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Printing color negatives on b&w paper

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John Floren

Feb 21, 2020, 3:13:33 PM2/21/20
Anyone got tips for printing color negatives (Portra 400 120 format, in
this case) on B&W photo paper? I don't have a color enlarger, but I'd
like to make some prints. Thought I ought to poll for suggestions before
I start fooling around wasting paper.


Ken Hart

Feb 21, 2020, 6:53:44 PM2/21/20
It was difficult years ago, and it's probably more difficult now!

First, you don't really need a color enlarger to print on B&W paper.
What you need is some of the long-ago discontinued Kodak Panalure paper.
Panalure paper was sensitive to nearly all colors of the spectrum, so
that color negatives would reproduce better. Standard B&W paper has low
sensitivity in the red area, so the tones are going to be off.

(If you find someone selling Panalure paper on eBay, it has probably
long ago expired.)

Second, the color mask of color negatives (the overall orange color)
will make the color negative nearly invisible to the b&w paper, so your
exposure times will be long. And color paper has higher contrast than
b&w paper, so you are going to need a high contrast grade. This will
also increase your exposure time.

If you just need a proof print, use a #4 or 5 contrast filter, and an
exposure maybe 6 times as long as usual, and print like any other b&w
negative, being aware that it might not be perfect.

If you need a print with proper tonal rendition, an internegative is
probably your best route. Or a digital solution.

Ken Hart

Dimitris Tzortzakakis

Feb 24, 2020, 12:31:54 PM2/24/20
right panalure was panchromatic, while standard B&W paper has a common
emulsion, sensitive only to blue (thus the red safelight filter). there
was another kind of emulsion, called orthochromatic *sensitive to blue
and green8there were also infrared, sesitive to x rays etc.

John Floren

Feb 26, 2020, 11:53:12 AM2/26/20
Thanks for the info. I think I *have* printed a color negative on B&W
paper in the past, but as you mention I recall it needing a very long
exposure. I'll fiddle with those contrast filters and see if I have any
luck... it figures that the filters I've got don't really attach to my
Omega D-2, so in the past I've just braced my hand against the lens
carrier and held them in front, which worked surprisingly well for B&W
prints but will probably get tiring if I'm experimenting with long


Dimitris Tzortzakakis

Mar 5, 2020, 9:59:09 AM3/5/20
you might think of getting a set of Ilford multigrade filters that have
a special filter tray that screws *on* the lens and it also has a spare
red filter. very useful as my Meopta Axomat II has no filter tray and it
has not the red filter anymore, probably destroyed by its previous user
(now deceased, alas). also check this site in Germany
has an option for English.Although you can't get colour chemicals
through air post anymore due to air safety.
the link I post is in german so choose the English sells for
99 euros.macodirect has the works, it has hundreds of oprions for B&W
paper!even the good ilford multigrade FB.we had a very nice darkroom
shop maybe 500 m from my home but it's closed, alas so everything must
be ordered from Athens!

Jory Bertrand

Apr 19, 2021, 6:52:03 AM4/19/21

So as I do this sometimes quite often I will give you some tips :)
First of all, you need to use the technique of filter 0 and 5. (ilford mutligrade)
With this technique it will be a longer process, cause you need to calculate your whites, then your blacks and so do twice the test strips, but you will have a better control on your print (like contrast, tonality etc).
If you are not familiar with this technique I will explain you it quicky :)
1st : you start with your 0 grade. (the one for the whites) And you do your test strips to look for your white point in your image and decide how you want it (sometimes you don't want pur white so it can be control this way).
Then once you have decide your first time for the 0 grade, you need to pass to your 5 grade.
But don't forget that you still need to use the 0 grade timing before start to do the 5 grade test strips. And then after you will have the time for your 2 grades and so your 2 expsures with the different grades.
For color neg to BnW paper it's a very powerful technique cause you got. a full control of your print.
But yes the exposure time will be longer. (it's mainly due to the red in your color negative).

If you have some other questions don't hesitate :)
After with time you will see that some photos will have a better BnW conversion compare to other but you can really adjust and play :)

Dimitris Tzortzakakis

Apr 21, 2021, 7:30:08 AM4/21/21
Es-tu français? Je parlais un peu français. je suis un mal élève!
Another solution would pe to scan the negative, make it B&W in photoshop
(or gimp which I have and is free), print it on a special transparency
( has them) and make a contact print on regular B&W
paper. bTW, I got bulk film from them, fomapan 100, for 42 euros the
100' (30,5 m) which yields 18 36 exp films.
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