There are several kinds of
black and white film available. Listed below are a few of the most common.
Kodak and Ilford
both make black and white film that is developed using a color
process. On the film or the box it will say “Develop C-41” or just “C-41.” This
means that you can have it developed at any shop that develops color film. It
also means that you can’t develop it in our lab. You are welcome to use the
film if you want but be aware of these limitations.
These films usually
come in rolls of 36, 24 or 12 exposures. I recommend 24 exposures. It takes
less time to finish a roll of 24 than 36 and they’re easier to handle when you
Black and white
film is not always available at every store where film is sold. You can be sure
to get it at any FNAC store in the Paris area. The prices are reasonable, the
store personnel are friendly and knowledgeable and usually there’s someone who
speaks English. Visit their website at www.fnac.fr to find the address nearest
The number (25,
100, 125, 400) refers to the ISO rating or “speed” of the film. The higher the
ISO the “faster” the film. A film with ISO 100 or 125 is ideal for taking
pictures outdoors in daylight (bright sun or overcast). To use this kind of
film indoors you would need a flash. Film rated at 400 can be used outdoors and
won’t require a flash in most well lit indoor situations. Film with speed 25
should only be used in brightly lit scenes. (It is often used in portraits
where the photographer is in complete control of the lighting conditions.)
There is also the issue
of “graininess.” Generally, the faster the film the larger the grains. This
means that when you make very big enlargements the sharpness may suffer.
Today’s films (especially T-Max 400) have successfully overcome the graininess
problem – especially for the size of enlargements (8 × 10 in) we will make in
These concepts will
be discussed further in class.