Large Format Sheet Film Cost Update & HP5 Considerations - October 4, 2015

October 04, 2015  •  18 Comments

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I am evaluating my standard large format sheet film choices and part of my choice is impacted by cost.  Since I did the cost analysis, I thought it may help others.  I sourced these prices from the B&H Website on October 4, 2015 and the prices listed are in U.S. Dollars because I love in the USA.  When I say standard, I mean films that are available to order from the retail sales channel.  

I am evaluating my options to use one sheet film across my 4x5, 8x10, and 11x14.  The only real option from a readily available film stock is Ilford HP5+.  There seems to be a couple of potential advantages of going with HP5+ which include the competitive cost factor and the ability to use one film across all systems. I like simplicity in my workflow and strive for it whenever possible. I have been using T-Max 100 for landscapes and Tri-X for just about everything else for many years.  I may, in fact, stay with these choices, I am evaluating my options as I move forward and evolve.   

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I would need to perform proper testing of the HP5+ film to establish my person EI rating and then development times for N, N+1, N-1 and so on in order for me to determine if the film is something that I want to use or not.  I will do this with a Stouffers step wedge and a densitometer.  I will write articles in the future about my personal impressions of HP5+ in sheet film as I complete the testing and start using the film for my style of photography.  

According to the HP5+ data sheet, it can be pushed to ISO 3200 and the thought of being able to have faster shutter speeds on a breezy day for landscapes is very inviting.  Testing would reveal the reality of this, but I am guessing with the large film surface that grain would not be an issue and I would only have an expectation of ISO 800.  If ISO 1600 was possible from a quality standpoint, that would be a nice trick to have in the bag if it were ever needed.  

I am curious to know what photographers think about HP5 in large format sheet film.  If you have been using it for a year or more, please share your thoughts and comments below and include your choice of developer and method (tray, daylight tank, Jobo, etc.).  

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Cost Analysis in U.S. Dollars

4x5 Sheet Film
  • HP5+ 400 - 100 sheets $125 - $1.25 per sheet
  • Foma 100 - 50 sheets $62.99 - $1.25 per sheet
  • FP4+ 125 - 100 sheets $124.95 - $1.25 per sheet
  • Delta 100 - 25 sheets $34.95 - $1.39 per sheet 
  • T-Max 100 50 sheets $90 - $1.80 per sheet 
  • Tri-X 320 50 sheets $97.95 - $1.95 per sheet 
  • T-Max 400 - 50 sheets $120 - $2.40 per sheet 
  • Neon Acros 100 - 20 sheets $56.50 $2.82 per sheet
  • Provia 100F - 20 sheets $72.00 $3.60 per sheet 
  • Velvia 100 - 20 sheets $72.00 $3.60 per sheet 
  • Ektar 100 - 10 sheets $36.95 $3.69 per sheet
  • Portra 400 - 10 sheets $42.95 $4.29 per sheet
  • Portra 160 - 10 sheets $43.95 $4.39 per sheet
 
8x10 Sheet Film
  • Foma 100 - 50 sheets $198 - $3.96 per sheet
  • FP4+ 125 - 25 sheets $110.00 - $4.40 per sheet 
  • Delta 100 - 25 sheets $110.00 - $4.40 per sheet
  • HP5+ 400 - 25 sheets - $110 - $4.40 per sheet 
  • Tri-X 320 - 10 sheets $76.50 - $7.60 per sheet 
  • T-Max 400 - 10 sheets $103.50 - $10.30 per sheet 
  • Provia 100F - 20 sheets $250 - $12.50 per sheet 
  • Portra 160 - 10 sheets $159 - $15.90 per sheet 
  • Portra 400 - 10 sheets $165 - $16.50 per sheet
  • Ektar 100 - 10 sheets $187 - $18.70 per sheet
 
11x14 Sheet Film
  • HP5+ 400 25 sheets $200 - $8 per sheet 

Be sure and comment on which film you are using and why.​​​​​​​

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-Tim Layton 

Tim Layton
Darkroom & Large Format Photography
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Comments

Richard Valentine(non-registered)
You didn't mention Fuji Acros 100 8x10. That is my go to film for
long exposures: no reciprocity failure up to 80 secs., not to mention
tonality and sharpness. I don't care much for Fuji films (Velvia,
Pro 160 NS, etc.), but with Acros, they hit a home run. Granted,
it is not a cheap option, but what an amazing film.
eSearing(non-registered)
There is also Atomic-X 100 from New55 project now being sold as 4x5 sheet film for about same as FP4. And Bergger 400 which I have yet to try slightly less than HP5 in 4x5.
Tom Findahl(non-registered)
According to my supplier of film, Fomapan 100 4x5, 50 sheets is around 25 Euro, not $62

http://www.fomafoto.com/index.php/vm/b-w-film/sheet-films

You should also consider try the Retropan 320 which is a brand new film, 116 Euros for 50 sheets in 8x10
In low light I actually got the Tri-x 320 look, a "coal chalk" like grain.
I haven't tested it fully to make a conclusion, but it looks promising.
In sunny 16 light, you may have to shorten development time.
Tim Layton Fine Art
Thanks everyone for the amazing comments! Keep them coming.
Mathieu Bauwens(non-registered)
Hello everyone,

You also have to consider the new Bergger Pancro 400 in 4x5 and 8x10. I don't know prices in the US as it is a french base manufacturer but you can ask the owner, Aurelien Le Duc, who is active on Facebook in several LF groups ; http://labo-argentique.com/produits/bergger.html

Some examples on Jock Sturge facebook page and on my flickr, too ; https://www.flickr.com/photos/mathieubauwens/albums/72157651990872598

Prices are, in the EU, the same as Ilford for 4x5 and 8x10 inch. No 11x14 or bigger for now...
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