Color Problems in Black and White Prints

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by elemental, Jul 16, 2008.

  1. elemental

    elemental TPF Noob!

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    Alright, for those of you who have pieced this together through various comments and explanations, I've been "raised" on a little over a year of DSLR shooting (my first real camera), but lately I've been shooting a lot of film (and not much digital). My stuck-in-the-middle-of-nowhere situation has had me shooting Kodak 400CN, which is black and white but processes as C-41. I just picked up my second developed roll from Wal-Mart (the only place anywhere near here that will touch film), and, well, the prints look a little funny. These are the scans they gave me on CD, so I'm not sure if they're from the positives or the negatives (I hope the latter, but this is Wal-Mart). It seems they're in a sort of "greenscale." I didn't notice this with the first roll, which was developed at Ritz. If anything, those seemed a little pink. Anyway, here's my question: Why?

    A few possible answers come to mind (in order of likelihood in my mind):

    1. Wal-Mart and C-41 machines in general suck and are inconsistent
    2. This is a characteristic of the film
    3. It has something to do with the fact that this film was exposed to a lot of heat, both before and after being shot (it was a hot day).

    Thank you in advance, film gurus.

    Before and after a grayscale conversion in Lightroom (just clicked "grayscale," no editing):

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    It's becuase it's color negative film, and not real black and white like Kodak Tmax or Tri-X. I work at Ritz and we do a pretty good job on our film, our lab tech does a great job. I don't know about other Ritz's, they might be lousy, but ours is pretty good.
     
  3. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    It's an RGB scan of a monochrome film, so fortunately the colour doesn't really matter. It doesn't indicate a problem with the film or the chemicals, and it can happen with traditional (silver-image) B&W film as well.

    The prints are a different matter. They are usually printed on colour paper, so it takes a little bit of effort on the part of the operator to get them neutral.

    Kodak used to make Portra BW paper, a chromogenic monochrome B&W paper in neutral and sepia - it was intended for use in standard RA-4 chemicals. Kodak dropped it because of low demand - few labs could be bothered to use it. It was panchromatic, so it could be used to make B&W prints from both colour and B&W negatives.

    Oriental still make neutral and sepia RA-4 papers (Hyper Seagull) but I don't know who uses it. MPix use Ilford Ilfospeed/Digital Express RC silver-image paper, and some labs use Galerie FB Digital (eg Laumont in New York and Elevator in Toronto) which is a fibre-based silver-image paper intended for use in laser photo printers like the Lambda. You can also print BW400CN traditionally, of course.

    Best,
    Helen
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2008
  4. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    This is a known issue with BW CN, However Walmart can't be bothered to fine tune their chems to alieviate this, I often end up with the opposite problem.

    If you are going to self process it check the information for it on Kodaks web page, they explain how to counter it.

    [​IMG]

    You can either grey scale after scanning or leave it as is. Some times it works well.
     
  5. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    walmart is not the only lab that has problems creating a true netural black and white image.

    some people can tweak the process line to make better looking prints but it is a built in problem as has been stated by Helen. Black and white images made on color paper, and ruin with color chemistry will have a color shift. The degree will vary but it is there.
    If one wants true netural black and white, you have to find someone who will print them in a more tradtional manner or learn to print them yourself.

    Using a film (ilford xp2) without a mask will help in making easier prints with traditonal methods.
     

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