Tim Layton Fine Art | Ilford HP5 Plus Black and White Film

ILFORD HP5 Plus Black & White Film

Ilford HP5 Plus black and white film is in my film holders at all times along with FP4 Plus.  I use both of these films for my large format fine art botanicals.  

The large format print to the left (Darkroom Dahlia) was exposed on HP5 Plus and FP4 Plus films.  I do that sometimes when I am not sure I prefer and I like having the option to select the best rendering when I start printing. 

I tend to use HP5 Plus for help with high contrast scenes and subjects and FP4 Plus for lower contrast scenes and subjects.  

I have tried a variety of developers with HP5 Plus and FP4 Plus for my large format fine art botanical prints as well as my Platinum and Platinum/Palladium prints.  

I settled on D-76 for my silver gelatin work which I mix myself from raw chemicals to make it more eco friendly and Pyrocat HD for my Platinum/Palladium work.  


As I mentioned above, I tend to use HP5 Plus for high contrast subjects and scenes.  I find HP5 to have less contrast than FP4 and other classic films like Kodak Tri-X.  

By knowing this, you can use this to your creative advantage.  For example, if you are trying to photograph a high contrast subject or scene, HP5 Plus is a great choice to help bring the tonality down.  

If you want a more subdued feel to your final image with normal contrast, then HP5 Plus can be a really good choice for this too. 

You can easily over expose HP5 +3 stops for an EI rating of EI 3200 and adjust your development accordingly to retain your highlights.  

If you want to get crazy and go for EI 6400 or higher, you can use a specialty developer like Microphen for some pretty amazing results.

In regards to metering with HP5, I suggest that you make sure you give it enough exposure to keep your shadows open and control the highlights with your development time.  If you want to know the true speed of HP5 with your workflow and with your developer, then you can learn how to test HP5 and any black and white film and developer for its true speed and establish your proper development times for Normal (N), Expanded, (N+), and Contracted (N-).   

You can review my personal reciprocity failure chart for HP5.  

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