View Full Version : Stupid development question
OK, I admit I'm a complete film idiot. I've been shooting digital for the past few years and picked up a R3A and a 40/1.4 last week. I shot a roll of HP5 this weekend and took it into my locak camera shop. I knew going into it that they don't process BW, they only do C41 processing. But I have taken BW 120 film there before and it was processed without a problem.
I realize that C41 processing isn't ideal for BW film. But I didn't think it was not possible. The lady that helped me told me that they couldn't even process the film as it messes up the developer. Is that true? They are MUCH more of an expert then I am but I was under the impression I could process BW film anywhere, it just won't be true BW processing.
As for this roll of film, I could care less about the final look. It really was just a test roll to make sure I can load the film and focus a RF camera.
Thanks in advance for your answer to a lame question!
You cannot develop normal b&w film in C-41. The final C-41 image is a dye image. The C-41 process develops the silver and then replaces the silver in the film with the dye in the film. Processing normal b&w film will have the silver developed and then bleached out and since the film has no dye, there will not be an image. And since C-41 uses a bleach fixer, it is not a step that can be ommitted. And yes, putting normal b&w film through their C-41 machine could mess the chemistry up.
Why don't you shoot a cheap color film for a test?
Or get a tank and develop B&W yourself...it really isn't that hard and we'll be happy to give you any assistance you need.
There are some monochrome c41 films. These are not "true" b&w (silverhalide) films but will give similar results and can be processed in c41. Ilford XP2 (my favorite), Kodak CN400, ...
First off, HP5 won't develop in a C41 process. Period. Either go to a more expensive lab that offers that service or do it yourself. I recommend the latter. There is a perhaps too comprehensive (ie - slightly daunting) wiki at http://photos.kaiyen.com/pmwiki/pmwiki.php that we (I) have been working on. I realize now that my statement at the beginning is a bad idea, and I should make a single into page that is like "the 10 things you need to know to get started."
However...some labs will also tell you that they won't run even C41 black and white film through their machines. I think that the person with whom you spoke didn't even know what HP5 was, heard "black and white" and gave you a rote answer. This is a complete falsehood, but you will run into this misconception now and then. C41 B&W can be run through any C41 machine, but this fallacy that it'll "mess up the chemistry" is out there.
Use a C41 color film for your test, then if you're into B&W use C41 B&W or use color and convert to B&W on your computer later.
Thanks everyone! I would develop myself except I don't want to buy all the chemicals right now. I leave in 3 weeks for a 15 month trip around the world. I'm bringing the R3A as well as a 5D. I'll be shooting BW film and mailing it home to develop when I get home. And then shooting the 5D and keeping a blog the entire time.
Thanks again and sorry for the stupid question! :)
If you're really strapped for time, I agree with the others that you should use cheap color film. Burn through as many rolls as you can to test your R3A, and to "get to know" your 40mm before your trip. It would be nice to have that kind of feedback prior to such a long trip.
Before I started developing my own b&w I used to bring my film to a 1-hour consumer photo lab nearby. They only do c41 but they accept b&w film and send it out for development. I'm guessing that's what possibly happened when they accepted your 120 b&w film (probably because they don't do any of the 120 rolls themselves). This is only an assumption.
If you don't want to develop yourself then I advise you to see if you can find a real pro lab. I found out that this is the cheapest way to go for anything other than C41 film since the consumer labs usually just send b&w and slide film out to a pro lab and then charge twice the price.
But this may only be the case where I live.
Thanks! Yes, this place does send it out and they offered to. I just didn't really want to wait a week just to see if I loaded the film correctly! But it's sounding like I don't have a huge choice in the matter.
I think you guys are right. I should just shoot some color or a roll of XP2 to test it out.
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