Cheap C41 processing.

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by haziz, Nov 5, 2006.

  1. haziz

    haziz Subscriber

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    I usually shoot B&W and do my own processing but recently have been doing some color as well as occasional "fake B&W" AKA Ilford XP2. When taking the film to my local pro lab however I encounter sticker shock. What is the cheapest (but good quality) easily available way to process color and B&W C41 120 film?

    While we're at it what about 35 mm film?

    Thanks.

    Sincerely,

    Hany.
     
  2. Bromo33333

    Bromo33333 Member

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    C-41 can be cheaply processed by a drug store or grocery store if they have "1 hour processing" at least for 35mm. I can get a roll of 24 with 1 set of 3"x5" prints of C-41 for about $3.80.

    For 120, you may be better off using "pro film" and having the pro lab do a contact sheet after developing the film rather than prints - you then can determine which one or ones you wants prints of. That's what we do.
     
  3. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Do you mean to do it yourself? If you have the volume then doing it yourself is fairly cheap. OTOH if you're doing a roll here a roll there it'll get expensive.
     
  4. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Check around at the 1 hour places in your area, most machines that are capable of doing 35mm can also do 120...

    What price are they trying to get for 120 C-41 processing? I am just curious, the most expensive lab in town here only charges $2.00 a roll for a process only, and it you want prints they are .29 cents a print, so I am curious to what it is costing in other areas of the country.

    Dave
     
  5. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    First, a note: I shoot mostly 35mm and prior to doing my own developing, I shot nothing but 35mm (and 110 years ago as a child). Thus, my comments are geared towards that format. MF is almost certainly harder to get processed inexpensively.

    I don't recall ever seeing a local store offer 1-hour processing of a 24-exposure roll of 35mm film with prints for as little as $3.80, except perhaps as a sale. More often around here it's on the order of $7 or so for a 24-exposure roll. Perhaps it's cheaper in Rochester than in the Boston-Providence area, or maybe Bromo33333 has just found the very cheapest local place and I haven't.

    One way to cut costs can be to bypass the prints. Most of that ~$7 price is in prints. If you can get the clerk to hand you back nothing but the negative strip, you can then peruse (and perhaps scan, if you've got the equipment and are so inclined) the negatives and order prints only of the frames that interest you. You might be able to order negatives and a CD-R for less than negatives with prints.

    Another way to cut costs is to go with non-1-hour photofinishing. Most drug stores and the like will send film out if you so request, and some don't have 1-hour machines and so must send film out. You'll get it back in a day or two, typically, and the cost may be a buck or two cheaper than having it done in a 1-hour lab. You may be able to order smaller (3.5x5-inch vs. 4x6-inch) prints this way, which can also save a bit of money if you want to get prints.

    Another step along that path is to use a mail-order photofinisher. Some of these are quite expensive, but some are cheap. An outfit like Clark is in the latter category, at $3.18 per roll, including return shipping, for a 24-exposure roll with 3.5x5-inch prints or $3.29 per roll for 4x6-inch prints.

    Yet another option is to do your own processing. You can get C-41 chemistry and do it in the same tank you use for B&W. It's really not much harder than B&W; the main problem is with temperature control, which requires the use of a water bath or some other means of keeping everything at 100 degrees F. Of course, once you've got the negatives you'll then want prints, which requires enlarging the negatives yourself, scanning them, or taking the negatives somewhere to have prints made.

    With any of these, there's some truth to the saying "you get what you pay for." I haven't used Clark in years because their quality was iffy when I used them. Still, most of that is a question of the prints; negatives from such places are usually fine and will scan well or produce good prints if you do it yourself or have it done at a better outfit. Other cost-cutting measures give you less (no or smaller prints) and/or take more time.
     
