Advice on Black and White Film : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

I have never bought a roll of B & W film so I have NO IDEA what to buy. I want to take close up pictures of my kids for the holidays and for scrapbooking. What type of film should be used for good portraits?? Also- what kind of film processing am I to ask for when developing them to ensure them to come out their best??

-- Michelle (, November 16, 2000


I think we had a similar question before, and if I remember correctly, most of us were in favour of Kodak Tri-X (real black and white film) and some in favour of KOdak T400 CN (chromogenic film for C-41 process, can be developed in colour chemistry).

For a first go with b/w I would recommend Kodak T400CN, as this film can be processed in any lab. Filmspeed is 400 ASA.

If you want true b/w prints you may have to find a lab willing to print on b/w paper. Some labs try to print it on colour paper, which might give it a colour cast.

-- Wolfram Kollig (, November 16, 2000.

I would go with Tri-X and have a professional lab develop it (rather than some 1-hour processing place that will probably have to send it out somewhere anyway). The pro lab can make a contact sheet for you and then you can choose which ones to have them print. The prints they make will still be viable when your grandchildren view them in 50 years. Of course, you will pay more for the quality.

-- Ed Buffaloe (, November 16, 2000.

I would highly recommend the C-41 process films such as Ilford XP-2, or the Kodak films mentioned above. You get those done by your one- hour lab.

IF you have a GOOD custom black & white lab in your town/city, and you don't mind paying steep prices, then you might want to go with either conventional or C-41 black and white film, with custom enlargements on Fiber paper.


Ps. Unless you are pretty much familiar with black & white, you will be surprised how complex this issue is.

-- Christian Harkness (, November 18, 2000.

Your best action is to develop the film yourself, it isn't hard to do and the satisfaction you get is great. The film also works out much cheaper, when you decide the type of film you get the best results with, get a bulk length and load your own, its the most satisfying of hobbies if you 'do it all yourself' And as said before its dead easy. As already mentioned Tri-X is a really good film and I can recomend it, I find D-76 developer diluted 1 - 1 gives superb results,

-- Sidney A. Wright. (, November 21, 2000.

I made the move a year ago to processing my own bulk loaded Tri-X B&W and I think that it is the way to go if one is serious about Photography and wants to save some money. The initial investment in a tank, light safe bag, chemicals and incedentals quickly pays for itself when one considers the expense of B&W development. With the additional purchase of a negative scanner one can make the digital move or you can just send away for the prints.

-- Eric (, December 14, 2000.

For just trying B&W use Kodak TCN400 or Black and White Select or Ilford XP2+. Find a local lab using Fuji Frontier machine.

These films are developed in the same chemistry as color print film. The Fuji Frontier can do true B&W on color paper.

If you like B&W then definately go to a true B&W film and develop it yourself.

-- Terry Carraway (, December 15, 2000.

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