Curious: Colour film in B&W chem

Discussion in 'Darkroom Developing and Printing' started by Justin Thyme, Aug 7, 2004.

  1. Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Guest

    The thought occurred to me today - what would happen if i tried to develop
    c41 colour negative film in B&W chemistry? Obviously the result will not
    have colour, but would a B&W (or more accurately, black and orange) negative
    result? I'm tempted to buy one of those cheap budget rolls of film to give
    it a go, but thought i'd ask here first just in case someone else has tried
    Justin Thyme, Aug 7, 2004
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  2. Personally, I've never tried it though it will work. I have seen
    plenty of examples of the practice and quite honestly, I was not
    impressed. The results were flat and grainy - far inferior to what
    you get by using a conventional B&W film. Don't waste your time
    and/or money on this.
    Frank J. Schifano, Aug 7, 2004
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  3. Justin Thyme

    jjs Guest

    If your goal is to make B&W prints from color negative film (processed as
    color), then consider Kodak Panalure paper. It's intended exactly for such a
    jjs, Aug 7, 2004
  4. I first saw this done in 1974. I'm pretty sure it wasn't new then. :)

    Yes, you'll get a B&W negative with an overall orange mask (unlike a
    proper color negative, the mask will cover even the developed image --
    it's composed of unreacted dye couplers, and would have reduced density
    in proportion to developed dye when processed in a regular color
    developer). The resulting images will be very hard to print on normal
    B&W papers, because the orange is close to safelight colors; exposures
    will be very long, safelight fogging is a hazard, and the result will be
    very low in contrast on multigrade papers because the orange mask
    eliminates the blue light that activates the high contrast layer in the
    paper emulsion.

    If you want to play games, the resulting negative can then be bleached
    with a rehalogenating bleach, exposed to light or chemically fogged, and
    redeveloped in a C-41 process to yield a color negative -- but any push
    or pull would be done in the B&W part of the process. The hardest part
    of this is finding a C-41 lab that will process film you've already
    played with -- most will simply refuse to handle such experiments for
    fear of them contaminating chemistry and ruining other customers' film.
    Home C-41 isn't all that hard, though, and the cost isn't terrible (if
    you process enough, it can be cheaper than negative-only processing at
    the local one-hour place).

    If you really want to do this for the images, you'd be ahead to start
    with Ilford XP2, which uses different dye couplers that are transparent
    in the unreacted state (and so produces a clear base without the orange
    mask). The Diafine box even includes information on processing XP2 this
    way (though even Diafine loses one stop compared to C-41 because there's
    no dye amplification). BTW, XP2 can also be processed as slides in a
    variation of the process above -- instead of fixing, then bleaching, one
    would develop in B&W, NO FIX, then bleach the silver with a
    non-halogenating bleach, fog, and redevelop in C-41 to produce a B&W
    positive image. The same could be done with any C-41 film to produce a
    color positive, though the colors may shift as they do when
    cross-processing to E-6 and the mask wouldn't be removed in the C-41
    process (though using E-6 bleach in place of the C-41 product should
    remove the orange, IIRC). This is probably not worth the effort, since
    E-6 chemistry and process is neither much more difficult nor more
    expensive than C-41. It might turn out to save cost if the resulting
    slides were nice, since C-41 films cost a lot less than E-6 stock.

    I may be a scwewy wabbit, but I'm not going to Alcatwaz!
    -- E. J. Fudd, 1954

    Donald Qualls, aka The Silent Observer
    Lathe Building Pages
    Speedway 7x12 Lathe Pages

    Opinions expressed are my own -- take them for what they're worth
    and don't expect them to be perfect.
    Donald Qualls, Aug 7, 2004
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