They look like cheap lab 35mm prints to me, and that's a bit hit and miss depending on where you use, I've seen & had far worse before I began processing my own.
Having printed commercially for many years including doing all the B&W work for a large pro lab for a while it would be all to easy to take an easy option and print flatter, makes printing faster and less wastage but degrades the quality. However we always went for quality first and taht does cost a little more.
You get what you pay for, FP4 has long been one of the best films around so it's not the film at fault.
Based on questions I've asked previously, I always tend to rate my films at less than their box speeds - typically 50% less, so if it's ISO100 I'll rate at EI50, or thereabouts. With this 125 film, I rated it at EI80 to try and ensure I got a denser negative than previously. My SB-800 was set at -1 power using TTL mode (not TTL-BL as I was only interested in the face or main subject) and the flash mode was SLOW+REAR so it just acted as fill in flash.
Seems to me you rated it at MORE than box speed. If you wanted denser negatives you should have rated it at 64. Also, flash used on camera fills in the shadows and makes for a flatter negative.
I think the prints look quite good. In particular the first one.
I'd be interested in seeing an example of what you consider to be a better print.
seems for me - Lab did mistake
Neg Dev : over diluted & old & Low temperature / Because film has very low Gamma but no missed details .
That's the whole reason why I went back to b/w and home processing.
Originally Posted by herb
To me, the first image looks flat, your lab's printing is too low in mid-tone contrast, but typical of non-custom lab prints.
Second print looks ok-ish, technically. I'm sure it could benefit from dodging and burning but the negative was perhaps not particularly compelling.
Third image looks washed out. I suspect you weren't adequately shading the lens, and you might have some haze or something in the lens too, there's a lot of flare mudding the shadows in his face.
Use a lens-shade and if a lot of light falls on the lens be sure its clean coated glass, soup and print yourself, and shoot more.
Also, don't use a film because everyone says its good. Use a film because you've shot a few rolls and seen something you like from it. Look for success and then repeat what worked for you.
What he said! ;)
Originally Posted by Barry S
Shoot another roll of FP4 at box speed, send it off to Ilford Photo's processing lab and see what comes back.
It would be great if you had your own darkroom!
fp4 is a beautiful film when processed by someone who knows what they are doing. I would, as others have said, rate it at box speed. I'd also ditch the flash and stick with a straight-forward exposure. To me, these in-camera flashes aren't something worth using, particularly for fine art work. Is there a particular reason that you don't process on your own? it's much much cheaper than having a lab do it, and though it is a pain at first, you eventually learn to love it.