any XP2 users?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Resoman, Jul 20, 2008.

  1. Resoman

    Resoman Member

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    Maybe I didn't execute the search properly, but just now I did a forum search in this forum (B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry) on the phrase "XP2" and got zero returns. I did the search again in all the forums and got the same result. Is it a fact that, in the entire history of APUG, no one has ever brought up the topic of Ilford XP2, or even mentioned XP2 in a thread? I must not have searched properly...

    XP2 has been my primary film in 120 and 35mm for years and years and, since I no longer live within 100 miles of a processing source for 120 C41, I've been trying to come up with a film/developer combination I can live with. Without going into great detail, I'll just say that my initial results aren't very promising.

    I love the "smoothness" of XP2 (for lack of a better term), and I just don't get that quality in the conventional films I've been working with.

    I'm not looking for film/developer recommendations - just wondering if I'm indeed the only XP2 devotee in APUG.

    Gary,

    East Snook, TX
     
  2. Akki14

    Akki14 Member

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    The search function isn't working today, due to it being upgraded. Try using google by typing site:www.apug.org then xp2 or whatever you want to search for. it has come up before.
     
  3. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    I don't know about today specifically, but I've found APUG's searches on short terms and/or terms with numbers (XP2, C41, E6, etc.) to be completely useless. As Heather suggests, a Google search by site is a better way to uncover APUG threads on such topics.

    Ilford XP2 Super has, in fact, been discussed here fairly frequently, and I know there are people who like it. I've shot a few rolls of it, and I like it when I want fine grain in an ISO 400 B&W film; however, I mostly prefer the old-fashioned look of Fomapan 400 for a B&W film of that speed.

    I do have a suggestion for your dilemma of XP2 processing, though: Learn to do C-41 processing yourself. It's not really any harder than conventional B&W processing; the only complication is that you've got to bring your solutions (particularly the developer) up to 100F rather than do it at room temperature -- although in Texas at this time of year, you could probably do it at ambient temperature outdoors! You could start out with a complete kit, like any of several at Freestyle or a couple at B&H. These are convenient to buy and use, but they use blixes rather than separate bleach and fix steps, so in the long run you might want to buy separate components. The Freestyle link includes these, but in huge quantities. You can also buy them in smaller quantities from Adorama or Unique Photo, but the range of products is surprisingly large and the Web pages tend to assume you know what you're looking for, so it can be hard to get started that way.
     
  4. Resoman

    Resoman Member

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    I've thought about doing the C41 processing myself and, as you say, summer in Texas is the place for 100F processing, that's for sure!

    When I read the data sheet for the Arista C41 kit, it talks about using up the kit within a few days of mixing the chemicals, which would require me to stockpile exposed film until I had enough to exhaust the chemistry. Also, I'd have to come up with a means of disposing of the chemicals, which I'm sure are not compatible with my septic system.

    Maybe I'll just buy one of those kits and give it a shot when some exposed film piles up...


    Gary,

    East Snook, TX
     
  5. thebanana

    thebanana Subscriber

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    I've had some great results with XP2, especially when rating it at ASA200.
     
  6. alapin

    alapin Subscriber

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    Look for the post Chromogenic B&W Film, which I posted on 7-10-08 in this forum.
    I don't use Xp2 or BW400CN. I am going to try them out, thanks to the many very good replies to my question on using them. Hope this helps you.
     
  7. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    The longevity of C-41 chemicals varies with the specific item, as well as how it's packaged. My experiences and understanding are as follows:

    • Developer -- When mixed to working strength, this tends to go bad in a few days. I use a mix-it-yourself formula, which I mix to double strength and then dilute 1+1 and discard. (I use it one-shot.) My concentrate lasts for at least a month. When it was still available, I used Paterson Photocolor C-41 developer, which was a single-bottle concentrate (I think it was 1+3 dilution, but I'm not positive of that). It lasted for a few months in the bottle. I believe that Kodak's C-41 developer ships in multiple bottles, which you'd mix at time of use. Stored in their separate bottles, they should last a long time.
    • Bleach -- I use Kodak's bleach (although I recently picked up a bottle of Silver Pixel bleach replenisher). It ships in a ready-to-use form, although there are variants with separate starter and replenisher. My understanding is that it lasts a long time in storage. I use a replenishment regime with mine, since the bleach is the most expensive part of C-41 processing.
    • Fixer -- The fixer is similar to B&W fixers in terms of longevity, AFAIK. I use Kodak's, which comes in a concentrate bottle. I dilute it for use and then re-use it once for the next roll. (Kodak says the fixer has twice the capacity of the developer.)
    • Blix -- The blixes used by the "hobbyist" suppliers are essentially combinations of bleach and fixer. As PE has posted many times before, blixes start to go bad soon after mixing, so once you've mixed up a blix, you should use it quickly. I'm not sure how quickly, though. The only blixes I've used are a mix-it-yourself formula and a Paterson blix, which shipped as a concentrate. I'm not positive, but some hobbyist blixes may ship in separate bottles. You might therefore be able to mix up small quantities to process just one or two rolls of film, and the rest should keep (stored in their separate bottles) for a while.

    So in sum, if you want to do C-41 processing and you shoot just a few rolls a month, your best bet is to use separate bleach and fixer rather than a blix, or at least make sure that the blix ships in separate bottles. You should also use either a mix-it-yourself developer (so you can mix small quantities from scratch) or a product that comes in separate bottles. It looks to me like the Arista liquid product comes in separate bottles, so you should be able to mix it, use it once, and discard it. (The instructions seem to advocate reusing it once, but imply both that it can be used more than once and that optimum results obtain from single-shot use.) Products that ship as powders are trickier to mix up in small quantities, since settling of the powders can be uneven, resulting in solutions with too much of one thing and too little of another if you try to mix part of it.

