An extremely useful medium speed all rounder, Ilford FP4 Plus has been an industry standard for many years. With plenty of exposure flexibility and with a healthy margin for user error, this film is ideally suited for beginners and professionals alike. FP4 is classified as a medium speed film at 125 ASA/ISO. Many photographers routinely expose it at 100ASA as this is mildly over exposing and improving shadow detail. FP4 is a very reliable film for when there is adequate light and it develops superbly in all of the mainstream fine grain and general purpose developers. Grain is fine, but it is not invisible as FP4 is an older style emulsion – for many photographers this is an attraction as it adds some subtle texture to the image that is often missing from all too perfect high resolution digital images today. Develop FP4 in a high acutance developer, such as Rodinal, and the grain becomes more gritty and quite noticeable on a relatively small print of say, 8×10″ (from a 35mm negative). Again, some photographers will regard this a a desirable look whilst others may find it too much.
At Ag Photolab, our chosen developer (Tetenal Neotenal) delivers great all round results from FP4 and our accurate temperature control and development parameters mean you have confidence in how your film will develop. You can order processing here when you are ready.
We routinely recommend those new to film, or anyone looking to improve their photography – particularly black and white – to choose a film to shoot with and then stick with that film, exclusively, until you know it thoroughly. It is a very bad idea indeed to flip between various different films because the differences are mainly subtle and you will have no benchmark against which to judge them. By getting to know a particular film, this will become that important benchmark. FP4 is a very good film to choose to stick with: it’s reasonably priced, always available and is superb quality. The only down side is it’s a bit on the slow side for all conditions, and so it’s sister film, HP5, may be more practical for some people.