Ilford XP2 in Diafine?

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by agardner58, Mar 23, 2005.

  1. I know that XP2 is a C-41 process film, and that is how I usually have
    it processed, but I just bought some Diafine to use with FP4+ and
    TriX, and I noticed that there is a listing for Ilford XP2 at 200
    under the exposure recommendations on the back of the Diafine box.

    Anyone here tried this? I searched the archives, and found lots of
    threads with both XP2 and Diafine in them, but nothing about XP2
    actually developed in Diafine. Also XP2 isn't even mentioned (probably
    rightly so since its C-41) on the Massive Dev chart.

    I'd be curious to hear whether this would be a waste of time or not.
    Maybe I'll give it a try anyway and let you know...I've got a bunch of
    XP2 in 120.

  2. I would not try this one any film that has valuable images on it. The C-41 process is different enough from the traditional B+W process that you are likely to get nothing useable. Search the forums, I am sure that someone else posted something similar a while ago and got terrible results.

    - Randy
  3. While I'd be inclined to try it with test images first, there's no reason this wouldn't work. One of the great things about XP2 is that, unlike Kodak's C-41 B&W films, it has no orange mask, and will produce negatives readily printable on conventional B&W papers. And, since there's no orange mask, it will just as readily produce a silver image negative in conventional B&W developers as a black dye image negative in C-41 color dev. In fact, any C-22 or C-41 film (or even K-12, K-14, E-4 or E-6) will produce a silver image in any B&W developer, given the proper time, though the orange mask of color negative and Kodak C-41 B&W films is very heavy without the reaction of the color developer on the dye couplers that form the mask; I've developed Kodacolor II in HC-110 on one occasion, and Vericolor II in Diafine on another; both produced visible images.

    That said, Diafine (according to the box) produces only EI 200 on XP2, which is a one stop loss from its rated speed in C-41 chemistry. Diafine is well known for producing a speed gain with almost all conventional B&W materials.

    What I'd suggest is to shoot a test roll and try it. You have the film, you have the soup, all you have to lose is your time. You might find you like it, and you might not -- but you'll *know* instead of having to guess.
  4. I think it is a waste of money. There are superior B&W Films that cost much less. The only
    advantage to XP2 is that it can be developed C41.

  5. "I think it is a waste of money. There are superior B&W Films that cost much less. The only advantage to XP2 is that it can be developed C41."

    Now there's a man after ym own heart. Why would you want to do that when you can do better for less money?
  6. That's note quite true; XP2 Super has a look of its own that quite distinct from HP5+ (or Tri-X). A film with the look of XP2 developed in conventional B&W chemistry, that'd be something, Delta 400 isn't quite it.
  7. This always surprises me. I've heard of a few people trying C-41 films in B&W chemistry and, at times, getting great results. I thought C-41 films used dye clouds instead of silver grains so I have no clue how that's even possible. I've seen the results and some developer and film combos look pretty good though. I saw one test where XP2 and Xtol were found to be the best combo. Odd stuff. I think it's a good idea to experiment with this stuff. If no one did that, we wouldn't have all the great alternative processes and photographic tricks we have today.
  8. Nathan, to greatly oversimplify, every C-41 (and E-6, for that matter) film has silver layers containing halide very much like that in conventional B&W film, and dye couplers. The couplers react with oxidation products of the color developer to produce dye in close proximity to the silver grains as development takes place, forming the three (or in one case, four) dye layers in a color film, or the black single dye layer in a C-41 B&W (with E-6, the first developer and reversal bath come ahead of the color developer, but the idea is the same); the silver is then bleached away before fixing leaving only the dye image. Functionally, the result is similar to what you'd get if you bleached a pyro negative in Farmer's Reducer -- an image from which the silver has been removed and only the dye or stain remains.

    Now, if you develop the film only in B&W chemistry, you get a negative very similar to what is present in E-6 before reversal, and then fix -- but the dye couplers in most C-41 materials form the familiar orange mask, and since none of the dye is converted by a B&W developer, the orange mask is very strong. XP-2, however, has no orange mask, and produces a clean, clear B&W negative by either method. It could also be reversed to make B&W slides, by developing first in B&W chemistry, then (without fixing) applying a reversal exposure or bath followed by normal C-41 process; this would make a positive dye image and bleach away the silver, producing a B&W slide.

    The same B&W processing could be applied to any slide film, of course; they have no orange mask -- but slide films are a lot more expensive than XP-2.
  9. XP2 used as intended is an excellent film for those that understand its properties! The "grain" is small and soft, but what could be described as "tightly packed", allowing huge enlargements that show a lot of gradations. The tonality can be very unexpected and have a very, very cool and "timeless" appearance with LOTS of tonal gradations. The film is also very tolerant to overexposure, and completely intolerant to underexposure. It keeps the contrast about the same on overexposure, but the image is softer, and less "grainier". I've shot this film under completely overcast skies and got highly contrasty results for some reason, which is very, very nice. The easiest to use film avaiable on the market.
  10. I whole-heartedly echo the sentiments of John and Frank...and I'll go even further.

    XP2 Super is a superbly smooth film the way Budweiser (USA...not Budvar) is a superbly smooth beer. And both are, IMO, world-class bland.

    People laud XP2 Super because they can print it using a conventional B&W wet darkroom while having it developed at the drugstore. I've never fully understood the logic there, because there's generally a great deal more time, expense, and chemical exposure involved in the printing of B&W film than its development.

    I generally try to avoid a chicken little mentality regarding the potential discontinuation of B&W products but I can't see XP2 Super staying on the marketplace much longer because it's bread & butter market (wedding photographers who don't want to be troubled understanding exposure) has gone digital and I could never find any lab that could actually remember your request to print it on B&W paper and it looks just plain awful on the color stuff.

    Some people say XP2 Super has a niche for scanning. Maybe, but that's only if you hate grain like the plague. Even if you fall into that category, I think you're better served scanning slides and then channel mixing in Photoshop.

    Like Johnny Rotten was singing..."No future for you".
  11. I disagree about XP2. Nice film for those who understand its properties. I know some people shoot both chromogenic and conventional B&W. Exposure latitude is great, tonality can be very interesting, and enlargements to 11x14 are no problem.
  12. I'm going to agree with Dan about XP2. I think it's a great film that works well alongside traditional B&W films. It has a very smooth look that works very well for portraiture. It's not for everyone but I definitely wouldn't characterize it as "bland".

    The scanning advantages are not only in the very visibly reduced "apparent grain" but also in the ability to use hardware dust removal for those who have scanners with that option.
  13. People forget that art isn't about the process. People who care mostly about the perfections of the process (digital, film, or any other media), produce bland, scientific, perfect, and perfectly boring results! The media and equipment is there to get the job done and get out of the way, be it digital, any type of film or even finger painting!

    Any photograher who tells you that you are not a photographer because you are using media or processes that he/she doesn't like shouldn't be in this field, because they don't understand art. Photography without art is simply a technical process. You'll be better off shooting dental X-rays with that mindset!
  14. I've developed XP2 in Tmax before and gotten appreciable results, although it does have a purplish tint. Probably needed a weakened dilution and more exposure than I gave it. JR
  15. xp2 super pushed to 1600, developed in stock solution of D76 for 40min.

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