Ilford HP5+

For my first try at using black and white film, I took on a roll of Ilford’s famous HP5+ 400. I picked one up passing through Leeds’ Corn Exchange, from a small camera shop on the upper level. The photos were taken on my Nikon FM2n over a couple of months, and developed and scanned at a Max Spielmann for £8. I would have used my usual (cheaper) developer, Photoexpress, but they don’t offer services for black and white film. Here are a few of the results.

'Runways', Liverpool John Lennon Airport
‘Runways’, Liverpool John Lennon Airport
'Wakes and Ladders', Tynemouth
‘Waves and Ladders’, Tynemouth
'Rough waters', Cresswell Beach, Morpeth
‘Rough waters’, Cresswell Beach, Morpeth

HP5 has to be a good choice for beginners to black and white. ISO 400 allows a good range of exposure speeds to be used, and the film itself is pretty versatile to being pushed or pulled for more advanced users. The grain gives a vintage feel to a lot of the photos, without being overwhelming, whilst the tones are pretty forgiving with a stop or two under/overexposure.

'Twenty Past Four', Newcastle Students' Union
‘Twenty Past Four’, Newcastle Students’ Union
'No Photos', Dublin
‘No Photos’, Dublin

A few of the images show some issues with white balancing. Be it my own laziness of not correcting this, but I quite like it. Ideally, though, this shouldn’t be an issue with black and white film for a good developer, and the scanning at Max Spielmann might not have been up to the job. At only 2 MP for a cost of £8 I can’t say I’m hugely impressed either. But for me just testing the waters, I can’t complain.

'Rivets', Newcastle Swing Bridge
‘Rivets’, Newcastle Swing Bridge
'I am Basketball Man', Edinburgh Fringe Festival
‘I am Basketball Man’, Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Summing up, I like the film, and I’m a fan of black and white. But maybe next time I need to get it developed and scanned by someone worth a fiver.

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3 thoughts on “Ilford HP5+

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