Quote Originally Posted by jdef
Contrary to the experiences of others, I get PLENTY of contrast with HP5+ and ABC pyro, and I shoot mostly in very flat light. The print I included in the first round of the travelling portfolio was shot on HP5+ and developed in ABC pyro. Did you see it? If so, did it look flat to you? It was too contrasty for the Fomatone even at grade 00. Also, according to Sandy King, if your not getting enough contrast with ABC Pyro, Pyrocat is not the way you want to go, but just the opposite. He recommends ABC for getting more contrast than you can get with Pyrocat. Of course that's a simplification, but the basis is accurate. In my reading of the two metering techniques above, it seems to me that Brian is giving his film one stop more exposure than Tom. If Brian rates his film at 1/2 box speed, meters the darkest part with detail, and uses that as his exposure value, he's placing his shadows on zone V, right? Tom places his metered value one stop lower at zone IV, giving him one stop less exposure, right? Tom, if your negs seemed a bit flat, why would you think that your development time was right? I don't mean to be contentious, I'm just curious why my results with HP5+ and ABC pyro seem to be so different from others.

I guess that you are one of the very few that I have encountered that relate that HP5 is a film that is capable of high DRs sufficient for expansion with Azo, Pt-pd and other alternative processes. I don't know what experience you have had with negatives that you have exposed, developed and printed to a high DR. I am talking of density ranges above 1.50 (High density minus low density...not minus film base plus fog).

Having had a fair amount of experience with ABC, I would not recommend it to anyone as a developer of choice when one is developing negatives for enlarging. That is unless you want tons of humungous clumps of grain. The grain that I mention is apparent when one enlarges 200 asa 4X5 negs to anything larger then 8X10 prints on a condensor enlarger. Perhaps a diffusion light source would allow a slight amount of enlargement increase over condensor.

HP5 is typically known among photographers requiring high DR negs as a film best suited for contraction of high contrast scenes...not expansion of low contrast scenes. That is just the nature of this material.

For those wanting increased contrast there are far better choices then HP5. Tmax 400, Efke PL 100, and FP4 are all better choices.

As a side note, over exposing film is not the answer to gaining increased contrast in fact if one is placing low values at Zone IV and V then the density range available on a given film is compromised to a very real extent. Over exposing film directly leads to reduced density range (contrast).

Having said that I will say that ABC will show a decrease in effective film speed...even when developing to high density ranges. Other staining developers do not show that same tendency.