Mar 27, 2021

Zeroing in with HP5+, part 2

A previous post showed what happens with HP5+ at ISO 800 when shooting with a yellow filter and developing in d-76 1:1. Part two of this series shows the results at ISO 200, still with a yellow filter, and developing at 1:2.  

I'll post the photos here and let them do most of the talking. They were shot on the Mamiya C220 with the 80mm f/2.8 lens. I do like the softer tones in the sky that this combination creates. The shadows have opened up tremendously. And the scans certainly came out sharper, which I'm largely attributing to the extended developing time. 

Sunday afternoon rural tour

There are some artifacts that have crept up also, and I can't ignore them. For one, I'm seeing what I ~think~ is uneven development. One rule I ran across right after I developed this roll was that d-76 needs a certain amount of stock in the developing tank in order to do its job, regardless of the dilution used. I couldn't find an exact number of that 'certain amount', but it's more than I used here. If my tank was 600 ml, then the amount of stock present was 200 ml. 

Sunday afternoon rural tour

Also, some white specks have shown up which might be attributed to, well, most anything I suppose. In the interest of full disclosure, I do mix my d-76 in single batches. I've been told that's a no-no, but I've never had any problems that I can directly tie to that practice.

Sunday afternoon rural tour

All in all, though, this little experiment has shown the results that are possible by changing just a few variables in the process. Reliable results can be had with HP5+. My next roll will be at ISO 400 in a stock solution. If it still shows some of the uneven development, I may have to look closer at my developing practices.

Sunday afternoon rural tour

Sunday afternoon rural tour

Sunday afternoon rural tour

Sunday afternoon rural tour

Tri-x Up for Grabs

On the off chance that the two or three readers I have on this blog are interested, I am shopping 14 rolls of Tri-x in 120 format. I'm starting to narrow down my film preferences at this point, and I just hate to have an emulsion like Tri-x just sit in my freezer unused. It expired in 2016 and 2018, but has been sealed and cold stored since new.

What am I asking for it? Good question. If expired/second hand film in this format is $5 USD a roll, that would equal out to $70. I'm not necessarily looking for cash, though. If someone out there has an item in either Canon FD or Mamiya TLR mount, I'd be willing to consider a flat out trade. I would also consider some fresh/nearly fresh film from another brand as well.  US only, and we both pay our own shipping costs. Whatcha got?



Mar 22, 2021

Zeroing in with HP5+

As a film photographer for the last eight years, I've been playing the field in regards to my selection of black and white films. I've tried the majority of them as this point: Everything available to me from Ilford and Kodak, with maybe the exception of P3200, and a few off brands in there as well. Bergger. Arista Edu. Street Pan. You get the point. Frankly, I lost count a long time ago. 

At The Ready

To really make film work to your advantage, though, it's important to stick with one film and then work to get reliable results at a given ISO and with a given developer. I've known that for years now, but haven't actually put it into practice. It's time to do just that. 


Ilford HP5+ is my emulsion of choice. It's versatile, (reasonably) affordable, and readily available in both 35mm and 120 formats. Several times when I have shot and processed it, though, I've been less than happy with the results. Too many grays. All of the tones bunched up in the middle, even when I try to spread them out. Other times, though, I've been completely happy with it. 


A few weeks ago, I headed out on a partly sunny day with the Canon AE-1, 28mm f/2.8 lens, and a roll of HP5+. I attached a yellow #8 filter and shot the roll at ISO 800. Afterward, I souped the roll in d-76 1:1.  The results? You can see for yourself. A lot of contrast with much of the shadow areas blocked up. In some situations, this might be ok. You might even think that approach is ok with these frames (one of them was Explored on Flickr).  I want some contrast, but I also want some even tones. 

 Abandoned Grain Thresher, SE Washington State. {Explored, thank you}

My next roll, which is waiting to be developed, was shot at ISO 200, again with a yellow #8 filter. I will develop it in d-76 again but at a 1:2 ratio. Yes, I'm changing two variables, but I think I can get closer to what I'm looking for with this combination. At least, we'll see what happens, and we can tweak it from there.  More to come.