XP2 Super in B/W Chemistry

I had been given a small batch of film that was way out of date. I’ve dumped the colour, or rather the film in the cassettes and just using them to reload with bulk film. I’ve worked my way through the few rolls of HP5, and that left remaining 1 roll of Ilford XP2 Super, expiry date of March 2002, making it exactly 21 years out of date.

I was pretty confident that it would be OK – Ilford films, especially in 35mm always are! I loaded it up in my Canon EOS 30, with the 50mm f1.4 and took it with me on a walk around Poole. A walk that I’ve done many many times, but not for a while recently. I exposed the film as a 200asa. Partly to allow for it’s age, but I always expose XP2 asa 200 – I seem to get the best negs at that rating.

XP2 is a film that is designed to be processed in C41 (colour) chemistry. Apparently it contains dyes that help form the image, and work best at colour temps and chemistry. The issue I had was that I haven’t got any other colour film to send out for processing at the moment, and I always try to send off three or four rolls together to make it worthwhile for the postage charges! I decided to have a go at processing it myself in B/W chemistry.

I’ve read, actually on the Ilford blog, that 12 mins at 20°, gives a good result, so I gave it a go. I mixed up some Ilford DDX, the bottle of dev I happened to have on the go, mixed 1+4 as usual, and gave it 12 mins. I did agitate fairly robustly, in other words a good shake to get it going, then a couple of inversions every minute. Stop, then the usual fix. Result: some of the best, I’ve ever got from XP2!

I’ve no doubt that the purists are correct, proper C41 chemistry, for which the film is designed, would be better, I just didn’t want to pay out for a single roll of 21 year – out of date film. I’m pleased with the results.

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