I'm not sure why, but Ilford FP4 is a film that I've by and large ignored for most of my photography career. Sure, I've put a roll through my camera here and there over the years, but those have always been instances where I've acquired the film through some kind of grab bag or discounted expired stock. It's never been a conscious choice of mine to pick up the film at a brick and mortar store and use it for a specific purpose.
I honestly can't explain why this is the case. Why am I even contemplating this question you might ask? Well, because Ilford FP4 is actually quite beautiful!! Looking at the sample scans I posted right here from three separate photo sessions it is clear the contrast is nearly perfect, tonal range is amazing, and sharpness is unparalleled. These aren't exactly the greatest scans of all time either. Just something I did in about ten minutes looking for negatives to use with this post. That being said, they are maybe the most easily scannable negatives I have requiring virtually no photoshop processing other than a re-size for the web.
I guess it probably boils down to cost, and the fact that generally speaking I like to use ISO 400 film on all but the warmest and brightest of days. Given that we are going through a heat wave and a drought in the Pacific Northwest right now I shouldn't be surprised that looking into slower speed films is at the forefront of my mind. Lately my standard arsenal of ISO 400 film has led me to situations where I'm photographing at f/16 or f/22 which I don't really enjoy. I've always been one of those photographers who prefers a much more shallow depth of field, particularly with nudes.
At my local camera store, a roll of Ilford FP4 in medium format costs about seven dollars. Strangely that is more than a roll of Ilford HP5 (my staple film most days) which comes in at five dollars a roll. If someone could explain to me why there is a cost different between the two I would greatly appreciate it. Maybe it is just an issue of demand? I certainly can't imagine Ilford FP4 costs more to produce than HP5.
Either way, I should make it a point to use Ilford FP4 a whole lot more so expect to see more photographs using this stock in the near future!