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02-28-2009, 05:29 AM   #1
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Developing B/W film with C-41

Has anyone ever attempted such a feat? I'm willing to try, but with the current pricing of black & white film in Romania, I'm not really eager unless there's a chance of success.

I am curious...

02-28-2009, 05:42 AM   #2
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There are only certain types of B+W films that are designed to be processed through the C41 color chemicals. Don't put normal B+W films through a C41 process, the C41 runs at a higher temperature, and will soften and possibly remove the gelatin emulsion from the film base. It will also bleach out all the silver, so if the emulsion does hang on, you won't get any image.

If you can find chromogenic B+W film, which will be marked on the cannister as specifically for C41 processsing, then go for it. It's a completely different type of film, the image in this type of film are formed by dyes, not silver.

(I used to be in the photofinishing business.... in the old days LOL)

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02-28-2009, 07:58 AM   #3
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For B&W I suggest sticking with traditional B&W film and processing. In my opinion, the C-41 process films were developed for people that couldn't handle the real thing. The results from traditional processed film are much better with more range.
(God, I haven't done B&W in a long time!)
02-28-2009, 08:40 AM   #4
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Maybe it might be such a daring feat today...all BW films from the Big Three are, pretty much, halfway chromogenic anyway, having swapped a lot of their silver for dyes instead.

02-28-2009, 09:00 AM   #5
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I read information about this on an automotive forum the other night ... and Wiki does list a few of the C-41 process B&W films available on the market.

But as mentioned ... there is a difference ... as a n00b i didn't think that there would be. But after seeing some examples here and there .. it's enough of a difference to know though.
02-28-2009, 09:24 AM   #6
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If the B&W film isn't indicated as C-41 compatable (or compatable with other manufacturers versions of the C-41 process), then it cannot be put through the C-41 process with success.
The C-41 process does not leave any silver image on the film, so when a silver image B&W film is processed in C-41 process, the film is completely stripped of silver and comes out clear.

Note that you can cross process E-6 slide film in C-41 chemistry and get a non masked colour negative.
02-28-2009, 11:06 AM   #7
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I guess I should have mentioned that I know and use C-41 black&white film; and was wondering if the regular B/W film would survive a standard C-41 process.
02-28-2009, 11:22 AM   #8
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Look above one post, Dan...he beat me to the reply. Anything but C-41 or E-6 films will come out clear if run through a C-41 machine

Seen it before :/

On the other hand...someone on MFF processed a C-41 film through B&W chemicals. Heavily tinted images, but they turned out somehow...

02-28-2009, 12:03 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by ryan s Quote
Look above one post, Dan...he beat me to the reply. Anything but C-41 or E-6 films will come out clear if run through a C-41 machine

Seen it before :/

On the other hand...someone on MFF processed a C-41 film through B&W chemicals. Heavily tinted images, but they turned out somehow...
Ah well... it was worth a shot. Would have been nice if something came out of the developing process. Something other than blank plastic.

Thank you everyone for the replies. I guess I'll just have to find someone to develop B/W film for me.

...or I could try Caffenol.
02-28-2009, 01:20 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by ftpaddict Quote
Ah well... it was worth a shot. Would have been nice if something came out of the developing process. Something other than blank plastic.

Thank you everyone for the replies. I guess I'll just have to find someone to develop B/W film for me.

...or I could try Caffenol.

Give Caffenol a try!

_______________

The mix I've been using for Caffenol C:

for a 10oz tank

3 level tsp washing soda (arm and hammer "soclean")
1500 mg Vit C
4 round tsp instant coffe (Folgers)
10 oz water at 21C

Add washing soda, to the water and mix well until it is disolved. Then add the coffee, and finally the Vit C.

Let the mix rest in a water bath at 21 for 10 minutes.

After the mix rests, pour it into the tank. I use a Paterson tank with an agitation rod that allows the film spools to be turned inside the tank.

Agitate by turning the film spools for the first 30 sec, then two turns every 30 sec after. I do not use an inversion agitation as it causes the caffenol to foam up and leaves spots on the negatives.

I develope for 12 minutes, and use water as a stop bath.

____________

Iford Delta films need to be over exposed a stop or two, otherwise you get a very thin negative.

Kodak Tri-x 400 can be shot at box speed for high contrast light, and a 1/2 stop over for lower contrast light.

There is noticable fogging in the clear areas of the negative.

I do not think that I would want to use Caffenol if the entire process was done in the darkroom. But because I scan the images, the low contrast negatives can be boosted in PP.

Or try Ilford Ilfosol 3. its cheap. easy to use, and produces great looking negatives. A 500ml bottle costs $10.00, and it will do 16 rolls of film.
02-28-2009, 01:42 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by KungPOW Quote
Give Caffenol a try!
It was you who made me curious about Caffenol in the first place. Thank you for the "recipe". I have some spare coffee lying around; all I need is a light-tight container.
02-28-2009, 02:00 PM   #12
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No it will not, it'll come out perfectly clear.

QuoteOriginally posted by ftpaddict Quote
I guess I should have mentioned that I know and use C-41 black&white film; and was wondering if the regular B/W film would survive a standard C-41 process.
02-28-2009, 07:41 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by calicojack Quote
For B&W I suggest sticking with traditional B&W film and processing. In my opinion, the C-41 process films were developed for people that couldn't handle the real thing. The results from traditional processed film are much better with more range.
(God, I haven't done B&W in a long time!)
Well, the first chromogenic film, XP1, was originally actually kind of billed as a sort of wonder-film for serious photographers who might take advantage of all the minilabs springing up. It didn't live up to the grandiose promises of exposure latitude, never mind actually being very good. There was one fun thing, though. I worked at a place with a really overqualified printing machine guy, he could 'tone' the stuff however you wanted. (This man was a genius. Color-corrected near every print that went through the machine by eye, with barely a discernible pause) Only time I ever saw the stuff look *good,* and it still was hardly the same as true B&W.

I have a friend who has actually gotten some pleasing results out of the Kodak CN400... the big issue there is that you don't get a conventionally-printable negative, but they seem to scan OK. Still... Not the same thing. Real B&W is basically the way to go if at all possible, especially when the choice to shoot film is about other things than the most convenience, for the most part.

It's also not difficult to learn to do your own negs... It's like cooking, ...You can get as involved with it as you like, or do a perfectly competent job just by following simple directions.
03-01-2009, 03:45 AM   #14
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I tried a roll of the CN400 when it first came out. Like others I was unimpressed with the results.
I noticed little contrast; lots of gray-ish/taupe-ish/purple-ish tones. It just wasn't that attractive, or what I expected it may be.
03-01-2009, 11:33 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by ftpaddict Quote
Ah well... it was worth a shot. Would have been nice if something came out of the developing process. Something other than blank plastic.

Thank you everyone for the replies. I guess I'll just have to find someone to develop B/W film for me.

...or I could try Caffenol.
I made the mistake of trusting that a Walgreen's employee knew what they were talking about once and got a clear strip of Tri-X plastic back.

If you don't have a local lab that can develop "professional" B&W film and you don't want to mess with developing it yourself - give Dwayne's Photo a try.
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