getting charged more for C-41 B&W develop at lab... any reasons?

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by steve_robb|1, Apr 10, 2007.

  1. Hi all,

    I just popped a few films into a lab yesterday (going to be my new "regular", so
    many other places aren't doing a good job with film anymore), and they charged
    me a few bucks extra to develop the C-41 B&W films (Kodak BW400CN). I asked the
    girl why, since it's on the same paper, running through the same machine, with
    the same chemicles etc etc, she said it's just harder to print B&W than it is
    colour.

    Now, it's been a few years since I used to develop my own films on a regular
    basis, and even then I only did true B&W, but I did print from a colour film
    once, and I remember that being a pain. To print from B&W negatives, you just
    get your crop in the right spot, set your timer, and there's your print ready to
    be developed, but with colour, that's where you have to fiddle around with the
    different hues to try to get it looking natural (or so I found anyway).

    So, does anyone know why a lab would charge more (only talking a couple of
    dollars here, but still...) for what was traditionally a simpler to print
    picture? maybe some of you guys who work in 1hr labs can tell me?

    Cheers,
    Steve
     
  2. I'm going to take a wild guess here. Maybe it is harder to get the color balance "right" when printing B&W onto color paper, i.e. so it looks like real black and white without some strange color tint, and therefore they charge more because of a higher fiddle factor on their part.
     
  3. BW400CN has the orange mask specifically so it can be printed without any hassle next to colour negative film. Kodak designed it this way. Anyone who tells you otherwise is "mistaken".
     
  4. Steve and Alan, don't be naive. Any excuse is good for extra
    bucks.
     
  5. I am sure the mask makes it easier for the filters to match regular color film, but the color has to be perfect for it not to have a color cast. There is more tolerence in a color print before people will complain depending upon how sophistocated the customer is.
     
  6. The answer to your question is no. I ran a color and black and white lab at newspaper, there
    is no extra costs. The only reason there could be any extra cost is if your film is being
    pushed or pulled. Unless you told them to do that there should be no extra cost. The only
    other excuse is that, they were not sure if they could run your film. Like maybe never seen it
    before or can't read it's lable. But that would be their issue not yours.
     
  7. Time to change the lab if they are trying to BS you...
     
  8. Pure, utter crap. Because B&W roll stock and sheets are endangered and pricey, most pro labs with modern lines now print monochrome C41 and B&W negs on colour paper with very neutral results. Vote with your feet and find a new lab.Just got some 120 Agfa APX 100 shots back printed 8x10 on Kodak Endura--nice! Same price as colour, too...
     
  9. Steve,

    There's about a 99.9% chance they are trying to screw you out of a couple bucks.

    Still, I would ask whether they are trying to print this on B&W paper, rather than RA-4. If they are trying to do the former - it really would be much harder to print with good results because of BW400CN's orange mask.

    Come to think of it, if they are printing on B&W paper - then do everybody a favor and let us know because you have probably found the one lab on the planet that can correctly handle Ilford XP2 Super!

    But that's unlikely. I'm almost certain they're just trying to bleed you.
     
  10. I do work at a minilab in Maine and we used to get a B&W paper from Mitsubishi for RA-4. The paper was more expensive than regular paper and we had to charge more for BW prints. We realized after a while the paper became pink and stopped using it.

    Now we have to print using the color paper and it is a trial and error to neutralize the color cast that will change daily even with calibration. We don't charge more for it but can see where some would.
     
  11. As a lab owner, printing good B&W on color is a bit of a pain. It's easy to get color shifts into cool or warm tones, so we do charge extra because remakes are more frequent. If you are happy with the lab and you say you are, I'd pay the few dollars to get good quality. The answer the sales girl gave you is absolutely correct, unless the lab doesn't care about color shifts on your B&W.

    Processing film should be identical.
     
  12. As a lab tekkie myself. there is no reason if they use modern equipment. find a lab with a Fuji Frontier or equivalent.
    most digital labs and it is only a mouse click to get true Black and White.
    especially with t400cn from Kodak
     
  13. in an optical minilab environment it was harder to get neutral b/w on color paper especially with xp2......but in the modern digital minilab i distinctly remember only have to change the output mode from color to b/w.....three mouseclicks.
     
  14. I understand it is harder to get absolute b/w on colour paper - I have seen the mistakes ;)

    This film was created for 1 hour labs, and in my opinion they shouldn't charge more - however it is a free market...

    That being said - I have never encoutered this, but one time a lab refused to process my Ilford XP2 Super, with no good reason.

    I e-mailed Ilford and got a standard "designed for C-41, no reason they should refuse, etc.." type of answer.

    I did have a lab tell me that they could print my 120 FP4+ on colour paper and it would cost me $1 instead of $1.25 per print. I got sepia prints....I didn't really care 'cause I treated them as proofs. When I went back with another roll, they offered to print them on true b/w paper for the colour paper price ($1). Less aggravation for them.
     
  15. Andre & Robert,

    I own a digital lab, though not Frontier. On mine I can get decent B&W with a click, but to get good B&W without a slight warm or cool cast is not as easy. It's a matter of what the customer wants and expects.

    Hard to say what this lab was using.
     

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