Ilford XP2 – Medium Format
A while ago I got my hands on a roll of Ilford XP2 in Medium Format.
I’d never shot with the C41 process B&W film before so I was pretty interested to see the results.
The Ilford website describes XP2 as “a sharp, fast, fine grain black and white film. It can be used for any photographic subject, but ensures excellent results when there is a wide subject brightness range. The film has an extremely wide exposure latitude making it suitable for use in varied lighting conditions.”
I have to agree that the bright conditions really help this film. Compared to HP5 the XP2 has a very fine grain structure and the control over shadow and highlights seems to be a lot more refined.
Over the limited number of images I shot with it I tended to expose on the brighter side but there is plenty of room for a curves adjustment in even a low res (2.5Mb) jpeg.
All the pictures you see are straight out of the scanner at my local lab.
They were shot on a Mamiya RZ67 Pro ii with a 110mm f2.8, for some reason the back on this camera had issues with some film types and would often slip when winding on which resulted in the final frame often missing or only being a half frame.
All the photos were taken on my in-laws property in country Victoria, heres some of the locals 🙂
As you can see the detail from what is essentially a fast film looks a lot more like a 100 speed film. The backlit shot above is probably the ugliest one of the lot, but I think that’s more to do with my photography than the film itself.
Here’s a few more examples
And finally here’s one of me managing to blink just as the photo was taken! I really shouldn’t be in front of the camera 🙂
So what are my conclusions?
Ilford XP2 is a great B&W film, it’s definitely different to HP5 but I really do like the look of it.
The C41 process is a really big deal if you don’t do your own processing and your local lab / developer only has a colour machine.
I’d recommend giving it a go even if it’s just to see for yourself what it can do.
Your process of metering and shooting could result in a higher contrast image but I’m pretty sure the film could handle it.