FP4 compared to Plus-X?

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I'm looking for experience from people who have used both in sheets. How does FP4 compare to Plus-X? Mainly, how do the curves, "look," etc. compare?

-- Erik Asgeirsson (erik2@mediaone.net), January 11, 2001


No comparison. FP4 is far superior IMHO. Kodak should have retired Plus-x years ago. (well, you asked!)
The data sheets are downloadable from Ilford and Kodak's respective websites.

-- Pete Andrews (p.l.andrews@bham.ac.uk), January 12, 2001.

Hi Pete, in what way is FP-4 superior? Exposed at EI=80, and developed in 1:3 Microdol, Plus-X produces some of the most beautiful, easy to print 16x20s I've ever made. Highlights don't block up, Shadow detail is awesome, the grain is minimal and unobjectionable in appearance. Physically it is tough, and chemically it is forgiving in the darkroom. How much better can it get?

-- lsmft (Bmitch@home.com), January 12, 2001.

I vote for Plus-x too... as basic as it gets developed 1:1 in D76 and the results are wonderful.

-- Dave Richhart (pritprat@erinet.com), January 13, 2001.

What do you guys rate Plus-X at? When I use FP4, I rate it around 64.

-- Erik Asgeirsson (erik2@mediaone.net), January 13, 2001.

I use FP4 almost exclusively. I shoot it at 100 and expose for the shadows. Processing this in PMK Pyro has produced the most incredibly beautiful negatives with incredible range. Plus-X left me cold. So, you see, it is a matter of opinion, try both and see what you like.

-- David N. VanMeter (davidvanmeter@columbus.rr.com), January 13, 2001.

I realize it`s available 120 only, but what happens when you throw Verichrome Pan into this same argument? Oops, sorry I meant to say discussion. I don`t have any idea, as I`ve just started working with VP yesterday.

-- Steve Clark (agno3@eesc.com), January 13, 2001.

To me, VP has a very different look from either FP4 or Plus-X--less acutance, creamier highlights.

-- David Goldfarb (dgoldfarb@barnard.edu), January 13, 2001.

A belated response to 'why not Plus-X?':
I last used Plus-x over 25 years ago, when it was still available in all formats. I was still hopping from film to film in my testing phase in those days. My findings were that Plus-X was grainy, overrated in (then) ASA speed, and altogether muddy looking, compared to FP4. I concluded that Plus-x was only useable for larger formats, due to its golf-ball size grain and poor sharpness, and I didn't see the point in swapping film type with format size, since FP4 was good at all formats.
Maybe Kodak has tweaked or re-formulated Plus-X in the intervening years, I'm not prepared to give it another chance.
For me, Kodak 'blew their chances' in B&W film many years ago, and only the introduction of T grain emulsions has dragged me back to their B&W films.

-- Pete Andrews (p.l.andrews@bham.ac.uk), January 15, 2001.

Hi Erik

FP4 is of course not a bad film, but you should test the newest B/W film, its cold Gigabitfilm and he has a resolution of 900 lines p.mm have a look on the homepage www.gigabit.de It will change your mind anyway! Much fun.

-- Armin Seeholzer (armin.seeholzer@smile.ch), January 21, 2001.

900 lines per millimeter sounds nice. But what does the tonal range of this stuff look like? How will it look when made into a nice contact print from a 5x7,8x10 or larger negative? There is a lot more to LF photography than lines per millimeter. That is one reason FP4plus is a nice film. Good midtone separation and easy to work with. No matter how theoretically sharp a film may be, if you don't like how the prints look, it isn't for you.

-- Dan Smith (shooter@brigham.net), January 22, 2001.

I personally did not like FP4 Plus. I did not care for the lower contrast. It seemed dull. But Plus-X is my favorite film. And I'm doing 35 mm portraits. I like to print 5x7 though, so at that size, there is small but attractive grain. Plus-X has better contrast and creamy highlights. There are tons of mid tones. It's beautiful to me. I use ID-11 1:1 for 7-1/2 minutes and the results are consistently good. That's the most important thing. With my setup, I get consistent and wonderful results every time. My portraits look great with this film. It's nice to know that I will get great results every single time with this film. I mix ID-11 often and use it up within a few weeks too, so the fresh chemicals help.

-- Paula Swaim (pauswa@earthlink.net), May 08, 2001.

Today we have FP4Plus and 2 Kodak type numbers for Plus-X,& Plus-X Professional (ie., PXP or sheet film and curiously also in 220.) See where Kodak's literature describe's PXP as a studio gradated film, and surprise, surprise, it's glorious for that in say a Pyro brew. FP4Plus is as far as I can tell in all formats similar to plain Plus- X (as its 135)in its gradation response (ordinary GP gradation)to the various development combinations.

I've never seen leather and human skin more beautifully rendered with today's materials than with PXP 5x4 sheet shot under studio light developed in Pyro-catachol. The wonderfully rich look of the glory days (1950's) of 10x8 B&W.

-- Dennis Paterson (djpaterson@hotmail.com), May 09, 2001.

It would be nice if you all could post some examples somewhere so we can compare for ourselves. You know, here's the portrait with FP4, heres the same portrait with PXP printed the same way. "See the lustrous, glowing, delectable skin tones that _____produces compared with that _____ crap."

-- Wayne (wsteffen@skypoint.com), May 09, 2001.

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