Saturday, 8 November 2008

Black and white film choice

Steps, Berlin, October 2008
FP4+. Yummy.

After spending the summer shooting HP5+, and some Delta100 I decided to try their counterparts, namely Delta400 and FP4+. I had some expectations. I hoped Delta400 might offer deeper shadows,being a higher contrast film and that FP4+ might offer smoother tones that Delta100, which tends to be a bit too contrasty for me in mixed light.

Leafy pond, Berlin, October 2008
Delta 400. Uck!

What I found: Delta400 is a huge disappointment outdoors. The high contrast leads to blown highlights, limited mid tones and yet muddy shadows. Indoors is another matter. These features seem to give it better definition in rubbish light and a better overall look than HP5+. I still like HP5+ indoors, however, and it is fantastic in overcast conditions (not that unusual in Europe).

FP4+ is a whole other matter. What a revelation. Straight off the scanner the results are better than Delta100: it has all the smooth tones of HP5+ with the lower grain and fine detail retention of a good slow film.

So, I think I'm set in my choices:
Delta 400 exclusively for indoor shooting.
HP5+ for general shooting for its sheer flexibility. Take along 2-stop ND filters on bright days.
FP4+ for outdoor shooting, especially on bright days.

Why not try Kodak films? Because Ilford are British and I like to support the small guys.

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