Black and White Film

wadennis

Active Member
I am wanting to start developing my own Black and White film to be scanned and printed. What I am looking for is some of your experiences with different films. My question would be; what films are you using, why, how are you developing it, are you routinly pushing or pulling the film, how is the grain, shadow details and any recommendations for getting the most out of the film. I developed my own film 25 years ago and enjoyed the experience.

Thanks,

Warren
 

swoolf

Well-Known Member
Warren , if you're going to be scanning yourself beware of which films you use - silver emulsions can suffer from grain aliasing and you cant use useful things like ICE etc . Some of the reasons I now use Kodak Portra B&W400[C-41] , however I dont process my own films , but its conveneient to get it processed commercially in an hour or so . Plus , it scans beautifully.....
Steve
 
N

nomed

I agree with Steve's comments. I find that the C-41 processing films scan much better than the traditional monochrome types. In addition to Kodak Portra, I also use Ilford's XP2 Super and the results are very good. XP2 also has a wide exposure latitude so you can shoot it at different ISO settings and still get good results. For regular monochrome films, I find the Kodak T-Max films easy to use and the results are not grainy. You have to take care that your temperatures are correct when developing and fixing the T-Max films. Ilford also has a good black and white 135 ISO film that I find less contrasty than the Kodak films.
 
S

ssv31

Hello, Warren,

I agree with Steve - B&W films for C-41 process are much more convinient to scan due to lower graininess and ICE possibility.

However, if developing your films yourself is what you want, then I would recommend using developers giving lower graininess (D76 and alikes). The regimes given by manufacturers are usually a good point to start from. Remember that by manipulating curves in Photoshop you would be able to control the tonality much better then by choosing the developing times, agitation, etc.

Sergei
 

afranklin

Well-Known Member
> I find that the C-41 processing films
> scan much better than the traditional monochrome types.

I do not find this to be the case for me. I believe this is very scanner dependant. What scanner are you claiming this with? Is it perhaps a Nikon?

Regards,

Austin
 

wadennis

Active Member
I am using a Minolta Dimage Scan Dual III. I just bought it and have been messing with it but have not had the time to seriously set down and go through everything. I have Photoshop elements. I know that this is a basic system but wanted to use it to learn before taking a leap into more exspensive and technically advanced equipement. I am beginning to miss the darkroom :0)
 

jim0266

Well-Known Member
Warren, after a long absence from photography I returned to shooting film after first dabbling in digital. This was at the time Kodak was switching from the old to the new Tri-X. I was starting to like the new Tri-X but then tested a few rolls of Fuji Neopan 400. I was really pleased with the Neopan and started shooting it instead of Tri-X. For me it seemed to scan easier than Tri-X. I also like the clear base as Neopan as it doesn't suffer from the pink-itis that seems to plague T-Max and the newer Tri-X. I am scanning on a Microtek 4000tf, which I think is a wonderful B&W scanner. Neopan seems to hold whites very well without blowing them out and still be able to hold some amazing shadow detail. I'm developing everything in D-76 1:1

If you would like to see some of my Neopan's in action, visit
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For me there is a lot of validity in shooting real B&W over the chromogenics. I can have my film in the dryer in about 30 minutes. It would take me that amount of time just to drive to the lab and back. Then I still have to drive and pick it up later. I also have control over the film and don't have to deal with scratches as much. I also like the idea that my B&W film will last longer than C-41 negs.
 
S

ssv31

If I remember it right, Dual III doesn't have the ICE feature. Then C-41 films loose their main advantage over the ordinary ones.

Sergei
 
N

nomed

Austin, my model is a Minolta Dimage Scan Dual III (the 2840 one). It is true that results depend on the particular scanner as you point out. I seem to remember reading something in Shutterbug about the difference between negatives scanned on the Polaroid Sprintscan 4000 vs some of the other models on the market. I don't recall exactly what was said but I think it had something to do with the type of light used in the scanning process. (There was also a very useful article several months ago with information on how to set up the scanner specifically for B & W negs.)
 
