Posted 20 hours ago

Ilford HP5+ 400asa 35mm - 36 exp

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This sequentially numbered HP range has remained at ISO 400 ever since, through the 1970s and 1980s in the form of HP4 and HP5, and on to today with the introduction of HP5 Plus in 1989. There’s a branding reason Ilford uses Plus or “+” in their emulsions’ names. HP5+ is grouped with FP4+ (est. 1935) and Pan F+ (est. 1948) in the Plus range of films. Films in Ilford’s Plus range are all the latest generations of “established” emulsions in ISOs 400, 125, and 50. It’s wide exposure latitude makes it a great choice for beginners, those returning to film as well as the more experienced professional users.


We’ve already mentioned that HP5 Plus 400 is purported to give you fine grain and medium contrast. These are not my words but those of Ilford themselves. Ilford, a Harman Technology brand was founded in Alfred Hugh Harman ’s basement in 1879 — just 52 years after the first photograph was produced. It was then named Britannia Works ; however, Alfred lost the rights to label his products with that name in a lawsuit. And so in February 1886, he rebranded his photosensitive materials in Ilford, after his hometown. The first few rolls completely blew my mind – which I think is a matter for a separate article. I was impressed but the real question was could I expose it at higher EIs and still get good results?


Film grain can appear smooth or sharp. Smooth grain will fade from view while taking some detail away also. Sharp grain may help reveal some fine elements in your images. Grain sharpness can change depending on the developer though the film itself plays a significant role in its appearance. I develop mine in HC-11, quite practical for pushing the first two stops (only 11 minutes for 1600 with upside down turn agitation every 2 minutes at 20C, although I find my tap water requires longer durations than what’s recommended, so 12:30 for me), about to take a systemic approach to taking it to 3200 for even greater versatility.

Ilford HP5 Plus - 35mm Film - Analogue Wonderland

Another new thing to point out is this film’s exposure latitude, as well as its aforementioned dynamic range. Traditional grain films do tend to excel with wide exposure ranges, and HP5 Plus is no different. I mentioned above that HP5 PLUS typically retains less shadow detail in darker scenes than modern T-grain films but that isn’t a surprise considering the differences in emulsion technology. Taking advantage of this characteristic allows the photographer to isolate lighter subjects in bright relief (as the images above show), and is something to think about when you’re shooting this film in a dark environment. It’s easy for me to talk about my love for ILFORD HP5 PLUS. For me it was my first (film) love and I didn’t need to try anything else – in terms of brands – because I think that in this film, I can find everything I need from high to low sensitivity.I far prefer the grain on HP5 Plus to the overbearing style I got with Ilford Pan 400. I found it to be noticeably sharper than Kentmere 400, although that’s not surprising given Kentmere is the budget brand from Harman, the company behind Ilford.

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