A few B&W's...

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A few B&W's...

Post by Guest on Sat Mar 22, 2008 8:20 pm

The 2nd roll of film through my newly acquired Elan 7n was some Ilford 400. Here's a few shots from the little 'Sault Photography Forum' meet that Ken, Mike and I attended. The two shots with the Lensbaby effect are thanks to Mike, who let me try his LB--interesting little piece of kit I must say.

http://www.flickr.com/gp/80184463@N00/692D0f

Bonus pic of Clementine:

http://flickr.com/photos/aarmstrong/2352517293/

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Re: A few B&W's...

Post by Kenneth Armstrong on Sat Mar 22, 2008 8:41 pm

Too bad the Lensbaby doesn't blur out my double chin Very Happy

I really like Ilford B&W, I wish I could shoot more.
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Re: A few B&W's...

Post by Guest on Sat Mar 22, 2008 8:51 pm

I'm going to try some of that Kodak stuff that I have and see what the hype is all about. I'm not really into having to wait two weeks for things to get developed, so unless I see something that really makes my eyes pop out of my head, I'm going to start eating through the Ilford supply at work. I really liked what I saw when I got this back.

It's fun exploring new types of stuff to shoot with.

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Re: A few B&W's...

Post by Kenneth Armstrong on Sat Mar 22, 2008 9:45 pm

Oh this is the C41 Ilford B&W? Did you do some additional post-processing? It doesn't normally look that good.
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Re: A few B&W's...

Post by Nando on Sat Mar 22, 2008 10:54 pm

Since he's waiting two weeks to get it, the film is probably traditional black and white film. Much easier, cheaper and quicker to develop at home. It's not rocket science. (Edit: Should have read more carefully - I now see that Anthony couldn't have possibly used B&W film for his initial photos if he had to wait 2 weeks to get them).

Talking about C41 B&W film, I prefer Kodak BW400CN over Ilford XP2 Super mainly due to the finer grain. For a 400 ISO film, the Kodak has very tight grain. However, I find the XP2 to be more contrasty and closer to traditional B&W. I find that the prints from the lab usually have a light-blue cast with the Kodak film and an orange-green cast with the Ilford film.

One can process those to films in black & white chemistry with excellent results but the film gets quite thin and use of a hardener is definitely required. I once saw some shots posted on the internet taken with BW400CN and developed with Xtol - I was amazed at how good they turned out. However, for that type of look using traditional chemistry, I'd go with Kodak T-Max 100 and 400 films instead. It is just easier than dealing with films intended for C41.
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Re: A few B&W's...

Post by viewsthroughmylens on Sun Mar 23, 2008 2:16 am

Awesome shots. Love the blur effects.
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Re: A few B&W's...

Post by Guest on Sun Mar 23, 2008 10:24 am

Thanks everyone.

Sorry for the confusion--these shots were the C41 Ilford, but I have some Kodak TMAX (the non-C41 stuff, right?) that I'm putting through my camera right now. I'm not sure if I'll notice the difference, I don't know what to expect to be honest.

And Ken, these were processed in LR to have a strong curve and take out the mild color cast that I got from initially scanning them.

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Re: A few B&W's...

Post by Nando on Sun Mar 23, 2008 11:15 am

T-Max is one of the new tabular-grain films. Very tight and smooth grain. I find that it looks a bit like BW400CN but more contrasty.

John Sexton now uses T-Max 100 and 400 his work.
http://www.johnsexton.com/

T-Max is not as forgiving as Tri-X when developing. With Tri-X, your times, temperature, etc. must be way off (like by 30%) before the negative is badly affected. A tiny mistake is usually not a big deal. T-Max is much more sensitive and you have to be more careful. I haven't tried T-Max yet but plan too buy some once my current stock of Tri-X starts running low. Also want to try the new Fuji 400 Presto. Apparently the grain is as tight as that of a 100 ISO film.

Tri-X has moderate amount of grain but the grain looks nice. It can be push or pulled easily. I can easily shoot a roll at 1600 ISO if needed. I shoot Tri-X at 200ISO and cut back a bit on the developing time.

Some examples:

Kodak BW400CN @ 320 ISO + C41 processing (Leica M3 w/ 50mm f/2 Summitar):





Ilford XP2 Super 400 @ 320 ISO + C41 processing (Leica M3 w/ 50mm f/2 Summitar):





Kodak Tri-X 400 @ 200 ISO in Kodak D-76 developer (Leica MP w/ 90mm f/4 Coll. Elmar):



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Re: A few B&W's...

Post by Kenneth Armstrong on Sun Mar 23, 2008 12:25 pm

Nando wrote:Since he's waiting two weeks to get it, the film is probably traditional black and white film.

I can't believe you got fooled by C41 B&W. You're losing your touch.
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Re: A few B&W's...

Post by Nando on Sun Mar 23, 2008 2:16 pm

I misread and got a bit confused. It was completely due to a slight learning disability I have. The C41 films are pretty good. Usually one can tell that it is C41 straight from the prints done in the lab but if the negatives are scanned and a bit of post-processing is done, they can be quite convincing especially when viewed on a computer monitor at low-resolution.

