Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Some thoughts on HP5 plus

(Waffle warning: Only read if you have a nerdy interest in photography :-)

Woods near Castlefreke, Co. Cork
Olympus OM-1, G.Zuiko 50mm f1.4, Ilford HP5 plus (ISO 400) (click to enlarge)


One of the joys of using film cameras is that you get to experiment with lots of different films. I think it takes at least a few rolls of a film to get a feel for it and see what its strengths and weaknesses are. For my first foray into developing black and white film at home I bought a packet of ten x 36 exposures of Ilford's HP5 plus. Rated at ISO 400, it's quite a 'fast' film, which means that it is quite grainy and not as smooth as others. The advantage of the high ISO does enable faster shutter speeds and/or smaller apertures. This makes it great for taking pictures of fast moving children, indoor shots, or where you need maximum depth of field at hand-held shutter speeds.

Fallen Tree, Castlefreke Woods
Olympus OM-1, G.Zuiko 50mm f1.4, Ilford HP5 plus (ISO 400) (click to enlarge)

The Big But though is that it does tend to result in pictures that lack the detail of something a bit slower, such as Ilford's FP4 plus, (or of course a picture from a digital SLR).

View towards Long Strand, Co. Cork
Olympus OM-1, G.Zuiko 50mm f1.4, Ilford HP5 plus (ISO 400) (click to enlarge)

So while I have been very pleased with portrait pictures using this film, the landscapes have been lacking in detail. So although I have four rolls left (which I will use at some point), I have ordered something a bit different to experiment with. Unfortunately they were sold out of FP4 plus so I found a compromise, Delta 400. I'm sure it is not going to be perfect but it is supposed to have much finer grain than HP5 (though it will almost certainly be harder to expose and develop). We'll have to wait and see. In the meantime, I am really enjoying photography with film at the moment - I am not turning my back on digital it's just nice to have a bit more of a challenge...

Approaching Storm, Co. Cork
Olympus OM-1, G.Zuiko 50mm f1.4, Ilford HP5 plus (ISO 400) (click to enlarge)

2 comments:

Tucker said...

Hey, Daniel,
Love the words an pics mix. An idea came to me that I'd like to run by yourself. Drop me an email sometime apcanphoto@gmail.com.

Regards

Tomas

Daniel Owen said...

Thanks Tomas, will do.