This non-traditional black and white film is an excellent choice if you’re looking for affordable but good quality monochrome photos.
Black and white photography is fun and affordable if you can process your film at home. If you don’t have a dark room, it usually gets a little more pricey: most labs charge more not only for developing black and white film, but also for making prints on dedicated black and white paper. For those who can’t develop their own film, it may be worthwhile looking at b&w film that can be processed in C41 chemicals. These kinds of film can be handled like regular color negative film in any respect and are therefore just as budget-priced.
When looking at black and white film that can be processed in C41 chemicals, one of your alternatives is Kodak BW400CN. This film is one of my all time favorites: it combines the affordable cost of color negative film with high quality black and white photography.
I find that it produces clear contrast as well as nicely graduated shades of grey. It’s rated at ISO 400, but in practical use you can under or over expose it by a few stops and still get very decent photos. In consequence, Kodak BW400CN is well suited for those who have a manual camera, but little experience in guessing the right exposure.
Although it’s only sensitive to shades of grey, you may sometimes see a reddish or brownish tinge on the prints. This is due to the chemicals used at the lab and because they print Kodak BW400CN on color paper. If you like your photos to be completely neutral, you can desaturate them after scanning, but personally I don’t mind the tinge.
Don’t despise this film just because it’s not a traditional black and white emulsion! Give it a try and you may be pleasantly surprised.