Ilford XP-2 Super 400 iso film, is it really Super?
Old 05-30-2018   #1
kshapero
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Ilford XP-2 Super 400 iso film, is it really Super?

an article reads,

"So here's how to shoot XP2 Super, according to me. It's simple. This yields the highest percentage of results of the best quality—I don't care a whit for "make do" solutions that yield only acceptable results. Using camera metering:

• For regular shooting in most normal lighting, use EI (ISO) 200.

• For shooting in extremely bright and/or contrasty lighting, like harsh full sun and shadows, use EI (ISO) 100. This insures adequate shadow detail, and the highlights won't block up.

• For shooting in low and low-contrast lighting—and this includes indoor shooting and "available darkness"—use EI (ISO) 400—or even a little higher, although I personally don't recommend ever going all the way to (gasp) 800."

My question is, can you do this moving speeds around within a single roll of film? If so, how would the exposures come out ok?
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Old 05-31-2018   #2
Doug
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Yes, bad to underexpose this film... I usually set the meter to EI 250 and keep it there. It's been a long-time favorite for me, extending back to when it was XP1 and Ilford sold a home-development kit specifically for it.

And, yes, C-41 is a standardized process, so the same development is applicable for your whole roll regardless of exposure. Generous but reasonable exposure will result in darker negs, but the highlights will not block up. Thin negs are more troublesome, as there's a risk that shadow areas will go all muddy.

This is a standard C-41 process film in most respects, just with non-color dyes, so regular color negative film techniques apply. Some have suggested that the several dye layers have different structures, allowing more latitude in exposure, but this has never seemed to work out for me.
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Old 05-31-2018   #3
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Bloody fantastic film, XP2. I shoot at 200 in all situations and it works fine for me. Finer grain than a lot of 100 speed true B+W films I've tried. Makes Tri-X and HP5 look like garbage. And I can develop it in the same tank as a roll of colour! So yeah, I'd call it super =P
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Old 05-31-2018   #4
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The SUPER name was added to XP2 about 20 years ago when the film was reformulated. If I remember correctly, the improvement was finer grain.

Its a good film if you cannot process your own BW film, but the tonality is not as nice as traditional films in my opinion. That's true of all C-41 process BW films. I have made some really great images on C-41 BW films, though.

As others have said, it works best around EI-200. It is tolerant of overexposure, but not of underexposure.
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Old 05-31-2018   #5
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Yes, it' s super! I use it specially in 120 format because easier to scan allowing the use of ICE or similar software to minimize dust. Being the 120 negative quite large it requires much time to be cleaned via PS.
For 35mm I still prefer traditional silver film (probably no real reason, just used to!) but when in hurry and no time to develop/scan it is a good compromise

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Old 05-31-2018   #6
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XP2 is a chromogenic film, so it has the kind of exposure latitude you find in standard colour negative films. From (distant) memory ISO 200 as a ballpark for most occasions sounds right. That said, I've never used XP2 much because I find ISO400 a little too slow for so-called available darkness. The tonality seems pretty much what you'd get from a colour film converted to B&W. Mind you, it's also a bit pricier than regular B&W films by Ilford.

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Old 05-31-2018   #7
Oren Grad
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kshapero View Post
My question is, can you do this moving speeds around within a single roll of film? If so, how would the exposures come out ok?
This isn't actually "moving the speed" of the film in any way - development is standardized, and there's one ISO speed for the film that corresponds to that.

Rather, the advice is about adapting metering technique to best fit scenes with different contrast ranges to the characteristic curve (tonal scale) and grain characteristics of this film.
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Old 05-31-2018   #8
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I've only ever shot it at box speed, and I can't make it look good at box speed.

Seeing that the consensus is 200, next time I have occasion to shoot film I'll try that
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Old 05-31-2018   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oren Grad View Post
This isn't actually "moving the speed" of the film in any way - development is standardized, and there's one ISO speed for the film that corresponds to that.

Rather, the advice is about adapting metering technique to best fit scenes with different contrast ranges to the characteristic curve (tonal scale) and grain characteristics of this film.
Exactly. All that is being done is the exposure is being optimized for the scene at hand.
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