HP5, Delta 400, XP2, Kentmere 400???
Old 09-20-2018   #1
crave1ne
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HP5, Delta 400, XP2, Kentmere 400???

I'll start by saying this... I'm not a fan of HP5... I enjoy FP4 quite a bit from Ilford, and would like some direction with the other 400 speed films they offer. I do my own developing and printing at home. So the XP2 is probably out of the question for now. But I'm curious as to what other's think about these films and how they vary from one another. Please feel free to share your opinions and photos here...
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Old 09-20-2018   #2
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What don’t you like about hp5? I’ve personally found it to be the most diverse film I use. Regarding the other films. Kentmere and ultrafine 400 are both reasonable budget alternatives and dry perfectly flat for scanning. I don’t think either are THAT much different from hp5 though tbh. There’s been comments on the grain structure etc, but both are really good value. It could also be your developer or times need adjusting. I think you will get more specific answers if you explain what you don’t like about hp5 though. I’ll post some photos on ultrafine and Kentmere 400s with developer info later.
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Old 09-20-2018   #3
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Idk, there is just something about hp5 that I'm not that into. It seems to "soft" maybe.. I like more contrast and have not been successful with using it i guess...
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Old 09-20-2018   #4
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I also am not a fan of HP5. If find it kind of flat.
I use a lot of Kentmere 400 in Xtol, and it reminds me of the old Tri-X. A bit more grain, perhaps. The price is right.
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Old 09-20-2018   #5
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For what it's worth, I've always felt that slightly flat negatives are preferable to contrasty ones. There is more detail in flatter negatives, and they print (and definitely scan) more easily than contrasty ones. You can always add contrast to an image when printing in the darkroom or digital rendering, but you can't add detail that isn't there on the negative.

That said, it's really a question of matching your film to the right soup for the look you are after. I always suggest it's best to settle on a film stock you can get easily and tweak the results with your choices about developer and technique. Any film can give very different results when handled differently, and it can take a lot of testing to find the combination that gives you exactly what you are after; but most films are capable of beautiful results once you dial in your exposure and developing regimen.
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Old 09-20-2018   #6
crave1ne
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldwino View Post
I also am not a fan of HP5. If find it kind of flat.
I use a lot of Kentmere 400 in Xtol, and it reminds me of the old Tri-X. A bit more grain, perhaps. The price is right.
HC110 here, only because I haven't used a half of a bottle yet. I'll give Kentmere a Try. Fomapan looks interesting, but feel it can sometimes look soft as well.
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Old 09-20-2018   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drewbarb View Post
For what it's worth, I've always felt that slightly flat negatives are preferable to contrasty ones. There is more detail in flatter negatives, and they print (and definitely scan) more easily than contrasty ones. You can always add contrast to an image when printing in the darkroom or digital rendering, but you can't add detail that isn't there on the negative.

That said, it's really a question of matching your film to the right soup for the look you are after. I always suggest it's best to settle on a film stock you can get easily and tweak the results with your choices about developer and technique. Any film can give very different results when handled differently, and it can take a lot of testing to find the combination that gives you exactly what you are after; but most films are capable of beautiful results once you dial in your exposure and developing regimen.
You have very valid points. I just recently got into film and using a darkroom. I'll take what you said here and find a film that I enjoy the price tag. And then start experimenting with the soups
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Old 09-20-2018   #8
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Kentmere doesn't really have more contrast than HP5 if anything it is even flatter also some people don't like the Kentmere's grain. Fomapan on the other hand is rather contrasty and far from flat but grainy and not really an ISO 400 film in most developers. Delta 400 has more punch than HP5 also less grain but can be less forgiving than HP5 still a lovely film. As other posters have said you can always add contrast, another way to increase contrast with hp5 is to push it a stop to E.I. 800.
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Old 09-20-2018   #9
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Originally Posted by DominikDUK View Post
Kentmere doesn't really have more contrast than HP5 if anything it is even flatter also some people don't like the Kentmere's grain. Fomapan on the other hand is rather contrasty and far from flat but grainy and not really an ISO 400 film in most developers. Delta 400 has more punch than HP5 also less grain but can be less forgiving than HP5 still a lovely film. As other posters have said you can always add contrast, another way to increase contrast with hp5 is to push it a stop to E.I. 800.
I have read alot about pushing... so you push it to 800 and develop it alittle longer... it doesn't make sense to me how it give it more contrast...in my mind adding to the dev time would then still expose it as normal?
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Old 09-20-2018   #10
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Pushing the film adds contrast you lose some midtone and some shadow detail. Very simplified the film isn't really faster you just develop it a bit longer which increases the contrast, the shadows will lose detail as you basically underexpose the film by a stop, the longer development time will blow out some highlight and midtone detail, hence an increase in contrast. Contrastier film usually have less mid tones and somewhat less detail in the highlights and shadows Tri-X is a good example beautiful film but a lot less midtones than HP5+.

