The Analogue Blog: Pull processing film for fun

June 06, 2024  •  1 Comment

Ilford FP4 pulled to ISO 50.

Ilford make some fine black and white films in my view. Some think FP4 is bland, but then Ilford products are generally reliable, so I am quite comfortable with them.  Ilford HP5 is known for the ability to be pushed, but I wanted to see what FP4 would do gently pulled.  In essence, this means over exposing the film, then under developing it.  What should result is reasonably fine grain and good shadow detail.  

FP4 is rated at ISO 125 and I planned to expose this roll for ISO 50, so 1.25 stops, over exposed.    The hunt was on for scenes that I would expect to have quite high contrast levels. Metering was on the cautious side, looking for readings with a leaning towards any shadow areas in some cases.

Developing time was pretty quick in stock strength Atomal 49 and once scanned, I was quite happy with the results.

In this shot of a mooring chain, there was strong low sunlight that could have produced quite strong shadows:

This is probably my favourite.  With the quite low sun partially behind the grass, it even looked quite silhouetted in the viewfinder.  The film has though picked up some shadow detail in the grass. 


There were plenty more results I really quite liked from this film.  It is important to mention though that the 'over expose and under develop' principle isn't going to work for everything. With colour stock you'll get more subdued colours and possible shifts. Colour or black and white, in 'flat' light there will be no real gain unless you need a longer exposure for subjects like waterfalls. Over exposing and under developing is great for black and white where shadow detail may be important. Of course sometimes, the opposite is needed. Heavy shadows and almost burnt highlights can be great for some subjects.  I have been experimenting with FPP's Eastman 2369 film (old black and white Kodak cine stock) for exactly that very high contrast effect and there will be a blog about that soon.

Thanks for reading and do keep a lookout for more analogue blogs soon.






Curtis Heikkinen(non-registered)
Very interesting piece and excellent images, Paul!
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