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  1. #1

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    Benefits of FP4+ over HP5+

    I have shot about 70 FP4+ 4x5's on my last 3 day nature outing and developed them in my jobo using D76, they came out fine grained and overall i'm happy with the negatives. However, yesterday i spend a day shooting at a park nearby using HP5+ and have used the same developer and can't notice any difference grain size or tonality wise between the two stocks. Is FP4 supposed to have finer grain and more resolving power ? Even at high enlargements i can't seem to notice any difference besides the fact that FP4 is rated slower. I exposed the HP5 at 200iso and developed for 14 minutes in D76.
    Last year I developed a bunch of HP5 in 1:3 perceptol (rated at 400iso) and the grain and tonalities still seem to be very close or identical to FP4...

    Any thoughts on this ?

  2. #2
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    I also use HP5+ at EI 200 and although my negative size (6x7) is smaller than yours, it still has fine enough grain for me.

    I notice the difference with 35mm but unless you are making very large prints from a 4x5 negative, I don't think you will see much of a difference.

    If HP5+ gives you images which you like then carry on using it. I can use the extra stop of speed to my advantage when I want to hand hold my RB67. I suspect that it is of little advantage to you though as you are more likely to be using a tripod for 4x5.


    Steve.

  3. #3
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    I've only ever used HP5 in medium format, and not a whole lot of it. Compared to FP4 I can see a larger grain, but the largest difference to me is contrast. To me fp4 displays a higher contrast and seems more brilliant in the highlights and has more impact in the low values, while hp5 seems to have its strengths in the midtones with incredible separation for local contrast.
    So, grain size alike (less pronounced) I think the two films are different on other levels that are fundamentally important.
    - Thomas
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  4. #4
    DaveOttawa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by larkis View Post
    ...Even at high enlargements i can't seem to notice any difference besides the fact that FP4 is rated slower. I exposed the HP5 at 200iso and developed for 14 minutes in D76.
    Last year I developed a bunch of HP5 in 1:3 perceptol (rated at 400iso) and the grain and tonalities still seem to be very close or identical to FP4...

    Any thoughts on this ?
    My thought is what is a high enlargement to you? In a 4x full frame enlargement of a 4x5 HP5 neg I normally can't see grain on the print even looking closer than the normal viewing distance. That is a 16x20 print of course, my experience across formats is that enlarging artifacts such as visible grain show up at between ~4-6x enlarging ratio so your results are expected. I'd agree with the previous posters who've have said look at what speed you need and what tonal qualities you like and chosse based on that.

  5. #5
    Mick Fagan's Avatar
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    I very recently have conducted some tests with FP4+ & HP5+ 4x5 sheet film.

    The major difference I see is that FP4+ has a sparkle that HP5+ doesn't, especially if you are using a slightly inferior lens.

    One of my lenses is a reasonably unknown Komura 6.3 400 telephoto. Being blunt, it doesn't have much contrast. The lens is able to do things the others I have cannot, so I like it for that.

    Running HP5+ through the 400 the negs look flat and grainy, so I develop them differently and they are much better, but still not the best. When I put FP4+ through the 400 and develop accordingly, I can and do get quite contrasty, but not snappy negs.

    So in short, this told me that one of the more desirable features to me of FP4+ over the speed of HP5+, was the tonality I can achieve.

    I rate FP4+ at 100 ASA and HP5+ at 320 ASA and develop accordingly, in D76 1+1. At or near these speeds in my system(s) I achieve a tonal range that is pleasing to the eye, easy to print.

    I have developed both films at least 2 stops lower and higher, when required or desired, but find near box speed, is pretty much where I find most satisfaction.

    Mick.

  6. #6
    joneil's Avatar
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    Not sure if this applies, but I think of all B&W films out there, FP4+ will take more abuse than any other film and still give you a useable negative. By abuse I mean miscalulating exposure, or poor developing technique. In any format. For somebody who is just starting B&W from scratch, again any format, it's the film I reccomend to learn with

    joe

  7. #7
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Mick, I think we're saying the same thing in different ways. These are the same reasons I use FP4+ too, and not HP5+. I'm sure that HP5+ is just as good a film, only different, and FP4+ suits my style better.
    More punch and oomph in low and high values from FP4, while HP5 is more about midtones with wonderful separation as well as latitude.
    - Thomas

    Quote Originally Posted by Mick Fagan View Post
    I very recently have conducted some tests with FP4+ & HP5+ 4x5 sheet film.

    The major difference I see is that FP4+ has a sparkle that HP5+ doesn't, especially if you are using a slightly inferior lens.

    One of my lenses is a reasonably unknown Komura 6.3 400 telephoto. Being blunt, it doesn't have much contrast. The lens is able to do things the others I have cannot, so I like it for that.

    Running HP5+ through the 400 the negs look flat and grainy, so I develop them differently and they are much better, but still not the best. When I put FP4+ through the 400 and develop accordingly, I can and do get quite contrasty, but not snappy negs.

    So in short, this told me that one of the more desirable features to me of FP4+ over the speed of HP5+, was the tonality I can achieve.

    I rate FP4+ at 100 ASA and HP5+ at 320 ASA and develop accordingly, in D76 1+1. At or near these speeds in my system(s) I achieve a tonal range that is pleasing to the eye, easy to print.

    I have developed both films at least 2 stops lower and higher, when required or desired, but find near box speed, is pretty much where I find most satisfaction.

    Mick.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  8. #8

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    I've always thought of FP4+ as a sharper, finer-grained, and slower version of Tri-X. When exposed generously (EI of 1 stop below box speed) both seem to exhibit remarkably similar contrast.

    That's curious given that they are films from different manufacturers, but they can look remarkably similar and, as one very fond of Tri-X, that's not a bad thing.
    Digital Photography is just "why-tech" not "high tech"..

  9. #9
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    I completely agree. Sometimes, if I don't print too large, I have a hard time seeing differences in my prints from either kind, given I've shot the negs in the same event.
    For instance, the past two summers I've been to the Minnesota State Fair to photograph old cars. Some rolls are Tri-X and some FP4. They both share that 'impossible' sparkle and finish that I find so hard to achieve with other films. I develop it all in Pyrocat, and even the stain on the two films is similar.
    - Thomas

    Quote Originally Posted by aldevo View Post
    I've always thought of FP4+ as a sharper, finer-grained, and slower version of Tri-X. When exposed generously (EI of 1 stop below box speed) both seem to exhibit remarkably similar contrast.

    That's curious given that they are films from different manufacturers, but they can look remarkably similar and, as one very fond of Tri-X, that's not a bad thing.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  10. #10
    Jim Noel's Avatar
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    FP4+ has more inherent contrast which may be the "sparkle" you speak of. When doing alt printing the extra contrast is a must, and by using longer development times the contrast is easily increased even more.
    [FONT=Comic Sans MS]Films NOT Dead - Just getting fixed![/FONT]

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