Developing Adventures · opinion

Developing Adventures – Pushing HP5 400 to 1600

My quest continues. First of all, thank you all for your comments and recommendations on my last few developing adventures. It has been a lot of fun so far experimenting and learning. I started this series as a sort of journal to let people come along with me as I learn. I hope you’ve enjoyed it so far.

In my last article I pushed HP5 400 to ISO 800 to try to gain access to quicker shutter speeds in order to get photos around the house. I liked those results, but I needed even faster speeds. Therefore, this time I pushed Ilford HP5 400 to 1600.

Ilford HP5 400 at 1600
Ilford HP5 400 at 1600

I developed it in Kodak D-76 for 14 minutes. That was the first downfall I ran into because pulling Ilford Delta 3200 to 1600 only took 9 min. I am willing to overlook that though because of the major price difference of the two films. (Delta 3200 $11.99 HP5 400 $5.99)

Ilford HP5 400 at 1600

I’d also like to mention that I have been using a different hypo clear called Photographers Formulary Hypo Clearing Agent instead of Ilford’s Washaid. The washaid was costing me $20 a bottle and wasn’t lasting very long. Whereas this other clearing agent can be reused and portioned out, so it lasts a long time for only $7.95. I also notice a big difference in the resulting negatives. No streaks and it dries quick.

The downfall is it’s a powder that has to be mixed up. That for me is not a huge deal for the price difference. I just wanted to share that in case you are in the market.

Ilford HP5 400 at 1600
Ilford HP5 400 at 1600

When comparing HP5 pushed to 1600 with Kodak P3200 being pulled to 800, the HP5 at 1600 came a lot darker and with a lot more contrast than the P3200 at 800. As I mentioned in that article, I like to be able to control the contrast.

Kodak P3200 @ 800Ilford HP5 400 at 1600
On the Left Kodak P3200 @ 800
On the Right Ilford HP% 400 @ 1600

Even though pushing the film farther allowed me to have quicker shutter speeds and smaller apertures, it still made the pictures darker. A lot of the pictures looked under exposed, but that may have been the meter in my Pentax ME Super not reading the low lighting correctly. I’m not sure.

Ilford HP5 400 at 1600
Ilford HP5 400 at 1600

When comparing Ilford Delta pulled to 1600 with the HP5 at 1600, they look very similar. At 1600, highlights are beginning to be blown and grain being introduced even further. It’s not excessive though the way P3200 can be.

On the Left Ilford Delta 3200 @ 1600
On the Right Ilford HP5 400 @ 1600
Ilford HP5 400 at 1600
Ilford HP5 400 at 1600

I didn’t have to add in any contrast in post with this roll, but I did have to lift the exposure up a bit, but again, I’m not sure if that was the films fault or the camera’s built in meter.

Ilford HP5 400 at 1600
Ilford HP5 400 at 1600

In the end, I do like these results. I think so far the finalists in my quest are Ilford Delta 3200 pulled to 1600, and Ilford HP5 400 pushed to 800. I am not making my final choice just yet because I have several other films that you all recommended giving a try. I also picked up a couple flashes that Jeremy Zorn on Facebook recommended. Once I get the hang of using them, I’ll test out that option as well.

Thank you for following along with me. Again, let me know in the comments any recommendations for my quest. Also, let me know if you have experience pushing and pulling films for the purpose of shooting indoors in low light.

Heres a link if you’d like to try out Kodak D-76 or a roll of Ilford HP5 400.

Until next time, stay motivated and keep shooting.

If you would like to help me out with the cost of film, developing chemicals, and the upkeep of this website, please consider making a small donation. If you would rather purchase one of my zines, that would also help. Either way, I hope you have enjoyed my articles so far, and will sign up to get my blog in your inbox as I post them.

2 thoughts on “Developing Adventures – Pushing HP5 400 to 1600

  1. This is awesome. HP5 might just be the do-it-all b/w if you can successfully push it this far! I’ve got some HP5 in the freezer, I need to try this.

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