I work in Downtown Indianapolis. Yes, it’s capital-D Downtown here. My favorite way to take a work break is to grab whatever film camera I have with me and take a walk around capital D. For a few weeks recently, that was my little Olympus Stylus, into which I’d loaded a roll of Ilford HP5 Plus.


The generous people at Analogue Wonderland sent me this roll of Ilford HP5 Plus so I’d write about the experience and drop their name. You can buy HP5 Plus from them here. But do explore their site — they offer over 200 other films! Click the logo to see.

Contrasting Doors

Last time I shot HP5 I used my big semi-pro Nikon N90s SLR. I wanted to see what kind of results I got from a different class of 35mm camera, hence the Stylus. Answer: every bit as impressive. I got excellent detail and balanced contrast shot after shot. As a traditionally grained film, you will absolutely see grain on HP5. But it looks natural and doesn’t detract from sharpness or detail.

Central Christian

I shot this roll little by little in December and January, two of Indiana’s gloomiest months every year. At ISO 400, HP5 Plus had the speed to cope with the poor light and give me big depth of field.


Even on a day with some sun, the HP5 Plus delivered good balance between the bright and shadowy areas.

View from the 12th Floor Window

I walked around on idle lunch hours with the Stylus, photographing anything I thought might look good in black and white.

Cups Coffee

There are plenty of lovely older buildings Downtown with interesting details to study. HP5 Plus did a great job navigating the natural contrasts.

Inland Bldg.

Even though Indianapolis is Indiana’s largest city by far, it’s not large like Chicago or Dallas. The core of Downtown is about one mile square, beyond which the tall buildings give way fast to shorter office and apartment buildings and then neighborhoods full of older homes. Roberts Camera is just beyond that mile square. They process 35mm color film at a reasonable price. They also happen to be the US distributor of Ilford products.


While I’ve never used them, there are a few auto mechanics just outside Downtown’s mile square. Convenient!


HP5 Plus is a great film for everyday photography. If you’d like to try Ilford HP5 Plus for yourself, you can order it from Analogue Wonderland here. They provided me this roll of film in exchange for this mention.

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12 responses to “Downtown Indianapolis on Ilford HP5 Plus”

  1. Andy Umbo Avatar
    Andy Umbo

    I was always a fan of the 120 Kodak Tri-x 400 speed (not the 320 “pro”) and shot a whole lot of it commercially. It’s still available, but I changed over to Ilford HP-5, because I figured I should support the company that WANTS to believe in film. So far, I like it just fine. I was a big believer in Verichrome Pan 120 as well, until they killed it, and I changed to Ilford FP-4. Shot a lot of that, and it’s probably my best loved Ilford film.

    Roberts Camera seems to be the last of the mid-sized city “pro” shops. Milwaukee had two or three until the early 2000’s, then shops that had been in business since the late 1800’s, servicing the pro photography and printing industry, ended up closed. One of the pluses about living in Indianapolis was having a good, old style, pro shop with services like Roxanne sending in your repairs and a commercial sales department for pros!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      The two rolls of FP4 I’ve shot have been just stunning, so I want to keep exploring that film. It might well be a better film than VP or Plus-X, both of which I miss.

      We’re fortunate to have Roberts. I hope they figure out how to stay viable for the long term.

  2. bodegabayf2 Avatar

    I need to start doing this. Some great shots here!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks! On those days I can make a break for it during the day, walking-around photography is a great attitude adjustment.

  3. tbm3fan Avatar

    Probably the only film manufacturer I haven’t tried. If I didn’t shoot Plus-X or Tri-X then it would have been one of the AgfaPan films till they were discontinued. Then some of the APX till it met the same fate. Two weeks ago I shot my first roll of Fuji Acros, exp. 2019, on a walk around of an F-14 and the pier where the Hornet is moored. I’m super impressed by that film scanned last night.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I think I like the Ilford films I’ve tried slightly more than the equivalent Kodak. Heresy for this Yank I know, but there it is.

  4. analogphotobug Avatar

    I still like my TMAX-400 for medium format, I tend to be a contrasty person; followed closely by Ilford SFX-200. But when I want lower contrast I’ve been rediscovering Ilford Delta 400. And HP5 has become my standard 35mm B&W film.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I do love T-Max 400, though I’ve only used it in 35mm. I like some contrast but not chalk and soot, and T-Max 400 fills the bill!

  5. Rob B Avatar

    TMax 400 is my go-to, but as of late it’s been hard for me to get locally. I’ve become a huge fan of Ilford’s Kentmere Pan films. They’re surprisingly sharp and contrasty for a budget film.

    I spend way too much money with UsedPhotoPro, so I hope Roberts can keep themselves afloat.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      The film developing counter is right across from the used film camera counter. It’s soooooooooo dangerous to walk in there to get a roll of film developed.

      1. Rob B Avatar

        I know this struggle – my local place in Kenmore Camera and the used gear case is 10 steps to the right of the developing counter!

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          There are risks we simply must take.

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