Paris is my favourite city for photography and I go there as often as I can. For shooting film, I like to take my smaller film bodies. This time I took my Pentax MX and my Pentax ME super. The MX was loaded up with Kodak Tri-X 400 but because it was very sunny for the entire trip, it never got used. The ME Super was loaded up with ILFORD FP4 PLUS and I got through a few rolls of it on this trip.
I had just bought a new (to me) Pentax K35 f/3.5 lens which only arrived two days before the trip, so I had no chance to test it. I felt that the 35mm focal length would be better for street photography than the 28mm or 50mm Pentax primes that I normally use. The image quality of the 28mm isn’t that good and the 50mm is a bit too long. In the end, I was so impressed by the sharpness of the 40-year-old Pentax K35 and it stayed on the camera for the entire trip.
It’s only in the past 12 months that I have started to use FP4 PLUS but its become my favourite low/medium speed black and white film. I develop it in Rodinal 1+50 for 15 minutes and I love the way it dries so flat compared to the Agfaphoto APX100/Rollei Retro 100 that I have previously used a lot.
FP4 PLUS has such a classic look to it and it prints well in my darkroom. I don’t think I would change anything about the way I shoot or develop this film. I will have to give ILFORD HP5 plus another try and see if I prefer it to Tri-X 400. Maybe my tastes are changing but I’m definitely an ILFORD convert.
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This series is produced in conjunction with Hamish Gill's excellent 35mmc.com. Head on over to read the other half of these stories there.
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