Kodak Professional BW400CN - Expired

Exposing an expired roll of 35m film is like playing the lottery; you most often lose, but when you win, it's exhilarating.

A friend gave me a few rolls of expired 35mm film cartridges in a box. In the box was a Kodak BW400CN cartridge.

Kodak Professional BW400CN was a chromogenic black-and-white 35mm film with an ISO rating of 400. The film used colour dyes to produce a black-and-white image and was designed to be processed in standard C-41 colour-negative chemistry. This means that it could be developed using the same process as colour-negative films, making it more accessible to photographers who did not have access to traditional black-and-white processing facilities.

The 35mm film was versatile, creating sharp, fine-grained images, making it suitable for various shooting conditions and styles, from landscapes to portraiture.

Kodak Professional BW400CN film had a nominal sensitivity of ISO 400, making it a versatile choice for various lighting conditions. It was known for its fine grain and smooth tonal gradations, which produced images with excellent detail and contrast. The film also had a broad exposure latitude, meaning it could capture a wide range of tones in bright and shadow areas.

One of the benefits of using Kodak Professional BW400CN was that it could be scanned and printed using standard colour printing processes. This made it an attractive option for photographers who preferred to work digitally or who wanted to make prints using traditional colour printing services. It was popular among photographers who wished for a black-and-white film's look-and-feel without needing specialised processing equipment. Kodak Professional BW400CN was the successor to Kodak Professional Portra 400BW.

Exposing an expired roll of 35mm film can result in unpredictable results, as the film's sensitivity to light may have degraded over time. I read on the Internet that to ensure the best possible outcome, it is recommended to overexpose the film by 1 to 2 stops to compensate for its decreased sensitivity. Expired film can be more prone to graininess and other anomalies. I set realistic expectations and was open to the possibility of unexpected results.

I waited for a sunny day to ensure I had opportunities to test the film in various lighting and see how it performed. On a cold day in February, I grabbed my camera, set the ISO to 80, inserted a roll of Kodak BW400CN, and drove to Princeton University. I did my best to take notes, but I expected the worst. Exposing an expired roll of 35m film is like playing the lottery; you most often lose, but when you win, it's exhilarating. When I sent the cartridge to Boutique Film Lab, I expected that I might be wasting $14.

I parked the car on campus and started walking toward the Firestone Library. The air was colder than I expected. I checked the weather app on my iPhone. The outdoor temperature was about 0ºC. There was a strong breeze. I walked for about twenty minutes before I started to lose feeling in my fingers. I exposed a few frames near the John Witherspoon Statue and the Firestone Library before turning around and heading back home.

John Witherspoon was a Scottish-American Presbyterian minister and a Founding Father of the United States. He was a signatory of the United States Declaration of Independence and served as the sixth president of the College of New Jersey, now known as Princeton University.

I had a scheduled haircut on Friday afternoon at Revival Barber Shop in Hillsborough. Since we now have only one car, I dropped Bhavna off at work and kept the car. I used the opportunity to expose a few more frames outside her office complex. The orange American muscle car was the main attraction.

The next day, Bhavna, Shaan and I stopped at Flounder to try some of their new ales. I exposed two frames inside the brewery under challenging lighting conditions. The brewery was poorly lit, and at ISO 80, shooting indoors was challenging. After a few half-pints, we put returned home. I put the camera away and didn’t pick it up again until later in the week.

I mentioned it before. While 36-exposure 35mm film cartridges are more economical, I prefer the 24-exposure film cartridge. After about 24 frames, I am anxious to finish the film, and I often rush "to get it over with", exposing the last frames for the 36-exposure cartridge without much thought. In this case, I completed the cartridge, photographing subjects inside my home and on the street outside.

I am delighted with the results from the expired 36-exposure cartridge of Kodak Professional BW400CN. I have a few more, but I want to be patient and exposed when I have more interesting subject matter. That means waiting for another sunny day.

