The Ilford FP-4 Plus was my first black and white film. The photolab dealer warned me when he suggested it to me: “You’ll fall in love with this film!”. And I immediately fell in love with it, mainly because of its very fine grain.
Coming from the digital photography world and after some tests with many kinds of color negatives, I was really curious to try my father’s Nikon FG-20 with a b/w film. I was intrigued by the contrast rendition and above all, let’s face it, the greater ease of the film scanning (because the little drama of white balance disappears in greyscale film scanning).
And so, about two years ago, I went to my referral photolab, where I always bring all my films to be developed, to ask for one, my first one, black & white film. He put me in front of me a little box of Ilford. I had never heard about it. And unconscious of it all, I set the camera to 125ASA and I went to test my first roll around the historic center of Florence, with the Nikon FG-20, the usual 50mm f/1.8 lens and a 20mm f/1.8 lent to me from a friend of mine.
The results were incredible! And perhaps surprising too because I had just started shooting in analogue and I had no idea what would come out, and even what to expect. The thing that I quickly noticed, as soon as I inverted the negative, was the near absence of grain! This film produces a grain so fine that the shots look like digital photos! But it is much better than digital, thanks to the many shades of gray and the deep blacks! In short, it has an exceptional contrast and the details are clearly visible on the shaded areas thanks to the varied hues of grey!
Moreover, thanks to its extremely fine grain and its wide exposure latitude, it allows you to set the ASA also to a different setting instead its standard 125! Basically it’s perfect to be “pushed”!
To be honest I personally haven’t yet had the opportunity to push it, but it will definitely be something I’ll try in the future! I simply exposed it at 100ASA with my LC-A + on a trip to Argentina, obtaining results not too underexposed.
Have any of you already tried to push it? Do you have any suggestions? Let me know via the comments box!