My Fujifilm X-T30 Ilford HP5 Plus 400 Push-Process Film Simulation Recipe

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It’s better to be lucky than good.

This film simulation recipe was a mistake. I discovered it when I accidentally chose ISO 51200 instead of Auto-3 ISO. In my hurry, I scrolled down one too far, which took me from the bottom to the top, and I didn’t notice that I had inadvertently selected the highest possible ISO. I wouldn’t normally, or really ever, use ISO 51200. Even on most full-frame cameras, that high of an ISO is pushing the capabilities of the camera. It’s beyond what most would ever think of using on an APS-C camera. I’ve often wondered why Fujifilm even made it an option. Yet on Memorial Day I made a few exposures with it, not even realizing it.

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Memorials – South Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – ISO 51200

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Little Flags – South Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – ISO 51200

When I reviewed the images that I had captured, I was reminded of some photographs I made four years ago when I pushed a roll of Ilford HP5 Plus 400 film by one stop. Push-processing is a technique where you underexpose film and increase the development time to make up for it. You are essentially increasing the exposure in the lab using chemicals. The result is a higher-contrast image with more pronounced grain. Sometimes you would do this because the ISO of the film wasn’t high enough to make a good exposure, and sometimes you’d do this just for the aesthetics of it. Different films respond differently to push-processing, and different films have different tolerances to how much they can be pushed. While HP5 Plus is a good film, it’s not typically considered one of the best for push-processing, but the results can still be good, especially if you don’t push it too much.

Here are some push-processed Ilford HP5 Plus 400 pictures that I captured several years back:

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Whiskey Pete’s – Primm, NV – FED 5c – Ilford HP5 Plus 400 Pushed 1 Stop

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Grand View – Las Vegas, NV – FED 5c – Ilford HP5 Plus 400 Pushed 1 Stop

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I-15 Travelers – Las Vegas, NV – Ilford HP5 Plus 400 Pushed 1 Stop

After seeing the ISO 51200 results from my Fujifilm X-T30, I decided to make some more ultra-high ISO black-and-white pictures. What I discovered is that for contrasty and grainy B&W pictures, ISO 51200 on the X-T30 is not only usable, but it can produce film-like results that are similar to push-processed Ilford HP5 Plus 400 film. A negative aspect of ISO 51200 is that it can sometimes produce “smudgy” results, especially in grass. It doesn’t always do that, but it sometimes does, so I would say that this maximum ISO should be used with care. Taking the ISO down one stop to 25600 seems to remedy this, and delivers similar results to the higher ISO images. ISO 12800 is almost not grainy or contrasty enough, but it’s very close and is also usable for this recipe should you need to drop the ISO.

You might notice that this recipe is quite similar to my Tri-X Push Process recipe, mostly just a higher ISO and added grain. I like that recipe a lot and I think it also delivers analog-like results. Even though it’s based on the same film, there are several differences between this recipe and my original Ilford HP5 Plus recipe. This one is much less “clean” and is fun to pair with vintage lenses. Also, this recipe can be used on X-Trans III cameras, except (obviously) you ignore Color Chrome Effect. I tried it on an X-T20 and it looked good, even at ISO 51200 (see the very top picture in this article).

Acros (Acros+Y, Acros+R, Acros+G)
Dynamic Range: N/A
Highlight: +3
Shadow: +4
Noise Reduction: -4
Sharpening: -2
Grain Effect: Strong
Color Chrome Effect: Strong
Toning: 0 (off)
ISO: 25600 or 51200
Exposure Compensation: +1/3 (typically)

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs captured using my Ilford HP5 Plus 400 Push-Process Film Simulation recipe:

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Home Builder – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Crop from the above ISO 51200 image.

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Exchanging Money – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Crop from the above ISO 51200 image.

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Can Money Buy Happiness? – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Girl Playing A Game – South Weber, Utah

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Chance Taker – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Thinker – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Birds In The Kitchen – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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River Tree – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Riverbank – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Grey Flowers – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Hiding Grey Flowers – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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White Bloom – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Dark Cloud Over The Dark Mountain – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Bulldog – Uintah, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Oil Change – Uintah, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

See also: My Film Simulation Recipes

15 comments

  1. Ricardo Richon Guzman · 20 Days Ago

    1) awesome!!! I was playing all the time with higher grain and stuff over Capture One to get the same look… so having it in camera is kinda awesome!!!
    2) you show me the XT-30 with this (Pentax?) manual lens just as I’m drooling over getting “cheap” manual old lenses…. right in the heart

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ritchie Roesch · 20 Days Ago

      Thanks so much! Yes, that’s a Asahi Pentax Auto-Takumar 55mm f/2.2. A great lens!

      Like

      • Khürt Williams · 20 Days Ago

        I have that lens! Also bought an Asahi Pentax SMC Takumar 28mm f/3.5. I’ve got an Asahi Spotmatic SP II so I can also shoot film with these lenses.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ritchie Roesch · 20 Days Ago

        I would love to have the 28mm f/3.5. Maybe I need to browse eBay…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Khürt Williams · 20 Days Ago

    The images are less “contrasty” than I prefer, but I think it’s impressive how well the X-T3 handles grain and noise at ISO 51,200. It is also interesting how cooperative your kids are.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · 20 Days Ago

      Lol! They are sometimes cooperative. It’s amazing how Fujifilm X-Trans is almost as good at handling noise at high ISO as many full frame cameras.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Photo A Day · 20 Days Ago

    I’ve been shooting some Ilford 400 film. Nice to see your recipe here

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Gerald Sofar · 20 Days Ago

    “Color Chrome Effect: Strong “could you tell me what this setting is please, many years ago we lived in ilford home of the film manufacture of the said film the B & W films was considered one of the best but there coour film stock was rubbish

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Manu · 19 Days Ago

    I always enjoy your recipes! the other day it happen the same thing to me, scrolling the ISO to the highest, and damn! it looks really cool!
    All this recipes you are making made me want to try it out myself, recently I shot a bulk-loaded roll of expired Fujifilm Eterna 250D (ECN2 movie film) and it made me want to explore some settings on the X100F to simulate that look… as soon as I achieve it (if I can) I´ll give the recipe to you.. here´s a shot using that roll, I love that purple tint it has..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · 19 Days Ago

      That’s awesome! It would be amazing if you were able to replicate that look somehow on Fujifilm cameras. It has a purple hue. It almost reminds me of Kodak Gold that sat in laundry detergent (yes, that’s a real thing, believe it or not). Thanks for sharing!

      Like

  6. Chris · 15 Days Ago

    Thanks for posting these. Have you had an issue with the xt30 LCD not reflecting an accurate exposure / color saturation? The pictures on my LCD are much brighter and more saturated color than on multiple computers and iPads I tested it on. I had to turn the LCD brightness and color from 0 to negative 3 or 4.

    Coupled with the fact that the camera underexposes by 2/3rd to a full stop makes it challenging to shoot consistently even when exposing to the histogram.

    I’m wondering if I got a faulty camera or it’s just one of the Fuji quirks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ritchie Roesch · 15 Days Ago

      I don’t have that problem with mine. I would say that the camera’s LCD is a little brighter. I haven’t adjusted it, I just expose a 1/3 brighter than the LCD shows. The viewfinder shows accurate, and I use that frequently. It’s possible that you have a faulty camera, or it may be a quirk you have to figure out how to work with. You can always contact Fujifilm and see what they have to say about it. Good luck, I hope everything works out for you.

      Like

  7. Pingback: Weekly Photo Project, Week 43 | Fuji X Weekly

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