I Shot a Roll of HP5+ at ISO 12800 (5 Stops Push)

Jul 2, 2019
3 min read

I am a big fan of experimenting with what film can take, to see its limits, particularly when it comes to pushing it. I found that Ilford’s HP5+ is one of the widest latitude black and white films one could buy and get useable/acceptable results with.

I have shot it on many different cameras and speeds! Pulled  to iso 100 (+2 stops) with 120 film and shot on box speed (iso  400) in 35mm. Found out that my favourite in 120 is iso 1600 (-2 stops) but that I prefer iso 3200 (-3 stops)  in 35mm; and if i remember correctly I shot a roll or at iso 6400 (-4 stops) in 35mm as well.

But today I am going to show examples of having it pushed to iso 12800 (-5 stops), an experiment I conducted out of sheer curiosity but was not only surprised but pleased with the results too (especially in 35mm).  The cameras used were a Hasselblad Xpan and a Fuji GF 670.

Here in Iceland we have long and dark winters with little to no natural light. Many may find this harsh and less than ideal for photographing anything but northern lights but it did help me realize that I like pushing film and also I was able to shoot iso 12800 during the day night.

Unfortunately I have not had the possibility yet to try print from these negatives in a decent way so so far I am not sure how useable these are to make proper darkroom prints. The 120 negatives are on the less contrasty, flat side while the 35mm seem to be more useable.

I checked this article by 120Studio before deciding on my own developing process.

I stand developed the 35mm and this 120 film in ID-11 (stock) for about 60 minutes, only turning it upside down halfway.

For the other 120 roll I used the same chemical but was developing only for 30 minutes with completely random agitation; about every 3-5 minutes I either turned it upside down or shook it like cocktail shaker.

In conclusion I can say is that I found my go to black and white film for pushing (will test Kodak Tri-X next), a film that is not only affordable – especially when bought in bulk –, but it is also of good quality. Next time I might try it in a more diluted developer to see how different of a result I can get. If you like pushing film (or have to because of light conditions) I highly recommend trying out this film!

Thank you for reading and keeping film alive!

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