Today after work I dropped off my first roll of film to be developed. It was a 36 shot roll of Ilford XP2, and it’s probably the only black and white roll I’ve ever shot in my entire life, now that I think about it. The neat thing about this roll is that you can develop it in C41 chemistry (used for colour print film), which means you can basically get it developed anywhere in the city for next to nothing. I also have a few rolls of pure black and white to shoot, so I think it will be a useful comparison. I asked the ladies down at Custom Colour if the XP2 was noticeably different than the pure black and whites, and they both unanimously agreed that they were extremely similar.
I’m pretty sure at least 10 of the 36 shots are going to be completely ruined since I struggled last night to figure out the best way to take low light shots with ISO400 film (I’m used to using ISO 1600-3200 on my digital in those same situations). So, I’m pretty sure some of them are going to turn out blurry, which is part of the learning process I guess. I resorted to using my flash out of desperation a few times, something that I almost never do on my digital body.
Tonight I went for a walk and shot a complete roll of slide film, also a first for me. Apparently slide film has a slightly reduced dynamic range than print film, which probably means most of it is going to be wrecked due to the high contrast stuff I was trying to shoot with it — but we’ll find out in the next few days. Most of it was at the beach, so I don’t think I’ll cross-process it. I’m actually pretty excited to start seeing the end result of this process, and I really hope it’s not utter disappointment.
I’ve also decided that I’m going to put a bunch of film to the test over the next little while. Every time I get a roll developed, I’ll post a bunch of photos and give my impression of it. I’ll collect all these entries into a special section somewhere on my blog for everyone’s reference in the future. To keep things simple, I think I’ll stick to using Custom Colour (which is near me), and pull development differences out of the comparison.
I’m also interested to see if anyone wants to go in together and purchase a film scanner. To develop negatives is only around $4 around town here, but to scan them to CD is between $6 and $8 per roll for really low-resolution versions. You can get decent film scanners starting at around $250, so I figure if we can get 5-10 people together, we can buy our own scanner and all share (which would bring development costs from around $12 down to $4 per roll). So if that interests you, drop me a line.