Film Processing / Developing

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Robert Meyers, Nov 2, 2003.

  1. I had an odd question:

    Does it matter where you take your film to be developed if you only care
    about the film, and are not looking for prints? As in will be scanning all
    of them, ASAP?

    Does a Pro Lab vs Wal-Mart vs Cosco vs matter at that point?

    I have seen the differences in the prints (in San Diego I absolutely love
    the print's from Nelson's), but if I buy a good scanner, and am not even
    bothering to get prints, does it in the end matter?

    I realize this is an odd question, but it is seriously asked.
    Robert Meyers, Nov 2, 2003
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  2. While for the most part, the developing process is fixed and doesn't
    require a lot of skill or attention, it's still possible to mess it up a
    little. Failure to replenish chemicals or maintain the processor can result
    in less than ideal negatives, though I've never seen an extreme case of

    It's more likely that you might see damage from improper handling,
    such as scratches or fingerprints. There's also the possibility of poor
    framing when cutting the roll into strips, especially if you take
    any photos with black backgrounds. Drugstore labs often don't bother
    teaching their employees a little basic care about the negatives.

    If the employees can be seen wearing gloves and/or taking extreme
    care not to let the negatives drag across anything, you're probably safe,
    since it's pretty likely the management also cares about maintaining the
    machines too.

    The other aspect is, there's usually very little difference in price
    for 'process-only' between a minilab and a pro one, and the small amount
    extra may be worth it to never have the negs scratched or damaged.

    - Al.
    Al Denelsbeck, Nov 2, 2003
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  3. Robert Meyers

    Gordon Moat Guest

    Some processing places (perhaps Ritz) place a plastic strip over the
    negatives, rather than sleeving them. This is a real pain when scanning, and
    can cause creasing the film when removing. While it does protect the negatives
    a bit from scratching, having the negatives sleeved would be easier for later
    The idea is that a pro lab would take more care with the film, and likely
    monitor their chemicals more closely. Thus the chance of badly processed, or
    damages, is less likely when using a pro lab. However, this is not always the
    case, and a friend of mine recently complained about his slides having water
    spots the last few times (Chromacolor Lab). Since I heard the same from a few
    other pros, I mention the name of the place. Quite likely these could be
    isolated incidents, or the error of one individual.

    I know some amateur photographer friends that use Costco. A few times, films
    have been lost. Rarely, some films have been found damaged in the bin upon
    picking up. The liability is often only an empty replacement new roll of film.
    Basically, ask the place how the negatives will be packaged, and ask what
    their liability will be for damaged film.
    Other than the things I have mentioned, it might not matter. Consider that at
    the lower cost places, the minimum wage people doing this work will vary in
    skills. When one of them does a really good job, it is nice to find, but they
    could also move on to other jobs/places, or leave when they graduate. ;-)

    You might consider using slide film. The exposure is more critical, but the
    individual images could be a little more durable than sleeved negatives, and
    slightly easier to handle when scanning. The other scanning advantage is that
    you can see the proper colours on a cheap light table, and even with a low
    cost loupe (or a 50 mm lens placed on top of the slide on the light table).
    There is a slight scanning advantage in work flow to using slides, mostly due
    to ease of getting colours closer to the original image. Disadvantage is that
    the cost is slightly higher, though there are ways to reduce expenses, if your
    budget is really tight.
    If you also want occasional prints, you can get really nice chemical photo
    prints up to 10" by 15" from slides. Some places in San Diego charge the same
    for this size print from negative, or from slide. You could also have the
    slide film left uncut, and unmounted, and do batch scans, depending upon your
    scanner, and get the workflow advantage on the colours.

    I have nothing against negative films, but some of the slide film choices are
    better for some subjects. Mainly it depends on how the end result images will
    be displayed. Saving money is always good, but saving time can also have some

    I have used Nelson's for my B/W films, since the results have been really
    good. All I get is a contact sheet, and some images are scanned later. With my
    other films, I mostly use Chrome on Ketner (near the Casbah). Their pricing
    and choices can be seen at <>.


    Gordon Moat
    Alliance Graphique Studio
    Gordon Moat, Nov 2, 2003
  4. Robert Meyers

    Colyn Guest

    If you care about the film, you'll take it to a better lab than the
    quickie 1 hr butcher shop labs.
    Very much so...
    Colyn, Nov 2, 2003
  5. Robert Meyers

    Tony Spadaro Guest

    I pay 275 a roll to have teh best lab in town process my CN film - I doubt a
    shiteshop like Wally world would be any cheaper and they would probably use
    your film to sweep the floor.
    Tony Spadaro, Nov 3, 2003
  6. Robert Meyers

    MikeWhy Guest

    Does anyone do it themselves these days? Is C41 still the process? I'm just
    visiting from r.p.d., and it's been quite some years since I got my hands

    It might make sense if you turn a lot of film. You only need a changing bag,
    reels and tank, and a good thermometer and timer. And fresh chemicals, of
    MikeWhy, Nov 4, 2003
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