Frankly, when it comes to picking out the C41 B&W images, I never had any sort of touch. I normally cannot tell if something was made with the C41 black & white films right away. There really isn't a particular black & white look. There are so many different film, ISO, developer and printing combinations that there are many different 'looks'. Tri-X developed in Kodak D-76 looks different than Tri-X developed in Agfa Rodinol, for example. The development chart in my copy of "The Film Developing Cookbook" there are 33 different B&W films covered and for each film, around 40 ISO/developer combinations are usually listed. For Ilford FP4+ film, there is over 100 combinations listed. Sometimes, I get emails from photographers with experience in developing asking me what film/developer combination I used for the photos I took with the C41 films. They usually think I'm using a new tabular-grain film like T-Max and some developer other than the usual dedicated Kodak T-Max developer or all-purpose Kodak D-76 developer. When I tell them its C41, scanned and post-processed in Photoshop to remove the colour-cast, they are usually surprised. (Also with RAW files from my scanner, I have to increase the contrast a bit to match the contrast on the negative.)

On the other hand, I think that I can usually tell the difference between images made with black and white film (traditional or C41) and digital images converted to black and white. In small resolution photos such as those posted on the web, the giveaway for me is usually the smaller tonal range along with a 'flat' and 'plasticky'' look of the digital conversions. There are programs/plugins that will modify a digital image to mimic the look of certain films like Tri-X by introducing noise (to mimic grain - trust me, grain does not look like noise) and by changing the tone curves to increase contrast but the small tonal range still remains. Still, it is much easier to pick out the digital conversions with prints than with the small resolution files posted on the web. Also, differences between digital and film become much more apparent when film size is increased to medium format and large-format.
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Re: A few B&W's...

Post by crowellphotographs on Wed Mar 26, 2008 12:55 pm

Awesome shots AA. Despite the film type confusion, they turned out great. The lens baby portrait of Ken is Awesome. Not that it matters, but I normally hate lens babies, I really like this shot.

I was a bit disappointed to hear about local lab shots coming out with color if shot in c-41. The scans you made will definitely have some color but it's too bad that labs are using color papers. Other printing processes just can't match the quality of dedicated BW paper. (even RC) Your PP is awesome on these shots. They don't look like they've been thru a computer.
Understanding that not everyone has a darkroom, (i'm still in the process of setting one up... again) I believe that Custom Color Photo on Pine street does do custom darkroom printing.
I agree with Nando that film type, iso exposure, developer and dev. time, does drastically affect the tonal range and relationships of a negative. But, once one gets to a point where this much control is necessary, you can't just leave it to chance by bringing these masterfully controlled negs to a lab. I've heard nighmare stories about labs never checking their chemistry or temps. (if that's even an issue)
Once you, or anyone, has enough darkroom experience, most of the film manipulation for tonal relationship isn't as important. (other than for grain management) More drastic manipulation can be made in the darkroom than it can in the development tank.
I always used Rodinol first and foremost.(best around if you ask me) or Xtol which if memory serves me right, gave extremely fine grain for high iso film. I normally shot with iso 50,125, or 400 at the most and always with a Blad, rz67 or 4x5, so grain still wasn't much of an issue.

All this to say, I love the shots and the PP. If you are going to have these (or any other BW) for portfolio, it would be best to invest in getting them custom printed on actual BW paper.
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Re: A few B&W's...

Post by Nando on Wed Mar 26, 2008 3:06 pm

I've only used D-76 so far. I'd like to try Rodinol as well as Xtol. One of the things I don't really like about D-76 is that it comes in a powder form.

I've been doing my 35mm C41 at Rome's, believe it or not. Usually the negatives turn out really good but I do need to over-expose a bit. Of course, the attraction is that processing there is very cheap, quick and it is conveniently close to where I live. However, I've been disappointed with the last three rolls I've had developed there. The negatives have come back with lots of water spots and on two frames (each on separate rolls) there was some serious damage - enough to ruin the shot. Luckily, the shots weren't too important but I'm now considering sending my 35mm elsewhere or just doing B&W at home.

Anthony,
If you would like, I can scan the slides for you using my Nikon scanner and put them on a DVD-R.
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Re: A few B&W's...

Post by crowellphotographs on Wed Mar 26, 2008 3:24 pm

If you're going to develop yourself, I'd suggest getting an auto winder spool. The metal ones are a real nightmare to roll. I've got countless frames with the tell tale double crescent moons of forced rolling.
The only thing with the plastic is that you have to be careful and wash thoroughly.
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Re: A few B&W's...

Post by crowellphotographs on Wed Mar 26, 2008 3:27 pm

Oh, ya....
The powder is a bit tricky. Your water needs to be really hot to dissolve it. Then you've got to wait forever for it to cool back down to ideal developing temp.
Rodinol is AMAZING stuff.

You should be able to wash off the water smudges. Just be careful drying.
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Re: A few B&W's...

Post by Nando on Wed Mar 26, 2008 3:37 pm

I use an AP "small" dev tank - all plastic. It takes two 35mm spools or one 120 spool. I like the plastic spools.
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