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Sending BW film to a lab in 2016... Suggestions?
Old 07-28-2016   #1
filmfan
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Sending BW film to a lab in 2016... Suggestions?

I have always done my own BW film processing, scanning, and darkroom printing. Until now. I just don't have the time and I am exploring the use of digital to help get me to take photos again.

In the meantime, I have a backlog of BW film (35mm and 120) that I need to get processed. I've always been skeptical of a lab's ability to process film and my experience having labs scan for me has been expensive with marginal results.

Does anyone have suggestions as to where I should send my BW film for processing and good scans?

Thanks!
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Old 07-28-2016   #2
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Welcome to my world!

The last time I had a backlog (sometime last year?), I sent all the rolls to Willow Lab, for processing only (I wanted to scan them myself). They did a decent job and the price was certainly right. There are certainly more well-known labs to get your film developed, such as A&I and others, but their prices will be significantly higher than Willow Labs.


IIRC, it's a one-man shop and his name was Neil (?). I have his contact info at home, so I'll post that on this thread or PM it to you when I get home from work this evening. Their processing/scanning services are listed on ebay, but I would suggest you phone him directly to make sure you're both on the same page re: what you want.

BTW, how're things in the 617? I used to live in Medford.
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Old 07-28-2016   #3
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I have only recently started shooting film. I found 'The Darkroom' to be efficient, capable and customer friendly. They provide postage covered mailer envelopes, post your scanned images online as soon as they are completed and will return your negatives with the scans on CD as well as prints if you choose them.

https://thedarkroom.com/

As inexperienced as I am I can't opine on the overall quality of their scans so I include a few for you to make your own judgment.





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Old 07-28-2016   #4
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I have used North Coast Photogaphic Service "NCPS" and have always had great service. Very reasonable prices and quality work. They are in Carlsbad, CA

http://northcoastphoto.com/

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Old 07-28-2016   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newst View Post
I have only recently started shooting film. I found 'The Darkroom' to be efficient, capable and customer friendly. They provide postage covered mailer envelopes, post your scanned images online as soon as they are completed and will return your negatives with the scans on CD as well as prints if you choose them.......
Have to offer a counterpoint. “The Darkroom” lost my negatives the first (and only) time I tried them, probably about two years back. Never again.

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Old 07-28-2016   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kxl View Post
Welcome to my world!

The last time I had a backlog (sometime last year?), I sent all the rolls to Willow Lab, for processing only (I wanted to scan them myself). They did a decent job and the price was certainly right. There are certainly more well-known labs to get your film developed, such as A&I and others, but their prices will be significantly higher than Willow Labs.


IIRC, it's a one-man shop and his name was Neil (?).
I can second that recommendation. Neil Wildeboor of Willow Photo Lab is a nice guy who does good work. The other labs mentioned here are also good, but much more expensive. His address is Willowphotolab@Gmail.com. Here is a quote on pricing:

"The developing and burning a CD of each breaks down as follows: Develop 2 rolls $2.99 each, unless the B&W roll is T-Max, or requires push processing. Burning CDs, including index prints and label prints, $2.50 per roll. Shipping $2.60 for the lot.

As in all things, there is the possibility of extras, such as returning the negatives rolled and uncut $1 per roll. Push processing is $1 per stop per roll. There is a small cost adder for T-Max film, or for developing other film in T-Max chemistry of $0.28 per roll.

Please use PayPal for your payment, sending it to our regular email address, and please specify the payment is for "merchandise" or "goods" so PayPal collects the correct commission, and also allows us to print a shipping label with the discounted postage."
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Old 07-28-2016   #7
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Love this! I am going to check out Neil at Willowphotolab.

My main issue with having others scan my film is that the scans come out EXTREMELY over-sharpened and contrasty, even when opting for the high-resolution scans. They are always un-usable due to over-sharpening.

Thanks everyone.
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Old 07-28-2016   #8
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Ohhh the famous filmfman! Have always loved your photos man, any place where we can see them nowadays? Used to follow your wordpress site
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Old 07-28-2016   #9
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I develop all my b&w and color film but a friend of mine has been using McGreevey's Pro Lab in Albany, NY for b&w and transparency film and is very happy with them.

http://www.mcgreevyprolab.com/
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Old 07-28-2016   #10
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If you are so busy, why not slow it down. Instead of going digital, do it John Free way. He doesn't recommend to snap and sprey. Take on one shot and only if it is worth it. To me it is only worth it if I'm going to print from it. Once I went this way one roll started to last week, two weeks.
Also, it is OK not to develop right away. Garry Winogrand was waiting at least half a year. And so does Gary Gumanow.
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Old 07-28-2016   #11
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The FIND Lab is good.... $12 develop only for B&W 35mm at box speed

(Film Is Not Dead)

I have tried them a while back for C41... did a good job.
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Old 07-28-2016   #12
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Kostya, I'm sure you know Gary had thousands of undeveloped rolls when he died. I think he could be the "king of backlog". e.g., see http://theartreserve.com/blog/25-yea...open-at-sfmoma I've seen estimates of a backlog between 2500 and 6000 rolls!

Whew! I only have 4 rolls waiting for me right now.

Anyway, I've occasionally used The Darkroom. No problems and the service was quick and convenient. I rather like that they post your scanned negatives to the web so that you can access images right away. They're not hi-res, but useful to see as quickly as possible if you have any usable images.

