Whats Your Opinion With Ilford HP5 Roll Film

Ian-Barber

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I am trying to standerdize on two types of 120 roll film. For a slow film, I am using FP4 but for a faster film say 400 ISO I haven't yet had much need for them but I would like to have some on hand for the darker nights.

The odd 400 ISO films I have tried are TMAX 400 and TRI-X 400. The Kodak films are nice but for me are a little on the expensive side. I have been reading about Ilford HP5 which looks appealing but never used it.

Before I buy a few rolls, I was just wondering what your own personal thoughts are on HP5.
For development, my main three developers are HC110, XTOL or PyrocatHD. For output, I would be using VC paper and scanning for digital print.
 

alexmuir

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I was about to reply by saying that it is an excellent film, but then I realised I've never used the 120 version. I have, however, used hundreds of 35mm cassettes, and a fair bit of 4x5. This is where I had formed my opinion. It is quite fine grained for a fast film, and very versatile. It has the quality of manufacture we expect from Ilford. It can certainly be processed successfully in HC110 and Xtol, and I'm sure Pyrocat as well, although I've never tried that. If I was only able to obtain one film to use in various formats, I would be happy with HP5.
The other Ilford film you might consider is Delta 400. I have used, and like it in 120. I think it might be slightly more expensive than HP5, and I don't think it would be any better overall.
Alex


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Ian-Barber

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Thanks Alex. From what I have read, people are saying that HP5 is a close match to TRIX, again I have no first hand experience with that. As far as Delta 400 goes, I believe this is a T grain film similar to TMAX 400 and from the TMAX 400 I have used on 120 and sheet film, it just appeared a little to smooth to me.

I am going to order some HP5 and give it a try.
 

David M

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I seem to recall that Tri-X was a little harsher than HP5. Probably my processing at the time.
Many photographers are using Foma film because of the price. It's an old fashioned emulsion but it seems to work in LF. I haven't tried the 120 version as I have too much Ilford film stacked up, but it may be worth a try.
On the other hand, an all-Ilford stable sounds quite attractive.
 

Ian Grant

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I prefer Delta 400 for 120 it's slightly fine grain than HP5

Fomapan 100 & 200 are great films, I've shot many rolls and also have a few boxes of 5x4, 7x5, next time I buy 10x8 film it'll be Foma. However I wouldn't use their 400 ISO film, it's not full box speed and too grainy.

Ian
 

martin-f5

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I used HP5 35mm over decades in my favorit Jazz club and loved it, even pushing 1 stop was never a issue.
Always used Kodack D76 for developing it.
This film is not that close to TriX, it's more an high end one, not grainy and very good in grey values.
 

Ian-Barber

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I prefer Delta 400 for 120 it's slightly fine grain than HP5
Do you find Delta is a more contrasty film than HP5 Ian. The photographs on your wall over looking the sea with the chimney stack I believe was MF. Would that have been Delta 400
 

Ian-Barber

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Many photographers are using Foma film because of the price. It's an old fashioned emulsion but it seems to work in LF. I haven't tried the 120 version as I have too much Ilford film stacked up, but it may be worth a try.
I have tried the 200 version, nice film but my does it curl. I have just removed some from my negative sleeves which have been in there 8 weeks and its still very springy
 

alexmuir

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I found that TriX in 120 could also curl quite badly, depending on drying conditions. I agree with comments above that HP5 is more refined than TriX.
Alex


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Ian Grant

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Do you find Delta is a more contrasty film than HP5 Ian. The photographs on your wall over looking the sea with the chimney stack I believe was MF. Would that have been Delta 400
I wasn't sure offhand whether the image you refer to was Delta 400 or Delta 100, I had a look at the negative and it's Delta 100. However Delta 400 has quite similar tonal characteristics, just not quite such fine grain.

Ian
 

Alan9940

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I've only ever used and compared HP5+ with Tri-X in 10x8 size. For me, the Ilford film is workable when developed in Pyrocat-HD or ABC Pyro, but, overall, I just never really warmed up to it. In other than pyro developers it seemed "weak" and "watery" in its gray scale rendition. Maybe, it was simply too many years of shooting and printing Tri-X and my eye was/is trained to that look. ;)

Never used it in 120. In that size, my favorites are: Delta 100 in Clayton F76 Plus, FP4+ and Acros 100 in Pyrocat-HD, and Tri-X in HC110.
 

