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4.7 out of 5 stars
57
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 28 May 2015
It was a nice surprise to find that Ilford films & processing chemicals are still around and going strong. I decided to run a roll of HP5 Plus 400 ASA through my old Pentax Me-Super, and have a go at developing it for the first time in around 30 years! Using a 35mm SLR isn't so different from a DSLR, apart from the need to focus and advance the film manually.

Loading the film into the developing tank was a little tricky using my portable darkroom, but once you get the hang of it it's fairly easy. This film seemed to me to be a little less stiff than some older films, so it had a tendency to pop out of the grooves & had to be pushed back. I developed it using full strength Ilford ID-11 for 7 minutes (as ambient temperature was 21°C) with agitation about every minute. This was followed by 2 washes with tap water, then Ilford Rapid Fixer at 1/5 for 5 minutes with agitation. Then 2 washes, a squeegee wipe, and hung up to dry.

I scanned the negatives on my Epson V550 scanner, at 1,200 DPI resolution. Looking at the photos, there's a definite graininess to them (it's a fairly fast film), but this is quite a nice effect. Many of the pictures are a little grey-looking and flat, whereas some are very contrasty- so it's difficult to decide if this is a contrasty film or not! But of course the brightness & contrast can be easily tweaked using Photoshop, so this isn't such an issue. A couple of my pictures had some little scratches, which I'm guessing happened while I was loading the film into the tank- so this is something to watch. But again, this can be remedied by computer.

It was great to use my old camera again, and there's nothing quite like the thrill of seeing your roll of negatives emerge from the tank! There's a definite unique look to photos taken with traditional B&W film. Overall, the pictures were lovely, apart from a couple which were under-exposed, or flat-looking- but they can be easily improved using Photoshop, or other packages.
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on 21 January 2011
Ilford HP5+ is a good black & white fast film for all round use.

As it is ASA/ISO400 that means you will have prints with a lot of grain but for still life and similar it lends a pleasing texture to the image with a good level of contrast.

You probably might not want to use this for landscapes and prefer to use the lower grain but slower HP4 ISO125 or Ilford Delta ISO 100.
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VINE VOICEon 2 March 2015
Bought for a return to shooting film, this medium-speed B+W film from Ilford has proved to be reliable in the past, with good results even when the film speed is pushed. It is just a pity that this hobby has fallen out of favour since the digital age, making developing costs rise significantly. Worth buying though, for its track record of quality.
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Ilford HP5 + is one of the most popular asa 400 Films you can find.
It along with Kodak Tri X 400, Fuji Neopan 400 and Agfa APX 400 were the main choices in regards 400 speed Black and White traditional (rather than T grain such as Delta or Tmax) Film.

But now, alas, with the demise of Film, and dwindling of real photography and the rise of digital gimmicks, the rivals have ceased to be. Sure you can find stocks of these Films, and I believe Kodak is still producing Tri X, but Fuji Neopan 400 and Agfa APX 400 are long gone (though Rollei has released Rolle branded Agfa Film)

LOOK AND DEVELOPER

Now onto the Film. HP5+ is excellent, it can be shot at asa 400 for fine grain and high resolution.
Many photographers love it and for good reason.

The beauty of 400 speed Film is that it is so versatile, and can be used in different light and for a variety of subjects, it is the classic "Street" speed with the look people want for reportage.
It also has fine enough grain for portraiture, adding some grit.
I think it is fine for people, portraits and urban environments along with reportage.
The tonal range is excellent - giving good values from 0 to 10 holding good shadow detail (better than tri X) and highlight control.

I use it with Ilfords own Ilfotec DDX (easy to use One Shot developer - very fine grain, gorgeous tones but expensive) or Ilford ID11 which is slightly more difficult to mix, but keeps for longer and has similar characteristics to DDX with consistent results.

I've also used it with the classic Rodinal - which gives more sharpness but more grain - for a really classic look.

Developer is a creative decision and the film is versatile enough for everything.

It can also be pushed 2, 3 or more stops - I've pushed it up to asa 3200 and it gives nice grain, detail and tones with a distinctive look.
When pushing, I recommend Ilford's own Microphen developer - as it retails fine grain and high resolution and is specially formulated for pushing.

How does it compare to other asa 400 Films?

Personally? I prefer the look of Kodak Tri X and Neopan 400 over the Ilford - but that is just my preference. Tri X gives me the 'look' I am after. combines with darker shadows, sharper grain structure and gritty with Rodinal, and Neopan 400 tones are pleasing, and softer.

Lately I have been falling in love with Agfa Films, APX 400 with Rodinal is excellent, with more of a sharper, coarser yet darker look -
though I have been using slow Film, for sitting portraits and landscape/National Trust scapes (with Ilford Pan F 50 and Agfa/Rollei 25 being my Film of choice).

That's what I love about Film - so much choice, versatility and creativity.

OVERALL

I think HP5+ is the most versatile out of the lot, it has a combination of Tri X sharpness and grain with Neopan tones and higher resolution and slightly finer grain - overall, excellent versatile classic asa 400 Film.
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on 3 March 2011
Ilford is the best black and white film that normal people can afford. I bought this for my sister's wedding and the photos came out beautifully. There's a deep grain effect in some of the shots that makes them look really stylised. Highly recommended.
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on 25 September 2015
HP5+ has always been the poor cousin of Tri-X for me, and I even prefer T-Max 400. In contrast, for lower ISOs I love FP4+. HP5+ is grainier and has less contrast than Tri-X, but that's not a huge problem with digital post-production and DSLR-scanning. My recent use of this film has proven rewarding, but I don't think I'll ever prefer it to the two Kodak alternatives.
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on 26 July 2012
This film is a staple for me as a photography student. I can't fault it. I've never had any issues with any of Ilfords products and this price is brilliant.
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on 20 June 2013
HP5 is well known and gives consistently high quality images, home or factory processed. Easy to recommend amateur or professional
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on 2 October 2015
The best black and white film I have ever used. Made some marvellous pictures during the summer holiday on my Olympus mju ii camera. And will stock up on some more for our next holiday in October.
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on 6 August 2014
ilford hp5plus landed on time and has per advertised great results on classc cars and partys shows all the details in everyway would recommed a first try for anybody
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