Ilford FP4 Plus : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

One of the most enjoyable uses of the internet is the participation in forums such as this one. Id like to thank in advance all those who contribute to providing replies to my query and to queries posted by others.

Anyway, recently I was fortunate to win a prize in the Black & White section of a local photography competition. The prize included 10 rolls of 35mm Ilford FP4 Plus.

For the past 12-18 months, most of my 35mm film use has been Delta 100 and 400, developed in perceptol and Ive been happy with the results.

It would be a shame not to use the FP4 Plus, but I dont have the time to properly go through the process of evaluating it and testing best exposure and development combinations.

My query is very general, but Id like to hear what others who use this film have to say about it (Im particularly interested in comments more relevant to 35mm format) and any hints and tips to get the maximum from this film, including in, say, terms of sharpness and fine grain. Will I be disappointed with its results compared to those from Delta 100 and 400? Id like to continue to use perceptol, but I also have available for use ID11/D76, Rodinal and Ilfosol-S.

-- Frank (, September 15, 1999


Hi Frank, First, congratulations for the success! Second, I think that the prize is great!

I've been into B&W for only about 16 months and have used Ilfords 100&400 Delta, HP5+ and FP4+.

Without hesitation I can say that FP4+ is the film that I have enjoyed the most. I first started out with the Delta films thinking that newer technology is better. It was only after making my first print from my first FP4+ roll that i said "WOW! This is great". The Delta films are probably better for more experienced photographers who also manage to control the development precisely. But for an amateur like me, whose developer can easily be off by 1-2 degrees C, older technology films might be the better solution. I'm not quite sure yet about what actually fascinates me so much about FP4+. The prints simply look beautiful. Maybe more experienced FP4+ users who also like this film can put the magic into the right words.

These days, I usually develop FP4+ in ID-11(1+3) @ 14 min @ 20 degrees C. (I used to develop for 17 min. The negatives were a little denser but still easy to print). My normal prints are usually 14cm x 21cm and at this size the grain is very fine with very high sharpness (tripod mounted camera & prime lens). For competitons I make 20cm x 30cm prints and although the grain is more visible at this size I don't find it distracting at all.

I rate FP4+ at EI100. This is not from any test I've conducted but from general recommendations to rate the film speed a little higher (I've found rigid testing of films, as I've learned it from a couple of Zone System books to be rather difficult. But this is another topic).

I also wonder what others think about FP4+.

Best Regards, omar

-- Omar Ozenir (, September 15, 1999.

I've generally used FP4 but recently have been trying a few different films including Delta 100 & AgfaPan APX 100. I need to buy a 30m roll of something for bulk loading but haven't decided yet which one to get. I used to use Ilfosol S but recently changed to Ilford Plus (Ilfotec LC29) mainly due to the opened shelf life being much greater. One shot developers suit my usage habits.

I've been shooting a few piccy's of my son under the same conditions (with flash) and I like the Agfa (quite punchy) but 10x8 is as large as I find the grain acceptable. I think the Delta was a little 'smoother' (graduation of tones) than FP4 but that could just be my development times (obviously different for each film).

In summary, i don't think you'll be disappointed at all.


-- Nigel Smith (, September 16, 1999.

I generally shoot FP4+ and Tri X. Tri X is, naturally, more grainy but in a nice way (sorry, I wish I could articulate better why the grain on Tri-X is less annoying than that on other films). FP4+ is a film I enjoy using. Very nice general purpose film. Good separation, especially in the highlights. Fine grain (although I've never pushed the limits on this, never enlarged beyond 11x14 from a 4x5). Quite forgiving. I think Ilford suggests using ID11 for overall quality but also recommends Perceptol for finest grain. Its not terribly fussy a film and you should get perfectly good results with the developer of your choice. The Ilford website ( has some good info on the film which you might find helpful. DJ

-- N Dhananjay (, September 17, 1999.

I have never shot FP4+ but have shot a lot of FP4 and love it. I develope in D-76 (1+1).

-- Big Al (, November 04, 1999.

I shot some last year. In 35mm dev'd in D-76 1:1, it produced nice even negatives, a bit less contrasty than roughly equivalent films like Plus-X and Agfapan 100. Made lovely 8x10s with barely visible grain. But I also slit some and tried it my Minox. Dev'd in XTOL 1:1, it was pretty unimpressive: clearly grainer than results from PX or APX 100 in the Minox (and not even in the same ballpark as TMX), even when just printed to 4x5.

Tonally, it's my least favorite of these films. At least in my camera and darkroom, the results lacked the fine grain and glowing skintones of APX 100, the unique luminousity of PX, and, of course, the tight grain and very punchy contrast of TMX. So... while it's a nice enough film, I would choose Agfapan 100, Plus-X, or T-Max 100 over it.

OTOH, if I had 10 free rolls of FP4+, I'm sure I'd enjoy using them, and I'd definitely end up with some very nice images... Have fun!

-- Michael Goldfarb (, November 05, 1999.

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