Ilford HP5 Plus 35mm film review: monochrome magnificence

Ilford HP5 Plus is a quality and consistent black-and-white film, but a big plus is the price

5 Star Rating
Ilford HP5 Plus 35mm film canister on a table next to it packaging box
(Image: © Gareth Bevan / Digital Camera World)

Digital Camera World Verdict

Ilford HP5 Plus has become a black-and-white film favorite for many, and after shooting a few rolls it is easy to see why. HP5 Plus produces versatile results with great sharpness and a lovely grain pattern. In a world where film prices seem to get more expensive by the day, it is a relief to have the Ilford HP5 Plus maintaining a steady low price and still making film photography accessible for many – everyone can and should keep a few rolls of HP5 Plus in their kit bag.


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    Versatile for different lighting conditions

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    Balanced contrast suits a wide range of photographers

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    Attractive film grain

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    Affordable price


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    Black and white film can be more expensive to develop at labs than color

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Ilford HP5 Plus, a stalwart in the realm of black-and-white film, has certainly stood the test of time, ending up on many a best films list over its history. With its roots reaching back to 1989, this film has undergone refinements over the years, culminating in the celebrated HP5 Plus we have today.

The "Plus" in its name isn't just marketing – it represents an upgrade to the film's grain structure and tonal range over previous versions. The result – HP5 Plus has earned a reputation as one of the most versatile companions for photographers who love to shoot across varied lighting scenarios and subjects, from portraits to landscapes, bustling street scenes, or fashion.

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BrandIlford Photo
TypeB&W print
Formats35mm, 120, sheets, disposable camera

Kodak Tri-X 400 is for anyone who prefers a little more oomph in their black and white contrast. Tri-X has a more distinctive look than HP5, although that is a double-edged sword, as HP5’s more neutral starting point is easier to play around with. Tri-X also comes in at a few more dollars per roll. 


If you want a pro-level film with beautiful fine grain then Ilford Delta 400 is one to check out. You won’t be able to push it as much as HP5 Plus as Delta films are much more unforgiving of mistakes, but if you are a seasoned film photographer then you can get great results. 

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Gareth Bevan
Reviews Editor

Gareth is a photographer based in London, working as a freelance photographer and videographer for the past several years, having the privilege to shoot for some household names. With work focusing on fashion, portrait and lifestyle content creation, he has developed a range of skills covering everything from editorial shoots to social media videos. Outside of work, he has a personal passion for travel and nature photography, with a devotion to sustainability and environmental causes.