XP2 - To Push or Not to Push, that is the question

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I am an occasional user of Ilford XP2 120, mainly in situations where I want the greatest exposure latitude. The guidance with this film is that it can be rated at a wide range of speeds, without any need to push or pull process the film. This obviously has the advantage that different frames on the same film can be treated differently.

However, I am interested in one question. Whilst this film handles being treated like this, would it be possible to get better results by pushing/pulling? For example, say I expose it at 1600. Will there be more shadow detail/sharpness/acutance etc. if pushed (even at the price of greater grain)?

Basically, I'm not sure what the issues are with this, but would really welcome any views or experiences...

-- Ed Hurst (BullMoo@hotmail.com), December 05, 2001


Pushing won't get you any more shadow detail for a given exposure, and C-41 films don't push well anyway, IMHO.
All that pushing C-41 development does is to make the highlights too dense to print, and decreases the brightness range that the film can handle.

-- Pete Andrews (p.l.andrews@bham.ac.uk), December 05, 2001.

Ed, I agree with Pete. Also, you must take the statement that XP-2 can be exposed at a wide range of speeds, with a bit of a grain of salt. In my opinion it has, like all color negative films, a pretty good exposure latitude. However, I think it works best when overexposed a bit. Underexposure with XP-2 doesn't do much for me. If you need to underexpose and push develop, I think you are better off with a regular b&w film.


-- Christian Harkness (chris.harkness@eudoramail.com), December 05, 2001.

Chromogenic films will gain contrast with extended development same as "normal" films; they won't gain shadow density other than the slight amount that results from a steeper gradient.

For "normal" films you have the advantage of using a "speed-increasing" developer, usually a PQ developer such as Microphen or DD-X; these will give usually a 1/3 to 2/3 stop increase in real speed based on shadow density compared to an ordinary MQ developer. Think about it this way; HP5+ developed in Microphen becomes an EI 640 film with normal contrast development and you can push it from there.

-- John Hicks (jbh@magicnet.net), December 05, 2001.

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