An extremely useful high speed all rounder, Ilford HP5 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 seeking a film for lower light. Contrast is slightly lower than with it’s opposite number from Kodak, Tri-X, but this does offer slightly more versatility as contrast can always be increased at the scan or print stage. Popular with anyone shooting ‘photojournalist’ style, HP5 also responds well to push processing and good results can be achieved when exposed at ISO 800 or 1600 and processed in the right developer. An alternative to more costly ultra high speed films such as Ilford Delta 3200 or Kodak T-Max P3200.
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. HP5 is possibly the very best film to select to stick with: it’s reasonably priced, always available and is superb quality. Its high speed means you also have a great deal of versatility in terms of the available lighting conditions you can easily shoot under.