Not Your Everyday Banana

by Bart Arondson

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I have shot a roll of Ilford XP2 Super 400, a Black & White film that is developed using C41 color process. The prints came back with what seems a blue-ish tint at the top.

I wonder why that is? It's identical on the 4x6 print and on the scan, but I don't know if the scan was made from the negative or the print (I had it developed at Walgreens). Edit: Confirmed that the blue tint exists on the negative as well.

Maybe it's not even blue and just looks like it, but still, it feels... off. The only filter I use is a Yellow 8, no Polarizer/ND/UV etc.

Is it stray light from the Sun? (Which would have been in my back, high up in a cloudless blue sky at 6:30pm)

Blue-ish tint

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"I don't know if the scan was made from the negative or the print" - Most likely, the digital minilab scanned the film, and generated both the file and the print from that scan. –  coneslayer Jul 3 at 22:20
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2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

XP2 film is C41 processed. However, from what I remember from back when I worked in a D&P lab, it can be printed through either the colour or B&W printing processes. Only B&W will give a completely colourless finish - colour prints from it usually have a sepia tone to them.

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Walgreens probably just ran your B+W film thru the only process they have, which is most likely C41, then printed the result on color paper. If you care about the subtle differences between film and digital, it makes no sense to then process the film with a inappropriate process. That can result in arbitrary colors shifts, as you see, and most likely doesn't get the best grain and tonal range from the film. I seriously doubt you're getting anything in the result that couldn't be achieved better with a decent modern digital camera and appropriate non-linear post-processing. For example, the pixel-level noise is quite high in your picture. It's not clear whether that is grain, a crappy scan, or something else. We'd have to see the original negative at higher resulution to determine that.

However, your picture is inherently black and white, so you know that any color variation is purely a result of the process. You can therefore safely lose it. For example:

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I don't understand why you keep adding in your comments about your opinion on not liking film. In this case it really doesn't add value it simply is a negative sentiment. Another example for this same user where you speak negatively of film: photo.stackexchange.com/a/52137/4892 It would be more appropriate to share you opinion on his original question of film vs digital for his purposes then to add it to each and every answer you provide him: photo.stackexchange.com/questions/52074/… –  dpollitt Jul 3 at 22:03
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C41 is the appropriate process for XP2. The color cast is from the scanning/printing side of things, not the development. –  coneslayer Jul 3 at 22:22
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@coneslayer - yes, C41 is the right process for XP2 (which is a chromogenic B&W film), but the colour shift may indicate a problem with the chemistry or the agitation in the processor. Perhaps it was in an "outside lane"? Working digitally, it's not a problem, but this cast will cause problems printing on multigrade B&W paper if it's on the negative (the blue/yellow balance determines how much each of the two contrast grades is exposed) along with the colour shift printing on colour paper. Still, there's less to deal with than if it had been colour negative film run through at the same time. –  user28116 Jul 4 at 0:06
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@user28116 I don't really understand how uneven development can introduce a color cast to C-41 B&W film. The color in C-41 color negative film comes from different dyes in different layers. Uneven development between the layers could introduce a cast. But XP2, AFAIK, has a single layer of neutral dye. How could a color shift be introduced? Where would the color come from? –  coneslayer Jul 4 at 0:32
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@coneslayer - Likely from old/oxidized blix. –  user28116 Jul 4 at 1:36
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