Finally, after almost a month, I got my Black and White film negatives back from processing. I should explain the huge delay is because many camera storefront operations do not process B&W any more, and the ones who say they do actually send it out to a third party, as was the case for me. The colour film I shot after I had done with the Ilford FP4 was processed by the same store overnight, in their C41 machinery. Live and learn I guess. The results you can see above. The top one was created by scanning the negative in my Epson v500, and the bottom one was taken with my Canon EOS 7D, with a simple B&W conversion done in GIMP, with no other processing or digital enhancements. As I had mentioned before, these were shot on the same overcast day at about the same time. They are clearly very different, and my own preference is for the EOS 7D, although in defence of the film product, I have to say that the whole roll was disappointing, very grey looking pictures with a very limited tonal range. It could have been me underexposing, but I know that wasn't the case, as there was also at least one picture on the strip which I know was overexposed by me - this one for instance-
- I'll never use real B&W film again (Never say never, they say). Waiting for somebody else darkroom time is simply not worth it.
- I learned that real B&W printing (chemical, not digital) is not available locally. If I had wanted prints from my FP4, the camera store would have simply made prints from my scans on their big professional Epson pigment-ink printer.
- For future B&W work, I will simply scan my colour negatives at home and if I want particular pictures in B&W, I will convert them in GIMP, as I always do.
I'll leave that for you to answer.