    You might consider chatting with the operators of local minilabs. They might be able to give you in-person advice on what to buy if you go with Kodak or other non-hobbyist products. I've even heard tales of minilab operators selling small quantities of chemicals to individuals, either from their own stocks or by adding them to their orders with their own suppliers.
     
  8. kraker

    kraker Subscriber

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    In addition to the reply by srs5694, my EUR 0,02:

    It's not that bad, really. I've been using my first batch of C41 chemistry (a Tetenal kit) for a few months now, and it's still producing useable results. I don't do any colour printing, so the colour balance may have shifted by now (that seems to be one of the things that happens when the chemicals are not that fresh anymore). But *that's* a problem you don't have to consider for XP2... :smile:

    I'd say: just give it a try.
     
  9. catem

    catem Member

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    I've used XP2 Super in the past, when I didn't have good access to a darkroom, and I still use it very occasionally when I feel I will never catch up with what I have to do/or I don't in that case want to print myself/ and I hand over the processing to a lab (I've had good results from Peake Imaging in the UK which is more than 100 miles away from me but I guess doesn't help you very much - and in fact I feel less comfortable with putting film in the post than I did. Though the pictures I posted last week to my gallery are direct scan of proof prints from Peak). I do print favourites in my current darkroom. If you want a fine, sharp image for the speed it's useful, but Delta 400/Xtol can also give a very fine sharp print if that's what you're looking for (as long as you get the exposure right). You could also try Fuji Neopan Acros/Xtol at EI 400 - I've had smooth milky tones from that also.
    edit - sorry just re-read your post and realised you're not looking for recommendations - to answer - yes, I do like and use XP2 but only sometimes and not as much as I once did :smile:
     
  10. Snapshot

    Snapshot Member

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    I too was an avid XP2 user years ago. I really like the fact you can change the ISO setting on your camera mid-roll and still get useable results as well as XP2 having low grain for a high-speed film. However, I found that traditional B&W has it's own satisfying rewards and haven't used a roll in some time.
     
  11. Paul Goutiere

    Paul Goutiere Subscriber

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    XP-2 has such a wide latitude it is ideal for cameras older cameras with unsteady shutters. Like Super Ikontas etc.
    A stop or two one way or another will still give an image.
     
  12. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber

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    I've used XP2 a lot in my Widelux, since its very wide exposure latitude makes it ideal for a camera with only 3 shutter speeds. Also, shooting overseas I liked being able to get it processed there and just take a page of negs home.

    I find its negs pretty thick to hand print and too contrasty, but that's likely just personal taste. Still, I really notice a difference printing those negs especially when I rate it lower than 400.

    Still, when it's a good exposure the results are good and it's a nice film to have in your bag.
     
  13. Paul Verizzo

    Paul Verizzo Member

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    Some C-41 thoughts

    1. I have no proof or reference, but I would think that B&W C-41 is a lot less critical in terms of developer staleness than color C-41. True, the dyes are stil there, but hidden within the black image tone if something were awry.

    2. Freeze your chemicals between usage. Some people freak out, but it's always done fine by me. If a complex protein molecule freezes and thaws w/o harm, a simple chemical salt sure can!

    3. If I ever go back to C-41 processing I sure as heck will first try Dignan's two bath C-41. Google that, you'll find it. No more concerns about adding X amount of time for Y amount of film, or worrying about temperature - which is lower. That's the theory, anyway.
     
  14. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    There was a thread here on APUG about this with respect to E-6 a few months back. As I recall, early E-6 (or maybe it was earlier processes, like E-4) had problems with freezing, but newer ones are OK with it. I don't know about C-41, but if you've done it successfully with C-41, that's a good sign.

    Its formula is posted here on APUG, in fact. The advantages sound great; however, as stated in the APUG thread, it's an iffy formula for modern C-41 films. In fact, I've used it with Ilford XP2 Super, with abysmal results. A common problem with NCF-41 and modern C-41 films is negatives that are on the thin side, and XP2 Super has produced the thinnest negatives I've seen from NCF-41. I believe I processed two or three rolls in NCF-41 before I gave up on that combination. These negatives were so thin that I couldn't get acceptable prints from most of them on Agfa MCP310 VC RC paper with my enlarger set for grade 5. My scanner could barely get acceptable images from them. Maybe somebody else would have better luck, or maybe some variation of processing time or temperature would improve the results. I've had no problems with XP2 Super in Paterson Photocolor (now discontinued) or with another more conventional mix-it-yourself developer. Kodak's chromogenic B&W film, BW400CN, OTOH, works OK with NCF-41, or at least better than XP2 Super. So if you must shoot a chromogenic B&W film and process it in NCF-41, I recommend BW400CN. IMHO, though, that's backwards; you should pick a developer that works with your film, and NCF-41 strikes me as a risky choice for any film.
     
  15. Paul Verizzo

    Paul Verizzo Member

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    srs5694

    Thanks for that info. Surely, it will save some of us a lot of grief!

    I would think that perhaps the flaw in the divided C-41 might be in the temperature or concentration. Either will increase contrast with the change for the more. For the patient, probably still a good starting point.

    I doubt if emulsion thickness has changed so much since Dignan did his work.