Pros and cons of 400CN

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mesh

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I have been a lover of 400CN for sometime... I shoot a lot in 120 and a bit in 35mm - have always been impressed by it's 'quality' and ease of use.

Now I know this has been discussed many, many times before, but I am thinking of going back to TMAX. It's almost as though my scans using 400CN look 'digital' in a way.

I am right in making these generalised assumptions about the pros and cons of 400CN?...

Advantages:

Excellent grain (well there practically isn't any!)
Easy to scan
Easy to process (assuming you live near a lab or do C41 yourself)
Punchy results

Disadvantages:

Can look almost 'digital' at times
Doesn't 'look' like B&W - no 'special' aesthetic
Can't process at home easily
Not quite the same DR as most 'real' B&W

In a hybrid workflow, have people had success with TMAX 400 generally? Do you find it OK to scan? At the moment I am just using a V700. How about the emulsion itself... is it actually a bit more durable than C41? It's been a long time wince I shot real B&W :smile: In a way it's almost a backward step in terms of what many of us perceive as 'quality' but the character of TMAX and other films seems missing in 400CN... maybe I am being too sentimental :smile:

Thanks for any insights and opinions,

David
 

Sirius Glass

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IMNSHO* I like the grain and texture of Tri-X 400 much better than 400CN.


Steve


* IMNSHO = In MY Not So Humble Opinion.
 

bob100684

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I have been a lover of 400CN for sometime... I shoot a lot in 120 and a bit in 35mm - have always been impressed by it's 'quality' and ease of use.

Now I know this has been discussed many, many times before, but I am thinking of going back to TMAX. It's almost as though my scans using 400CN look 'digital' in a way.

I am right in making these generalised assumptions about the pros and cons of 400CN?...

Advantages:

Excellent grain (well there practically isn't any!)
Easy to scan
Easy to process (assuming you live near a lab or do C41 yourself)
Punchy results

Disadvantages:

Can look almost 'digital' at times
Doesn't 'look' like B&W - no 'special' aesthetic
Can't process at home easily
Not quite the same DR as most 'real' B&W

In a hybrid workflow, have people had success with TMAX 400 generally? Do you find it OK to scan? At the moment I am just using a V700. How about the emulsion itself... is it actually a bit more durable than C41? It's been a long time wince I shot real B&W :smile: In a way it's almost a backward step in terms of what many of us perceive as 'quality' but the character of TMAX and other films seems missing in 400CN... maybe I am being too sentimental :smile:

Thanks for any insights and opinions,

David

Advantage
1) Grain Size
2) Drop and go processing
3) If scanning, ability to use digital ICE dust/scratch reduction
Disadvantage
1) Can't be souped in B/W chemicals
2) Kind of flat and pasty looking
3) orange base makes it a pain in the ass to print on real b/w paper.
 

chriscrawfordphoto

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Tmax 400 scans nicely for me. I have used the 400CN and it scans well too, but I like Tmax 400's tonality better. Tri-X is beautiful too but too grainy for me, I love the Tmax 400-2 film.

leica17.jpg

Tmax 400-2 developed in Tmax developer 1+7, EI 320, Leica M4 with 50mm Summicron (tabbed, early 1980s)
 
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mesh

mesh

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The ICE issue is something I forgot. To be honest though, I thought that would be a big deal for me (seeing I am in a pretty dusty environment) but I hardly use it. For some reason, I find spotting in PS quite meditating.... weird I know! :smile:
 
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mesh

mesh

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Chris - what a fantastic shot! Timing is everything huh. I love the 'look' too... like you, I find Tri-X a bit too much. That said, I'd like to try shooting some of it (I am only going on samples I have seen online, which doesn't mean that much). Have heard glowing reports of it.
 

mrmekon

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I don't like it for psychological reasons. It feels like cheating. I also generally refuse to convert a color digital photo to grayscale. In fact, I generally avoid digital B&W altogether. It doesn't feel right.
 

Photo Engineer

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One last important factor. The 400CN film forms the image using dyes.

Remember that "these dyes like all dyes, fade with time......" :D

Silver generally does not!

So, one more factor in the equation must be considered. Even if it is 50 years, 100 years or more, the CN film dyes will fade just as films developed in staining developers will have the color component fade.

PE
 

chriscrawfordphoto

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Chris - what a fantastic shot! Timing is everything huh. I love the 'look' too... like you, I find Tri-X a bit too much. That said, I'd like to try shooting some of it (I am only going on samples I have seen online, which doesn't mean that much). Have heard glowing reports of it.

I took this one right before the one in my last post:

leica16.jpg


I like this film a lot, you should get some and try it. I've developed it in Tmax and in D-76 1+1 with great results both ways. Fortunately my local camera store sells it and isn't expensive like many small stores are now, so I dont have to bother ordering it.

