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05-11-2010, 03:56 AM   #1
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Kodak BW400CN question

Hi,

Was wondering if anyone had used this film and what their experiences have been? Black and White on a C41 colour developing process could save quite a few pennies.........

I don't have space or the time at the moment to mess around with deveoping chemicals and suchlike sadly but I like B+W and have a roll of Ilford in the Program A at the moment. Hoping it works well!

05-11-2010, 04:47 AM   #2
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BW400CN works great, though often you may want to desaturate the minilab scans to get rid of remaining colorations (due to their scanning). It's a good film, as is the Ilford XP2.

However, traditional b&w film, with home developing and scanning, is cheaper once you're set up. All you really need is a box to hold: 3 bottles, a tank, a funnel, a thermometer, a graduate, and a bottle opener for the film canister, scissors. Changing bag is a nice to have, tho optional if you have a room or closet that can be made fully dark.

With home developing you do have to factor in the cost of your own time, so depending on priorities, C41 is more convenient.
05-11-2010, 06:39 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nesster Quote
BW400CN works great, though often you may want to desaturate the minilab scans to get rid of remaining colorations (due to their scanning). It's a good film, as is the Ilford XP2.

However, traditional b&w film, with home developing and scanning, is cheaper once you're set up. All you really need is a box to hold: 3 bottles, a tank, a funnel, a thermometer, a graduate, and a bottle opener for the film canister, scissors. Changing bag is a nice to have, tho optional if you have a room or closet that can be made fully dark.

With home developing you do have to factor in the cost of your own time, so depending on priorities, C41 is more convenient.
I would echo that but add that the changing bag really makes the process pleasant. Most places you can get dark enough to use for loading film are stuffy and unpleasant, and they lend themselves to rushing the film on to the reels and incorrect winding.

With a developer like HC110 and a fixer like Ilford Rapid Fix, you can be done with the process (other than, perhaps, film drying) in the time it takes to get to and from the C41 minilab.

That being said, the biggest advantage to C41 B&W is that you can shoot at different ISO settings on the same roll. You will get different contrasts and grain structure.
05-11-2010, 07:38 AM   #4
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Good advise above, I will add though that at times when I am lazy.....












05-11-2010, 11:53 AM   #5
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I've never bought C-41 process B/W film, thinking it was a waste since I knew how to do real b/w. But somebody gave me a few rolls a while back, and I was pleased with it. BW400CN seems well-behaved and has a good dynamic range. I wonder if it uses multiple emulsion layers like regular color film, but instead of making them sensitive to different colors, makes them behave at different film speeds with 400 just being an average - so, say, when a "fast" layer gets exposed to saturation, a "slower" layer is still capturing information. But I'm just speculating here, haven't heard anything like that or researched it.

05-11-2010, 01:22 PM   #6
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I really like the Kodak BW400CN. Every bit as good as the Ilford stuff, I think.

K1000:


ME Super:
05-11-2010, 03:35 PM   #7
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I've seen some nice results with it, (tried it once or twice, myself.) I actually like it better than XP1 and what I've seen of XP2... The only problem is you don't get conventionally-printable negatives out of it, and have to send to a place set up for color negs.
05-11-2010, 04:18 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ratmagiclady Quote
I've seen some nice results with it, (tried it once or twice, myself.) I actually like it better than XP1 and what I've seen of XP2... The only problem is you don't get conventionally-printable negatives out of it, and have to send to a place set up for color negs.
It scans nicely, though.

Having been away from film for several years I was very pleasantly surprised by the quality and dynamic range of this stuff.

05-11-2010, 04:57 PM   #9
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I find it scans much better than XP2. Just my opinion, I have seen very good results from XP2 also, I just have not been able to figure it out as well as I have BW400CN.
05-11-2010, 05:21 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ratmagiclady Quote
I've seen some nice results with it, (tried it once or twice, myself.) I actually like it better than XP1 and what I've seen of XP2... The only problem is you don't get conventionally-printable negatives out of it, and have to send to a place set up for color negs.
I agree. I've been less impressed with XP2 than I remember being with XP1 in the 80s. I've been much happier with the Kodak version. It is sharper and has better tones.
05-11-2010, 06:30 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by GeneV Quote
...
That being said, the biggest advantage to C41 B&W is that you can shoot at different ISO settings on the same roll. You will get different contrasts and grain structure.
Gene, could you please explain what you mean by this? Are you saying that you can expose a roll of C-41 B&W at different ISO settings without needing to push or pull process the entire roll?
05-11-2010, 06:36 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by goddo31 Quote
Gene, could you please explain what you mean by this? Are you saying that you can expose a roll of C-41 B&W at different ISO settings without needing to push or pull process the entire roll?
That is correct. It was the original selling point for XP1 when Ilford first introduced the concept. I have exposed at varying ISO many more times with the Ilford product. I could expose at higher ISO and get more contrast and grain and at lower ISO and get lower contrast and grain. Either way, I processed standard C41. (With Ilford, I did it myself. The Kodak does very well in a minilab.)
05-11-2010, 08:05 PM   #13
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The BW CN is a good film, but I would like to mention a problem that can come up with processing.
Most 1-hour photo places, at least near me, end up giving back prints that are either color (somehow?) or tinged (purple or green, usually). Sometimes this creates interesting results, but, for me, has been an annoyance, the closest pro-lab being 30 minutes away and charging $9 a roll.
When it's done right, an impressive film, but it does require some additional effort as opposed to normal color negative films, and, although it is perfectly alright as a film, due to processing I think in the long run it would be smarter to set yourself up for developing.
05-11-2010, 09:16 PM   #14
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Gene - thanks for the explanation, I really had no idea it could work like that... Once I exposed some BW400CN at iso1600, but I asked the pro-lab to push it to 1600. The whole roll was exposed for 1600 anyway.

I have also experienced problems with some slight colour tinges, in prints from the 1-hour photo places.
05-11-2010, 11:24 PM   #15
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I've developed a roll shot with an old Konica Auto S2 rangefinder. I really liked the prints that came off of it, though it tends to render skin a bit dark, I think.
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