Hp5 and grain

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by tripanfal, Dec 6, 2007.

  1. I know Hp5 is grainy (bigger enlargements)in 35mm, but I think the results I'm
    getting are worse than average. I exposed it at 400 and souped in D-76 1:1 for
    13 minutes. I was careful with my temps as my tap water this time of year is

    I made some 8x10's on my condenser enlarger with componon-s glass,and the grain
    is brutal. I swear I get less grain on 8x10's from plus-x @ 400(movie film to
    boot) in Diafine.

    The shots were outdoors on a cloudy/flat day.

    Also, the negatives seem dense and contrasty.

    I know 8x10 is pushing it for 35mm, but I expected a bit better grain wise.
    The 5x7's are better, but nothing to write home about.

    I like to have some Hp5 in the freezer because I can push it in a pinch, but
    shooting it as a 400 speed film does not seem to be in the cards for me.

    Anyone have any suggestions to minimize grain? I have Rodinal (not the answer)
    Diafine,PMK Pyro, and D-76. I also use Microphen from time to time and have
    access to HC-110.

  2. "Also, the negatives seem dense and contrasty".

    This suggests that you might be overexposing and/or overdeveloping it. Both will increase grain.
  3. Thanks Kevin, I thought of that. I was shooting my zx-5n. I'll check the meter against some others. I was leaning toward overdeveloping, as I have some Hp5 negatives in PMK Pyro that look better, (using the same camera) but I have not printed any yet to compare.
  4. As Kevin says overdevelopement/exposure would be the largest contributor to you grain.
    Reducing your overall wet time, if possible, will help with the appearance of grain as well. All
    the developers you listed should be capable of producing acceptable grain.
  5. I found that 11 minutes was better than 13 for my wants in a negative.

    That is with any camera I am using.

  6. I've been very happy with HP5+ - though I usually don't print 35mm negs larger than 8x10. I shoot EI 200 and develop in D-76 1:1 for 11 minutes @ 68 deg F (for normal contrast subjects). That produces negs that print nicely with a #2 filter.

    Shadow detail is outstanding and the grain is pretty tight.
  7. Yikes! Correction - I dilute 1:2 d-76 to water.
  8. Thanks, sounds like overdeveloping. I'll try cutting the time.
  9. HP-5 is grainy film. It is especially obvious in the lighter zones like clouds and such. It is also a wide latitude and forgiving film. It sounds like you used the Massive Development Chart time of 13 minutes at 68 dgrees. There are some discrepencies regarding times with the MDC. I think HP-5 is one of the films that I found to be 11 minutes at 68 degrees, not 13. Therefore, you overdeveloped which increased your contrast and densities for two minutes.
    D-76 1:1 is a good standard and offers better accutence than stock solution, but it will not help with graininess.
    Here, Ilford says 11 Minutes for ISO 400:
    So maybe try some more tests.
  10. You can get good prints a lot larger than 8X10 with 35mm film but if you know they will need to be that large, a slower film is in order. For the same types of subjects and with the same lighting and with bith films shot at 400 I find the current version of Tri-X to have significantly less grain than HP5+. HP5+ has a certain character and that is something people either like or don't like. If you have Diafine around you might try a test roll of HP5+ in it with bracketed exposures. With Diafine your final result will not be as sensitive to slight temperature or time differences. You might also try undiluted D-76 or Microphen. That should reduce the grain.
  11. Jeff makes a very good point. Grain structure is subjective as is favorite lense choices etc... Try a couple different films with some shots where the grain will be real obvious like with shallow depths of field and or cloud structures, etc... where the grain will really show up. I really like the grain of HP-5. It also depends on the lens resolution and how it performs also, including how contrast is effected by it, and the quality of the image the lens can produce and so forth.
    I've easily produced nice 11x14 images with HP-5 from 35mm format. And with any enlargement, keep in mind viewing distance gets farther as the image gets bigger. There are a lot of good articles floating around regarding this subject. But again, enlarging will certainly open up the grain. But I've seen plenty of really large wall hanging murals shot with HP-5 using 35mm and Speed Graphic 45 that would make your 5x7's look like micro-film in comparison. So don't be afraid to go big once you establish some devolopment that gets your negs more easily printed. Also, run a lot of contrast and exposure tests with the enlarger. Though ill-developed film can be a pain to work with, one can ussually pull something out of it if it got recorded on the film, but forget scanning those. Some of the junk that comes out of my Holgas is laughable, but the prints aren't.
  12. I usually develop HP5+ for 10 minutes (in D76 1:1 68deg.) and get good results without excessive grain at 11x14 enlargement from 35mm on a diffusion enlarger. So I think 13 minutes is too long.

