B&W and Color Film

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by urufan56, Nov 8, 2008.

  1. urufan56

    urufan56 TPF Noob!

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    Hey I was just wondering if when I want a B&W photo should I put B&W film into the camera or should I take a color picture with film and then edit it in photoshop later and make it B&W? Would this affect quality of the image or what? Thanks! :D
     
  2. christopher walrath

    christopher walrath No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Six of one, half dozen of the other. Your personal preference. I have scanned color and converted it before and prob will do so again. But for the last two years I am only shooting B&W film and trying to get the contrast right there with filters. Only one problem, no prints. I don't print yet. Can't afford to have any made. And we live next week to next week if you know what I mean.
     
  3. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I am much the same way as chris, I would prefer to shoot to BW film is there where more processing and printing options that did not include more money or more shipping time. I have and will shoot color and convert for the time being untill I can process my self.

    If you are really wanting to explor BW I would suggest starting out shooting to BW with Kodak Professional BW400CN. It is a C-41 process BW film that can be bought at most drugstores and/or wall-mart last time I checked. Basically it is BW that can be sent out for any standard color processing. You should prolly be fore warned that even this film often needs to be converted as it tends to cast in either red or blue with drugstore processing.


    Also, don't get into the mind set that converting to BW is going to save a photo. If you are going to convert a color photo into BW, decide to do it before you take the shot and think of the shot in BW all the way through.
     
  4. urufan56

    urufan56 TPF Noob!

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    Awesome! Thanks a lot guys! On more question though... what kind of B&W film would you suggest that is good? Thanks a lot! ;)
     
  5. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    As already mentioned, it's a matter of personal choice, though each method has its advantages. I generally prefer to use traditional B&W film for images I want in B&W. Unless you are printing traditionally (ie onto normal B&W printing paper) I see little reason to use C-41 ("chromogenic") B&W film. You may as well use colour C-41 film. If you intend to print onto traditional B&W paper then Ilford XP-2 tends to be a better choice than Kodak BW400CN, because XP-2 is designed to match the typical contrast of B&W paper, BW400CN is designed to match the typical contrast of colour paper (they are different).

    Here is something I wrote in an earlier thread:

    The image characteristics of colour film and chromogenic B&W film are fairly similar - they are both made up of dye clouds instead of tiny specks of silver. By shooting in colour you have the opportunity to control the way in which different colours are represented in greyscale during post production. With a B&W film it is fixed at the time of shooting. Colour film is also available in a wider variety of ISOs than chromogenic B&W film.

    My general personal preference is to use traditional B&W film (with filters if necessary) because I usually have a particular 'look' in mind before I take the photograph, and I usually prefer the appearance of silver graininess to the almost digital smoothness of modern dye-image films.

    Aesthetic preferences aside, the practical advantages of using colour film for B&W images intended for scanning are:

    it is possible to use infra-red dust and scratch removal software, such as 'ICE';

    the effect of coloured filters can be simulated in post;

    a very wide dynamic range is achievable effortlessly;

    acceptable quality rapid processing is comparatively easy to find if you don't want to do it yourself.

    The first and last of those, and the third to some extent, are also shared by chromogenic B&W film.


    Best,
    Helen
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2008
  6. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Sorry Helen, but we are all opperating under the assumption that these are for digital display, so the C-41 BW would be sufficient for the task as well as getting a feel for shooting straight to BW. I could be wrong of course but....
     
  7. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    Yes, that is exactly why I suggest that B&W C-41 has no advantages at all over colour C-41. If you aren't finishing digitally then B&W C-41 does have advantages over colour C-41 for B&W prints.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  8. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well, I am of a slightly different oppinion, but it has nothing to do with the technical aspect (you are right on that), it is in the mental aspect. I feel that elimination of the full color will go a long ways in preventing the ideaoligy of "convert and rescue" and build a better thought process for shooting B&W. So many convertions fail today because the photographer was thinking color and photoshop instead of B&W when they shot the shot.
     
  9. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    I don't think that we are in disagreement at all. I gave a list of technical/practical advantages and prefaced it by saying that they were separate from aesthetic issues and personal preferences. The advantage you describe is purely a mindset, and as such is an individual preference. The failure you describe is a failure on the part of the photographer, not the process.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  10. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yeah, I ran off to make the kids some lunch and realized I had faild to articulate that comment properly, by the time I got back you had alredy replied....but any who.


    Yes, you are right it is a mind set and the only real benifit to the chromogenic. I like to think of a training aid of any form as an advantage, that is what I ment by slightly. Once the thought process is down it's not an advantage of any kind.
     
  11. christopher walrath

    christopher walrath No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Shoot B&W. If cost is an overall concern the shoot Kodak BW400CN. C41 process. Can be one houred at retail places. Great quality to the film and resulting prints.

    If you wanna do it right, then spend about $175.00 and a little more for some Kodak TMY TMax 400 35mm roll film and process it yourself.
     
  12. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    How cheaply can you get BW400CN? It seems to be about twice the price of Superia 400, for example, so if cost is a concern BW400CN might not be the best answer if you are using one-hour labs.

    If you want to develop your own film you should be able to pick second-hand equipment up at very low prices. You don't need much, and I would think that you could set yourself up for B&W film developing for rather less than $175.

    Best,
    Helen
     

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