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  1. #1

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    Gonna try some B&W this time around

    Normally I shoot color reversal film. Decided this time around I'd try B&W again, and got a roll of Ilford HP5+. My B&W photos always seem to be too contrasty - very seldom do I see very much middle gray. I've heard that shooting at a lower ISO can lower contrast. I'll be having a lab process these as I'm not yet set up to process B&W myself. What EI should I use for HP5+? Do I need to have the lab pull-process the film at the lower ISO or can they just run as normal and handle the different EI at the printing stage?
    ME Super

    Shoot more film.
    There are eight ways to put a slide into a projector tray. Seven of them are wrong.

  2. #2
    chriscrawfordphoto's Avatar
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    Depends on how they'll develop it. The box speed should be ignored; the real sped varies depending on the developer. Tri-X, for example, when developed to a normal level of contrast has a true speed of 320 in D-76, 200 in PMK, and 250 in Rodinal. These are not 'pulled' speeds...they're thereal speed of the film wen its is developed formally in the developers I listed.

    I have less experience with HP5, but in D-76 it should be shot at 320.
    Chris Crawford
    Fine Art Photography of Indiana and other places no one else photographs.

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    Fort Wayne, Indiana

  3. #3
    Rolfe Tessem's Avatar
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    I think you'll find that Xtol is about the only developer that gives full box speed. As a practical matter, the difference between 320 and 400 is almost indistinguishable.

  4. #4
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    To get the grays you want, you should develop it yourself. Perhaps they are developed fine by the lab, but scanned or printed with too much contrast. It's a very subjective process. I'd suggest developing at box speed with pyrocat-hd or as described with PMK. If you want modest contrast and lots of gray and highlight detail, PMK will be very affordable developer to use.

  5. #5
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ME Super View Post
    Normally I shoot color reversal film. Decided this time around I'd try B&W again, and got a roll of Ilford HP5+. My B&W photos always seem to be too contrasty - very seldom do I see very much middle gray. I've heard that shooting at a lower ISO can lower contrast. I'll be having a lab process these as I'm not yet set up to process B&W myself. What EI should I use for HP5+? Do I need to have the lab pull-process the film at the lower ISO or can they just run as normal and handle the different EI at the printing stage?
    Before you start changing development or EI you should probably try adjusting via the print process.

    Your lab may simply be "adjusting" too much.
    Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  6. #6

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    It is so easy to process one's own negatives that I would never let a lab do them even if I didn't do the printing myself.
    A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

    ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerald C Koch View Post
    It is so easy to process one's own negatives that I would never let a lab do them even if I didn't do the printing myself.
    It looks easy enough except I have no changing bag, darkroom, tank/reels or chemicals. I was thinking I could get my feet wet with a lab process and then if they look decent attempt processing myself, now that I have a photo store within a few miles of work where I can buy the stuff. I suppose I could always try some sc*ns of the lab-developed negs or look at 'em through a loupe to see what sort of detail I managed to capture.

    I've tried Digital B&W with my son's P&S and I've liked what I've seen from it so I thought I'd try with the film SLR without making an investment in developing equipment to see how I like it.

    Thanks for your help, all, I will try shooting this box speed and see what I get from the lab and try sc*nning the negs to see what kind of detail I can pull from them.
    ME Super

    Shoot more film.
    There are eight ways to put a slide into a projector tray. Seven of them are wrong.

  8. #8
    MattKing's Avatar
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    If you are not doing your own developing, I would recommend one of the C41 black and white films instead. The Ilford film is best if the film may end in a darkroom later, while the Kodak version is probably handled better by small minilabs who use colour paper to produce monochrome prints.

    The C41 black and white films scan well, as well.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  9. #9
    grommi's Avatar
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    I warmly recommend following Geralds or Matts suggestions. Develop yourself or use C41 bw film.

    Best - Reinhold

  10. #10
    andrew.roos's Avatar
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    Ask your lab what developer they use, then consult the film development charts from The Practical Zone System by chris Johnson, which are available online at http://www.chrisjohnsonphotographer.com/charts.shtml, to get an initial EI. (For example, according to the charts in D-76 1+1 HP5+ gives normal contrast at ASA 400 so you would use this as you initial EI if developing in D-76 1+1).

    Shoot a roll at this initial EI, then ask the lab to develop normally and print on Grade II paper. Then you can evaluate the resulting prints. If you like the shadow detail, then the EI is right. If there is too little shadow detail, the reduce the EI. Once you've got the shadow detail you want, consider the contrast. If there's too much, pull development or print on a lower paper grade. If too little contrast, push development or print on a higher paper grade.
    Last edited by andrew.roos; 11-03-2012 at 04:09 AM. Click to view previous post history.

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