The standard scans from The Darkroom weren't adequate for most of my uses; perhaps good enough to share a photo in an email or something like that. They do offer levels of higher resolution scans....I tried a couple times, but felt it wasn't for me because I can scan at home (equally high resolution) and not pay a premium for it. I didn't pay attention to sharpening or excessive contrast. Maybe they do that? Maybe not.
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Old 07-28-2016   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newst View Post
I found 'The Darkroom' to be efficient, capable and customer friendly.
https://thedarkroom.com/
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mackinaw View Post
Have to offer a counterpoint. “The Darkroom” lost my negatives the first (and only) time I tried them, probably about two years back. Never again.

Jim B.
Quote:
Originally Posted by barnwulf View Post
I have used North Coast Photogaphic Service "NCPS" and have always had great service. Very reasonable prices and quality work. They are in Carlsbad, CA

http://northcoastphoto.com/

- jim


Quote:
Originally Posted by DNG View Post
The FIND Lab is good.... $12 develop only for B&W 35mm at box speed

(Film Is Not Dead)

I have tried them a while back for C41... did a good job.
I have found thedarkroom terrible and when they screw up their customer service disappears.
I have been very happy with northcoast and thefindlab
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Old 07-28-2016   #14
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What about this rangefinder forum advertisier:

http://www.precision-camera.com



Please note:

Link in the ad on the front page needs to be corrected.

The link posted here works.
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Old 07-28-2016   #15
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Nice way to start!

Quote:
Originally Posted by newst View Post
I have only recently started shooting film. I found 'The Darkroom' to be efficient, capable and customer friendly. They provide postage covered mailer envelopes, post your scanned images online as soon as they are completed and will return your negatives with the scans on CD as well as prints if you choose them.

https://thedarkroom.com/

As inexperienced as I am I can't opine on the overall quality of their scans so I include a few for you to make your own judgment.





Quote:
Originally Posted by spaceistheplace View Post
Ohhh the famous filmfman! Have always loved your photos man, any place where we can see them nowadays? Used to follow your wordpress site
Thanks. I have not developed a roll of film since that Wordpress blog was last updated. I have ~60-75 rolls of undeveloped film sitting around from all sorts of places.
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Old 07-28-2016   #16
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Wow. I had no idea The Darkroom was less than ideal for others.

So then, the next lab for me and my needs was North Coast Photographic. Similar service as The Darkroom. My experience with both of these labs is now a couple years old.

I did notice that these labs were both on the west coast of the U.S. ...where I happen to live. I can only imagine that there are other perfectly good labs elsewhere, but not in my geographic range.

Good wishes to all.
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Old 07-29-2016   #17
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I've had good experiences with Praus Productions for B/W processing.
They offer scanning services, but have not tried that.

http://www.4photolab.com/about-us/
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Another source
Old 07-29-2016   #18
north country rich
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Another source

I have used a near by lab which does B+W plus color development and scanning. No problem in the multiple uses I have done there and they have quick service. Discounts on 10 + rolls. They also offer a wide range of other photo related services.The organization is Photosmith in Dover NH. Web- Photosmithimageing.com.
Phone 603-742-6659
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Old 07-29-2016   #19
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Indie Film Lab is the best in the biz imho. www.indiefilmlab.com
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Old 07-29-2016   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by filmfan View Post
My main issue with having others scan my film is that the scans come out EXTREMELY over-sharpened and contrasty, even when opting for the high-resolution scans. They are always un-usable due to over-sharpening.
My experience too... scans have been useless. Seems like a macro lens, slide copier type thing, and a DSLR is the best route for "budget" scanning these days.
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Old 07-29-2016   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirk View Post
I can second that recommendation. Neil Wildeboor of Willow Photo Lab is a nice guy who does good work. The other labs mentioned here are also good, but much more expensive. His address is Willowphotolab@Gmail.com. Here is a quote on pricing:
Checked out and wow, that is nice!
But... I'm out of the US across the pond and I doubt it's feasible. I checked out flat rates in USPS and they quote $30 for small parcels.

Might inquire though. There's people from everywhere sending film to RPL, Indie and FINDlab...
They seem to be excellent but the prices are sometimes a bit steep.
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Old 07-29-2016   #22
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Originally Posted by rfaspen View Post
Kostya, I'm sure you know Gary had thousands of undeveloped rolls when he died. I think he could be the "king of backlog". e
He does have competition:

http://petapixel.com/2016/06/27/1200...-photographer/
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Old 08-10-2016   #23
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Quote:
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I have always done my own BW film processing, scanning, and darkroom printing. Until now. I just don't have the time and I am exploring the use of digital to help get me to take photos again.

In the meantime, I have a backlog of BW film (35mm and 120) that I need to get processed. I've always been skeptical of a lab's ability to process film and my experience having labs scan for me has been expensive with marginal results.

Does anyone have suggestions as to where I should send my BW film for processing and good scans?

Thanks!
I have personally used Dodge Chrome in Silver Spring, MD. I have used them for B&W, Color Neg, and Color Slide in 35mm, 120 and 4x5. Always top notch. I've taken to doing my own BW at home, but still send them my 4x5 color and E-6 35mm and 120.
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Old 08-10-2016   #24
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I'd say the best way is to find a local good lab that does dip and dunk processing. This will ensure you get clean negatives back. I do this with a local lab here in Toronto, Canada and it's great. All you have to do is shoot. I'm sure there must be a professional lab you can find in the big city nearby.
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