but was little grainy which is fine for me, at least i got something good to use.
Don't give up on one or 2 rolls, i was so quick judging many rolls from beginning but later one i found out that any B&W roll can give nice decent results if you understand it and the process you gonna use with it.
If it's too contrasty, you need to develop it less! Simple as that. With in-control processes, I would bet money than an independent observer could not tell the difference (let alone which is which) between prints of an identical scene made on HP5 and Tri-X.
PS: don't use linear time-steps for your test-strip. Use f/stop numbering, i.e. logarithmic spacing: 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, 22, 32. Gives you equal tonal difference between each step and you cover more tonal range with your test strip without wasting a bunch of paper on near-identically-toned steps at the longer end. Read up on f/stop printing; it does not require an f/stop timer and it will make your life so much easier.