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Best B&W film labs in the US?

Ray . , Oct 22, 2009; 08:07 p.m.

For those who would have knowledge of it, what are some of the most reputable b&w film processing labs in the US? There is a lab in NYC that processes (or at least used to) James Nachtwey's work, but I don't remember the name. What labs might offer work with developer designated by the customer, if any? And also, what issues might be involved in Fed Ex of exposed / undeveloped film? Does it get scanned in transit? I imagine there are very good labs in Los Angeles (well, maybe), and if so that would definitely feel safer since I could hand deliver and pick-up. I may not go to this much trouble if my usual lab is able to process 35mm Tri-X at 1250 & 1600 sufficiently (reference to thread below). They mentioned to me today that they only use Xtol straight, but up to 1600, it should be fine. I'm giving them a test roll to see what results that gives. In the meantime, what might be the other send-out options?

Thanks all..


John Elder , Oct 22, 2009; 08:45 p.m.

I have seen James Nachtwey's B+W film developed and his B+W silver prints at MV Photo Labs, located at 4 West 37th St (5th floor) New York City. www.mvlabs.com. Jim Megargee is the co-owner and master printer. This is a very high end lab with outstanding film development and the highest level of B+W silver gelatin print making. Antonin Kratochvil ( member of VII) also has his B+W prints made there. Great place, highest standards!

Dave Wilson , Oct 22, 2009; 09:05 p.m.

Good info John. What's VII? I always liked AK's work, he's a crazy-man. I saved a great article about him from an old Am Photo mag.

Thomas Sullivan , Oct 22, 2009; 10:01 p.m.

VII Photo Agency http://www.viiphoto.com/

Yeah Ray.....for run of the mill stuff I take my stuff to other labs. But when it's something important it's always taken to MV Labs. They're a little pricey...so that's the reason why I do it that way. If I made my living off of B&W photography it would always be MV Labs.

Keith L , Oct 23, 2009; 01:25 p.m.

On the west coast, A&I would have to rank near the top.

Riley Kinney , Oct 23, 2009; 01:34 p.m.

I am pleased with BWC Labs in Dallas, TX. They are at www.bwc.net. The price for develop only is reasonable and the negatives are clean and returned in a week (to Florida).

Jonathan Schwartz , Oct 24, 2009; 05:11 p.m.

In the midwest (Cleveland, Ohio) there is a very good lab:http://labwork-bw.com/

William Karam , Jan 18, 2011; 04:47 p.m.

It seems that there is no PERFECT black & white lab. I have been through many, including Dugall , MV labs , both in NYC. I have also used other labs in Boston, Houston and Dallas.
As for a true B&W gelatin silver print, I may have to go back to the dark room & do my own.
Dugall does good work, but they are now a factory, really and they removed their master fiber printer, Jim, last year. MV has done some beautiful work for me in the past, but one of the overly sensitive owners literally cursed me out using every profanity imaginable. The issue was a mistake they made in printing the wrong negative. But I was wrong, of course. LOL

Any other ideas of labs in NYC? I am also considering joining the New York Camera Club.

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