Top positive review
27 people found this helpful
Great fast black & white film
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.