Ilford HP5: The King of Black and White

10

When I shoot black and white, there is one film I turn to more than any other. It's a stalwart, bullet-proof film, reliable until the last. Ilford HP5 Plus.

Credits: adam_g2000

Its 400 ISO rating means that it’s perfectly suited for plastic cameras, whose lenses are less bright than their glass cousins. They let less light in so even in bright sunlight with your Diana (for example) you are still better off with 400 speed.

It can be pulled and pushed, pushed as far as 1600 with good results, great for natural results without flash.

It has very good grain for a 400 speed film, it doesn’t take away from your shots and allows plenty of detail to shine through.

Being from the UK where Ilford is from, I tend to use it instead of Kodaks offerings. So I can’t compare but I trust it.

The following shots show just how good it is at picking up detail. I used it to pick up all the tones and pits in the service of the old concrete at a series of gun placements that have seen a few wars (though never fired in anger).

Credits: adam_g2000

It has an amazing dynamic range, it can see a wide range of light and record it well in complicated scenes.

Credits: adam_g2000

It’s excellent for portraiture too.

For those who self develop (like I do) it’s very lenient if you make mistakes. I’ve used other films that reticulate like crazy if your temperatures are even slightly out, but HP5 can handle a few degrees variation.

Credits: adam_g2000

I can’t recommend it highly enough. Want results? HP5 Plus.

written by adam_g2000 on 2012-09-21 in #reviews #complicated-scenes #uk #tones #black-and-white-film #dynamic-range #recommended #highly-regarded #ilford

10 Comments

  1. impaktor
    impaktor ·

    Some really nice pictures!

  2. kiri-girl
    kiri-girl ·

    I like this film too - 400 is very handy

  3. alex34
    alex34 ·

    It's a super film. You can also buy bulk rolls.

  4. neanderthalis
    neanderthalis ·

    I have really been warming up to the Ilford HP5, I have had bad experiences with iso 400 living in a tropical climate and tons of available light, but I was pleasantly surprised my first time using it, how little grain there was and how clear my shots were compared to some other brands. I have a bulk of a off brand with heavy grain that I need to use up and when finished, I will replace with Ilford.

  5. adam_g2000
    adam_g2000 ·

    @neanderthalis what bulk roll did you buy? Was it that xtreme stuff and if so, how did you find it?

  6. neanderthalis
    neanderthalis ·

    I bought some 120 Ultrafine Xtreme, they have their own website, plus sell through some other online venues. It was really nice and easy to use. I then bought a package of 20 rolls in 35 style, and find it does not behave the same. I will use it, but I do not think I will purchase again in 35. But the 120 is very nice

  7. adam_g2000
    adam_g2000 ·

    @neanderthalis I've used that brand 120 too - I really liked it. I reckon it's comparable to HP5 in 120 form.

  8. simonh82
    simonh82 ·

    Great photos, great review!

  9. lokified
    lokified ·

    I've only bought the Ilford HP5 Plus once, and my one hour photo lab processed it in C41, leaving most of my photos ruined. Nice to see that the film itself is worth buying again!

    (I didn't go back to that lab)

  10. sirio174
    sirio174 ·

    great film, that I use from 200 to 800 ISO!

More Interesting Articles

  • Perfect Combination for a Hazy Day: Lomo LC-A and a Pushed Ilford HP5+

    written by sirio174 on 2015-05-06 in #gear #reviews
    Perfect Combination for a Hazy Day: Lomo LC-A and a Pushed Ilford HP5+

    In this article, I'll show you how the Lomo LC-A loaded with the versatile Ilford HP5+ can make the most out of a hazy morning. To capture the whirlwind of a bicycle race, I pushed the film to ISO 800. The legendary Minitar 1 lens and this classic Ilford film are a perfect combination if you love black and white photos.

    1
  • 'Aniki-Bòbò': A Tribute to Manoel De Oliveira

    written by sirio174 on 2015-04-08 in #world #lifestyle
    'Aniki-Bòbò': A Tribute to Manoel De Oliveira

    This article is a tribute to the great Portuguese film director Manoel de Oliveira, who died last April 2. With an old Praktica loaded with a roll of black and white film, I captured so enthusiastically his city Oporto (Porto) with its famous Ribeira district, the most characteristic of the Lusitanian town. It was here that more than 70 years ago, Manoel De Oliveira created a timeless masterpiece: "Aniki-Bòbò"!

    1
  • Film Lesson: Take Photos of the People and Things You Love

    written by cheeo on 2014-11-21 in #lifestyle
    Film Lesson: Take Photos of the People and Things You Love

    It’s been more than a year since I started shooting film again and I can only hope to shoot more.