Name Kodak Professional BW400CN
Format 35mm
Features chromogenic black and white negative
Native ISO 400
Price FREE
Exposed ISO 100
Lab Boutique Film Lab
Process C41
Scanner Epson Perfection V600
Software VueScan 9, Negative Lab Pro, Adobe Lightroom
Saturday 4 February 2023 · Minolta XD-11 · MD Rokkor-X 45mm F2 · ISO 80
Saturday 4 February 2023 · Minolta XD-11 · MD Rokkor-X 45mm F2 · ISO 80
Saturday 4 February 2023 · Minolta XD-11 · MD Rokkor-X 45mm F2 · ISO 80
Saturday 4 February 2023 · Minolta XD-11 · MD Rokkor-X 45mm F2 · ISO 80
Saturday 4 February 2023 · Minolta XD-11 · MD Rokkor-X 45mm F2 · ISO 80
Saturday 4 February 2023 · Minolta XD-11 · MD Rokkor-X 45mm F2 · ISO 80
Saturday 4 February 2023 · Minolta XD-11 · MD Rokkor-X 45mm F2 · ISO 80
Saturday 4 February 2023 · Minolta XD-11 · MD Rokkor-X 45mm F2 · ISO 80
Saturday 4 February 2023 · Minolta XD-11 · MD Rokkor-X 45mm F2 · ISO 80
Sunday 5 February 2023 · Minolta XD-11 · MD Rokkor-X 45mm F2 · ISO 80
Sunday 5 February 2023 · Minolta XD-11 · MD Rokkor-X 45mm F2 · ISO 80
Friday 10 February 2023 · Minolta XD-11 · MD Rokkor-X 45mm F2 · ISO 80
Friday 10 February 2023 · Minolta XD-11 · MD Rokkor-X 45mm F2 · ISO 80
Friday 10 February 2023 · Minolta XD-11 · MD Rokkor-X 45mm F2 · ISO 80
Friday 10 February 2023 · Minolta XD-11 · MD Rokkor-X 45mm F2 · ISO 80
Friday 10 February 2023 · Minolta XD-11 · MD Rokkor-X 45mm F2 · ISO 80
Friday 10 February 2023 · Minolta XD-11 · MD Rokkor-X 45mm F2 · ISO 80
Friday 10 February 2023 · Minolta XD-11 · MD Rokkor-X 45mm F2 · ISO 80
Friday 10 February 2023 · Minolta XD-11 · MD Rokkor-X 45mm F2 · ISO 80
Friday 10 February 2023 · Minolta XD-11 · MD Rokkor-X 45mm F2 · ISO 80
Saturday 11 February 2023 · Minolta XD-11 · MD Rokkor-X 45mm F2 · ISO 80
Saturday 11 February 2023 · Minolta XD-11 · MD Rokkor-X 45mm F2 · ISO 80
Saturday 11 February 2023 · Minolta XD-11 · MD Rokkor-X 45mm F2 · ISO 80
Saturday 11 February 2023 · Minolta XD-11 · MD Rokkor-X 45mm F2 · ISO 80
Saturday 11 February 2023 · Minolta XD-11 · MD Rokkor-X 45mm F2 · ISO 80
Saturday 11 February 2023 · Minolta XD-11 · MD Rokkor-X 45mm F2 · ISO 80
Saturday 11 February 2023 · Minolta XD-11 · MD Rokkor-X 45mm F2 · ISO 80
Saturday 11 February 2023 · Minolta XD-11 · MD Rokkor-X 45mm F2 · ISO 80
Saturday 11 February 2023 · Minolta XD-11 · MD Rokkor-X 45mm F2 · ISO 80
Saturday 11 February 2023 · Minolta XD-11 · MD Rokkor-X 45mm F2 · ISO 80
Saturday 11 February 2023 · Minolta XD-11 · MD Rokkor-X 45mm F2 · ISO 80
Saturday 11 February 2023 · Minolta XD-11 · MD Rokkor-X 45mm F2 · ISO 80
Saturday 11 February 2023 · Minolta XD-11 · MD Rokkor-X 45mm F2 · ISO 80

Author: Khürt Williams

A human who works in information security and enjoys photography, Formula 1 and craft ale.

4 thoughts on “Kodak Professional BW400CN - Expired”

  1. This is a great post on using expired Kodak BW400CN film and the benefits of using a chromogenic black-and-white film that can be processed with standard C-41 chemistry. I'm curious, what kind of anomalies did you encounter with your expired film, and did you have to do any additional post-processing to achieve the desired results? Wow, glad you enjoyed the post! The main anomalies I encountered were a bit more graininess and contrast than normal, but I found it gave the images a unique character. In terms of post-processing, I did use Negative Lab Pro in combination with Adobe Lightroom to get the most out of my scans, which helped to balance any color shifts and bring back some detail in the shadows. Thanks for your question!

    Yoy E.

    1. Hi Yoy. I did some minor post processing in Adobe Lightroom using the exposure, shadow and highlight sliders. I adjusted the exposure up by ? stop. The shadow and highlight sliders were adjusted for taste. And of course, because my head tilts, I had some perspective correction as well.

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