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b/w developing in Boots

Discussion in 'Everything Film' started by tone, Feb 26, 2001.

  1. tone

    tone New Member

    Because I don't have access to a darkroom to develop my own pictures, I have tried out the local Boots and had two films developed in black/white. However, both films came out with a really dull, grey colour with hardly any contrast whatsoever. I used the same camera and filmtype (Ilford) both times, so I was wondering if anyone has had bad experiences with getting b/w films developed in Boots (or similar)? And if anyone knows of a good place to have my films developed in the Guilford/Farnham area, I would appreciate any suggestions.
     
  2. David Stout

    David Stout Well-Known Member

    What film did you use?

    Most places aren't really set up to do BW and they are often done as one-offs by people who aren't skilled at BW. Sometimes a small independent camera dealer will do it for you with greater expertise.

    If you use a chromogenic emulsion like XP2, you can put the film through a standard C41 colour process (though the staff at Boots will insist that they can't put BW through their machine, just point to the bit that says 'Process C41" on the canister). A well set-up machine can deliver near perfect BW prints though a machine with a standard colour filter pack may well end up giving you sepia prints. It all depends on the skill and knowledge of the operator.

    David
     
  3. BigWill

    BigWill Gorgeous oversensitive Nikon-loving cream puff

    Agree with David about the reaction of Boots staff when presented with a chromogenic (XP2 and similar) film. Why is this? Boots staff should be trained to both develop and adjust the colour filtration settings on their machines in order to produce an acceptable B/W print. I beleive this is not the fault of the operatives but shows a lack of understanding at higher managment level by failing to provide proper training to their staff. It is not good enough to simply say that B/W is a minority persuit and requires special development. B/W is far from being a "minority" as can be evidenced by the large amount of people who would require this service if only high street retailers like Boots had enough gumption to train their staff properly. As for requiring special development, the beauty of chromogenic film is that it does not require special development and can easily be processed along with conventional C41 colour material! So Mr. Boots take note, if you sell the film (XP2) then get your act together, train your staff properly and give your customers the service they deserve! Oh crap, now I've gone and sprained my ankle slipping off my soapbox!
    BigWill
     
  4. Clive

    Clive Well-Known Member

    As far as I know, Boots do not provide B&W paper for their XP2 service and I find their 'sepia' toned prints far from pleasant. Others will develop well, and print on to B&W paper - but may charge £1 more. My local Snappy Snaps does the Biz. Without a darkroom, I think XP2 Super is the safest option in many cases, and is a first class film. Even Ilford have sometimes got it wrong - my daughter sent off an HP5 to Ilford and the negatives were awful to print because they were so overdeveloped - very long exposures on grade 00. Short of using professional labs, there can always be found a half decent B&W processor for non C41 films - perhaps a local lab or B&W specialist. Unfortunately costs are always higher than C41 minilabs.
     
  5. JMACNALLY

    JMACNALLY RIP

    Have you tried Reid's shop in Guilford. I don't know the outlet personally, but years of reading AP has given me an encyclopaedic association of dealers with places, and that one comes to mind. There must be a Jessop's who should understand the requirements for B&W as well. Boots can't really expect to be all things to all people, so I would give the others a try, at least their business is photography.
     
  6. tone

    tone New Member

    I used Ilford Delta 400 both times. Thanks for the tip of using C41, I'll try that next time and see what happens. And I'll talk to the people at Jessops and hear if they think they can make better prints. Thanks for alle the replys - much appreciated!
    Tone
     
  7. David Stout

    David Stout Well-Known Member

    Ilford publish values for the filter packs for most modern minilabs to get a decent BW image on colour paper. The lab doesn't have to have BW paper. I've had prints done this way and it is difficult to tell them apart from BW paper. By not dialling in the correct filtration, the enprints may end with a range of shades of sepia tones from reddish blacks to greenish blacks. Interestingly, if there is exposure variance on the same roll, colour variations may be seen within the enprints from that roll. With the correction filtration, this doesn't happen (though you will get greys instead of blacks).

    Like BigWill says, many of the High Street operators, Boots included, are unaware of this. Having said that (and apologies if I upset anybody), the average lab operator is a bit like a machine operator in a factory. It's just a job and they work within the limits of what they have been told to do. Only a few have a real enthusiasm for photography and seek to explore the subject and tweak their machines to give the best.

    David
     
  8. David Stout

    David Stout Well-Known Member

    I had some BW processed by Ilford some time ago. Never again! Quality was appalling for the price they charged. I was tempted to send the whole lot back but never got round to it. Like many people, it's easier just to go somewhere else the next time but the question usually is 'where?'.

    If I ever do any more BW work I'll probably try Joe's Basement in London. However, it's unlikely because I now shoot on digital and convert to BW in Photoshop using the SilverOxide filters which can simulate the tonal range of FP4, Pan F or XP2.

    David
     
  9. BigWill

    BigWill Gorgeous oversensitive Nikon-loving cream puff

    Although "tone" has stated that he does not have access to a darkroom, there really is no substitute for printing your own B/W pictures yourself. This need not require a major outlay as the biggest cost would be an enlarger which could be purchased at a reasonable cost second-hand or even new if a basic model was selected. As for a darkroom, mine consists of the former broom cupboard under the stairs! (much to the annoyance of "er-indoors" who now has nowhere to store her brushes).All that is then needed are a few sundries such as a safelight,timer,dishes,tongs, paper etc. Tone could even avoid developing his own film if he sticks to chromogenic types and has them processed in the high street. The resulting enprints will probably be very sepia but could be used as reference prints for when he goes to print his own "proper" B/W material.
    BigWill
     
  10. Clive

    Clive Well-Known Member

    David, I'm flabbergasted! To be able to click on FP4, Pan F etc - digital is certainly advancing rapidly, but disciples of Ansel Adams, John Sexton or Barry Thornton would need a lot of convincing. Perhaps one day we'll have click-ons for developer dilution, development time/temperature,pre-wash, agitation method, printing exposure, grade filtration, print developer etc etc. In the meantime, Big will's advice on a darkroom the easy way should not be ignored. Having said that, loved your 'Young Philosopher' in the AP Members Gallery.
     
