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Yes, another question about cheap mail-order film processing

Kayla Kuris , Dec 16, 2012; 11:48 a.m.

I have searched both the forum and Google extensively but haven't found anything to satisfy me.
I'm 16 years old, so I don't have the most money in the world. I currently get my 35mm film developed to CD only for $10 at Walgreen's, which 90% of the time has actually done a good job. I also have sent one to Walmart which is cheaper, but the scans and prints were just awful.
However, I'm getting a medium format camera for Christmas, and with that comes 120mm film. I also want to experiment with slide film
.
I live in northern Kentucky (close to Cincinnati), and as far as I know the only place that does film processing in the entire tri-state charges something like $20 per roll and only excepts film at 8 a.m on Wednesdays or something crazy like that. The local Target doesn't do film developing and there are no camera shops in my area.
For now my current plan is to use The Dark Room, which is a mail-order film processing service that charge $10 per roll plus $4 for shipping. That's a lot for me considering as of now I don't have a job.

Are there any cheaper mail-order places available that accept and scan 120mm film and E-6 process film ? I'd be looking just for scans, but if I could get the prints too for a decent price that's be nice. I'm aware the words "film scanning" and "cheap" don't often go together but it's worth a try.

Responses


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Jeff Adler , Dec 16, 2012; 12:38 p.m.

Medium format photography can show you extra quality which is not easy to achieve in 35mm but if you have mediocre scans made of the film, you won't see any quality difference over 35mm. When I was 16 I shot a lot more black & white than color. A 100 foot roll of Tri-X must have cost about $7 and that was good for 18 rolls of 36 exposures each. Everything costs more today. For now I suggest that you get a developing tank, a thermometer, some measuring cups and a few chemicals and shoot and develop your own b&w film. You can then save up for a scanner. Developing color negative film is more complicated than developing traditional b&w film but once you have the scanner you can have negatives made without scans and do the scans yourself. You can make contact sheets with 35mm or 120 film without much equipment. Darkroon equipment is still being discarded, given away and sold at very low prices. You can find an enlarger for very little. My first safelight was a 7.5 watt dark red small bulb.
The scanner will allow you to to put your negatives in digital form so you can enjoy seeing them on your monitor. Don't worry about not having a good enough scanner for making 16X20" prints. If you have a shot you want to have enlarged that much you can get it scanned by the place making the print. They will know what kind of scan that size print needs.

Jeff Adler , Dec 16, 2012; 12:39 p.m.

Medium format photography can show you extra quality which is not easy to achieve in 35mm but if you have mediocre scans made of the film, you won't see any quality difference over 35mm. When I was 16 I shot a lot more black & white than color. A 100 foot roll of Tri-X must have cost about $7 and that was good for 18 rolls of 36 exposures each. Everything costs more today. For now I suggest that you get a developing tank, a thermometer, some measuring cups and a few chemicals and shoot and develop your own b&w film. You can then save up for a scanner. Developing color negative film is more complicated than developing traditional b&w film but once you have the scanner you can have negatives made without scans and do the scans yourself. You can make contact sheets with 35mm or 120 film without much equipment. Darkroon equipment is still being discarded, given away and sold at very low prices. You can find an enlarger for very little. My first safelight was a 7.5 watt dark red small bulb.
The scanner will allow you to to put your negatives in digital form so you can enjoy seeing them on your monitor. Don't worry about not having a good enough scanner for making 16X20" prints. If you have a shot you want to have enlarged that much you can get it scanned by the place making the print. They will know what kind of scan that size print needs.

Walter Degroot , Dec 16, 2012; 02:27 p.m.

my experiences are similar to those jeff talked about.
sure a flatbed is not the best. but., better to have the scans than losing the entire image library.
we have more than one copy of our photos. a few are still negatives inb a box.
but the later photos are in three places.
many beginners search for the holy grail or film and developer.
it does not truly exist.
http://www.covingtoninnovations.com/hc110/
this is a page that describes how to use kodal HC-110
B&W film developer ( a syrup) by mixing just enough for one session.
the kodak way wants you to mix up a dilited jug and then it goes bad on you.
the covington way - the developer lasts for years
and pretty much works we;; with any B&W film.
some of the eastern europe film are not as scratch resistant as Ilford kodak or Fuji.
Dwaye's may be the best place to send important photos/.
but send several rolls ( email than to check_)
to save on high shipping costs

Jeff Sudduth , Dec 16, 2012; 02:49 p.m.

Walmart send out service. C-41 120 film $0.84 (developing only). Even a 16 year old can find $0.84 in the couch cushions. If you want prints it is a couple buck extra. The prints aren't that good though. My advice is get a scanner like the Epson V500 and scan at home. I know Kentucky is a very upscale state but I am sure there are some Walmarts nearby.

Everything costs more today.

I doubt it. On an inflation adjusted basis was there ever a time you could get decent 120 C-41 developing for $0.84?

Brian S. , Dec 16, 2012; 03:24 p.m.

Check out TheDarkroom.com

Considerably cheaper than your $20 per roll local option.

John Shriver , Dec 16, 2012; 05:18 p.m.

As has been noted recently, WalMart is phasing out returning negatives.
North Coast Photo Lab is another good option.
Medium Format is not a budget option in general. Slide film is a quick way to bleed money, the film is an expensive monopoly product, the processing is the most expensive as well.
The labs for quality processing that are staying in business are doing so by charging enough to make a profit. With lower volumes, that drives the price up, up, up.

JDM von Weinberg , Dec 16, 2012; 05:29 p.m.

At some point, you may need to face up to the point that normal B&W shooters have faced for some time -- you may need to process your own.
Although recent reports here have mentioned some bumps, my past dealings with Dwaynes in Parson, KS were good.
I see right now that they charge about $4 for processing 120 film and $3 for a CD.

Bethe Fisher , Dec 16, 2012; 07:14 p.m.

I have had good results from Dwaynes, but only for color - I do my own B&W. I would advise against Walmart as they are supposedly not returning negs now.
Another option might be to try and find someone in your area who does their own. More people are doing their own C-41 and E6 in addition to the many who do B&W. www.apug.org is a good film resource and a way you might find people in your area.

C Watson , Dec 16, 2012; 07:35 p.m.

I'd check in at apug.org. You might have better luck on that analog-only site for lab options in your area.


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