Nothing on my mind, 29 May 2009

2009/05/29

Because today, I’m lazy. So, here’s another photo.

HP5-Push1600_26

Photo Information:

Camera: Nikon N80 (F80, international)
Lens: Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4
Film: Ilford HP5+ ISO 400 (EI 1600)
Exposure: Minolta Spotmeter F

As indicated, the film I used for this photo is Ilford’s excellent HP5+, which is a medium-speed (and grained) film rated at ISO 400. As noted previously, “EI” refers to “Exposure Index,” which indicates that I exposed the film at a speed other than the speed for which the film is rated. In this case, I exposed the film at a faster speed than its standard rating (equivalent to using ISO 1600 film), which is four times faster than the standard rating for the film. Then, I adjusted the development time accordingly when I processed the film. As mentioned previously, this is called “push” processing. The primary reason I pushed the film in this case was so that I did not need to carry my tripod with me when I shot this photo (and the others on the roll). Note that if you choose to push a roll of film, typically, you’ll have to shoot and process the entire roll that way. [1] HP5 is somewhat unique in that it is surprisingly versatile when it comes to push and pull processing; it can be processed at anywhere from EI 50 up to EI 3200, i.e. from six times slower than its rated speed up to six times faster than its rated speed. [2] With the developer I typically use (Ilford’s Ilfotec DD-X), the film can be processed at anywhere from its rated speed of ISO 400 up to EI 3200.

Also note that the resulting image has very high contrast, and clearly visible film grain. Part of this, of course, is due to the film itself, which, even at its rated speed, will have some evident film grain and contrast. Both characteristics are also exaggerated by the push process, so these results are unavoidable side effects of manipulating film in this manner. As for whether or not this is a desirable result, I leave that as an exercise for the reader.

Enjoy.

Notes:

[1]: If you have lots of patience and access to a darkroom, you could extract the film in the dark, cut it where you stopped shooting the pushed frames, and process those separately from the rest of the roll. In general, though, this is probably more trouble than its worth, since you’ll have to do it completely blind, and you’ll have to process the fractional negative strip with a full load of chemicals. Of course, if you’re getting a lab to process your film, then this won’t be an option, as most labs don’t process fractional negatives (at least, none that I know of).

[2]: See here for a full list of developers and EI processing ranges, from the Massive Development Chart.

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