A Tin of HP4

No it’s not a typo, in the tin is some HP4. I recently purchased a box of “photo bits” mainly for the Olympus Af10 I wrote about here. Lurking in the bottom of the box was this old rusty tin, with a hand typed label, you see above. The first thing was to open it up in the dark bag to see if it actually contained film, that proved positive. I tore off a length, and from that I could deduce that it was a black and white emulsion and not much else.

I did a bit of quick research on good old wiki, on the HP range of films. It seems that the original HP was introduced in 1935 as a 160 asa film, fast for the time! It was replaced by Ilford in 1939 with HP2 as 200asa, and this in turn was replaced in 1941 with HP3. It started with a 200asa rating, but was up-dated in 1960 to 400asa. Wiki suggests that it was replaced by HP4, but explains that HP3 was discontinued in 1969 but that HP4 was introduced in 1965. So it might well have been that for a while the two films ran together, but I suspect it was more likely that HP3 disappeared closer to 1965 on HP4’s release. So my tin of film could date from then! Potentially older than me!

Again there is a time disparity with Wiki, apparently HP5, that we all know and love, was introduced in 1976, and replaced with the current HP5 + in 1989, Wiki suggests that HP4 also ran up till 1989 and this “plus” up-date. I think that is wrong – I spent a reasonable amount of time in camera stores in my youth, and don’t remember seeing HP4 – it was always HP5. That aside – of course I just had to reel off a bit and try it – would I get any images at all??

Bird Feeder
Play Park
Tree and Fence
Water drops and fence

Obviously there is decay – but I’m amazed, and think it’s a testament to Ilford’s film, that I got any images at all from a film that must be at least 50 years old and could be 57! I’ll dump the remainder but it’s been fun to try!

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