Who provides the "Best" film processing services for B&W or Color?

Discussion in 'Film Photography' started by BBzone28, May 21, 2017.

  1. BBzone28

    BBzone28 Member

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    As the number of places processing film and making prints are diminishing while the rates skyrocket, what places have you found to provide the best quality(both prints and digital scans on CD), lowest cost and prompt reliable service?
     

  2. Robert Shears

    Robert Shears Active Member Site Supporter

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    I have the same problem here in Southampton England and have used mail order company PHOTO EXPRESS for developing film and recording on CD (no prints). They were much better than my local store Asda with larger file sizes.
    I used to use the local Asda superstore but they have stopped doing it themselves and presumably leased out the space and machinery to someone else. Prices have rocketed! The image file size on cd was up to only 1mb so any post processing was a waste of time but I was able to scan the negatives into my computer with a cheap canon dedicated scanner.
    I cannot see what country you reside in (poor tech skills on my part) but can only suggest that you find a lab somewhere close by that can process your films and then scan them in to your computer with a dedicated film scanner (got to be worth it as when word gets around you will find lots of people wanting you to scan in their old negatives) to get the biggest image size you can. Post process then save to flash memory to take to a local store that does digital prints (competition should keep their prices realistic) or send for processing over the internet.
    With the apparent resurgence of film users (I may be wrong about this), maybe there will be affordable developing kits becoming more available.
    T90 is my favourite film camera incidentally.
     
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  3. dmr

    dmr Member Site Supporter

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    I've had good luck with Dwayne's (yeah, the old Kodachrome folks) for E6 slides. The only problem is that for small orders the shipping cost boosts the price above that of a local lab.
     
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  4. johnsey

    johnsey Site Moderator Staff Member Site Supporter

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    I use "The Darkroom"
     
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  5. BBzone28

    BBzone28 Member

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    BTW, I live in Colorado. I've been mostly shooting with a DSLR, but wanted to get back to using my old Canon film gear that I used professionally years ago. The last roll I shot was with my T-90 over 5 years ago when film/processing was still accessible for reasonable prices, but even then had been steadily rising in cost and providers were transitioning to 'digital only' print services at a disturbing rate.
    Now the most common would be local 'big box' and drug stores that send out film-processing services for prints and CD, but no negatives for 3 to 5 times the price they were 10 years ago. Other places around town are brazenly charging $35 to $40 per roll with prints/negs/CD which seems to me to be insanely expensive.

    Anyway, I did some searching online and found a link to a list made a couple of years ago. They had "The Darkroom" listed among others.
    https://www.slrlounge.com/list-mail-order-film-developing-labs/

    I may have to buy some D-76 or T-max developer (or whatever's available) and start doing my own B&W developing. Especially since I have a Canon dedicated scanner with film/slide adapter attachment. Color is a different story as chemicals cost more and temperature controls are stricter. (I've never tried do-it-yourself E6)
    I guess part of issue for me is that I like the extra creative control over B&W you can get with Photoshop when you start with a quality digital color original, even though I still have a nice selection of filters to use with B&W. It makes me ask the same question I've debated over and over... Is it worth the extra trouble to shoot with film just to be able to use older camera gear? Which is "Sometimes!" :) But pragmatically I keep asking myself what subject am I shooting that would creatively benefit from some of the older lenses I have for film and not for digital, either that or instead purchase an EOS M series camera and adapter for FD lenses and just skip the whole film hassle, which is frustrating because I like my old cameras too. :D :D :D
    Sorry if it seems like too much rambling! :)
    Has anyone else struggled with this issue?
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2017
  6. johnsey

    johnsey Site Moderator Staff Member Site Supporter

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    5 years isn't bad at all. I haven't touched my Pentax LX in over a decade (since college). I do like to shoot film and consider it worth the trouble, but haven't considered 35mm worth it much unless I have access to a darkroom to print. I'll shoot larger formats if I'm going the film route.
     
  7. BBzone28

    BBzone28 Member

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    After doing some more checking around, and since I live close to Boulder, CO it looks like Mike's Camera may be my best solution.
    They charge $6.50 to develop a roll of color print film and $8.00 for B&W. Another 4.99 for basic scan on a CD. :)
    Shooting a 36 exposure roll of color film figures out to be about $0.30 per shot for developing and receiving the negatives, plus basic scans on CD. :) (not counting film costs)
    That looks like the best overall solution for me as I can later scan the negs at a higher resolution for images I want more detail to enlarge or crop.
    http://mikescamera.com/color-negative-film.html
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2017
  8. BBzone28

    BBzone28 Member

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    I still have a 4x5 film view camera and a 120 film medium format TLR. It probably been over 20 years since they've been used. At least for the foreseeable future, they're probably not going to get used anymore.
     
  9. Vasile Guta-Ciucur

    Vasile Guta-Ciucur Active Member Site Supporter

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