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Photography Question 
Andrew Laverghetta
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/13/2004

B & W films, different processes

Recently I took some shots of a friend to get some experience on portrait photography. I used a roll of the new kodak black and white C-41 film from walmart to see what it was all about. Afterwards, I had it processed and printed the next day at kroger, and then had reprints done at walmart in an hour. Usually I would take my film to an actual camera shop or similar but I just needed something quicker. So, the point is that the kroger prints came back somewhat sepia(ish) and walmart's were more of the actual black and white. Also, the prints seemed to be somewhat overexposed (maybe just my taste). Why is this? Is it something I can correct? I have some T-Max I want to try out, will the pictures be better just by using the more traditional b & w? If I need to write this a different way, I'm just asking what somebody's unbiased opinions are on C-41 and actual black and white films. Thanks!

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9/26/2004 10:15:57 PM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/18/2000
  The only way to get 1-day developing of traditional b&w film like T-Max is to do it yourself. If you take it to most professional labs for development it'll probably take 1-2 weeks.

The great advantage of C-41 b&w film is that it can be processed in the same chemestry alongside color C-41 film. That's also its greatest disadvantage, because most high volume labs will put it in the same printing queue with color print film without any adjustment. So it gets printed on color paper that picks up sepia or green or blue hues because the lab makes no adjustment to the printer's light balance for that one roll. You had better results getting the reprints because the operator knew it was b&w and adjusted the machine accordingly.

Re overexposure, check your negatives. If they are very "dense" with little detail in the darkest areas, then the overexposure is probably your error when taking the photo. Otherwise, there is great variability in printing and if the lab printed them too light then take them back and have them redo it to your satisfaction.

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9/27/2004 6:27:55 AM

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