4 Reasons I Love Ilford Hp5 Film

We thought we'd start highlighting all the amazing types of film that we use in both our professional and personal work and I wanted to start with one of my favorites - lovely Ilford Hp5 film.

35mm rated at 1600, +2. Image by Kim Hildebrand

35mm rated at 1600, +2. Image by Kim Hildebrand

1.  Versatility: This film is always in my camera bag because I can use it anywhere.  Hp5 is noted for its excellent overall performance in a wide variety of lighting conditions.  You can rate this film from 320 all the way up to 3200 and it will look amazing!

120 film rated at 320, +0.  Image by Kim Hildebrand

120 film rated at 320, +0.  Image by Kim Hildebrand

35mm rated at 400, +0. Image by Kim Hildebrand

35mm rated at 400, +0. Image by Kim Hildebrand

Rated at 800, +1.  Image by Jackie Fox

Rated at 800, +1.  Image by Jackie Fox

Rated at 1600, +2.  Image by Heidi Alhadeff Leonard

Rated at 1600, +2.  Image by Heidi Alhadeff Leonard

Rated at 3200, +3.  Image by Megan Dill

Rated at 3200, +3.  Image by Megan Dill

2.  Contrast:   It's contrast, while high, is less pronounced than that of Tri-X, which appeals to shooters that prefer a more even tonal scale.  Because it is less pronounced than Tri-X, the highlights and shadows respond really (well if exposed correctly) when using it in a low-light situation where you intend to push the film.

Rated at 400, +0.  Image by Alpana Aras

Rated at 400, +0.  Image by Alpana Aras

Rated at 1600, +2.  Image by Kristin Wahls

Rated at 1600, +2.  Image by Kristin Wahls

120 film rated at 3200, +3.  Image by Lea Ciceraro

120 film rated at 3200, +3.  Image by Lea Ciceraro

3.  Grain:  I found an informative article in the Adorama Learning Center comparing Hp5 to Tri-X, which is considered the gold standard among street and documentary photographers.  Hp5 is noted for its fine grain, high-edge detail, and excellent overall performance in a wide variety of lighting conditions.  Usually, grain on a pushed 35mm b/w film is too much for me, but I love it on Hp5 film!  Last, the grain is still absolutely beautiful on medium format when pushed 3 stops (see example below)!

35mm rated at 1600, +2.  Image by Kim Hildebrand

35mm rated at 1600, +2.  Image by Kim Hildebrand

Image by Amanda McKinley

Image by Amanda McKinley

Rated at 3200, +3.  Image by Tamara Aptekar

Rated at 3200, +3.  Image by Tamara Aptekar

4.  Cost:  Ilford Hp5 currently costs $4.39 per roll of 35mm or $4.69 per roll of 120, not bad!  Note that Tri-X isn't much more ;)

So if you haven't tried out Ilford Hp5 film, I encourage you to give it a try!  It's quite an amazing and extremely versatile film.