  • Shop News

    The Lomography Experimental Lens Kit opens up a new, creative photographic domain!

    The Lomography Experimental Lens Kit opens up a new, creative photographic domain!

    Satisfy your hunger for creative snap-shooting with this lens package made especially for Micro 4/3 digital cameras! Don't miss the 20% discount!

  • Lomopedia: Praktica MTL 3

    written by cheeo on 2014-09-08 in #reviews
    Lomopedia: Praktica MTL 3

    Built tough and shoots well, the Praktica MTL 3 is the camera of choice for photographers who are rough on their gear and who expect nothing less than reliable when it comes to SLRs.

    4
  • Expired Earl Grey: Does It Taste Nice?

    written by Xiang Cong Tham on 2015-02-22 in #gear #reviews
    Expired Earl Grey: Does It Taste Nice?

    A lot of lomographers have experienced using and even writing about the greatness of the Lomography Earl Grey black and white 35mm ISO 100 film. However, no one has written about using an expired Earl Grey film yet. How does it fare when it is used expired? Read on to find out more.

    2
  • 12 Months, 12 Projects: March Of Caffenol

    written by Maaike van Stratum on 2015-04-12 in #world #lifestyle
    12 Months, 12 Projects: March Of Caffenol

    My list of resolutions for 2015 consists of 12 projects, one for every month. March was for caffenol. You have probably heard of the amazing fact that you can develop black and white photos with coffee, sodium, and vitamin C. I had tried this before but with less than stellar results. Somehow, there's always something going wrong. Time to devote a few rolls to caffenol to finally get the hang of it.

    1
  • Shop News

    Shoot recognizable images with the Petzval

    Shoot recognizable images with the Petzval

    You want your subject be the center of attention? Petzval lens photos are recognizable for sharpness and crispness in the centre, strong color saturation, wonderful swirly bokeh effect, artful vignettes and narrow depth of field that will make your subjects stand out!

  • Sonia Goulvent Matches the New Petzval Lens with Expired B&W Film

    written by shibuya on 2014-10-08 in #people #lomoamigos
    Sonia Goulvent Matches the New Petzval Lens with Expired B&W Film

    Sonia pushed the Petzval lens test one step further by shooting with expired black and white film. The results are amazing, and the grain gave life to these beautiful Petzval portraits! Learn more about this photographer and her love for films, and catch a glimpse of her photos, taken in romantic Paris.

  • Seeing Manila in a Whole New Light

    written by Julien Matabuena on 2015-06-01 in #world #lifestyle
    Seeing Manila in a Whole New Light

    I've photographed this city many times in the past—in color, black and white, and even in redscale. One day in March, the streets of Manila once again became my subject. Only this time, they turned into otherworldly places as the LomoChrome Turquoise drastically shifted its colors...at least on film.

  • Lomopedia: Yashica Minitec AF

    written by cheeo on 2014-08-27 in #reviews
    Lomopedia: Yashica Minitec AF

    There's more to the Yashica Minitec AF than meets the eye. Its multi-coated lens shoots crisp and clear photographs from the get-go.

  • Shop News

    Immortalize your best shot on Aluminium!

    Immortalize your best shot on Aluminium!

    Carefully enlarged from your negatives onto premium photographic paper by lab professionals, each picture is a unique piece of craftsmanship.

  • A Political Rally in Como

    written by sirio174 on 2014-08-18 in #lifestyle
    A Political Rally in Como

    In the week preceding the elections for the European Parliament, several political rallies were held in Como. As with all other public events in my city I documented one of these rallies, this time using a Russian film camera Zorki 6 loaded with a black and white film roll. Take a look!

    1
  • Fresh from the Lab: One Roll of Film and the Lubitel 166U

    written by fadjaradiputra on 2014-11-07 in #lifestyle
    Fresh from the Lab: One Roll of Film and the Lubitel 166U

    Adi, Ekeu, and I did a lomowalk around downtown Bandung last Saturday, the beginning of November. We planned to use our Lubitel cameras with only one roll of film each. We were inspired by the One Roll of Film Project by four Tokyo-based photographers with their Hasselblad cameras. This is about the one roll of film I shot with the Lubitel 166U, which made me love shooting in medium format even more.

    8
  • Vintage Snapshots of Outdoor Playtime

    written by Kwyn Kenaz Aquino on 2015-06-21 in #world #lifestyle
    Vintage Snapshots of Outdoor Playtime

    Some city-based parents feel wistful when they see their kids huddled in front of screens. There is nostalgia for tree climbing, hopscotch and bicycling. And why must children of today spend all their free time playing with zeroes and ones? This black and white gallery will inspire you to get the little ones out and about even just for the weekend.

    1