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Thread: Plus X Vs FP4+

  1. #1
    braxus's Avatar
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    Plus X Vs FP4+

    Im a Kodak guy, but I have used Ilford products in the past. I'm going on a trip in the next little while and I'm bringing 3 cameras along. 1 Video camera, 1 35mm SLR, and 1 35mm P&S. The SLR gets the color film and the P&S gets the B&W. Anyway I really like the look Plus X gives for outdoor shots, especially in terms of contrast and sharpness. But I don't really want to dig into my bulk roll of Plus X for these shots in case I load it wrong or whatever. So I dug out some older rolls I got a few years ago (all kept frozen) of Ilford FP4+.

    I know these two films are similar in some respects, but can also differ. What am I going to notice when using FP4+ over Plus X? Will Plus X still be sharper? Is the tonality totally different? I know the P&S will possibly cut down on contrast (and possibly sharpness too) compared to using a SLR lens. Problem is Plus X seems to be hard to get from local stores these days and I don't want to do mail order for a couple rolls of film. And time is limited for shipping anyway. I also have some Pan F+ and Efke 25, but the contrast on those may kill any outdoor shots in sun that might come along. And using 25 ISO film in a P&S is not what I'd recommend anyway.

    Developer will be Xtol straight done at a lab.

  2. #2

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    Hi,

    I've shooted both. In 35mm I prefer Plus-X and in 120 I prefer FP4. Go figure... Both are among my favorites in respective formats.
    Actually, I thing I don't like Ilford's film base in 35mm...
    I'd say try to get PX if you can, but it is rather expensive in Canada. Or bulk load and trust yourself!
    I am using HC-110 and Rodinal depending of the result I want. Don't know about Xtol results however.

    Kris

  3. #3

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    I shoot mostly in 4x5, and used to shoot tri-X in the summertime, and plus-x in the winter. Tri-X seems to be able to hold detail in the shadows like nothing else, and Plus-X held detail in highlights, since here in maine, winter landscapes tend to have snow in them, plus-x was a great film. Then Kodak reformulated tri-x and discontinued plus-x (in sheet film), so I was faced with having to go back and do testing again since I had no known films available to me anymore. I have ended up settling on HP-5 year round. It seems to be a good compromise. I develop in HC-110 which gives me nice tonality and a decent range. I have done some shooting with FP4, and at least in 4x5, don't see any big advantages over HP-5.

  4. #4
    Jim Noel's Avatar
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    I prefer FP4+ - it is faster, sharper and I like the film curve better.
    [FONT=Comic Sans MS]Films NOT Dead - Just getting fixed![/FONT]

  5. #5

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    You can't lose with either. Both are fine films, but with a litle different flavor. Both like D-76. Both like Rodinal. Haen't tried a pyro dev with either, but going by Thomas current thread on PX, I don't think I'll try PX in Pyrocat.

  6. #6

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    I think this same question came up recently on photo.net. I have always found Plus-X very good in bright and contrasty light. It doesn't look as good to me in flat light. For flat light I prefer FP4+. FP4+ is good in bright light too but doesn't look quite as crisp to me. Both films work well in a wide variety of developers.

  7. #7
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Speaking from my own experiences, here is a scenario you might want to consider:
    1. I have enlarged to 12"x16" from FP4+ developed in Pyrocat. It is the only film I've been able to enlarge that much from 35mm while maintaining really good sharpness. I use Pentax SLRs and Pentax prime lenses along with Vivitar Series I.
    2. A friend of mine uses a Leica with a 50mm Summicron, and he asked me to print a shot with Plus-X I could hardly enlarge beyond 9"x12" before it started falling off severely in sharpness. Developed in Xtol by him.
    Same paper, same chemistry, same enlarger, same lens. I think this tells us that FP4 can be sharper than Plus-X, and I'm sure it can work that way the other way around too, depending on how the film was developed, printed, etc. I think that both films inherently have quite a bit of contrast. The grain looks really nice. In Rodinal, you may see a slight speed increase with Plus-X over FP4, but that's all I can think of that really distinguishes them as one better than the other. I will happily shoot either of these two brilliant films.
    - 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

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson View Post
    I will happily shoot either of these two brilliant films.
    - Thomas
    Now, there's a real world perspective! All this quibbling over variables and nuances, not just PX and FP, but generally.

    Without the tight controls of a lab and lab measuring devices, no amateur can say with with certainty that under all conditions Film A is better than Film B regarding Specification X.

    I doubt that there are too hoots in hell differences between PX and FP in resolution and granularity. (Ilford doesn't publish said specs, althought the FP4+ movie film resolution is out there. A tad worse than PX.) Certainly, one's camera lens, development, developer, and enlarger lens may create a winner and a loser, but the next guy can have the exact opposite results.

    Thanks for a bottom line observation!

  9. #9

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    Plus-X is slightly blue sensitive and appreciates a yellow filter.

    ASA 64 and Xtol

    Mark
    Mark Layne
    Nova Scotia
    and Barbados

  10. #10
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    I don't remember seeing Plus-X on a dealers shelf in over 25 years. (In the UK). FP4 was always the film of choice, I started with FP3 and also tried Plus-X but when FP4 was released it had a distinct edge in quality. However neither Plus-X or FP4 was a match for the quality of APX100, but Tmax100 is close, and also Delta 100.

    Ian



 

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