BTW Another way to increase contrast is to develop the film a bit longer 5% to 10% without actually changing the film speed.
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Old 09-20-2018   #11
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I'm not a fan of HP5 either. I much prefer Kentmere 400 to it. There is something more pleasing about the grain of Kentmere, though it may technically be 'grainier' it feels less 'clumpy' to me. I wish they made it in 120. I primarily develop in Rodinal 1:50, but even in other developers I don't prefer HP5 over Kentmere 400 or Tri-X.
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Old 09-20-2018   #12
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I'm looking more for high contrast in shadows, low contrast in highlights... I might be asking to much here
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Old 09-20-2018   #13
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You can get it at the printing stage. With split grade printing for example or and or a certain amount of dodging and burning.
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Old 09-20-2018   #14
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I actually LOVE HP5 with HC-110 (Dil B or Dil H), but my post dev workflow is digital so I try to optimize dev for the specific intent of scanning.
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Old 09-20-2018   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crave1ne View Post
I'm looking more for high contrast in shadows, low contrast in highlights... I might be asking to much here
Yeah, reading this I would suggest you REALLY don't want to/can't achieve that in your negatives- but you definitely can achieve it in rendering your images into positive, whether in the wet darkroom or the digital one. Go for flatter negatives and preserve your highlight details.
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Old 09-20-2018   #16
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Important basic that should be well understood:
Shadow density is created at the exposure, highlight density is created during development.
This happens because the highlights build and get thicker the longer they are in contact with active developer. The shadows will not change much from more development time.

I’m in the camp of getting as much information into a negative as possible, then using my vision for the shot to determine how much contrast to add etc


If you are coming from digital, consider what happens if you overexpose and clip the highlights, there is NOTHING that can be done to recover them in post. The information simply does not exist. This is why the histogram is important to keep in mind while using digital. In film the OPPOSITE is true. If you UNDEREXPOSE, the film simply does not have the shadow information and no amount of development will recover it.

This is where the term “overexpose, underdevelop” comes from. You overexpose to guarantee shadow detail, but underdevelop to restrain the highlights. This will give you full tonal range in the negative and provide many opportunities in the dark room or Lightroom.

Try this (assuming 400 speed film)

On a normal sunny day, set your camera meter to 200, cut development by 20%
On a REALLY bright day or snow/sand etc, etc meter to 160, cut development by 30%
If contrast is low like lots of clouds or overcast, kept it at box speed and develop as normal.

If you MUST push the film, you lose shadow detail because you are underexposing, but by extending development, it brings up the highlights to make an acceptable image.
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Old 09-20-2018   #17
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Delta is flat and boring to me. I have M9 for BW like this.
FP4 is lovely, but K100 is good as well.
HP5+ is now luxury priced film for me. I push it all way to 3200.
K400 isn't worst at box speed and I used it a lot and under different names.
I only bulk load, develop, scan or print at home.
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Old 09-20-2018   #18
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I haven't used hc110, but a lot of hp5 and rodinal 1+25 will give you grittier negatives at box speed, more so pushed to 800.
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Old 09-21-2018   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crave1ne View Post
I'm looking more for high contrast in shadows, low contrast in highlights... I might be asking to much here
As Ccopola82 points out, you can control everything within limits using exposure and development. You can achieve high shadow contrast and moderate highlight contrast, and negatives like this are pretty much perfect for wet printing. All negative-positive media have lower apparent shadow contrast than a lot of people’s eyes perceive, and this approach compensates at least partially. Take a 400 speed film, shoot at 200 or 250, and develop to moderate contrast. It’s not hard.

Marty

Last edited by Freakscene : 12-22-2018 at 01:47. Reason: Fixing spelling
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Old 09-21-2018   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ccoppola82 View Post
Important basic that should be well understood:
Shadow density is created at the exposure, highlight density is created during development.
This happens because the highlights build and get thicker the longer they are in contact with active developer. The shadows will not change much from more development time.

I’m in the camp of getting as much information into a negative as possible, then using my vision for the shot to determine how much contrast to add etc


If you are coming from digital, consider what happens if you overexpose and clip the highlights, there is NOTHING that can be done to recover them in post. The information simply does not exist. This is why the histogram is important to keep in mind while using digital. In film the OPPOSITE is true. If you UNDEREXPOSE, the film simply does not have the shadow information and no amount of development will recover it.

This is where the term “overexpose, underdevelop” comes from. You overexpose to guarantee shadow detail, but underdevelop to restrain the highlights. This will give you full tonal range in the negative and provide many opportunities in the dark room or Lightroom.

Try this (assuming 400 speed film)

On a normal sunny day, set your camera meter to 200, cut development by 20%
On a REALLY bright day or snow/sand etc, etc meter to 160, cut development by 30%
If contrast is low like lots of clouds or overcast, kept it at box speed and develop as normal.

If you MUST push the film, you lose shadow detail because you are underexposing, but by extending development, it brings up the highlights to make an acceptable image.

