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C41 Process Black and White Films


With the advent of color film and its decreased expense for purchasing and processing, black and white films have taken a back seat in amateur popularity over the past couple of decades. Black and White processing takes days or weeks, depending on who you choose for processing, and it is almost always much more expensive. Professional portrait photographers and landscape enthusiasts often develop their own film at home in a dark room and make their own prints. Even with that, the better part of an evening is spent performing this task. All this is beginning to change...
Along comes Chromogenic Film!



With the advent of decent chromogenic films (those which process in C41 chemistry and may be printed on color paper with acceptable results) there is a renewed interest in black and white photography. Ilford, one of the early pioneers in this field, made a film called XP1 several years ago which was the first serious attempt at a consumer level black and white film which used this technology. I tried it many years ago and was disappointed by the tint produced on the prints when I got them back from my local 1 hour lab. So, I abandoned the idea and went back to TriX Pan when I wanted to shoot black and white (often in the winter season). Little did I know then that the fault lay more with the photo lab than the film itself. Ilford came out with an improved emulsion called XP2 which is highly regarded, but which I have not yet tried so can't really comment on. The pictures on this page were shot with Kodak's Black and White Plus 400 speed film, easily found at Wal-Mart for 10.00 in a 3 pack. It is their consumer-level black and white C41 print film. In the interest of honest evaluation, I have not altered the appearance of the photos with Photoshop or any other image editor -- they are exactly as scanned. If you have comments, questions, or information regarding black and white photography or chromogenic films, please don't hesitate to e-mail me! To return to my home page, click here.