I've just finished my 3rd print from my first roll of FP4+. The negatives came out denser than usual, but I thought they looked pretty good. I'm using a cold light and have read that slightly denser negatives can be good... and with hp5+ and tri-x my development adjustments from recommended times have all been toward a little denser negs. I thought I was getting things dialed in because printing has become easier and easier.
After only three prints, my initial impression is that these are easier to print. I seem to be able to get the midtones where I want them more easily. The way the tones change in the middle ranges seems to look really nice, and my test strips seem to be easy to judge. There is a bit more grain than I expected, but I like the way it looks. I'm printing with the enlarger lens opened up a stop, with similar times ( still F5.6 or 8 for an 8x10 print... so still not wide open at all.)
So... I wonder how much of this is due to the film and how much is due to development and denser negatives? I shot the roll at EI 100, and developed for the recommended time in HC-110. Anyway, I'm very pleased and my last print surprised me: I'm saving the "best" ones for later and picked this one because I thought it might not be as interesting ( most of the image is in the middle ranges of tones, with just a little sky and not much deep shadow ).. but the middle tones separated out and I really like the way it looks. It was a negative I might have skipped altogether!
That was my only roll of FP4+, but now I'm sure I'll be getting some more.
For me easiest to print are ISO 100 (and 125) films. I don't know - maybe because I print on fixed grade 2 paper?
I'll take a shot. I assume your using -135 film. You don't mention what your contrast filtration is but if it is higher than #3.5 you will enhance the existing film grain.
Your EI is fine. I shoot this film at 80 with D-76 1:1, 20c with a development time of 10m. My small format enlarger is a Leitz 1c which prints between a condenser and diffuser. HC 110 I read separates mid tones but will not shoulder off the higher zones as D-76 1:1 would.
D-76 would be a better film developer unless you are experienced. A standard technique is to view newsprint through the negative. If enlarging with a diffused light source you should have difficulty reading typed text through the dense portion of the negative. If highlights are blocked you likely over developed.
Enlarging -135 FP-4 with a dichro head to 8x10 I don't experience grain in the sense you can notice it. I develop -135 in D-76 or XTOL 1:1.
It is very difficult to give advice about something I/we canít see and as I have no experience with the developer you mention and no idea about the original lighting range, I may be wrong. However, the fact that you mention there is a bit more grain than expected, I would guess you have over developed the negs slightly. The good news is you are using a (cold light) imagine this to be a diffuser which should help. I would suggest the ideal is to expose and develop for the enlarger system you are using.
fp4+is a beautiful film. i like it @EI80-100, developed in D761+1 for about 10 min.good luck; god save ilford.
Thanks everyone. Without explaining everything I'm doing, I know there are too many variables. I said there was more grain than I expected, but honestly I didn't know what to expect. It is substantially less and with a smoother look to it than HP5+. I think it looks great.
I'm not sure I was completely clear... I'm really happy with the results and am just curious why they seem to be easier to print. Whatever the explanation is, I like it very much! Until now I have not had this amount of control in the mid-tones during a print... it felt like I could dial in exactly the way I wanted the tones to look. The highlights are not blown out... it's all good!