Kodak 400CN - any hopes of getting a decent print?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by mooseontheloose, Feb 7, 2008.

  1. mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

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    I'm currently going through two years of negatives that were developed (not by me) but not printed, due to the fact that I wanted to do my own darkroom work but had no darkroom to work in until recently. Anyway, I've come across some great negs that I took during the Semana Santa in Sevilla last year, but half of them were taken on Kodak 400CN. I don't know what possessed me to buy this film, perhaps it was the only 120 film available to me at the time. Anyway, I've tried to get a few good work prints out of them, but they just don't seem to have the look I want (too muddy and lacking in contrast). I know now that they're meant to be printed on colour paper (for some reason I guess I thought they would be similar to XP2) but is there any way (particular papers, developer, filters, etc) of getting something good with these films in a traditional black and white darkroom?
     
  2. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    Most people who print 400CN on B&W paper crank up the filtration really high (grade 3.5 and above). I have printed it on RA-4 paper, and while the contrast is normal, getting the right colour balance is a b***. The orange mask in Kodak's film is designed for color paper. Ilford's XP2 does not have that mask, that's why it prints as a charm on B&W paper.
     
  3. richard littlewood

    richard littlewood Member

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    I had the same problem and no matter what I did the prints on Multigrade papers were horrible. But graded paper is a different issue. The negs I had came out really well on a G3 fixed grade Kentmere paper - tonally smooth, sharp and no mud.
     
  4. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    I print my 400CN Kodak films on variable contrast paper all the time, and with a bit of contrast filtration, they print quite nicely. Michel is right- 400CN prints best around grade 3-3.5. The negs will also be quite dense, so your printing times will be long (I have some images which when printed to 12x18 run around 1 minute base exposure at f8 on the enlarging lens, with 30+seconds burn/dodge cycles. The advantage of course to the long exposure time is that it makes dodging patterns easier to accomplish, as you have measurable, repeatable increments into which you can split the main exposure when you only have your own two hands to do the dodging with.