When Kodak announced it would re-release P32000 I was excited. I had only shot a very expired roll of the film last year and the results weren't great. You should expect that from a high speed film that has been out of production for over a decade. I also wanted to know if shooting a true 3200 speed film was a better option than just pushing 400 speed film.
My original roll of P3200 came out insanely grainy and I underexposed quite a bit. A good rule of thumb is to add 1 stop to every 10 years a film is expired for black and white and 2 for color. High speed films, anything over 800 ISO, degrades even faster so an extra stop is good. A golden rule to negative film is overexposure hurts a lot less than underexposure. I shot at 1600 and wish I shot at 800 to get better results.
Now armed with a fresh new roll of P3200 I could now see how the film was supposed to work. I planned on using it at night in a tattoo shop and exposed for 3200. I was pretty happy with the extra stop it gave me, giving me F2.8 at 1,125th indoors. When I got the scans back I was a little disappointed to see that I had underexposed a little, and the exposures were pretty thin.
The images turned out fine and I liked the look. When pushing HP5 this to 3200 the contrast increases greatly but P3200 gave a very mellow range of tones. The grain itself was subdued and in all the images I made that day the grain didn't stand out, good or bad. Having more dynamic range at 3200 is a real strength of P3200 and a really good reason to have an emergency roll around.
Kodak P32000 is a film to to shoot in pretty dark scenarios and need to keep contrast and grain low. Pushing 400 speed film is going to be more economical in the long run but you can't subtract the contrast you add by pushing, if you have a way let me know. I'm also excited to see a niche film like this get its due again. While P3200 won't be in constant rotation for me it is still a very specific tool that does its job well. If I'm ever shooting portraits by moonlight it's my first choice.