M

mike_nunan

Hi Warren,

Most of the Minolta units have a very hard (directional) lightsource which tends to emphasize the grain in retained-silver B&W emulsions. The 35mm Nikons are somewhat similar, as Austin implies, but they are nowhere near as heavily imbued with this characteristic as the Minoltas. It sounds like heresy, but check out a film-capable flatbed like the Epson 3200. It may have other disadvantages (like no exposure control in the hardware -- erk!) but it can get creamy scans off B&W film. I guess it helps that the scanner is a tad soft in the first place, so it's not as likely to resolve the grain ;)

HTH

-= mike =-

PS. The SprintScan/Microtak is reknowned for smooth tonality in B&W, as the Nikon 8000 (and presumably the 9000) is supposed to be pretty good too.
 
M

mike_nunan

Here's an illustration of the effect, Minolta Scan Multi II vs. Epson 3200 scan of the same 6x6 frame of Delta 400.

Minolta first...

 
M

mike_nunan

These are scaled down to 50% from the native scan res (although the Minolta uses interpolation), as the 100% files are a bit too small to give enough context. I did a quick bit of curvery to reduce the apparent contrast of the Minolta scan, and it has ended up slightly less contrasty overall than the Epson file. Here's the full frame from the Minolta:

 
M

mike_nunan

Finally, the Epson full frame:



I should add that none of these files have been sharpened, and the scans were made and manipulated in hi-bit mode before being taken back to 8-bit for saving as JPEG. I've tried similar experiments with the Minolta 5400, and that is hard as nails too. It's a bit like enlarger heads, you want one for B&W and another for colour.

Regards,

-= mike =-
 

bobbl46

Well-Known Member
Excellent stuff Mike .... even taking into account resizing etc.

As an armchair observer (haven't touched B&W for a few years) ... this series of shots is very interesting.

I try to follow threads on scanning to see if I can squeeze any more out of my ancient Nikon LS20. I've noticed that colour slides seem to scan much more smoothly than colour negs, the grain being more emphasised with the neg. I'll have to dig up some older B&W negs and see how they compare.

Anyone any experience with the LS20 or any tips?

Cheers, Kyocera Kid.
 

saspencr

Well-Known Member
how about imacon? does anyone in here use it? and can anyone provide a comparison? If going this route, is it better to just send the film off to someone else? scott
 

wadennis

Active Member
Thanks Mike,

I like the softer grain on the Epson for portiture. I am wondering about the Photoshop elements. Is it a good enough program to start with or should I go ahead and get the Photoshop 7. I know that the learning curve is extensive from watching the post on this board the last year or so.
 

neilb

Active Member
Warren,

Elements is a great way to get up the learning curve for PS. Pretty much everything you learn about elements will carry over into PS.

PS has more tools and powerful features, and if you start with elements, you will probably want to use PS in the end. But usually, elements comes free, so you can learn with that at no risk.
 
R

rvdbosch

Hi Warren,

I have both Photoshop Elements 2 and Photoshop 6 and I find myself using only Photoshop Elements nowadays. Elements has a little 'pop-up window' explaining the tool you have selected so you will know the possibilities in no time. On the other hand, digital 'processing' is as much a craftsmanship as is the good old wet stuff and you wil notice that even after years you will discover new possibilities in your digital dark room.
Photoshop Elements has all the good stuff that Photoshop has and is by no means a not as good program as Photoshop is, it's just more suited for non-proffesional users and in my opinion the best there is around by far.The only things they threw out are the more proffesional functions such as preparing your images for printed press etc. The only one thing I miss in Elements is the duo(tri, quad,..)-tone modus wich can give excellent results with B&W pictures (lith print alike).
I'd say go for Elements and spend the money you save on a good printer and/or scanner, you can always upgrade to Photoshop later and, since knowing elements, get the hang of it in no time.
Have fun in your digital dark room!
Rene, Holland.
 
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