These were from the very first roll I shot in my Leica when I bought it a couple months ago. It has really changed my candid work like this. My SLRs, Olympus OM-4T bodies, have a long time lag between pushing the shutter release and the shutter actually opening. All SLRs do compared to a rangefinder, but most SLRs are faster than the OM-4T. I have had a hard time capturing fast action and catching the expression with the OM-4T and the Leica has made it easy.
 
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Photo Engineer

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Tom;

Taken out of context, my comment appears wrong or biased. What I was pointing out that all stained or CN films contain dye images that are integral to the correct performance when printed. If these dyes fade, the image is degraded, (there is no maybe). I repeat that IF these dyes fade, then the image is degraded. The problem then remains that no one AFAIK, has done extensive studies of CN negative films and stained B&W negatives.

I have no opinion to offer, just that single fact that degrading the dye will degrade the quality of the image.

PE
 

DramaKing

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I have been a lover of 400CN for sometime... I shoot a lot in 120 and a bit in 35mm - have always been impressed by it's 'quality' and ease of use.

Now I know this has been discussed many, many times before, but I am thinking of going back to TMAX. It's almost as though my scans using 400CN look 'digital' in a way.

I am right in making these generalised assumptions about the pros and cons of 400CN?...

I'm sorry that you feel this way :D For me, this film has its uses but on the overall I really would just go the 'true' b/w way. Exposing this film is like walking a tightrope. The shadows become blocked faster than any other film I have ever used. (Granted, I mainly use Kodak).

That said, let me add the advantage of the widespread availability of this film. What other black-and-white film can you buy at Wal-Mart?
 

fschifano

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For me, the most compelling argument against T400CN is that, unlike Ilford XP2 Super, it is darned near impossible to make a good print onto conventional B&W paper from it. Archival stability factors aside, it is on par with Ilford's product if you plan a hybrid workflow, and can produce, IMO, a superior finished product over a conventional silver bearing B&W film in that environment.
 

Leighgion

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I don't think I agree that 400CN can look "digital." That's an adjective I'd much more readily apply to XP2 Super. Other than that though, my experience more or less lines up with that pro & con list.

While I haven't gotten around to shooting T-Max yet (got some in the fridge), I have gone through a lot of Tri-X and a lesser amount of Fomapan and Acros, all in a hybrid workflow with negatives scanned on an Epson 4870. You need to spend more effort dusting and touching up dust spots in post, but I've been very pleased with my results. Traditional B&W film is quite viable in this setup.
 

sanking

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I don't think I agree that 400CN can look "digital." That's an adjective I'd much more readily apply to XP2 Super. Other than that though, my experience more or less lines up with that pro & con list.

What do you all mean by the term "digital look" as it applies to image made with Kodak 400 CN and XP2. I find that these films give very fine grain but don't see anything especially "digital" about the look I get from them.

Sandy King
 

bob100684

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What do you all mean by the term "digital look" as it applies to image made with Kodak 400 CN and XP2. I find that these films give very fine grain but don't see anything especially "digital" about the look I get from them.

Sandy King

I think a lot of people think of them looking digital cause they only see the frontier prints....grain reduction and sharpening jacked through the roof.
 
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mesh

mesh

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Bob - lovely shot! No I don't think it looks digital :smile: I am perhaps being too subjective - talking about things that are purely based on personal opinions of aesthetics. I should have asked the question like this... do you think scanning TMAX 400 poses particular problems? I LIKE 400CN and think it scans wonderfully, but would like to move to TMAX. Has anyone had particular issues scanning it? BTW - thanks to all the advice posted here - much appreciated.
 

Tim Gray

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We shouldn't talk about it here because it's hybrid, but I have no problems scanning traditional silver based negatives. 99.9% of the B&W images in my flickr stream are scanned silver film - mostly Tri-X, with some TMZ and Plus-X and a couple others thrown in.
 

bob100684

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Bob - lovely shot! No I don't think it looks digital :smile: I am perhaps being too subjective - talking about things that are purely based on personal opinions of aesthetics. I should have asked the question like this... do you think scanning TMAX 400 poses particular problems? I LIKE 400CN and think it scans wonderfully, but would like to move to TMAX. Has anyone had particular issues scanning it? BTW - thanks to all the advice posted here - much appreciated.

Scanning a real B/W film doesn't pose any problems as long as you're ok with spotting dust in photoshop.
 
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mesh

mesh

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OK - thanks very much. I should have only posted it on hybridphoto.com - apologies. Great information though and I much appreciated it. I will only be developing TMAX for starters (then scan) but hope to print at some stage soon.
 
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In my opinion, one of the major disadvantages of black and while C41 films is that, while its convenient, you can't develop it yourself, and if you do, you don't really have control over the processing. The variables are endless in terms of developing "real" B&W film.
 
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