  13. I think the most immediate way to change this is to use D-76 full-strength. At 1:1 or higher dilutions, it loses it solvent action, and you get much "sharper edged" grain, far more obvious. For most applications, D-76 full-strength produces the best results. Kodak really only recommends D-76 1:1 for Plus-X, which is fine grained enough that the increase in graininess isn't serious. (The same presumably applies to FP4+.)
  14. Every piece of tech data I have for HP-5 suggests 11 minutes at 68deg. HP-5 isn't the only film with mis-listed times onthe Massive developing chart, but Idon't know where he got13 minutes from, though that istheonly place Ihave seen it listed with 13 minutes as the standard starting point. It is definately too long.
    I believe you are correct in suggesting above that grain improvement with D-76 can only be had using the stock solution. As a preference I prefer the 1:1 results. I also develop at 72 or 74 degrees adjusting times accordingly for contrast.
    If I want finer grained images or a different look, I switch to larger format,finer film,or both. But I always keep HP-5 around, and esspecially like to use it in my vintage equipment.
  15. "I know Hp5 is grainy (bigger enlargements)in 35mm ..."

    I actually find it pretty grainy even in 6x7. I've used HP-5 souped in both HC-110 dilH, 10min at 20degC, and DD-X following Ilford's recommendations. Maybe try a different film.

    I find I really prefer Fuji Neopan 400 more. Definitely finer grained and perhaps a tad sharper than than HP-5.
  16. Thanks alot guys. I realize that if I burn some medium format in say, my rapid omega, I'm better off grain wise when making bigger enlargments. The situation was I had some Hp5 loaded in my Zx5n and it was cloudy/overcast. I grabbed the camera thinking I would be good at EI 400. They are basically shots of 2 people and I thought I was good getting the times off the massive dev chart. I usually soup Hp5 in PMK pyro, but as you know it's not exactly a simple process, so I grabbed some D-76 and diluted 1:1 looking for sharpness. This is the first time the massive dev chart has been off enough to really impact a negative. Usually they are printable. I really use slower films mostly such as PanF+ and plus-x, but I was looking for a bit more speed. Thanks again for your responses and I will now cross check massive dev times against, Hmmm... the box :)

    The most irritating thing were the skin tones, blotchy looking :(

    Thanks again,

  17. That's HP5+ for you. It's just plain more grainy than Tri-X. Over development will worsen the situation, not so much because it intrinsically increases grain size, but rather because the contrast is boosted making the grain more obvious. On a flat grey day, you should have no problem getting an honest EI of 400 from the film with normal development. It works just fine in D-76 1+1 and there is no compelling argument for anything more exotic for 99% of the applications. Check your technique. You've probably overdone it this time.
  18. HP-5+ is not a replacement for TriX, but then neither is TriX a replacement for HP5+. In most developers, HP5+ will not reach the maximum CI that TriX can get. In rodinal 1+50 for example, it will only give CI = 0.6 or so. However, overdeveloping it will create some degree of compensation in the shadows, perhaps at the expense of some more grain, but will not blow out the highlights. You pays your money and you takes your choice. I have made many 11x14 enlargements of HP5+ negs that I am not ashamed of. I do sometimes feel like shooting anyone who views them from any closer than the diagonal of the print. Grain sniffere, we used to call them.
  19. The chart I downloaded off the Ilford site a few weeks ago shows the development time for HP5 Plus in D-76 1+1 as 13 minutes when it is exposed at 800iso. Perhaps someone misread this when compiling the massive development chart and that's where the misinformation started.
  20. 13 min. is definitely too long!
  21. I use HP5 in XTOL or Ilfosol. Neither seems a real problem with 16x12 enlargements from

  22. I must be one of those Grain snifferes. I can often be found in galleries with my nose pressed right up against the glass. :) But I have nothing against grain. I just like to check out technical details of a print.

    I also try to remember to bring a magnifying glass with me, but that's just to piss off other uppity gallery patrons, photographers, and gallery owners. What would life be without taking the time to stop and push people's buttons. Muahahahahaha!
  23. So I was just given a 4x5 enlarger, loaded a little 35mm neg of HP-5, and cranked it up to the top. I don't know, something like a 40" enlargement, and it looked nice. But I will say that the Tmax-400 4x5 neg was a lot more impressive, and looked a lot better than the flat bed scans off my Microtech. But it depends on the camera lens, enlarger lens, film, developing and so on.
    I like to sniff 'em upclose too, but try and be discrete. Good to know how the photo smells.

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