Singing The Ballad of FP4+

Light, film, exposure..
Walter Glover
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Location: Canterbury, NSW

Singing The Ballad of FP4+

Postby Walter Glover » 19 Oct 2013, 10:56

Since the 1990s, working with a broad range of emulsions (including the defunct Agfa offerings, I have found myself more and more dancing down the path with the T-Max emulsions. TMY (400 ISO) in the studio and TMX (100 ISO) in the big wide world. A part of the reason for that is that I was given a few thousand dollars worth of TMX Readyloads which I have been wading through.

But there is just something about the look of Kodak emulsions that doesn't sit all that well. Plus-X was interesting but is long gone and the sensational Panatomic=X was only available as Polaroid P/N.

Through some excursions into roll film my long-dormant interest was piqued and I bought a box of 100 in 4x5. I process it in Ilford Ilfotec DDX 1+6 and the resultant negs are just flat slices of paradise. Put a batch of 3 through this morning and can't wait to scan them and witness the wonders they contain.

Funny thing is, back in the 1960 and 70s I used FP2, FP3 and FP4 almost exclusively for commercial work. It is like the comfort of old slippers getting back onto the old path.
Walter Glover

"Photography was not a bastard left by science on the doorstep of art, but a legitimate child of the Western pictorial tradition." —Robert Galassi

Warmtone
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Location: Melbourne

Re: Singing The Ballad of FP4+

Postby Warmtone » 08 Mar 2014, 21:43

Hi Walter do you tray develop your negs in this developer?

I have always been impressed withe the technical quality of your images
I was expecting a more esoteric brew! But the results speak for themselves.

I have personally found FP4 to be easy to live with.

I have found TMax100 quirky but capable of great results if handled with care and in the right developer.

I find TMax 400 is more "FP4 like" in the developers I use but the price of Kodak is hard to justify.

Brian
Last edited by Warmtone on 27 Jan 2018, 17:37, edited 1 time in total.

Walter Glover
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Location: Canterbury, NSW

Re: Singing The Ballad of FP4+

Postby Walter Glover » 09 Mar 2014, 05:09

Thanks for the comments Brian,

I generally develop these days in a Jobo ATL1500 using 2500 series tanks and 2509N reels. It works for me.

At times I have used the 2509N reels in a kind of dip and dunk fashion with 3 litre jugs using Diafine.

There is an honesty to FP4+ that resonates well with me but I also use a lot of T-Max 100 outdoors largely due to the fact I was given a few grands worth of the stuff. For my studio nudes I have standardised on T-Max 400 because I am essentially using available light a lot of the time — candles and fluoros tubes.

I dilute the DDX at 1+6 rather than the suggested 1+4. Similarly, I use T-Max RS diluted 1+9. It seems less abrupt and allows more manageable developing times.
Walter Glover

"Photography was not a bastard left by science on the doorstep of art, but a legitimate child of the Western pictorial tradition." —Robert Galassi

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Maris
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Re: Singing The Ballad of FP4+

Postby Maris » 09 Mar 2014, 09:24

I reckon there is not a single quality of Ilford FP4+ that some other film doesn't beat. TMX is sharper. HP5+ is faster. Acros has better reciprocity characteristics. Fomapan 100 is much cheaper. But in a dystopian world where there was only one film emulsion left I'd wish it to be FP4+.

Walter Glover
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Re: Singing The Ballad of FP4+

Postby Walter Glover » 09 Mar 2014, 21:28

Very well put Maris,

Your observations are correct but FP4+ just has a distinctive feel that I quite like. I loved Acros and it worked incredibly well in Diafine, but availability was the issue.

I found HP5+ to be a favourite for 8x10 when contact printing. Such a gentle slope with quite lush shoulder and toe.
Walter Glover

"Photography was not a bastard left by science on the doorstep of art, but a legitimate child of the Western pictorial tradition." —Robert Galassi

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Alastair Moore
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Re: Singing The Ballad of FP4+

Postby Alastair Moore » 02 Sep 2014, 22:28

Just following on from this, I've decided when my last batch of TMax has run out, I'm going to settle one two films and two films only - FP4+ and HP5+. I'll be using these on my recently purchase Mamiya C330 and on my 4x5 and 8x10 cameras.

I'd like to standardise on two films - a (relatively) fast and (relatively) slow and, ideally, one developer. Does anyone have any suggestions for the developer? I'm thinking D76 as I've had plenty of success with that in the past and it's kind of reliable but recently have been using Ultrafin with my TMax 400 film and got some great results. Perhaps I should stick with an Ilford developer? Any thoughts?

Walter Glover
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Joined: 31 Jul 2012, 22:31
Location: Canterbury, NSW

Re: Singing The Ballad of FP4+

Postby Walter Glover » 02 Sep 2014, 23:06

I swear by DIAFINE two-bath. The Zone System in a can.
Walter Glover

"Photography was not a bastard left by science on the doorstep of art, but a legitimate child of the Western pictorial tradition." —Robert Galassi

jamespierce
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Re: Singing The Ballad of FP4+

Postby jamespierce » 03 Sep 2014, 07:14

I've been committed to HP5 and D76 at 1:1 for a good while now. Thanks to Julian Pearce I've got some Pyrocat HD to try - but the only reason is to get stained negs for UV printing. Otherwise I'd stick with one stock for everything. I'm curious, except perhaps in 120 or 35mm why you wouldn't just use HP5 for everything, it's not like grain is an issue.

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Alastair Moore
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Re: Singing The Ballad of FP4+

Postby Alastair Moore » 03 Sep 2014, 07:34

jamespierce wrote:I've been committed to HP5 and D76 at 1:1 for a good while now. Thanks to Julian Pearce I've got some Pyrocat HD to try - but the only reason is to get stained negs for UV printing. Otherwise I'd stick with one stock for everything. I'm curious, except perhaps in 120 or 35mm why you wouldn't just use HP5 for everything, it's not like grain is an issue.


I like HP5 a lot but I have found it grainier than I'd like some of my images to be, although that said that was more with 120 film than 4x5. It suits some of the photographs I've taken in the past but not others. Perhaps it was the developer I was using at the time. But I guess it's useful to have a good understanding of a second film "just in case"!

Walter Glover
Posts: 931
Joined: 31 Jul 2012, 22:31
Location: Canterbury, NSW

Re: Singing The Ballad of FP4+

Postby Walter Glover » 03 Sep 2014, 08:57

To me, the selection criteria of FP4+ and HP5+ is beyond a simple grain issue. FP4+ has a crisp bright look whereas HP5+ has a gentler tonality — particularly suited to some styles of portraiture. It is also very flattering in its replication of stone — especially sandstone.
Walter Glover

"Photography was not a bastard left by science on the doorstep of art, but a legitimate child of the Western pictorial tradition." —Robert Galassi


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