View Full Version : Bad 'lot' of HP5?
You're right, Joe, there's no obvious place to ask a film question so I'll pop it here. Please move it if it's in the wrong place.
I'm getting suspicious of a batch of HP5+ I've been using. I picked it up really cheap as "student packaging" in a local store, and bought a big bunch of it. It only has the foil wrappers, no cannisters. I didn't care about that.
But... a while back I put one of these rolls through an elderly Pentax H1a and the film stuck and actually ripped a bit part way through the roll. I chalked it up to my old SLR film transport.
Later, you may remember this thread, a roll of this jammed a bit in my XA and I had some overlapping frames.
Two days ago the same thing happened with a roll of this film in my Leica CL.
Three cameras seems like too much to be coincidence (though I'm open minded enough not to rule it out entirely). I now suspect the film. I'm going to cut over to fully packaged Tri-X for awhile to see how it goes.
Anyone ever had this kind of experience?
I've bought a lot of HP5+ and Delta 400 in those candy wrappers and never had a problem (nor have I had a problem with HP5+ in Tura packaging). There is a lot of Ilford film sold that way. I've heard stories of problems with Ilford's quality control, but been fortunate enough not to have experienced them myself. Is there any sign of splitting or nicking around the sprocket holes or along the film edge?
Originally posted by HelenB
I've heard stories of problems with Ilford's quality control, but been fortunate enough not to have experienced them myself. Is there any sign of splitting or nicking around the sprocket holes or along the film edge?
Thanks for the reply, Helen. I can't see any physical problems with the film itself. I'm thinking more along the lines of the film sticking as it advances from the canister, due to what I'm not sure. A catch in the roller? It's weird but it's an odds thing. I've either got three cameras suddenly in need of a tuneup or there's something in the film mechanism. I'll shoot some non-Ilford for awhile. If the problem repeats, I'll know it's the camera(s). If not, I'm changing brands ...
i mostly use ilford films, the deltas, and have never had a problem of any kind with them.
it almost sounds as if the film is wet or damp and getting stuck.
keep us informed - i'm very curious now.
Just a guess; do you keep your film in the fridge? If so, do you allow enough time for acclimatizing? Never been a problem for me but who knows?
Just another guess; I've only ever had frequent film jams in a mechanical FM (nikon slr), never in any motorized body. I later found that the advance lever had to be turned really all the way to get both the film advance and the shutter to work right, but that if I advanced just short of full, either the shutter would jam or the film advance would go out of sync. In other words, I became sloppy with the cam when I was in a hurry.
Joe, Peter, thanks for your help with this. I store my film in the freezer but I take out several rolls at a time and they've usually unthawed for a week or more before I use them.
Interesting thought -- maybe I've been too gentle on the film advance? I don't think it was that but I'll keep an eye (a thumb?) on it just in case.
I really hope it's not the film because I like HP5 but I also hope it's not the cams ...
During the next week I'll shoot a roll of Tri-X through the CL and maybe a roll of Fuji colour film through the XA to see what happens.
Something else to consider, is your freezer one of those fancy frost free ones or the older design that needs scraping out every 3 months? I've got a funny feeling that older freezers might have moisture problem.
At home we have a frost-free freezer, but a while ago on trip we stayed at a motel with a rather frosted over freezer. Not only did several rolls of 120 have the paper backing gumming up to the film and several sheets of ISO 50 4x5 came out of the soup with grainy patches. But the 4x5 sheets that I didn't store in the freezer came out fine, and I even accidentally left them in the glove box of my car!
I'm going to test this theory, soon as I find someone with an iced over freezer!
"HP5+ in Tura packaging" Huh?
The Tura product line is the older Agfa emulsions (both paper and film). The Jessops range is the repackaged Ilford product line. And for those in the know, Jessop's B&W fibre paper is actually Ilford MGIII and the resin is MGIV!
That's an interesting observation, Stu. Our freezer is NOT frost free. I keep the film in a sealed freezer bag though but maybe some moisture is getting through ...
Was all Tura film made from Agfa-coated stock? I used about a hundred rolls of P400 a couple of years ago after someone told me that it was a cheap way of buying HP5+. I would have said that it was more like HP5+ than any APX400 or Agfapan 400, but I could be wrong. The pushability, processing times, and reciprocity data all appear to be similar. I never found APX to be pushable but P400 is OK at EI 800 according to my experience and EI 1600 according to Tura. Compare the data sheets for P400 (http://unicast.org/stuff/datasheets/Tura_P100_P400_Data_Sheets.pdf) and HP5+ (http://www.ilford.com/html/us_english/pdf/HP5_Plus.pdf).
Maco also sell repackaged HP5+, as UP400p if I remember correctly. I use HP5+ when I want EI 800 and APX 400 when I want EI 320.
