C-41 or traditional?


davetac Plus
11 69 2 United Kingdom
29 Aug 2019 11:08PM
It gets more and more expensive these days (if you can find anyone) to process traditional B&W film like Ilford HP5 etc. £12.99 for example just to develop at Snappy Snaps as agains £5.99 for C-41. Yes, I know S/S is an expensive outlet but even they only charge £5.99 for C-41 and it's cheaper still elsewhere.
My question is will I find any noticeable difference to images shot on XP2 as against HP5?

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Snapper Plus
15 4.4k 3 United States Outlying Islands
30 Aug 2019 8:57AM
I'd expect XP2 will be less grainy, but that'll depend on what iso you choose to shoot it at, since the C41 process is standard unless you ask it to be pushed/pulled. You don't need a darkroom for developing HP5+ as you load the film into a daylight tank inside a darkbag, then all the rest is carried out in normal daylight. You then have a choice of varying the processing to see which combination gives you the negs you like best. XP2 will scan better though, and you can use Digital ICE to remove dust, whereas ICE doesn't work well with standard b&w films.

Would it be worth shooting a roll of each and sending them to Ilford for processing and compare the results? Not the cheapest option, but might give the best comparison. https://www.harmanlab.com/page/57/Black-and-White-Prints-from-Film.htm
sausage Plus
15 619 United Kingdom
30 Aug 2019 9:33AM
Back in the days - I changed to XP2 and processed it myself with C41. If I remember XP2 was a 'colour' b/w film so it meant I could use the same process for colour film as well.
XP2 was better than HP5 - to me anyway.
davetac Plus
11 69 2 United Kingdom
30 Aug 2019 9:50AM
Thank Sausage, youíve helped me make my mind up. Canít see me developing film anytime soon but I never say never.
thewilliam2 2 1.3k
30 Aug 2019 10:00AM
Conventional mono processing is easily done at the kitchen sink and I started while at primary school. Developing C41 and Ferraniacolor tran film at the kitchen sink had to wait until I was a teenager. Temperature control is far more critical so it's not for the faint-hearted. You can also process chromogenic mono films in Rodinal or D76 but the image qualities are very different.

The dev tanks etc can be bought cheaply on Fleabay and only the film loading needs to be done in the dark.

Why not DIY?

dark_lord Plus
15 2.4k 607 England
30 Aug 2019 10:11AM

Quote:XP2 will scan better though, and you can use Digital ICE to remove dust, whereas ICE doesn't work well with standard b&w films

That was going to be my response too. That suits my situation, and going by your comment above likely to be in your favour too.
I know some will prefer one over the other for the individual film characteristics. Good to still have the choice though.
Dave_Canon Plus
13 1.6k United Kingdom
30 Aug 2019 2:18PM
While I have not used film since 2005, I did use film for more years than I want to admit before that. Back some ways I stopped using FP4 and moved to XP1 and later changed to XP2 which was the last B&W film I used. As I was processing colour at home since 1979, it was convenient to use the same C41 process. However, I chose to use XP2 not because of C41 but because I found it to perform rather well. The fine grain and speed versatility made it easier to use and I had better final images. I used to combine this with using Ilford Multi-grade paper. The one fact I remember is that XP2 needs to stay longer in the Bleach/fix than colour negative films. While I normally processed everything myself, towards the end of my film era, I tried to save time and had C41 film processed by a local lab. They processed them all the same so the XP2's were not sufficiently fixed. However, they were done enough to ensure that the image was permanent but I had to further Bleach/fix before printing. After that it made sense to revert to home processing.

Dave
davetac Plus
11 69 2 United Kingdom
30 Aug 2019 8:10PM
Thanks everyone for very informative comments.
pablophotographer 8 1.4k 357
30 Aug 2019 8:59PM
thewilliam2 2 1.3k
31 Aug 2019 2:10PM
I've just recalled that my old Housemaster used to develop his C41 films at 20 degrees Celsius, which is a lot easier to maintain than the normal 37.8 degrees when working at the kitchen sink, but I can't remember what time he used.
Philh04 Plus
14 2.1k United Kingdom
1 Sep 2019 8:10AM

Quote:I've just recalled that my old Housemaster used to develop his C41 films at 20 degrees Celsius, which is a lot easier to maintain than the normal 37.8 degrees when working at the kitchen sink, but I can't remember what time he used.

Erm C-41 was introduced in 1972 ad replaced C-22 Wink
Dave_Canon Plus
13 1.6k United Kingdom
1 Sep 2019 9:44AM
I worked at 40 degrees C. This was easy enough to achieve for film processing. However, maintaining an accurate and steady temperature for prints was more difficult. At that time there was a Patterson tube which was rotated in a water bath. The conventional means on controlling the water bath were ineffective as it need to be kept within one degree of the target. I eventually found a guy who modified a tropical fish tank heater and thermostat and this worked very well. In fact when the chemicals could later be used a room temperature, I continued working at 40 degrees because I was getting very consistent results and the emersion times were much shorter.

Dave
thewilliam2 2 1.3k
1 Sep 2019 11:46AM

Quote:
Quote:I've just recalled that my old Housemaster used to develop his C41 films at 20 degrees Celsius, which is a lot easier to maintain than the normal 37.8 degrees when working at the kitchen sink, but I can't remember what time he used.

Erm C-41 was introduced in 1972 ad replaced C-22 Wink



Although I did A levels in 1969, I still kept in contact with my old Housemaster who ran the school photographic society. I seem to remember that Kodak C22 was done at 20 degrees Celsius but I never used the official Kodak kit.

As an amateur, I used a large water tank and thermostatic heater but it was nowhere neat as consistent as the deep tanks that we had when I turned professional in the 1990s. With a huge volume of developer, the exact temperature of the rack and film didn't seem to matter so much but we did heat the room in winter.
thewilliam2 2 1.3k
1 Sep 2019 11:52AM
One thing I did learn and that was never to process conventional mono films in C41 chemistry.

I managed to load one into a multi-tank along with a batch of colour films. The high temperature meant that the mono emulsion was stripped off and most of it formed a sludge in the bottom of the dev tank, apart from a some that firmly attached itself to the colour films!
Railcam 13 796 2 Scotland
2 Sep 2019 3:38PM

Quote:One thing I did learn and that was never to process conventional mono films in C41 chemistry.


Both ordinary films and chromogenic films (XP2) contain silver. However, the XP2 produces a dye as the final negative and the bleach/fix removes the silver. The bleach/fix would also remove the silver of ordinary films leaving nothing but clear backing Sad

It is possible to develop XP2 in ordinary developer and fixer. The results are not as good as the C41 chemistry though.

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