Ilford XP-2 and Kodak 400CN

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by waynecrider, Mar 31, 2009.

  1. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

    Messages:
    2,297
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2003
    Location:
    Floriduh
    Shooter:
    35mm
    It's been years since I have tried chromogenic's and on my coming trip out into the desert I thought what the heck shoot a roll along with my usual b&w choices. In reading only a couple of responses in other areas XP-2 seems the logical choice for home printing and high contrast scenes. Has anyone compared the two?
     
  2. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

    Messages:
    7,114
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2005
    Location:
    In a darkroo
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry9000/4.6.0.167 Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/102 UP.Link/6.3.0.0.0)

    I have not compared the two, Wayne. However, I have used the 400CN quite often and I like the contrast coverage it affords. 'Water#1' in my gallery is shot with 400CN and at a long exposure. It is a great film. Only downfall with 400CN is that there is lessened seperation between blues and greens with shutter speeds over 1/60. Has not been a problem for me, though.
     
  3. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,871
    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    Location:
    Brandon, MB
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Wayne
    I've never had good luck with Kodak's 400CN film. I'm not wanting to start a war, just saying that's been my experience. Hard to print, hard to get contrast from...I've had better luck with XP2.

    Honestly, you're best off trying 2 24-exp rolls yourself to really know. But that's been my first-hand observation.
     
  4. Anon Ymous

    Anon Ymous Member

    Messages:
    1,480
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    Location:
    Greece
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Eh, I think you're comparing apples & oranges. Both are fruits, but very different. Kodak's BW 400CN was meant to be printed at minilabs with RA4 paper, it has the orange mask. Have you ever tried printing C41 negatives? Not much fun. It might be somewhat better than printing from real color negatives, but not great.
     
  5. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    18,040
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If you're doing your own B&W prints then XP-2 is vastly superior. But if it's B&W prints from a mini-lab then Kodak 400CN is a better option.

    Ian
     
  6. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,191
    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2005
    Location:
    Los Alamos,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The big difference is in the printing. XP-2 is designed to be printed on regular black and white paper in a regular darkroom. It has normal contrast and a purplish mask. It prints very well, indeed. The Kodak product, although it gives a black and white negative, is designed to be printed on RA-4 color paper. It has very low contrast and a decidedly orange mask - a color film designed to give black and white negatives. You can print the Kodak film on ordinary paper, but it requires grade 4 or 5 contrast and long exposures. The results are usually not all that good, either.
     
  7. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,871
    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    Location:
    Brandon, MB
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Past 3 posts: exactly!
     
  8. AgX

    AgX Member

    Messages:
    11,958
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2007
    Location:
    Germany
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    By the way, what does actually that `CN´ in 400CN mean?

    If I did not know better, I would guess it is a 400 ISO Colour Negative film...

    Well, it could mean Chromogenic Negative. But CN is the common abbreviation for Colour Negative.
     
  9. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

    Messages:
    7,114
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2005
    Location:
    In a darkroo
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry9000/4.6.0.167 Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/102 UP.Link/6.3.0.0.0)

    It is C41 process. And in addendum to my earlier post, it was lab processed.
     
  10. chriscrawfordphoto

    chriscrawfordphoto Member

    Messages:
    1,179
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2007
    Location:
    Fort Wayne,
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The Kodak stuff is harder to print in the darkroom because it has an orange base like color negative film, to allow easy printing in minilab machines. The Ilford has a gray base like traditional black and white films and prints much easier in the darkroom. I've had good luck with the Kodak, but that was scanning the negs, not darkroom printing, which in my experience is a pain on the Kodak because the base color blocks much of the light that BW papers are sensitive to and the film needs printed on high-contrast paper.
     
  11. Travis Nunn

    Travis Nunn Member

    Messages:
    1,602
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2005
    Location:
    Henrico, Vir
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I got a few "not for resale" rolls of 400CN from a Kodak rep a few years ago. I didn't know any better so I tried to make some prints on normal b/w paper. I couldn't get enough contrast in the prints, even with a #5 filter.

    In all fairness, I've never tried to get prints done on RA4 paper so I can't comment on how they look.
     
  12. Anon Ymous

    Anon Ymous Member

    Messages:
    1,480
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    Location:
    Greece
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I've tried it twice and the result isn't bad. It was quite neutral, just some very faint color cast, if any. Of course, a lot depends on the operator of the minilab. On the other hand, making your own prints is so much better. Being able to control contrast/brightness is crucial. You can't expect someone else to be in your mind...
     
  13. mcgrattan

    mcgrattan Member

    Messages:
    506
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2005
    Location:
    Oxford, Engl
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    It's worth trying the Fuji Neopan 400CN -- their chromogenic. It's supposed to use 'Ilford' technology.

    I do know that it's always seemed to me to give slightly different results to XP2.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. AgX

    AgX Member

    Messages:
    11,958
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2007
    Location:
    Germany
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Fuji Neopan 400CN

    This film is listed on the Fujifilm UK site, not on the German site, which is not surprising as offers differ regionally. Weird is though that it is not featured at the Fujifilm Global site. Actually no B&W film at all to be found there...
     
