Kodak’s discontinuance of T-Max films larger than 4×5 left my friend, Dick, an expert user of 8×10 T-Max 400, wondering where to turn. My suggestion of Ilford HP5 Plus was received a bit skeptically, but he tried some and was entirely satisfied. This article was motivated by that incident and the likelihood that others, especially sheet film users, will soon be making film choices. In May, 2013, Kodak and Ilford supplied lists of their current black & white film offerings, which are summarized in Figure 1.
Kodak will cut any size for which Canham Cameras, Inc. can accumulate sufficient orders. This provides a way to get a size not normally available, but with some delay and at a higher cost. Ilford sizes marked I in Figure 1. can be ordered from Ilford. As they plan to accumulate orders for an annual cutting.
Figure 1 suggests that a comparison of HP5+ with Tri-X (film speeds 400 and 320 respectively) would be relevant for 5×7 users and perhaps for many others. I printed a step tablet on these two films, developed them normally in a Jobo processor, and plotted the characteristic curves with zones I and IX coinciding. Please note that this curve applies to Tri-X with a speed of 320, not 400.