C-41 Black and white film

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by hammy, Aug 13, 2005.

  1. hammy

    hammy TPF Noob!

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    Lately I've been shooting in black and white. I've been using, I believe, Kodak professional B&W but C-41, so it can be developed at a color lab. I've been happy with the pictures, but I've noticed they just don't look like the majority of old Black and White shots i've seen...
    So, I've been wondering, what about "tradional" B&W films? Is there any difference between a B&W C-41 film that can be developed at your local one hour photo, and the tradional Black and white that must be developed and processed in a darkroom/B&W lab? :scratch:
     
  2. Ghoste

    Ghoste TPF Noob!

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    Anything that is a more expensive, profesional film is usually like that for a reason. You might want to use some traditional black and white film like you said and have it developed at a photo lab that does that and see if that is what you are after. Hopefully someone who actually knows what they are talking about will be along shortly :lol:
     
  3. Patrick

    Patrick TPF Noob!

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    The C-41 stuff is just desaturated color film. They won't look the same as trad. B&W just as Digital B&W doesn't have the same look as B&W film. The tonal range just isn't the same.
     
  4. hammy

    hammy TPF Noob!

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    Alright, so that's what I'm missing? C-41 just doesn't match tradional B&W?
     
  5. fadingaway1986

    fadingaway1986 I Burn Easily :(

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    I have used traditional and c-41. I wasn't at all happy with the traditional.
     
  6. ferny

    ferny TPF Noob!

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    One thing I was told about colour machines is that unless they're told to print in black they'll still print in colour. Which means that sometimes your prints can have a slight green tone to them. Maybe that's what you're seeing? Or maybe the type of film, as in the speed and manufactory, just isn't what you're looking for?
     
  7. fadingaway1986

    fadingaway1986 I Burn Easily :(

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    ferny is right. there is a setting on the printer for black and white films... ask them to write a note to do that when printing your film...

    Otherwise, colours are usually slightly off at any given time in labs... and you will get a bit of a tinge.
     
  8. J_S

    J_S TPF Noob!

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    C41 B&W films don't have as great a tonal range as B&W films. Also they don't give the 'traditional' reportage B&W look like Ilford HP5 or Kodak T-Max give. However, C41 processing is quicker and cheaper than B&W. But don't think that C41 B&W films can't produce great photographs. One of my favourite portrait photographers, Eolo Perfido used Ilford XP2 Super 400 to produce some amazing portraits such as this:

    Amazing XP2 example

    If C41 films can produce photos as good as this, maybe there is no need to switch to traditional B&W films?
     
  9. 303villain

    303villain TPF Noob!

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    my favorite photographer too! :hail: ive used ALOT of traditional(generally tmax/ilford paper) and i love the look of it, the tonal range does seem to me to be a bit better(especially the whites, c41 whites look more gray to me, but my eyes are :confused: ) however ive had some really good results with what ive used c41 for, especially if you are trying to go for a gloomy, sad emotion to the picture, it worked well each time i used it.

    when it comes down to it, its whatever you prefer and is more economical. if you have the time/abillity to process traditional urself, do that, but if you dont want to be involved in that, and like the c41 stuff, go for it!
     
  10. hammy

    hammy TPF Noob!

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    Well the reason I ask is because my friend and I are going to be constructing our own darkroom soon. And I haven't been too happy with the c-41 B&W "look" I'm getting, compared to the "tradional" B&W general "look" I have seen.

    So I guess I will truly find out when I start doing my own darkroom work. Thanks for the opinions and answers everyone.
     
  11. LittleMan

    LittleMan TPF Noob!

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    Ok, I just went through this at the store...
    I used a roll of Ilford XP2 400 C-41 and took it to the Wolf camera store where I have everything done. They said that their machine wasn't "New enough" and they would have to fiddle with the color until it looked b&w.

    They told me to take it to a different Wolf Camera store that had the new machine and could do it with the press of a button.
    The prints came out great. You can look at them here: Thread

    It went great! Just remember to tell them to use "Neutral Photopaper" :)
     
  12. LWW

    LWW TPF Noob!

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    The right processor seems to make all the difference in the world with C-41 B&W.

    Filters help a lot also.

    LWW
     

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