5 Frames… With ILFORD XP2 SUPER (EI 1600 / 120 format / Mamiya 645 AFD) – by Tyler Longfellow

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These photos are of a friend/coworker of mine. Since his roommate’s work had just received a RED Cinema camera and a set of Atlas anamorphic lenses that they were renting, he and his roommate had the idea to do a video shoot of a McRib deal in a warehouse to test out the camera and the glass. They invited me to be a part of the shoot, be in the video and take behind-the-scenes photos. This shoot ended up being pretty involved, having a 10-person crew including audio, lighting, Steadicam operator, focus puller, actors and others.

I had been shooting ILFORD XP2 recently, developing it in black and white chemistry (instead of its native C-41) and have loved the results. So I wanted to see how well it could be pushed.


I loaded up the film in my Mamiya 645 AFD and intended to push it 2-stops so I set my camera to 1600. Having an exposure index of 1600 allowed me to keep my shutter speed around 1/30th to 1/60 for most photos.

I waited a few weeks after the shoot to develop the film. All I had on hand was R09 developer and was tempted to develop the film with it because of the much faster reported developing time compared to my self-calculated 30-minute develop time for ILFORD DDX…but I ended up waiting for my DDX to come in because it pushes film better with less grain.

The film turned out great in my opinion. Pretty contrasty, but I was still able to pull out detail in the highlights and shadows. It turned out sharp, even being handheld at low shutter speeds with the strong mirror slap. The grain turned out really pleasant, not overwhelming or too harsh. Overall I was happy with how it turned out. I recently sold my scanner, so I digitized the film using my P30+ digital back.

If I could change anything, I’d probably have a shorter development time, probably around 24 minutes. But I would definitely shoot this film at this speed again. I’ve seen it pushed to EI 3200 before with beautiful results in HC-110.

~ Tyler

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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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