Thank you for this reply.. I think this is what I was needing... I have one camera that I can select ISO. When I'm doing this with my other camera's without light meters and selecting ISO. Should I still stick with Sunny 16 at these different speeds?

using 400 speed film...

your example on a normal sunny day rate it at speed 200.... Id set my shutter for 1/250 and adjust aperture as needed with sunny 16.. then when developing, adjust time by 20%?
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Old 09-21-2018   #21
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Yup! Give it a shot. The reasoning behind doing this in my case at least, is because on roll film, we encounter scenes of varying contrast throughout the roll. This method provides a sort of fail safe to get printable negatives on all our shots.

When shooting large format, a photographer could measure an accurate reading for the shadows and highlights, and expose and develop for the perfect negative using N, N-, or N+ development because it is one negative at a time. We can’t do that with roll film, so we must make some sort of compromise in order to get useable images throughout our roll.

Another way to tackle the varying contrasts within a roll is two bath development. Just another way to approach the same problem. The theory behind that is that Bath A soaks up the developer into the emulsion, but the PH is such that it does not activate and little to no development takes place. In bath B, the PH activates the developer held in the negative. This exhausts the developer In the highlights quickly, thereby restraining them from blocking up, yet allows the shadows to develop slowly. We then end up with a relatively flat negative throughout the roll, which is good shadow and highlight detail. Again, adjust contrast in Post or darkroom with VC paper and contrast filters.

A great book to pick up is Barry Thornton’s “Edge of darkness” where I think a lot of this info is covered. Barry was a kick ass printer imho.

Good luck and get shooting!
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Old 09-21-2018   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ccoppola82 View Post
Yup! Give it a shot. The reasoning behind doing this in my case at least, is because on roll film, we encounter scenes of varying contrast throughout the roll. This method provides a sort of fail safe to get printable negatives on all our shots.

When shooting large format, a photographer could measure an accurate reading for the shadows and highlights, and expose and develop for the perfect negative using N, N-, or N+ development because it is one negative at a time. We can’t do that with roll film, so we must make some sort of compromise in order to get useable images throughout our roll.

Another way to tackle the varying contrasts within a roll is two bath development. Just another way to approach the same problem. The theory behind that is that Bath A soaks up the developer into the emulsion, but the PH is such that it does not activate and little to no development takes place. In bath B, the PH activates the developer held in the negative. This exhausts the developer In the highlights quickly, thereby restraining them from blocking up, yet allows the shadows to develop slowly. We then end up with a relatively flat negative throughout the roll, which is good shadow and highlight detail. Again, adjust contrast in Post or darkroom with VC paper and contrast filters.

A great book to pick up is Barry Thornton’s “Edge of darkness” where I think a lot of this info is covered. Barry was a kick ass printer imho.

Good luck and get shooting!

Again, thank you for the info, its much appreciated.. I'm Googling Barry Thornton, and looks like I have a new book to pick up when I get paid next week!
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Old 09-21-2018   #23
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Not sure how useful this scan is as an example but it's a slight crop of a 35mm negative shot on Kentmere 400 and developed in stock ATM49 (a fine grain developer now sold under the Adox brand). I understand what you mean about HP5+ as it has a kind of 'salt & pepper' look to the grain, which can occasionally look quite attractive but other times not.
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A couple samples of HP5/Kentmere
Old 09-22-2018   #24
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A couple samples of HP5/Kentmere

Here are a couple samples of HP5 and Kentmere 400 The keywords are listed on the bottom and say what film, EI,/lens/developer was used as well.

HP5 (the sea Dunes were exposted at 400, it was low contrast afternoon)
9-13.jpg by Chris Coppola, on Flickr
9-6.jpg by Chris Coppola, on Flickr9-4-Edit.jpg by Chris Coppola, on Flickr

These were shot under High Contrast, so EI was set at 200
CapeCod 7-10.jpg by Chris Coppola, on Flickr
CapeCod 7-19-Edit.jpg by Chris Coppola, on Flickr

KENTMERE 400 Samples
32-22.jpg by Chris Coppola, on Flickr
Image 19.jpg by Chris Coppola, on Flickr
30-23.jpg by Chris Coppola, on Flickr
30-10.jpg by Chris Coppola, on Flickr

There are a lot more on my Flickr page. I write down all the info I can remember into the keywords. Sometimes I forget what I used and don't want to mislead. Theres some pics of ultrafine 400, bergger 400, and a few others mixed throughout the page. Hope it helps!

Chris
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Old 09-23-2018   #25
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Originally Posted by crave1ne View Post
Thank you for this reply.. I think this is what I was needing... I have one camera that I can select ISO. When I'm doing this with my other camera's without light meters and selecting ISO. Should I still stick with Sunny 16 at these different speeds?

using 400 speed film...

your example on a normal sunny day rate it at speed 200.... Id set my shutter for 1/250 and adjust aperture as needed with sunny 16.. then when developing, adjust time by 20%?

In your shoes I'd invest in a meter; there are hundreds if not thousands around new or secondhand and then - once the meter has been mastered - start worrying about developing etc.

As pushing films to what I see as extreme speeds has been mentioned I reckon funny 16 is the first weak link in the chain to tackle.

Anyway, that's just my 2d worth. Have fun.

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