Opinions on Ilford XP2 Super film.

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by za33photo, Oct 22, 2021.

  1. I feel like shooting film for a change.
    What is the general opinion on Ilford XP2 SUPER film , as I have not used it yet , the C41 process is convenient for me.
  2. Nice long tonal scale (with C41 and printed on color paper) - if you prefer very contrasty results this may not be the film for you.
    It is very convenient as you can both process it in C41 and regular BW chemicals and still get excellent results.
    I like it for travelling because you can almost always find a local C41 1-hour lab in case you are concerned about excessive xray exposure from the return trip.
    I normally develop in HC-110 which yields very good results.
    ] and za33photo like this.
  3. I have basically 4 (stills) cameras (including my phone) that I use regularly, split into 2 digital, 2 film. I'm comfortable with Photoshop, but have to admit that I don't really relish spending time post-processing. I shoot C-41 and E-6, but send my film to a lab for developing and scanning. I rarely do any Photoshop work on the scans - maybe slight rotation and cropping. I am not a pro - for me it's just a hobby.

    I am never tempted to shoot chromogenic B&W film. For me, I don't see the point. I always shoot colour, and if ultimately some image just feels like it would work better in B&W, I convert in Photoshop. I don't go crazy, but I do like the control, and often experiment with the presents in duotone mode. If you have a fully "analogue workflow", then I'm sure your situation will be different, but that's my point of view.
  4. It has wide. practical latitude so you can shoot wildly variant exposures (ISO 50-800) on the same roll of film. It doesn't have "grain" as such, but beautiful dye clouds. I don't have easy access to C41 processing though, or I'd use a lot more of it*.

    original Nikon 2020 35mm negative on XP2 with life-size (100%) crop

    *in a recent post, however, HC-110 was suggested - I'll be trying it
    za33photo likes this.
  5. SCL


    I still have several rolls in the freezer. It has been about 10 years since I shot my last roll, when it was easy to get it processed locally, which is no longer the case. I did enjoy using it...IMHO it wasn't the sharpest of films, but certainly was ok for 8x10 prints, maybe even a little larger.
    za33photo likes this.
  6. of course should be "presets"
  7. I've never been able to use the words "beautiful" and "dye clouds" in the same sentence. Gimme nice sharp silver grains. :D
  8. I confess, I still like grain in the right situation; but I, myself, have had difficulty using "sharp" and "grain" in the same sentence:D:rolleyes:

    Here's yer "sharp silver grains" in a nice GAF 500 film

    "How to be an impressionist without really trying"
  9. SCL


    Here's yer "sharp silver grains" in a nice GAF 500 film
    View attachment 1406034

    That GAF film was the worst I ever used....your shot says it all:D
  10. Dean von Weinberg:
    "What's the worst film ever made?"

    That would be hard to say. They're each outstanding in their own way."


    I actually like my grainy carrousel :(
  11. The (now discontinued) Kodak chromogenic B&W films have the orange mask like color negatives.
    That makes it easier to print on color paper, or from color printing minilabs, but harder to
    print on black and white paper. (Kodak doesn't make any of the latter.)

    XP2 doesn't have the orange mask. It still has the usual low gamma of C41 films,
    so you need higher contrast and accurate exposure when printing.
    Ilford does not recommend developing other than C-41.

    Scanners for C-41 film, set to black and white, should do fine with it.

    If you are set up for home B&W developing, which isn't hard,
    better to use regular film and chemistry.
    (You don't need a darkroom, just a changing bag to load the tank,
    and a bathroom with a sink.)

    But it is much easier, and usually cheaper, to find a C-41 lab,
    than a good black and white lab. (Or even a not so good one.)
    ] and za33photo like this.
  12. I might still like sharp grains for conventional printing, but they do complicate scanning.
    You can get grain aliasing when scanning, from the high spatial frequency of the
    sharpness (and structure) of the grains. For scanning, fuzzy dye clouds are probably
    better than sharp grains.
  13. One roll of that stuff was more than enough for me
  14. Not sure why you'd do that.

    The whole point of using a chromogenic film is to give the following advantages:
    • Lack of grain - replaced with more diffuse dye clouds.
    • Long tonal range and/or wide exposure latitude.
    • Wide availability of cheap commercial processing.
    Developing in a conventional B&W developer to end up with a grainy silver image would seem to negate all of those positive points. And make scanning slightly more 'iffy' to boot.
    That certainly allows huge flexibility in the look of the final image.... But as soon as you start to filter those CMY dye clouds you increase the appearance of 'grain'. Since some dye-cloud colours are made darker than others.

    Win some - lose some. Personally I like the flexibility of adding 'aftermarket' colour filters, but it does have the downside of emphasising 'grain' if, for example, you add the equivalent of a deep red filter effect.

    P. S. It might be a good idea to check with your intended processing lab that they're aware of XP2 plus. Some labs might see that it's a black & white film and simply return it, or charge extra for hand developing as a B&W silver-only negative. They don't employ geniuses at those places IME.
    za33photo likes this.
  15. The point is that you have the flexibility of both and that XP2 actually looks good in conventional bw chemestry. You only have to google it to see examples of it works.
  16. It might be that the long tonal range stays, but the other two don't.

    And besides, Ilford says not to do it.

    For extra challenge, do both! After you develop the silver image, convert back
    to silver halide again with an appropriate bleach, then develop in C-41 developer.

    There is, somewhere, instructions from Kodak on doing that with color negative
    film, where you develop and print the black and white image, then convert back
    and develop the color image.

    I only one time tried developing color C-41 film in HC-110, which was a roll that
    came with a camera. Besides, it was Kodacolor 1000, likely not stored well.
    Images did come out, but were a little bit dark. With the unknown subject and
    condition, it didn't seem worth sending to a C-41 lab.
  17. It is irrelevant what Ilford says. They may have their commercial reasons for their standpoint. The results are relevant. It doesn’t take much googling to see samples that shows this film has very interesting properties in conventional chemistry.
  18. The OP needs to find a lab that does consistently good C-41 processing, one that sees "C-41" process first on the XP-2 film can and not "black and white." Film processing is part of the residual market for still film services and, as such, isn't reliably competent. Fujfilm Frontier/Noritsu process-print lines can easily set-up a channel for neutral monochrome prints from XP-2. I shot lots in 35mm and 120 and loved the results. But in 2021, many of these "givens" aren't available. Try some but be aware, if initial results disappoint, that the film is still good; it's processing and printing that cause disappointment. Look into scanning your negs and take it from there--that's reality in 2021 for film.
    za33photo likes this.
  19. The Lab that I most frequently use appears to understand that XP2 is a C41 process film , but I will most certainly remind them , (firmly if need be) :).
    Thanks again for all the responses , they have all been duly noted , and if all else fails I will try scanning the negatives myself :).
  20. A small bathroom in my office is what remains of my "darkroom" - so what processing I do is D-76 at whatever temperature it's at in a daylight tank, for 11 minutes more or less, and a quick dip in Archival Fixer. I just don't have the facilities to do C41 at home, so that's why I might try to see how XP2 and HC110 would do.

    I hardly ever used any CN or C41 film before I discovered that digital scanning was one thing it was good for. At that time, I could take my film to the camera store, chat about old cameras for a little bit, and carry my no longer damp negatives to my scanner. Not possible any longer, although Dwayne's does as fast turnaround as it can.

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