I've used old iced-up freezers to store film for years with no problems. I have to chip the ice away to get at my store of short ends of movie film. I've never owned a frost-free freezer. The film must be in well sealed containers - but that is to avoid problems when warming the film up. If you come across a badly iced fridge or freezer, make sure that the door is properly sealed.
It doesn't make much difference whether you have a frost-free freezer or not as far as the moisture level inside a sealed film can or packet goes. The absolute humidity in a freezer (ie the amount of moisture in the air) is very very low. The moisture already in the can or packet will freeze when it is placed in the freezer, and that can cause problems. Be careful with freezing cans or packets that have been opened in humid or hot conditions (hot, relatively dry environments can be more humid in absolute terms that cold, damp environments - eg there is more moisture in air at 85 degF and 40% RH than in air at 55 degF and 100% RH). For this reason there should be as little air space in the can, box or packet as possible. When we pack short ends of movie film for freezing I make sure that the bags fit closely round the film, so that the airspace in the can is not in contact with the film itself.
When a can or box is placed in the freezer, there will be a slight leakage of air into it as the air inside it contracts. However, the air in the freezer will be as dry or dryer than than the air in the can or box. It is fair to assume that the relative humidity inside a can or packet will remain close to 100% while it is in the freezer at a stable temperature.
As the contents of the can warm up after being brought out of the freezer, the relative humidity inside it will fall, as long as it is sealed. However, if the can or packet is not sealed, there could be severe condensation forming inside it while it is warming up. Also, because the can warms up faster than the film inside it, any moisture that was frozen to the inside of the can will evaporate and condense on the cooler contents, even if the can is sealed. This is the most critical stage, but the outcome was decided when you packed the film.
Sorry if I've gone on a bit, but this is very important in some climates.
It looks like I'm totally wrong about Tura P400 being HP5+, and Stu is right. I had doubts, and searched. All I found were references to Tura P400 = APX400. Coated by Agfa and finished by Tura. I must say that I used it at EI 800 and processed it like HP5+ and didn't notice the difference - but this was two or three years ago. Did it change?
Helen what developer did you use and to what ratio? And did you print your own negs?
APX400 and HP5+ have very similar development times, within 2/3s of stop. So your negs whether developed as HP5 or APX400 should have looked fine.
From what I recall the Tura has always been Agfa 'in disguise'. There is always much confusion to whether what third party films actually are. Here in Auckland students on a budget are actually blessed enough to have an agent who deal direct with the likes of Tura, Forte and Jessops. So we all know what we're getting ourselves into.
Regarding freezers and film packing. In theory the foil wrapped film ("Candy Wrappers") would not make difference at all. But the standard way most 35mm comes packaged it is not that watertight. One ever so friendly person in my house spilt a bottle of cream on some film I have in the fridge, not only did the cream soak through the cardboard box, but also it got inside the film canister as well.
Like I said it is a theory that I must test.
PS. Apparently Forte Pan 400 is a 1950's variant of Tri-X.
Oddly enough it was the importer who told me that P400 was HP5+. My tests (in 2000) with Tura P400 were in DiXactol as a two-bath at 400, DD-X 1+4 at 400 and 800, Resofine 2-B (and my modification of it)at 800 and XTOL 1+3 at 1600 (which I had forgotten about - my notes say that there was too little shadow detail for my liking). The biggest difference I noticed between Tura P400 and APX 400 was in a version of Resofine at EI 800: the APX400 showed unacceptably high fog. I settled on standard Resofine at 800 for the job, mainly because the smooth grain suited the subject. I scanned the negs with a Polaroid 4000 with Silverprint. HP5+ and APX400 do behave similarly in DiXactol, but HP5+ seems about a third of a stop faster.
It is quite possible that I could hold on to my incorrect belief because I used a two-bath for the main body of the work so the differences between HP5+ and APX 400 were hidden, assuming that the one roll of APX 400 I tested in Resofine was not representative. My usual dev for APX 400 was DiXactol as a single bath using EI 320, a favourite combination. I've posted one of the smudges in the People gallery.
As far as freezers go, complete, hermetic sealing is not necessary - my use of 'well sealed' would include standard film packaging and a plastic bag wrapped round the roll and held with a rubber band (that's how I store exposed 120 rolls and partially-used Super 8 cartridges in the freezer). It is more important to protect the containers from direct contact with the moisture that gets into the freezer when the door is opened. That is easily achieved by keeping your films inside a plastic bag. I had to use all kinds of coolers, fridges and freezers when I worked in SE Asia and never had any problems.
Went out today with some Fuji Superia XTRA 400 loaded in my XA, which overlapped a frame with my batch of HP5+
What's interesting is that when I thumb the film-advance wheel, it's butter smooth. I could actually feel the drag with the HP5. Too soon to be conclusive but I'm leaning toward my 'bad batch' theory.
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