XP 2 - confusion

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Hi! I just have short question about ilfords xp2 and the things I read in this forum about it. To make it simple for a beginner: Is it right, that I can expose negs on one roll of film with different iso-settings on different shots, give it to a mini-lab for development without any special comment, receive some previews and can later have b&w-printings of it (from a lab) and they are not under- or overexposed? Don't kill me if this is total nonsense, it's just a beginners question. Thanks, Felix

-- Felix Tscharntke (boardsnap@gmx.de), February 27, 2002


Yes, you can expose XP2 at various EVs on one roll of film. I suggest you set your camera at 320 for the whole roll as I find that is the exposure rating that produces the overall best results. This will give you the greatest leeway for error.

-- Henry Ambrose (henry@henryambrose.com), February 27, 2002.

I second Henry's observation. My feeling is that the 'different iso' statement is a bit of nonsense. What it means is that you can over and underexpose the film a bit and still get decent prints. Well, since this is really a color negative films, it means that [1] you get better results if you overexpose a bit, hence the recommended 320, and yes, [2] you can underexpose a bit and still get manageable negatives, but I would not push that too far.


-- Christian Harkness (chris.harkness@eudoramail.com), March 01, 2002.

Bunk. You cannot expose at different ISO's and expect to get good results- yes, you might get printable results, but there would certainly be no consitency, and no quality.

-- drew (swordfisher@hotmail.com), March 02, 2002.

No, its not bunk. From about 250-400 you'll get negatives that you can make a nice print from. I've shot XP2 at 200-1250 and made good pictures. Its really pretty amazing how much latitude XP2 allows. This latitude is useful for covering exposure errors and can be used creatively if so desired.

Why anyone would want to rate individual frames differently is beyond me though. As I stated in my first post, rate it at 320 and don't worry too much about missing a little either way. XP2 (or any other film) does not remove the need to think but it does give lots of room for error. For a beginner needing a little help or anyone shooting under trying conditions XP2 is a great film.

To further answer Felix's question, the prints from the mini-lab may be odd colors because most labs will use color paper and probably not filter it exactly right to get every print neutral. When you have custom prints made, XP2 prints beautifully on real B & W paper. Other C41 process films don't work as well for this workflow because they are made to print by machine on color paper and are not very good for printing on real B & W material. Good luck!

-- Henry Ambrose (henry@henryambrose.com), March 02, 2002.

Well, Ok Henry, you have a point. You can adjust the exposure that whole 2/3 of a stop you mention. But really, you can do this with any negaive film. I am talking about significant exposure changes, in the order of at least one whole stop, and more like two. This, you cannot achieve on one roll with this- or any other- film. Unless you cut it and develop the two sections differently for the diference in exposure.

All the other things you mention about this film are perfectly true- and your point about different colors on color paper is of course true and very usefull. Infact, I often shoot chromogenic films and ask the lab to print them warm, and offer my clients a cheap "sepia" option this way.

Yes, it's a good film, esp. for those who want B+W but prefer to drp their film off with the local one-hour lab. And it is of course a great film for students- a lot of my students shoot it!

But a film that you can set (significantly) different ISO's on the same roll? The limitation is that chemical processing is a constant, and so aside from the little bit of lattitude you get- as Henry says, about 2/3 of a stop- from neg. to positive printing, if you want a really faster or slower film, you have to change rolls.

-- drew (swordfisher@hotmail.com), March 02, 2002.

ILFORD XP2 Super can be exposed at various EIs. Obviously, there will be a change in the quality of the image produced. Shooting at EIs over 400 (such as 800-1600) will produce images that are somewhat grainy, an attribute not normally associated with XP2. Rating the film in the range of 250-400 will give tight grain, with overall good tonality. Rating the film lower, 100-200, will give even finer grain. Tonality is only slightly affected, with the shadows gaining detail and the highlights getting slightly compressed. These pictures require longer exposures when printing, which can cause color shifts if printing on color paper, but the results are outstanding. So yes, XP2 Super can be rated at various EIs in the same roll, giving high quality results, but the results will vary to some degree.

David Carper ILFORD Technical Service

-- David Carper (david.carper@ilford.com), March 04, 2002.

I've never had any luck with this, Felix.

-- Cat (ckuhlma@gwdg.de), April 16, 2002.

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