These days I rarely find the need to shoot with with film much faster than 400 iso, but a few years back I used to shoot a lot more faster film. I suspect back then – since I was shooting a lot more digital alongside the film shooting I was doing – I was just used to the idea of being able to shoot in much lower light… or maybe it was the fact that I used to spend a lot more time in dingley-lit bars. Either way, my finding the necessity to shoot in darkened environments seems to have waned… at least until this Winter…
Way back when, I started out this low light shooting with Ilford Delta 3200 developed in ilfosol… If you like massive strong grain, then try that combo! Over time, I tried a few combinations of film and developer looking for the combination that appealed the most to me, until one day a friend suggested I try pushing Ilford HP5+. I’d be playing with Ilfotec DD-X at the time and noticed, that Massive Dev had times for Ilford HP5+ at ei3200. I really loved the results!
Mainly due to the fact that I discovered a love for XP2 I moved away from developing my own film, I stopped shooting HP5+, and stopped shooting in such extreme low low light. That was at least until the end of last year when I bought a Voigtlander 50mm f1.1 and thought it might be fun to find some very low lit things to take photos of. If I’m honest, I actually struggled with this combination. I just don’t find myself wanting to take photos in the dark that often, and what low lit scenes I do like shooting in – with a f/1.1 lens on the front of a camera – 400 iso is actually plenty fast enough film. That said, I did manage to force a roll with that combo.
Along side that roll, I also put a roll through the Olympus AF-10 super, which thanks to it having a f3.5 lens, was actually a lot easier to shoot – you can have a read of my forcing the AF-10 to work in these low light situations here.
The problem is, I’m far too lazy to develop my own film at the moment. I’m not sure what it is, I just can’t seem to find the time. Thankfully I have a good friend by the name of James, who is a lot less lazy than me and has some sort of mechanical developing machine that only needs a tiny drizzle of DD-X … So I volunteered him to do it for me. (Thanks again James! :))
Here’s a smattering of results from those two rolls of Ilford HP5+ at ei3200 deved in Ilfotec DD-X …
These first were shot with the Voigtlander 50mm 1.1
And these – if you read my previous post, you might have seen before – were shot with the Olympus AF-10 Super
I hope you agree, the content of my photos aside, the results have a wonderful look to them. I am definitely reminded why I settled on this film/dev combination.
More shots can be found on my flickr here
Cheers for reading
Contribute to 35mmc for an Ad-free Experience
There are two ways to experience 35mmc without the adverts:
Paid Subscription - £2.99 per month and you'll never see an advert again! (Free 3-day trial).
Content contributor - become a part of the world’s biggest film and alternative photography community blog. All our Contributors have an ad-free experience for life.
Sign up here.
6 thoughts on “Low light fun with Ilford HP5+ at ei3200 and Ilfotec DD-X”
Those are great results. I must try it – thank you. I’m always looking for good film for very low light.
Like you, I’ve been using more and more XP2 — it’s a lovely film.
(I’ve been having real trouble with your Captcha system on the mobile browser).
XP2 is just so easy …
You will have to show me some results if you do go down this road!
(Thanks for the heads up with the captcha … I’ve switched it off for the time being.)
The shot at the top of this page is stunning – the bokeh circles are drunk, surely? I love it. The grain is perfect, as are the tones. I really like all the shots, but that first one is fantastic.
I think it is my favorite combo of film and chemical. Me and James (the guy in the photo) are going to shoot some 4×5 hp5 and dev it the same. I’m expecting it to look awesome!
Very nice article. Crazy what Hp5 Plus is capable of with the right developer (and photographer). One question…what is this mechanical developing machine your friend uses?
A Jobo CPE2 🙂