Film screening Kodak Tri X flensburg

Instead of postcards: Ilford HP5 Plus 400

Portrait of the city of Flensburg with the Ilford HP5 Plus 400

Schuhe Norderstraße, Ilford HP5 Plus 400, Leica M Elmarit 2.8 28 asph.

Flensburg Sightseeing

on tour with the classic film Ilford HP5 Plus 400

The Ilford HP5 Plus 400 has long been due to be used by us. Often used many years ago, it has given way to our preference for the comparable Kodak Tri X. But we don’t want to compare the Ilford HP5 Plus 400, we want to introduce it. Because comparisons are superfluous like a goiter. Comparisons only discriminate against the other. But we love diversity instead of equality.

Museumshafen Flensburg, Leica M Elmarit 2.8 28 asph., Ilford HP5 Plus 400

Flensburg and its points

Discover the most beautiful points in Flensburg in two hours

We love light luggage. Our equipment is manageable. Today we screw the Leica M Elmarit 2.8 28 asph. in front of our M7 and put an orange filter in front of it and insert the Ilford HP5 Plus 400. Because we want to show Flensburg in old views at critical points. What could be more appropriate than such a classic? And so we start, as we always like to do, at the museum harbor in Flensburg.

Large exposure latitude

what that can be good for in a city portrait

In contrast to the modern films with their flat crystals, films like the Ilford HP5 Plus 400 and the Kodak Tri X have cubic crystals. They have a large exposure latitude.

So you can expose inaccurately and still get very good results. Modern films like Kodak Tmax or Ilford Delta need a very precise exposure.

This means that bright areas are not eroded from white areas during exposure and dark areas are not drowned out in black. Good tracing remains in both the white and black tones. This is just as important for ships with a black hull and white body as for a wedding couple with a black suit and white dress.

Flensburg historischer Hafen, Leica M Elmarit 2.8 28 asph., Ilford HP5 Plus 400
Hansens Brauerei Flensburg, Ilford HP5 Plus 400, Leica M Elmarit 2.8 28 asph.

The whole range of shades of gray

At eye level. Respectful. Free

The grain structure of the Ilford HP 5 400 shows a considerable range of shades of gray, even with strong contrasts. And thus a much more robust behavior than with the finer and modern emulsions. The HP5 Plus shows a visible but very harmonious grain, which emphasizes the image impression character. The Ilford HP5 Plus 400 is ideally exposed to the medium gray values, then you have the most reserves in the entire available exposure area.

Don’t be afraid of dark shadows

dark gorges, light shadows.

House canyons, which also include pedestrian zones, can hardly be photographed in the sun. One half is in dark shadow. Many color images just don’t look nice in such situations. So why not take a monochrome picture of a city?

The Ilford HP5 Plus 400 shines in such situations due to its wide exposure latitude. If you overexpose it roughly, it still draws contours in the light, if you roughly underexpose it, you can still see structures in the dark areas. With a Kodak Tri X or an Ilford HP5 Plus 400, it hardly matters whether one exposes the shadows as recommended in analog photography. These classic films wonderfully balance light and dark.

Grosse Strasse Flensburg, Leica M Elmarit 2.8 28 asph., Ilford HP5 Plus 400

“If the Kodak Tri X is just not available, I can take the Ilford HP5 Plus. Or the other way around."

Rathaus Flensburg, Ilford HP5 Plus 400, Leica M Elmarit 2.8 28 asph.

The classic reportage style

The Ilford HP 5 Plus was once part of the standard for press photography

In analogue times, there was no reporter’s desk with dozen Ilford HP or Kodak Tri X films.

At Ilford, the series started with the Ilford HP and was numbered depending on the development step. Until one ended up with the designation HP 5 and gave it the plus. Marketability for the Ilford HP family began as early as 1939. From 1954, the HP film had a sensitivity of ISO 400, the analog standard for press and reportage photography. The Ilford HP5 Plus was launched in 1989. the Kodak Tri X was developed in the same way, but there was no adaptation of the name according to the development steps.

With the advent of digital photography, Kodak Tri X and Ilford HP5 Plus, along with analog photography, ceased to exist. But since then, primarily photographers in the artistic segment have discovered him for themselves. They know to use the strengths of the Ilford HP5 Plus in combination with appropriate exposure and development for their results.


A film just in case. Nearly.

Now we prefer to look through the viewfinder of the camera and later on a nice print instead of an enlarged screen on a huge screen. And there is no pixel or grain analysis with us. For us, the picture counts as a complete work, with its appearance and technical charisma. And, as expected, we are not disappointed. A comparison with the Kodak Tri X, which is mentioned in the same breath, simply makes no sense.

There are small differences in the implementation of green and red tones, but they are so small that you cannot tell whether the picture is from a Kodak Tri X or an Ilford HP5 Plus 400.

And so for die-hard Kodak Tri X fans, the Ilford HP5 is taken because the film of your choice is just not available, or vice versa.

And what is the reason for us to prefer the Kodak Tri X most of the time? We currently like the packaging better somehow.

It can be so banal in photography. Or so simple.

Flensburg Industriehafen, Ilford HP5 Plus 400, Leica M Elmarit 2.8 28 asph.

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