Ilford’s FP4+ is the newest version of its excellent, medium speed, cubit grain, panchromatic black & white stock. The first FP4 appeared 10 years before I was born, and the Plus version appeared in 1990. I shot my first roll of it back in 2015, and over the past year and a bit, I’ve taken part in 5 iterations of Emulsive’s FP4 Party, and expect to do so again next month (and next year, if it’s still going), so it’s something of a mainstay for me. I vastly prefer it to Delta 100 and TMAX 100: they’re too clean, what with their T-Grain emulsions. And FP4 is somewhat superior to its slightly cheaper stable-mate, Kentmere 100. It’s really a great film.
I haven’t done much in the way of pushing or pulling FP4+. I’ve shot it mostly at 100 or 125, and once at 200. But I have shot it in a variety of formats (35, 120, and 4×5), and developed it in D76, Rodinal, and R3 Monobath, all with decent results.
For the January, 2018 edition of the #FP4Party, I shot a measly two rolls: one in the LC-A; one in the Yashica-MAT 124. I wasn’t really feeling it for most of the week in the LC-A, but managed to eek out a roll by the week-end.
Then, on Saturday, I loaded a roll of 120 into the Yashica-MAT 124, and shot the building of our new recycling bin thing… (A neighbor had her roof replaced, and I managed to score the pallets the tile came on. Some angle brackets and screws later, and we’ve got a classy-looking recycle bin in the back yard to take place of the undifferentiated pile of lawn clippings, excavated clay, and food scraps that was busily growing weeds in the back corner.)
I also pulled out an old magnifying glass and experimented a bit. A couple of results were interesting enough…
But one really blew me away…
So here are some results from various developers…
EI 125 and D76 Stock at 20℃, for 8.5 minutes (Nikon FG and 105mm f/2 ai)
EI 125 and D76 1:1 at 20℃, for 11 minutes (Graphic View, with a +10 magnifying lens from the LensBaby screwed onto the front of the Grafex Optar 135 f/4.7)
EI 100 and D76 1:1 at 24℃ for 9 minutes (Lomo LC-A)
EI 200 and Rodinal 1:50 for 18 minutes (Yashica-MAT 124)
EI 125 and R3 Monobath
So I haven’t done all the testing of, say, Emulsive, and I could really be more adventurous with it, but if I’m in the mood for a medium speed black & white film, FP4+ is it. The grain is excellent and it has a great character, but can be a bit picky about developers and temperatures, and has some tendency towards a convex type curl.
Still, it’s a great film, and I’d give it a sold 4.4 stars overall.
If you haven’t joined in with an FP4+ Party yet, pick up a roll soon: the next party starts February 5!