Goodbye, Kodak BW400CN - adamleesimmons

Goodbye, Kodak BW400CN

Recently, I was surprised to read Kodak's announcement that BW400CN will be discontinued after the current production run ends. Surprise quickly turned into acceptance when I realised that I hadn't shot a roll of the stuff since 2010.

A Quick Introduction

My first experience with Kodak BW400CN came while visiting my then-girlfriend (now wife) in Iowa City, Iowa back in 2009. After quickly burning through all the film I brought with me, I picked up a roll of 24 exposures in the local Walgreens, mostly out of curiosity.

"C41 process black and white film? What is this magic?!"

I wasn't expecting much. My first roll ended up in my lo-fi Lomo LCA+ and I snapped through the measly 24 frames quickly enough. Fast forward to getting the photo lab scans back and I was pleasantly surprised. The scans turned out creamy, with low(er) contrast and less grain that I'd come to expect from monochromatic films, such as Fuji Neopan.

A Quick Romance

Between 2009 and 2010 I must have shot maybe 5 or 6 rolls of the stuff. I took a roll with me to a wedding in Sardinia, Italy, and another roll on a trip to Illinois. I shot another few rolls at university in Swansea, Wales, and in my hometown of Bradford, England. It was a time of movement, and this film helped capture that.

Then it stopped. For whatever reason, color films like Kodak Ektar, Portra, and even some of the Fuji Pro films came and went through my cameras instead.

A Quick Goodbye

As fate would have it, I picked up a roll about a week before Kodak announced the discontinuation. Today, I ordered another 4 rolls. While I'm not usually one to hoard my film in the freezer, I think it's about time to start shooting in black and white again.

For what it's worth, I'll miss Kodak BW400CN. From a photography standpoint I appreciated easy processing, nice grain, and creamy tones. From a personal standpoint it captured a world in movement in beautiful black and white.

Adam Simmons

August 24, 2014