B&W 35mm, 6×7 and 5″x4″ negatives

We love monochrome – always have, always will.

5x4 bw negative from digitalWe output these on Ilford’s excellent film stock and process them in Ilford Perceptol developer for finest grain with super-smooth gradation.

You don’t need you to do anything special to your files to make them work as negatives, work on your screen just the same as colour images in order to get the result you are aiming for in your prints. The easiest conversion is to simply desaturate your image and save. Those who are a bit more particular will use the IMAGE > ADJUSTMENTS > BLACK & WHITE in Photoshop and play around with the colour sliders to make a more visually pleasing conversion from colour to monochrome. There are some great plugins too – NIK’s “Silver Efex Pro” especially. DO NOT reverse them into negative form (exposing positive images onto negative film creates a negative, if you expose a negative image onto negative film you would get a positive – not what you want!). The profiles in our RIP software apply special tone curves as the images are exposed, which gives an easily printable negative, pretty much the same as camera-exposed film would be.

Provide your files in the following format:
RGB JPEG (saved as level 10 or ‘high’ quality) – don’t use CMYK or monochrome formats.
sRGB profile

Output image dimensions
35mm – 4096px x 2732px
6x7cm – 8192px x 6702px
5″x4″ – 8192px x 6372px

Is a 5″x4″ negative better than a 6x7cm negative?
This isn’t quite as easy to answer as it might seem. In terms of side by side sharpness, then the smaller 6x7cm negative is sharper – the 8192 pixels are closer together. But think in terms of shooting with a camera and the reasons for choosing a 5″x4″ camera over a medium format camera – a 5″x4″ negative requires less enlargement for a given size print, the exposure time will be shorter and the film grain will be less visible.
But, all things considered, the smaller 6x7cm negative will print just as well as, if not better than, a 5″x4″ negative, not least because the grain in PanF Plus processed in Ilford Perceptol is incredibly fine.