Newbie Printing Query....

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by laudrup, Jul 8, 2006.

  1. laudrup

    laudrup Member

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    Hello Gang,

    i'm new to this forum and have only been developing & printing for the past week or two and i'd be grateful if anyone could help me with a query.

    I have some negatives from ilford xp2 from before i set up my darkroom.

    I know that xp2 isn't a true black and white film and uses a c-41 process but would i be able to print this as if it were a normal black and white film? I've not tried yet but wondered if someone had any ideas or experience.

    Any feedback appreciated

    Cheers

    Adam :smile:
     
  2. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    Negatives are negatives, and the printing process is fundamentally the same regardless of the process used to achieve the negatives.
     
  3. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    Monophoto is quite correct Adam, XP2 prints very well.
    Welcome to the forum.
     
  4. arigram

    arigram Member

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    They are right. You can even print in black and white color film, just with less tonallity and longer exposures. As far as printing is concerned, anything that falls on the exposed paper makes an image, photograms is a good example of this.
     
  5. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    I would suggest one thing: print on BLACK AND WHITE paper. Many of the one-hour labs just blast this onto their regular color paper, and the results are ... bad.

    I've seen excellent results on black and white papers; in particular, Ilford Multi-Grade RC.
     
  6. laudrup

    laudrup Member

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    Cheers Chaps, thanks for the advice!
     
  7. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Adam
    One thing you will find perplexing when printing with xp2 is that if you use the same basic setup ie.* contrast setting * that you did for lets say a HP5 in ID11, you will find your xp2 negative prints looking very *flat, or low contrast*
    You need to raise the filter value, sometimes, by 2 full grades. This is a common problem when using this film for the first time.
    Once you establish a *grade for xp2* use this starting point.
    You will find this to be true with other film/developer combinations that are somewhat different than the norm.
    good luck
    Bob


     
  8. Sjixxxy

    Sjixxxy Member

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    Back when I was in college taking photo classes, one girl in the class had shot on either xp2 or T400CN, Either way, her prints looked pretty horrible, and when the proff. asked about what she used she admitted to using the film. The professor kind of when off how it wasn't exactly real black & white film, and that you could never get as good of results from it. I found the whole thing quite funny since I had spent the previous summer shooting on the stuff and was turning out some very excellent prints on the stuff. Just needed to bump that contrast filter way up.


     
  9. frugal

    frugal Subscriber

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    Probably T400CN then, I tried printing on that and it was horribly flat and muddy, even at grade 4. That film has the same orange mask as normal colour negative film and I suspect it interferes with B&W printing. I haven't tried XP2 but I've heard much better reports with the printing and that it has a clear film base like normal B&W film (or at least a lot closer).
     
  10. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    FWIW, I've seen a lot of complaints about printing from Kodak's chromogenics onto conventional B&W paper, but I've never had problems. Sometimes I need to print at a grade or two higher than usual, and of course with much longer print times, but that's about it. I suspect that there are important interactions with paper brand, enlarger light source, and/or enlarger filters. (I've used Agfa MCP 310 RC paper with a Philips PCS150 tri-color light source.)
     
  11. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

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    I tried the kodak consumer B&w film, and it prints well on grade 3
     
  12. leeturner

    leeturner Subscriber

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    As others have said, you may need to raise the contrast a grade or two. The only film I had problems with was the Konica chromogenic B&W as it had a strong magenta mask.
    FWIW I use XP2 for 90% of my medium format work and split grade printing works very well for this film as I can control the contrast quite easily using this method.
     
  13. arigram

    arigram Member

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    Btw, Adam, the Divers series of photos of mine are made with Kodak chromogenic film, the T400CN, developed in an one hour lab and printed with my enlarger on normal BW paper. Considering I also used an old and cheap compact camera, you can see, they didn't turn out badly.
    Here's the first one: http://www.apug.org/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=2630&cat=500&ppuser=2723
     
  14. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    The other day I discovered two sets of mini-lab prints from my pre-darkroom days. One set was XP2 plus and the other was TCN. I suspect that both were printed on colour paper. The XP2 was OK with just a hint of a cast and a little lacking in contrast. The TCN prints were distinctly pink looking when compared to normal B&W film. Even at the time when I wasn't in a position to compare and the pink cast didn't seem so obvious there was "something not quite right"

    pentaxuser
     
  15. Mark H

    Mark H Member

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    I've used XP2 for most of my 35 mm photos and have been able to achieve excellent prints up to 16" x 20" (I never tried going larger). Years ago I preferred Kodak's TCN, but felt it did tend to require higher contrast settings. Then XP2 went "Super" and I've used that ever since.
    A few years ago, I bought a batch of XP2 at what I thought was a great price and that's when I discovered it's not all "Super". The old non-Super XP2 was about 1 1/2 grades flatter.
    One of the real advantages of this film is the incredible latitude. You can shoot it at anywhere from asa 100 to 800 and get good results.
    If you are having it processed at your local pharmacy, be sure to let them know you would appreciate that they not touch the negatives with their bare hands...fingerprints are a nuisance to clean off. But at least you'll be able to identify the culprit later. Scratched film can also be a problem. (Watch them processing the color film for a little while and you will cringe at the lack of respect given those dear little negatives...). When able to afford it or if the roll is especially important, I'll pay extra to have a better lab do the processing.
    As someone mentioned in an earlier reply, don't judge this film by how it is printed on color paper. It looks very nasty.
     
  16. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Sure you can. Ilford's XP2 Super was designed specifically with what you're planning in mind. You are correct in your assumption that the film is not a "true" B&W film in that it uses the C-41 process for development. However it is a "true" B&W film in the sense that there is no color information recorded onto the film. It lacks the orange mask found on other C-41 color and monochrome films and will print well on standard B&W paper. The film will generally require a harder grade of paper to print well because it has the extreme dynamic range of a color negative film. Kodak marketed a similar film some time ago but it has been discontinued. Currently, all Kodak C-41 process monochrome films utilize the orange mask and are designed to be printed onto RA-4 rather than standard B&W silver gelatin papers.

    Printing color negatives onto standard B&W silver gelatin papers has always been problematic because of the orange mask and the color dyes used to form the image. Kodak made a panchromatic B&W film called Panalure just for this purpose. I don't think it ever was a big seller and it has been, along with all the other B&W papers from Kodak, discontinued as well.

    Standard B&W papers are primarily sensitive to light in the blue/green part of the visible light spectrum. The orange mask effectively cuts out a large portion of that light. Take a look at your safelight. What color is it? Chances are it's something like amber. Pretty close to the base color of those C-41 negatives, eh? Expect very long exposure times for a given F stop set on your enlarging lens relative to what you get with standard B&W negatives. Then there is the problem of the color dyes. Anything red/orange/yellow on the negative will print very lightly. Blues and greens will print relatively more darkly. Overall, the tonal representations of the original colors will be quite different from what we'd expect to see in a print made from a monochrome negative.
     
  17. laudrup

    laudrup Member

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    Thanks again for the input, i'll try some prints as soon as I get a chance and let you know how I get on!
     
  18. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    XP2 is slightly purple, but it prints better on black and white paper than the Kodak (at least in my experience). With the Kodak, I usually started with a #4 filter. With XP2, it's not exactly like B&W film, but much closer. It also seemed to maintain a better range of values than the Kodak.