Kodak B&W C-41 process?

Discussion in 'Kodak' started by jimkramer, Apr 14, 2004.

  1. jimkramer

    jimkramer Guest

    Any good experiences? What do I really need to tell the processor? What do
    I need to watch out for in shooting this film?
    Jim Kramer
    jimkramer, Apr 14, 2004
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  2. jimkramer

    Nick Zentena Guest

    You shouldn't have to tell the processor anything. Unless you've pushed
    the film. IIRC the Ilford version is intended to print on real B&W paper.
    The Kodak on colour paper. Or maybe it's the other way. If you intend to
    print it on B&W paper then get the Ilford film. If on colour paper the Kodak.

    Nick Zentena, Apr 14, 2004
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  3. jimkramer

    Gordon Moat Guest

    Kodak T400CN used on a 645 (120 roll film).
    Usually, I just ask for an index print, then if something really looks good,
    get a regular print for just that frame. I had small prints made from 35 mm
    Portra 400BW once, and they looked okay. Definitely skip on the fake Sepia
    I have not tried the new replacement from Kodak, so I am not really sure about
    changes. The older T400CN seems to have slightly more contrast than Portra
    400BW, though both could use help in that regard. If you are printing later to
    B/W papers, try using filters to add contrast. Generally, I like to use a
    light orange filter on the camera when I shoot these films, though I find that
    I rarely use them anymore (like normal B/W films much more).
    Gordon Moat, Apr 14, 2004
  4. I don't like the stuff compared to traditional BW film. I think it may lack
    contrast or something. And you can't print it on color paper or you get all
    kinds of colors that are not quite black. But man, BW is starting to get
    expensive. My shop is now charging me $7.25 to develop a roll. I've got to
    find another source.

    The shop I go to now sells some sepia C-41 film. I think it's Kodak. I
    asked about it but didn't quite understand the advantage. If you're
    printing C-41 BW film on color paper, can't you just adjust the color so
    it's sepia? Why would you need a different film?
    Kevin Neilson, Apr 14, 2004
  5. jimkramer

    Mike Guest

    Develop traditional B&W film yourself in your bathroom/utility room. It
    is remarkably easy and cheap. See Ilford or Kodak's website for simple

    developing tank and reel: < $15
    fixer: $3
    D76 developer: $3

    Use water as stop. Hang film using binder clips and a clothes hanger.
    Photo-flo isn't necessary if you use distilled water for final rinse.

    A light-tight closet or bathroom works to get the film into the tank
    (once it is loaded, everything else is done in daylight). If you don't
    even have that, then you can either load at night (under blankets or
    something) or purchase a changing bag.

    Once you make the initial investments, developing will cost you nearly
    nothing. The $6 I quoted above for chemicals will probably be good for at
    least a dozen rolls.

    If you need prints, then that is another matter.
    Mike, Apr 14, 2004
  6. Any good experiences? What do I really need to tell the processor? What
    I've never heard of anyone who shoots B+W that does not develop his
    own. You don't even need an enlarger if you just want negs and a
    contact print (such as if you were going to scan them)
    Because it's "sepia when printed through a minilab machine". By
    untrained operators on a McDonalds basis.
    Jim-Ed Browne, Apr 15, 2004
  7. jimkramer

    ian green Guest

    ian green, Apr 15, 2004
  8. jimkramer

    Alan Browne Guest

    This is very tempting. One frustration is shooting "true" B&W and then
    waiting for the poorly printed results to come back, expensively. Doing
    enlarger/darkroom work is of no appeal to me, but scanning the B&W film
    is another matter. I'd do chromes too, but temperature control is a bear.

    Alan Browne, Apr 15, 2004
  9. jimkramer

    Dallas Guest

    jimkramer said:
    If you are using the Kodak T400CN film I think you will be pleasantly
    surprised. As I can no longer get traditional B&W processed and printed
    where I live, this is the film I am relying on at the moment. So far I
    haven't been disappointed.

    It's sharp, pretty fine grained and it has terrific contrast. It's also
    pretty forgiving. Alan Browne says he rates it at 3200, but I haven't
    tried that yet.

    But to answer your question, no special procedures required. I prefer the
    B&W prints from the Frontier to the Sepia.

    Dallas, Apr 15, 2004
  10. jimkramer

    Mike Guest

    Right. C-41 and E-6 developing makes no sense to me. Its messy,
    difficult, and there is no creative control. It isn't worth my time.

    B&W developing is quick, easy, cheap, and gives you lots of control and
    experimentation if you want. It does take 20-30 minutes per roll so I
    guess it depends whether it is worth your time. Then again, my local labs
    messed up both rolls of traditional B&W that I didn't do myself. One was
    completely overdeveloped. The other had no contrast and was
    underdeveloped. 2 different labs

    If you do give it a try, order HC-110 instead of D76 and Ilford Rapid
    Fixer. Both are liquid concentrates and are easier to deal with. The
    HC-110 concentrate lasts forever and you can mix your one-shot developer
    directly from concentrate and throw away when done. That way, you don't
    need to worry about your developer going bad if you only develop
    occasionally (i'm at a couple rolls a month)


    The only other things you need, which I failed to mention, is a kitchen
    thermometer (don't reuse with kitchen) for rough temperature control,
    an old pop bottle to store the mixed fixer, and a mixing cup. For drawing
    HC-110, I use a medicine dropper that my pharmicist gave me for free.

