Black and White films? : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

I have just started to experiment with my SLR. I used a Black and White film for the first time and when I had my pictures developed they were slightly dark and had a brown tint to them. I have seen some photographs that are this colour and some which actually DO look Black and White. This is the affect I was after, not the brown tinted look. Am I doing something wrong or are there different B&W films available, ie Brown tint or Black and White only? Please help I don't know what to do.

-- Adran Smith (, October 13, 2000


I will try to keep it simple:

Basiclly there are 2 categories of films which are called Black and White: A)silver based films without any dyes, the negative is black/grey/transparent and contains silver, use with black and white developer ONLY B)silver based films with dyes, the negative has a orange to brown colour, to be developed in C-41 (chemistry for colour films)the actual negative is silverfree. ((Kodak CN, Ilford XP2 Super)

Part 2 to follow

-- Wolfram Kollig (, October 13, 2000.

Part 2:

Papers are also available in:

A) Black and White, unless toned, a print is just black/grey/white. B) Colour paper, Black/White film developed in C41 is supposed to to be printed on colour paper. At this point the quality of your Minilab is essential, a good lab can print Kodak T400 CN and Ilford XP2 Super on colour paper without a colour cast. Some labs save time on adjusting the colour channels of their printing machine, than your pictures will have a colour cast, usually adjusted to brown. It is easier to do a brownish print than a really neutral one. (You get what you pay for!)

So there is a total of four options:

1) BW film, printed on BW paper: BW image 2) C41 film, printed on BW paper: BW image 3) BW film, printed on colour paper: colour cast difficult to control 4) C41 film, printed on colour paper: colour cast, which can be adjusted to look like a real BW image.

-- Wolfram Kollig (, October 13, 2000.

Wolfram has given you good information, Adran. It seems that he is assuming that you are using a chromogenic film (the type using dyes). My suggestion to you is to get a few rolls of silver halide film (AgX).This type of film will give you the "true" black and white look. Unfortunately this means you can't bring you film to the local minilab that dosent develop AgX film. Your local camera shop should be able to help you out. If you are serious about black and white photography you really need to consider processing and printing your own work. (Finding a custom lab that can produce work to your specifications is a good[not the best] solution if you don't have the desire to "do it yourself".) I suggest you at least develop your negatives yourself. All you need is a tank,themometer,chemicals,containers(graduate for mixing, bottles for storage, an accurate timer with a sweep second hand and a light tight place to load the reel (a changing bag etc.)There are detailed instructions on this website that will get you started. Have fun!

-- Robert Orofino (, October 13, 2000.


The problem you have with the brown tint is not a problem with the film (well it is, but I'll leave my personal opinions to myself). Assuming you used Ilford XP2 or Kodak T400CN (not Kodak Black & White + 400), you can have your pictures printed on a "true" B&W paper and get the neutral tones you are looking for. You will need to look for a lab that makes custom B&W prints (this is option 2 in Wolfram's response).

As has been pointed out, this is not the best alternative (unless you are only looking for snap shots to put in a photo album). If you are serious about B&W photography and plan on shooting a lot of B&W, you would be wise to take Robert's advice and 1) use the right tools and 2) learn to develop/print your own. Many of the colleges offer courses in photography, including B&W darkroom courses, and they have darkrooms for you (if you are a student of the course) to use.

enjoy, ~james

-- james sobhani (, October 13, 2000.

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