Best way to do B&W on film?

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iljitsch
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Best way to do B&W on film?
5 months ago

The other day, I scanned a bunch of 30-year-old black-and-white negatives and I kind of like the grainy, photo journalism look. I also spent all of 20 euros on a Nikon F55 recently (and then spent the same money on batteries and film), so now I'm thinking I should try shooting some black-and-white film.

The trouble is that even though it's still fairly easy to have color negative film developed, it looks like having black-and-white film developed is harder, more expensive and/or takes longer, because there's less of a standardized process and very little demand for it.

So: does it make sense to get a development tank and chemicals and develop regular B&W film myself? Are chemicals still reasonably available today? I used to do this 30 years ago as a kid because it was the cheapest way to shoot stuff—certainly not for artistic reasons.

Another way to go would be to use black-and-white film that can be developed using the C41 process used for color film, such as Fuji Neopan 400 CNKodak BW400CN or Ilford XP2. Does anyone have any experience with these? How do they compare to regular B&W film? All of these claim to have very little grain, which could be good or defeat the purpose, I guess I'll have to see how the results look.

(I plan to scan the negatives rather than make prints the oldfashioned way.)

As for regular B&W film: IIRC, I used to shoot Kodak Tri-X and Ilford FP4 and HP5. I understand the former has been completely changed and the latter two somewhat. Any thoughts?

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