    And if you are scanning negatives, I guess you need to ask yourself what
    traditional B&W gives you over C-41 photoshop desaturation and C-41 B&W.
    The only 2 things I can think of are: 3200-speed B&W and that good ole'
    TriX grain look. I'm not big into contrast control through

    But I sure love 3200-speed T-Max
    Mike, Apr 15, 2004
  11. jimkramer

    Nick Zentena Guest

    It not difficult. Temp control is no harder then you want it to be.

    Nick Zentena, Apr 15, 2004
  12. jimkramer

    Alan Browne Guest

    Whoops! I did that once for the SI, shooting available light at night
    (rated 3200/pushed 3). The results were very grainy, spooky wierd (and
    quite okay for the mandate at the time).

    Shooting that rating in daylight yielded very contrasty and ugly images
    (the last few frames went this way).

    I've also shot it rated 400 and gotten acceptable, not contrsty enough
    shots. Maybe 1000/push 2 would be better for this film. I just don't
    feel like investing in it... but the idea of developing my own Tri-X or
    T-max is another story as I can scan it and adjust it myslef in PS. The
    missing link here is the printing, however.

    Back to T400CN printing... I ask the ML to print it higher contrast...
    and they couldn't accept the order. They accepted printing it darker or
    lighter, or changing the color casts.

    Alan Browne, Apr 15, 2004
  13. jimkramer

    jimkramer Guest

    Tried it, didn't like it. Everything was shot with flash, gloomy overcast

    Jim Kramer
    jimkramer, Apr 15, 2004
  14. jimkramer

    Bandicoot Guest

    Tonal range. 'True' b&w film records a far wider contrast range than any
    colour film can handle, and that has to be the bottom line for me on why
    'making' b&w from colour film isn't the same. For a scene whose tonal range
    is entirely encompassed by the colour film then sure, you get little 'extra'
    with b&w film (though I still think it looks better, subjectively) but why
    accept that limitation when b&w film lets you make good pictures in
    situations where colour either couldn't cope or could only be used by making

    C41 b&w films don't seem to have the contrast of true silver films, and the
    grain structure is different: dye clouds rather than sharp crystals. But
    they are still better than using colour and de-saturating. Or, that's how
    it feels to me.
    Mmmm.... Just used some of that when commissioned to do some photo's for a
    band, and did a few available light portraits with it during the interval.
    Very nice.

    Bandicoot, Apr 15, 2004
  15. jimkramer

    Doug Payne Guest

    Anyone here ever tried any of the Photoshop filters available from places like
    Silver Oxide, The Imaging Factory, etc? They "claim" to emulate many popular
    B&W films.

    http://www.silveroxide.com/ (warning, this is one butt-ugly Web site :)

    I'm curious to know how well they work.
    Doug Payne, Apr 15, 2004
  16. jimkramer

    Bandicoot Guest

    I think C41 B&W has a place. I like Ilford XP2, and have just got some Fuji
    Neopan 400CN (supposedly made by Ilford to Fuji's spec.) to try out. Of the
    two Kodak offerings, I think I prefer T400CN.

    This is XP2 (120):


    (This is about my favourite recent picture of her, though this is a terrible
    scan of it - something weird has happened to the fur on the top of her

    I use the C41 films if I'm teaching so I can get same-day results easily,
    and T400CN is the one I recommend to students in this situation: the people
    I'm talking about here are not experienced B&W shooters - who'll already
    know what their favourite films are - but colour shooters who are trying B&W
    for perhaps the first time, or first time in many years.

    I feel T400CN is better treated in-camera as if it is a colour film that has
    a wider tonal range and happens to produce B&W results, rather than as a
    'normal' B&W film: and this approach suits this audience. (I'm making them
    shoot B&W to force them to think about tone and so improve their colour
    work, not to convert them into B&W shooters - for the latter there are other
    films to introduce them to!)

    A few small T400CN (35mm) ones are on the web at:


    All the filenames prefixed "B&W" were shot on T400CN. The other three are
    colour film turned into mono in PS, and clearly not as good. This was just
    a quick page of thumbs I put up for a newsletter editor to choose some shots

    It is different from 'real' B&W, and takes a little getting used to. YMMV!

    Bandicoot, Apr 16, 2004
  17. jimkramer

    Gordon Moat Guest

    I have tried those, and some others from different companies. I have also tried
    some fairly expensive film emulsion emulators for video editing. All I can state,
    and this is purely my opinion, and judging by knowing what the real thing should
    look like, is that these are all poor substitutes for the real thing. However, if
    you did not think of it when you took the shot, or just want to try something
    different, the effects can fool about 90% of the viewing public. I don't suggest
    spending much time on money on these things.
    Gordon Moat, Apr 16, 2004
  18. jimkramer

    Doug Payne Guest

    Thanks, Gordon. That's about what I'd guessed.

    That's the problem with software; it costs too much to buy and then discard if
    you don't like it. At least with film you're only out a roll plus processing.
    And even then you might have something worthwhile to show for it :)
    Doug Payne, Apr 16, 2004
  19. You're probably right; I should start doing this on my own. In the past, I
    think the general rule was that BW photographers should make their own
    prints if possible, but developing was best left to the shop because it was
    so cheap. But that's not the case now.

    I would love to take more BW pics but the somewhat ironic reason I don't is
    the expense. The development is really expensive as is the printing on BW
    paper. By most reasoning this should be cheaper but I guess the demand has
    fallen enough to jack up the prices. I guess I should develop my own and
    maybe look into getting an enlarger as well. Or at least a scanner.
    Kevin Neilson, Apr 16, 2004
  20. jimkramer

    Mxsmanic Guest

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