View Full Version : J&C Classic 400 development

Jay DeFehr
5-Jul-2006, 13:20
Until recently, the fastest film I could get in 3x4 was J&C Classic (Forte/Bergger) 200. Exposed at EI 125 in my Graflex SLR, the Classic 200 produces beautiful results, but more speed is always welcome, so when Classic 400 became available in 3x4, I stocked up. I've used a lot of this film in 120, but never in sheets, to be printed on Canadian G2 Azo, with its Exposure Scale of 1.75, and I was surprised by its reluctance to build contrast. I was shooting portraits in typically (for me) flat light in the SBR 5-6 range, as it was cloudy and raining here for the 4th. My testing indicated development in 510-Pyro 1:100 of 12min/ 70F/ Jobo Expert drum. That's a lot of development! By comparison, HP5+ requires only 7min under the same conditions. Since I like to keep my rotary development times under 10min., I resorted to a tactic I've never had to use for any film; I used 510-Pyro @ 1:50/6min/70F/ Expert drum. The negs print beautifully, I'm happy to say, but wow, that's some powerful development. Anyone else using this film for long scale printing?


Donald Qualls
5-Jul-2006, 20:07
I've always found the Classic 400 to require a relatively long process time compared to other films -- with my standard processes in HC-110 Dilution F and Parodinal 1:50, it takes about 40% more time than Tri-X, APX 400, or TMY (which three are pretty close). I haven't tried processing it to higher than normal contrast, but if it's that slow getting to N, it seems reasonable it'd take a while to get to N+ values...

Jay DeFehr
6-Jul-2006, 00:33
Hi Donald.

For portraits I like rotary development, short development times, and all that comes with that package. For most films, 510-Pyro @ 1:100 is ideal, giving development times in the 7-8 min range for negs to be printed on Azo G2 Canadian, but JC 400 requires nearly double that @ 6-7min in 510-Pyro 1:50, which is very consistent with your experience with the developers you use. The film will build contrast, eventually, but it's stubborn about it. All things being equal, I'd prefer TMY.


Don Hutton
6-Jul-2006, 08:14
My experience is that:
1. The film does not have much expansion potential in pyro (I use Pyrocat HD on a Jobo and my BTZS tests showed that after a fairly early point, the gradient levels right off - extra development just increased general density). That said, I have some very nice prints made from negatives shot on it.
2. The various boxes of it which I have purchased seem to vary considerably.

I'm really not in love with it - if you're shooting contrasty scenes and your end product is Pt or Azo, it works fine. If the lighting is more challenging, I think it's a film with limitations.

Jay DeFehr
6-Jul-2006, 13:00

what dilution of Pyrocat HD did you use for your tests? I'm getting plenty of expansion, but had to go to a more concentrated solution of 510-Pyro to keep development times short. I bought 250 sheets of this film in one purchase, so I hope I got the same emulsion batch, and won't have any surprises for a while, but these long development times make me suspect this film is not quite as modern as other films that develop more normally. I could be wrong about that, and have nothing of substance on which to base my misgivings, but I can't help feeling the way I do. Maybe I'll feel differently after shooting these 250 sheets. My standard practice is to load 24 sheets from a 25 sheet package into two 12-sheet bag mags, and then expose the last sheet in my sensitometer to be processed along with 2 sheets from each magazine, in my Expert drum, and I print all 5 negs on the same 8x10 sheet of paper. This way, I have bench data and field data to compare side-by-side under identical processing conditions, and it's easy to correlate real-world images to bench data, and to decide if, when, and how to vary from "optimum" exposure and/or processing. It's a good system for me, satisfying both halves of my little brain, and keeping either from dominating the other. Thank you for sharing your impressions of this film, Don.


Don Hutton
6-Jul-2006, 13:44

I tested 2:2:100. I pretty much only print on Pd or Azo2, so I need a whole bunch of contrast. BTW, which sensitometer are you using?

Jay DeFehr
6-Jul-2006, 15:08
Hi Don.

The Canadian G2 Azo is a bear for contrast, but I've been printing my J&C 400 negs on that paper with excellent results. I use either 510-Pyro 1:50, or Hypercat 1:10:50. I don't expect to see edge effects, or much in the way of compensation, with this kind of development, but for portraits, It suits me very well.

My sensitometer started out as a Wejex, but I have since totally rebuilt it, replacing the stepwedge, light source and timer, making it far more versatile and compatible with my BTZS software. It makes film/paper testing a simple matter.