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.
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/showphot...00&ppuser=2723
aristotelis grammatikakis www.arigram.gr Real photographs, created in camera, 100% organic,
no digital additives and shit
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"
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.
...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.
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.
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.