1. Ilford XP2 Super in Ilfosol 3

Before I knew the difference between film types I saw what looked like a good deal in a high street store.

I bought a handful of Ilford XP2 which appeared to be at a discounted rate. I’ve since discovered two facts which have made me regret the purchase.

1. Even at the discounted price, these films cost considerably more than they would have from an online specialist.

2. More importantly, XP2 is a C41 type film, meaning it can be processed with colour films. But it’s generally better to get C41 processed professionally, unless you’re feeling confident.

I had two XP2 film’s professionally processed. One turned out great but the other had a milky sheen across many images. I was told that these were under-exposed. But I read that this phenomenon possibly relates to insufficient fixing.

So I was left with the remaining film, which had quickly expired (hence the discount). I tried to swap it but to no avail. I then went to my local camera shop and asked if they collected expired film. They didn’t. But they did have an expert on hand who suggested processing the XP2 in Black & White chemicals.

I’d heard this suggestion before, but had been reluctant to try it. Ilford recommend not doing it and comments online report mixed results. However, given that my other option was to ditch the redundant film, I decided to try the Black & White approach.

I used the ‘Massive Dev’ app recipe for XP2 in Ilfosol 3. And so far so good. The image above shows that some sort of images have appeared. But I’ve still to scan the negatives. Once that’s done, I’ll provide an update.

Urban Playground

As we wandered through the city, we came across these guys doing parkour (or free running).

It amused me that they had found an alternative use for the security barriers that could block the route up to Edinburgh Castle and Royal Mile.

I took some shots and got chatting with them. They were happy to be photographed and we talked about the simple beauty of their sport; basically requiring only a pair of trainers and some concrete obstacles.

That’s one of the things I love about photography. Although street photography is often solitary, sometimes it affords the opportunity to speak with fellow citizens.

Comfortable shoes and concrete are essential to street photography too, and I appreciate the shared simplicity of exploring the metropolis, albeit at a slower pace than parkour.

2nd Film

I’ve now processed my second film. Again it was Ilford fp4. The camera this time was a Trip 35. It worked well for street photography although I found the zone focussing a challenge. I got 38 images on a 36 spool which seems good value too.

Here are a few favourites from the resulting images. They are not the sharpest – that’s probably my fault.

First film

I processed my first film today – Ilford fp4. I’m not sure if it’s supposed to look quite so contrasty. The processing actually went ok, despite slight chemical burning to the hands and a lots of mess.

Sadly, there seems to have been an issue with the camera (I know, blaming my tools). A number of frames/negatives were blank. They had the manufacturers tags and numbering on the film borders suggesting they were developed but were unexposed. On closer inspection the camera shutter is sticking.

It’s a cheap point and shoot from the 80s or 90s and it has fixed focus. The resulting images feature lots of out of focus subjects and many completely bleached white by the flash at close range. But all in all this was a good start.

For those interested:

  • I used Ilford Ilfosol 3 developer.
  • The dev time was 4.25 as suggested by Ilford. They provide excellent fact sheets and videos eg here.
  • I used the ‘massive dev’ phone app which has customisable recipes and a good timer.
  • The camera was the Miranda ME-Z I mentioned recently.
  • I bought my tank etc from Ffordes who also have a great range of cameras.