  11. David Stout

    David Stout Well-Known Member

    Clive

    Different films react to the spectral range in different ways and the object of this plug-in is to simulate the response of different emulsions. For those that have not yet discovered this - simply choosing 'grayscale' may produce a B&W image but it does not translate colours to shades of grey in the same way that conventional film does.

    I'm glad you liked Young Philosopher - that was a colour neg converted to B&W with the FP4 filter. In the next few days I hope to post some more pictures and maybe remove the others so viewers don't have to work out what they have and haven't seen before.

    David
     
  12. David Stout

    David Stout Well-Known Member

    Two points:

    1) There is a lot of cheap but good darkroom gear around as many photographers sell their kit and spend the money on digital.

    2) Digital does not and cannot replace the sheer magic of creating you images in the darkroom.

    I am all digital now but I would love the opportunity to use a darkroom on a regular basis. I'm sure I can make my Young Philosopher image even better by printing it on Agfa Classic fibre paper in the right developer.

    To anybody that has never done any darkroom work before you don't know what you are missing. Digital is the frozen ready-meal of photography - just shove it in the microwave, press a few buttons and then it's done. Darkroom work is liking making a meal from scratch with fresh ingredients - it might be more work and take longer but the end result will have the edge if you put the effort in. Above all, there is enormous satisfaction to be had from simply doing it. It's "look at what I've done" rather than "look at what the computer has done".

    David
     
  13. Raz

    Raz Well-Known Member

    its quite funny, i do neally all my stuff in the darkroom and i HATE it, its just becuase i cant afford to pay somone else to do it, im not particulary skilled, its takes ages and its pretty boring... its nice to be creative play with chemicals and new techniques and stuff.. but just making a contact sheet and rapping off prints is awefull.. i envy your scanners and printers and computers... digital is benal and kind of ugly.. but its cheaper time wise and material wise really.
    theres lot of private adverts for home darkroom workers who charge about £10-£20 for a complete print set from a 36 exp film.. which to be honest is a bargin.. considering the time thats involved.. i think i just love my vitamin D.. cant be in the dark to long.
    or maybe its the generation gap and we "damn youth" are just plain lazy... probobly =)

    www.angelfire.com/on/aroof
     
  14. David Stout

    David Stout Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't go into the darkroom to make a set of 36 6x4" prints - that would be boring and not cost-effective. I would use (used to use) a darkroom for what I now do with digital - a small number of high-quality exhibition/competition prints.

    David
     
  15. phil

    phil Well-Known Member

    Hello David,
    I like your analogy between food and printing and its particularly pertinent to me. For 10 years I used digital equipment to produce pictures for my work and took to the darkroom as an escape from the pixel and sitting in front of a PC. The dark room gave me a couple of quiet hours with only radio 4, a barrel of home brew and my printing skill ( plus a lot of dust on neg and enlarger! see the prints a the AP commmunity!). Although the image analysis has gone bye the bye I still spend most of the working day in front of a computer ( now computer modelling food! processing! as it happens) and the last thing I want to do is involve computers in my favorite hobby! But each to their own and if a cheap digital camera breaks the 6 million pixel mark at an improved pixel density to a currently availible chip ( i.e. close to a halide emulsion) I might be interested or perhaps not! I could turn the light off in the office at home I suppose. ( that sounds grand doesn't it - the office- the corner of the bed room where the PC is, with a screen around it!)

    Each to their own lets keep snapping

    As a slight PS I developed the first prints from my new FED and the conclusion is: Buy a new light meter all the negs were vastly under exposed... But the few that had some density to them did look nice and sharp. More developing this week end!!!! after adding a couple of stops top the meter (It's older than I am so can't expect too much just hope the readings are linear) And hey I had fun considering the composition etc and I have vastly exceeded the £42.50 price for the camera in thinking about my photos...

    A second PS a professional friend suggested that, after a bit of practice, try using the fed without a meter at all and to train the eye and not just the cmos chip at the centre of my eos or aged meter!

    All the best

    Phil
     
  16. Clive

    Clive Well-Known Member

    Thanks, David. Would be fascinated to see other results from this process when you add to your gallery: perhaps saying which filter has been applied - or perhaps the same image twice with first, say an FP4 filter and then with a T-grain filter or chromogenic filter?
     
  17. BigWill

    BigWill Gorgeous oversensitive Nikon-loving cream puff

    I tried black and white developing in Boots once but the developer kept running out of the lace-holes (boom boom!)BigWill strikes again!
     
  18. Raz

    Raz Well-Known Member

  19. David Stout

    David Stout Well-Known Member

    Phil

    All my early photography was done with guessing the exposure based on the guide than came with a 120 roll of film. It served me well. When the summer comes, remember the sunny sixteen rule and open up the aperture in full stops to allow for haze, overcast etc. Even in the studio, I set up the lights, pose the subject, take a flash meter reading and, guess what?, it is usually f8.

    Glad you like the FED. I still have and enjoy using a Yashicamat 124G - totally manual and totally enjoyable.

    David
     
  20. David Stout

    David Stout Well-Known Member

    The filters may be found at http://www.silveroxide.com and there is a demo to try. They now have an enhanced version where you can simulate the effect of coloured filters to enhance things like blue skies. Definitely worth a look.

    David
     

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