  16. reub2000

    reub2000 Member

    Messages:
    646
    Joined:
    May 23, 2006
    Location:
    Evanston, IL
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Color papers are only made in a narrow range of contrasts. I've never used any of the Black and White chromogenic films, but I'd imagine printing it would mostly involve running a half dozen test strips to adjust the filter pack to the exact point where you eliminate that color cast. If you have access to a color darkroom, then I'm guessing that you have a place to print on silver paper.
     
  17. IloveTLRs

    IloveTLRs Member

    Messages:
    1,117
    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Location:
    Boston
    Shooter:
    Sub 35mm
    "CN-16" is a color negative processing method ... I think (Fujifilm boxes say that on the side.)
     
  18. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

    Messages:
    2,297
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2003
    Location:
    Floriduh
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Thanks guys. I'm going to try a roll of CN thru Dale labs when I get back and see how prints come out.
     
  19. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

    Messages:
    2,725
    Joined:
    May 18, 2005
    Location:
    Woonsocket,
    Shooter:
    35mm
    FWIW, my personal experience with Kodak's BW400CN is that, although it does require longer exposures and higher contrast than regular B&W films, it's not really hard to print. Given that other people have other comments, I suspect some radically different things are going on -- maybe it's a matter of personal standards, or differences from one paper to another (I've mostly printed on Agfa MCP310RC), or differences from one enlarger to another (I've got a Philips PCS130 condenser enlarger with PCS150 color unit).

    I also once tried a side-by-side comparison of printing this film on RA-4 paper vs. B&W paper (the Agfa, IIRC). The RA-4 print produced slightly more subtle gradations of tone and was generally a bit more pleasing, but it was difficult to get a neutral tone, and I didn't quite succeed. I got close enough that the print didn't jump out at me as being badly off unless it was put side-by-side with a conventional B&W print. I don't shoot a lot of this film, but when I do I print it on B&W paper because I find this easier than doing it on RA-4 paper. I suppose if I got a really extraordinary photo on this film I might put the effort into trying an RA-4 print from it, given the results of my side-by-side test.

    Personally, I prefer the Ilford XP2 Super, but that has more to do with the look of the finished prints than with the ease of making prints. This is subjective and hard to describe; I just prefer the look of the XP2 Super.
     
  20. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

    Messages:
    2,894
    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2003
    Location:
    Kansas, USA
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Same as my experience. It prints differently compared to a standard B&W neg in terms of contrast and exposure but so what? I've always printed 400CN negs on both standard multi grade and grade B&W papers. I didn't think the experience was strange at all.
     
  21. AgX

    AgX Member

    Messages:
    11,958
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2007
    Location:
    Germany
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Actually that Kodak film is called `BW 400 CN´ and that Fuji one `Neopan 400 CN´. So there is a hint at B&W...

    But a designation `Kodak 400 CN´ would have been a bad one for that film.

    Yes, that `CN´ most probably is intended to mean `process as a CN-film´.
     
  22. IloveTLRs

    IloveTLRs Member

    Messages:
    1,117
    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Location:
    Boston
    Shooter:
    Sub 35mm
    No, I meant on a box of Fuji Pro160 it says
    CN-16
    C-41
    for development method

    I was guessing the "CN" meant that it was a C-41 film.

    Anyway :smile:
     
  23. drazak

    drazak Member

    Messages:
    67
    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2008
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Personally, all of the results I've seen from 400CN on black and white paper have left much to be desired. They're flat, lifeless, muddy, lack detail, and are just horrible. However, on RA-4 paper in colour chems, they look fine. I've printed from XP2 myself and it wasn't any different than printing from normal negs.

    Ben
     
  24. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    19,998
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2003
    Location:
    local
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    hi wayne

    have fun testing the films ...
    i am partial to the ilford xp2 super, myself.
    my wife tends to believe it will make people look
    about 10 years younger :smile:
    i haven't printed any of it myself, but
    from what i understand
    if you plan on making your own darkroom prints
    since it lacks the orange mask it prints very well.
    roger hicks has written quite a bit on the film ( ilford )
    i am not sure if you will find his words on it here or on his
    website, but it is worth a look.

    john
     
  25. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

    Messages:
    3,984
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2004
    Location:
    London
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Rated at 200, I found XP2 negs practically printed themselves. Landscapes look like they were taken with a yellow filter fitted. I found it quite difficult to produce a technically dud negative (which is saying something for me!). My only objections to it is that you can't vary things by changing the developer and I find the prints a bit lacking in sharpness (good for portraits I imagine).

    Given the caveats given above on the Kodak product, (which I have never used) I don't see why you would use the Kodak film if printing in the darkroom - no point making a rod for your own back. The Kodak film sounds like a better bet if using a minilab and letting them print it on colour paper.
     
  26. Rolleijoe

    Rolleijoe Member

    Messages:
    530
    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Location:
    S.E. Texas
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I tried the Kodak version (and all subsequent ones) and found it to be muddy, no shadow detail, and hard to print in the darkroom. Also, the tonality just didn't have that "3-D" look like XP.

    Last week, I scanned some very old XP (no 1, no super, no 2, etc) and they cleaned up very nicely. Shot some XP2-Super a couple of years ago with Zeiss glass, and it was fantastic. Going to try some for an upcoming shoot in MF.

    BTW, sure wish I'd used more Agfa Variopan XL when it was available. Brilliant film.