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Superstition Mountains: New City, New Film – Ilford FP4 & Fujichrome Velvia 100

This past trip to Arizona was my third time visiting and every time I go, I grow more and more in love with the environment. Last year when we went, we visited Flagstaff but this year we split our time between Sedona and the Superstitions.

Prior to heading out, I picked up several rolls of Ilford FP4 and at a camera shop in Phoenix, I picked up some Velvia 100. In Sedona I was shooting through a lot of Ektar and Provia and didn’t manage to load up the FP4 or Velvia until we rolled into the Superstitions.

Admittedly, I didn’t particularly love either of these film stocks. Since the trip to AZ, I’ve shot through some 4×5 sheets of FP4 and didn’t much care for them either. That said, I’ve started developing my own B&W at home and have found that for some reason I’ve getting a lot more grain than I’m used to getting from the Darkroom so it may well be my own fault for not liking it.

In general, I expect 100ish (it’s 125) ASA film to have extremely fine grain. While I know that FP4 is a traditional grain structure and not T-grain, I still expected a bit less grain than I felt I was getting. In total, I’ve only gone through 3 rolls and 1 box of 4×5 sheets so I know I still need to give it a bit more practice before making a final judgement.

The Velvia produced my least favorite shots of the whole trip. Perhaps I’ve become accustomed to Provia too much and the difference wasn’t to my liking. It’s also possible that I was just shooting it in the wrong lighting. I started/finished the roll in the afternoon started with high sun and ending during the golden hour. There was a HUGE difference in the saturation and tones between those two situations. Perhaps if I shot the entire roll during the golden hour, I’d be singing a different tune. Either way – I’ve since picked up another roll and intend to give it another go.

2 Comments

  1. Besides the grain, what didn’t you like about FP4? Just got my first 5 rolls of it developed (35 mm) by Richard Photo Lab and was extremely pleased, particularly with its tonality. Interested to hear your thoughts on this stock in more detail!

    P. S. Lovely site; there is some beautiful work here!

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    • It’s tough to put my finger on it. I recently put another roll of FP4 through my RB and still didn’t care for it. I just don’t find the grain pleasing… I’ve grown to really enjoy Delta 100 and really wish I could get into FP4 given how much cheaper it is in 4×5.

      I had similar feelings about Ilford Ortho with the exception of a few landscape photographs.

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