I have to confess that it took me some time to get more interested in using 35mm cameras as I have mainly used Medium and Large format with film.
I bought myself a Pentax Spotmatic about 18 months ago and I really seem to have the bug again now.
To start with, I was buying 35mm film with exposures of 36, then I went down to 24 exposures and finally bought a bulk film loader and a 30m roll of Ilford HP5.
As this is the only film I have been using in 35mm, I have become very familiar with what it has to offer and how the images look with different delevelopers.
For my type of work, using the bulk loader has made the world of difference because I can simply load just a few frames at a time and not have to worry about exposing just for the sake of it.
Usually, I only load about 9 or 10 frames, go for a walk around and then come back and develop them in the darkroom.
This is a wonderful film, well let’s face it, it’s been around a long time and is probably one of Ilford’s best selling films. Its very versatile, you can expose is from ISO 250 through to ISO 1600 without having to change any developing times. For a relatively fast film (ISO 400) the grain quality to me is extremely nice.
I have more or less nailed down the development time when using HP5 with Kodak D23 to a time that produces nice clean looking negatives which scan very well and also print very nice in the darkroom.
Developing HP5 With Kodak D23
I use a Paterson daylight developing tank and do manual inversions. After pouring in the developer, I invert slowly for the first 30 seconds, and then do 5 inversions every minute.
For normal contrast scenes, I develop HP5 for a total of 8 minutes at 20 degrees centigrade.
I use water at 20 degrees for the stop bath and then I use Fotospeed PD5 fixer just before the final wash.