Developing Adventures · film photography · Film Processing

Developing Adventures – Pushing Ilford XP2 400 to 800

In this Developing Adventure, I tried pushing Ilford XP2 400 to 800. Now that I am processing my own color film as well as my black and white stocks, I like having films that can all be developed together. The load of processing all of my own film has been really getting to me and weighing me down. My hope is to be able to use this film more often for convenience.

Push processing is not recommended as, unlike conventional ISO 400/27° films, no practical increase in film speed is achieved when XP2 SUPER film is push processed. But XP2 SUPER film can be exposed at EI 800/30 and given standard processing.

Ilford Data Sheet

While Ilford says there is really no benefit to push processing XP2, I still gave it a try to see what it would look like. It says you can shoot it at ISO 800 and still process it regularly, but if you read my article A Doctor’s Visit on Ilford XP2 400, I have already inadvertently done that. However, while my results were useable, some still looked under exposed. No harm in seeing if it makes a difference.

Developing this Film

I processed a roll of 120 and 35mm together in Cinestill C41 chemicals. Not much to say here because all rolls would be processed the same in C41, only adding time for the push and 2% each time I use the chemicals.

My Results Pushing Ilford XP2 400 to 800

Right away I could see that this film is a bit resistant to pushing. The blacks become blacker, the contrast higher with no in-between.

Canon New F1 with Ilford XP2 400 pushed to 800
Canon New F1 with Ilford XP2 400 pushed to 800

It actually reminds me of the results I got when I pushed Fuji Neopan Acros II 100 to 400.

Canon New F1 with Ilford XP2 400 pushed to 800
Canon New F1 with Ilford XP2 400 pushed to 800

However, in well lit situations, the grain is still very fine. The contrast increased a bit, but I really like it.

Pentax 67 on Ilford XP2 400 Pushed to 800
Pentax 67 on Ilford XP2 400 Pushed to 800

Ilford’s website describes it as being similar to HP5, but with blacker blacks and I think that is the best way to put it.

Canon New F1 Ilford XP2 400 at 800
Canon New F1 Ilford XP2 400 at 800
Canon New F1 with Ilford XP2 400 pushed to 800
Midnight
Canon New F1 with Ilford XP2 400 pushed to 800
Canon New F1 with Ilford XP2 400 pushed to 800

Final Thoughts

I have always really liked this film. It was the first film I ever tried when I got back into shooting with analog cameras. However, it is more expensive than other similar films like HP5, and if it can’t be pushed much then I can’t shoot it indoors in low lighting for everyday photos. On the up side, it can be processed with my color film which saves me a lot of time and back aches, not to mention chemicals.

Since I am a rebel (not really), I am going to push it further. I have quite a few rolls in my fridge, so why not? It will either be a nice revelation or a complete disaster. Sounds like fun. Stay tuned.

Until next time, stay motivated and keep shooting.

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