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03-18-2009, 08:02 PM   #16
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There are some b&w color neg films that process through color C41 process, for the simple reason of economics. I'm playing with Kodak's 400CN now.

Kodak developed this because automated negative processing equipment in the quickie places like drug stores can be quite good if the chemistry and other factors is well maintained--but their business is 99.99999999% color.

So Kodak gives you a film to take advantage of the b&w neg pluses, as well as the pluses of cheaper and more readily available c-41 color neg processing.

Not saying it's going to be as good as other stuff out there, but you have to take EVERYTHING into account and see what works for you.

I'll be shooting this 400 in outdoor South Florida sun, where it might be just the style I need. Indoors, handheld and no flash? Who the hell knows what to expect.

03-19-2009, 07:43 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by ajuett Quote
Thanks Stevopedia for that info. I'll be sure to ask if they have a proper process for the B&W film.
Welcome to the wonderful world of film!

It's unlikely that London Drugs processes conventional black and white film in-house. Their processing is done by in-store minilabs, which won't do conventional black and white. I'm quite sure they outsource it. Conventional black and white processing is not standardised the way C-41 is, so I would be very dubious about having processing done by any except a high-end custom lab.

On the other hand, chromogenic (C-41 process) black and white films such as Ilford XP2 and Kodak BW400CN can be processed by any minilab. In my experience London Drugs runs clean and consistent C-41, which is all you really need.

You can learn a lot about black and white photography using these films.
The quality of both is excellent. They are sharp and offer beautiful, smooth tonality. I have a personal preference for the tonal rendition of XP2.

Bear in mind that while chromogenic black and white films can be developed in a minilab, you shouldn't expect either good prints or decent scans from that processing. Minilabs are set up to handle colour, and most operators don't know how to deal with black and white. You have to do your own scanning and printing to get the best from any black and white film.

If you see complaints about the quality of chromogenic black and white films, ignore them. They come from people who have no idea how to use them properly. (I've been doing my own black and white film development since 1973, and have used chromogenics extensively since 1982.)

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