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.
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.
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.
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.