David M

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Ian,
Yes, Foma 400 is quite grainy and the grain is irregular. Not an issue for modest enlargements from LF, but it could be intrusive on 120.
Mentioning modest enlargements makes me wonder if The Other Ian needs a slow film at all. For the sizes he has been printing so far, the grain of HP5 would not be a problem. He may have greater ambitions, of course.
 

Alan Clark

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Foma 400 is quite grainy, as others have said, but this doesn't really show on 120. I have made 16 x 20 wet enlargements from 6 x 7 Foma 400 negatives developed in ID11 1+2, and you had to look hard to see the grain. Foma 400 is an interesting film, with its own distinctive look. I wouldn't like to use it as my only film, as it doesn't suit everything I do, but I do like to have it available in 35mm, where it shows its distinct character most, and I also use it in 120 and 5 x 4.

Regarding Tri X this has a reputation for being gritty, grainy and high contrast. But this is a legacy from the past. Kodak changed it about 20 years ago, give or take. And its just a big softy now, all politically correct and amenable. Very similar to HP5+ except it curls in 120.

Alan
 

Alan9940

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David, FWIW, I have a couple of 8x11" prints from scans of 6x7 Foma 400 sitting here in front of me and there is no noticeable grain. I forget now what I developed the film in...probably Clayton F76+. This film certainly wouldn't be my first choice for a 400 speed 120 film, but, like all Foma films, the price is certainly reasonable.
 

Alan9940

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Regarding Tri X this has a reputation for being gritty, grainy and high contrast. But this is a legacy from the past. Kodak changed it about 20 years ago, give or take. And its just a big softy now, all politically correct and amenable. Very similar to HP5+ except it curls in 120.
I have been using Tri-X 320 as my main sheet film for nearly 40 years and Tri-X 400 in 120 for nearly as long, and I've never found it to be gritty, grainy, or high contrast. Of course, much of that probably has to do with the fact that I don't make big enlargements.
 

Alan Clark

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I have been using Tri-X 320 as my main sheet film for nearly 40 years and Tri-X 400 in 120 for nearly as long, and I've never found it to be gritty, grainy, or high contrast. Of course, much of that probably has to do with the fact that I don't make big enlargements.[/QUO

Alan, Tri-X 320 is a different film to Tri-X 400.
And the old 35mm Tri X certainly was gritty and grainy. And a lot of people didn't like it one bit when Kodak changed it.

Alan
 

martin henson

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I have always loved Trix, a very forgiving film with its wide latitude to under and over exposed, never had a curling problem with the latest incarnation of it, it does have grain dependant on developer but it does have a certain textural quality that the grain gives, the only downside is cost as Kodak prices keep increasing.
 

Ian Grant

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I cut my teeth on Ilford FP3 and HP3 ex government surplus sto, good films but a much softer emulsion compared to FP4 and HP4. I tried Tri-X at the time late 1960's and HP4 was better, then HP5 was better still.

Unlike Ilford, Agfa etc Kodak never changed their emulsion names when they upgraded to the next generation. Tri-X is a pre-WWII emulsion first coated 1938/9 in the US by Eastman Kodak, and Kodak Ltd at its Harrow plant as well as their new coating facility in Hungary. The Hungarian plant was seixed by the Germans and put under Agfa control, it was nationalised by the Communists after the War becoming Forte and they continued with emulsions based on Kodak films Fortepan 200 based on Tri-x.

In more recent years Kodak celebrated 50 years of Tri-x, but that was it's introduction in 35mm and 120 sizes, before the war it was only available as a sheet film. It became unavailable after a while because one of the chemicals needed for the fast emulsion was only available from Germany. I have a 1940 Kodak Ltd Professional Catalogue listing the sizes and prices.

Tri-X has been improved since I last tested it but I'd switched to XP-1 then XP-2 both push processed fof concert photography, better gain, tonality etc.

I would try it but having settled on film choices that work well there's little point, I'm more interested in making images :D

Ian
 

Alan9940

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Alan, yep, I know Tri-X 320 is a different film than Tri-X 400, but you'll notice that I use(d) both. I never used it in 35mm. As Martin said, the downside to using it nowadays is the price! As much as I like the film and having used it for so long, I refuse to buy 10x8 sheets at $100US for 10 sheets!
 

Alan9940

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I would try it but having settled on film choices that work well there's little point, I'm more interested in making images
Yes, sir!! Well, said and totally agree. I change film nowadays only when I have to; for example, since I don't shoot 10x8 Tri-X anymore I switched to FP4+ and Foma 100. I'm actually becoming quite fond of Foma 100 developed in Pyrocat-HD and printed on Ilford Warmtone. Yum! ;)
 
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