Before we get into all this, let me start by staying Ortho Plus is not a new film, it’s just now available in different formats. Originally I shot a box of the stuff in 4×5 when it was only available in sheet format, and it was the first film that I shot that had no real rating set. In fact, most entries for developing times on the massive dev chart simply had a question mark for the ISO rating. I found that this gave me a lot more latitude when working with the film. I could rate it higher or lower depending on the situation at hand. I ended up shooting the film from ASA-6 at the low end to ASA-50 at the high end. Never up to the recommended rating of ASA-80 for outdoor or ASA-40 for indoor tungsten.
So when Ilford included Ortho Plus in their announcement of products in the fall of 2019, I originally thought that it was a new version of this film, and while it wasn’t, I was still excited. As you can see from the above three examples it’s a fantastic film. So on a trip into the city, I made sure to grab a single roll to shoot and get a general feel for the film at the ASA-80 rating. And I have to say I’m pretty impressed with the results.
I had seen plenty of people posting results well before I went out and shot, developed, and scanned mine. Now I was shooting the film in less-than-ideal conditions, but despite the heavy overcast, the results are wonderful. I trusted the roll to my Nikon F5 and developing in Kodak HC-110, basing my times off the Ilfotech HC listed in the box. I had originally wanted to go for a Dilution H (1+63) but instead thought to start off with a listed time of Dilution B (1+31). I feared that it would result in overly contrasty images, but I have to say I’m pleased with how they turned out even in the higher dilution.
As soon as I pulled the negatives out of the tank I knew I had some winning images. And upon running them through the scanner I could see the negatives weren’t lying. Despite the overcast conditions, the resulting images were smooth, sharp, nearly grain-free, and have an amazing tone about them. I actually think the cloudy conditions helped. Scanning was a breeze with only slight adjustments needed in post-processing. And while the full review is not scheduled until July, I’m looking forward to shooting Ortho Plus in medium format, developing in different developers, and sunnier conditions.