  6. Bromo33333

    Bromo33333 Member

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    Oops, I didn't mean to say that the $3.80 was for 1 hour processing. The 1 hour processing kiosk at Wegman's will send in film for you (takes about 3-5 days) and it will cost appx. $3.80. The 1 hour processing is about what you said ($5-7). The Kodak Picture CD is more (I don't remember exactly the amount, but it is a few dollars)

    If i use the local lab, I generally get developing service (B&W and E-6 are the most affordable) and get a contact sheet. From that I determine if a larger print needs to be made. You can also scan the negative, but that is kind of pricey.

    Depends upon the cost structure. In a pro-lab this might be the case, but Wegman's, you are going to get prints no matter what.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 5, 2006
  7. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Even Walmart does develop only here. Or at least they used to. Not my idea of quality. But they do it.
     
  8. marktompkins

    marktompkins Member

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    Try Mpix. They will send you mailers and send you an email when the film is developed. Once you pay for the developing they mail the negatives back to you. They also post thumbnails of all of the shots. Its $3.95 24-exp, $5.95 36-exp. This includes the return shipping of the negatives.
     
  9. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

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    Good
    Cheap
    Fast

    Choice of two!
     
  10. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Dear Hany,

    Many (probably most) amateur labs stabilize, without a water wash. If negative archival importance is important, you may prefer a pro lab, dev only, with water wash.

    Personally, I regard a few years as adequate for most colour neg.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  11. 3Dfan

    3Dfan Member

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    Are you still planning a unit on how to do your own archival washing for amateur lab processed negatives?
     
  12. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Actually, I had quite forgotten. I'll think about it some more. I think it would be a good 'How Do I...' piece in the Photo School at www.rogerandfrances.com.

    Step one: get the negs back UNCUT and LOOSELY rolled (I give 'em neg bags for this). Trying to wash cut strips is more hassle than it's worth...

    Cheers,

    Roger
     
  13. marktompkins

    marktompkins Member

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    I will add taht Mpix sends back the negatives UNCUT and LOOSELY rolled in a sleeve, as Roger suggests.
     
  14. Will S

    Will S Member

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    The prices aren't too bad here. I use a fairly expensive "1 hour place" and they charge $3 for the roll and .35$ for each 4x6. So $8.25 plus tax. A roll of 36 35mm 4x6 is $10.68 with tax! I don't take much to them, but they are the best 35mm processor in town.

    Best,

    Will
     
  15. 3Dfan

    3Dfan Member

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    I agree that it would be a good 'How Do I...' piece. You have a pretty good website with a lot of helpful information.

    I'm a bit curious, would washing the film after getting it back from the lab also help preserve E-6 and/or kodachrome?
     
  16. eddie gunks

    eddie gunks Member

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    my local sams club does my 120 film inhouse for me. works great. i get it back in 20 min. costs me 1.58$. if i send it out it costs me $.51 and takes about a week to get it back! not too bad, and cheap enough.

    eddie
     
  17. celluloidpropaganda

    celluloidpropaganda Subscriber

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    My nearest pro lab (BWC in Dallas) develops C41 120 and 35mm for under $3, Costco will give me 35mm dev+prints for $4 (they'll also cross-process on the odd chance I want to).

    I haven't looked at Sam's or Wal-Mart yet, but I'm willing to suspend my ethics temporarily for $5 Super8 processing if I happen upon a good, cheap rig for that.
     
  18. greyko

    greyko Member

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    Different country and all, but for processing only, I go to KMart. They do processing only for $2.50 (the pro lab I visit charges closer to $7 for processing only), uncut.
    I prefer this, because when I get prints, I get my negatives scratched to hell and back. Then I can scan the negs myself (a quick batch scan on the flatbed gives a good enough idea) to see how they look, then either scan in on the dedicated film scanner, or take to my usual pro lab for an enlargeent.
     
  19. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    In Marlboro, MA, I pay $8.00 a roll for develop only 120 (I've been using XP2 lately, too). 35mm is maybe $6.00? I use a mom&pop type place, so others may be cheaper. They can develop, but not print, 120.
     
  20. bob100684

    bob100684 Member

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    stabilizer is an integral step in color proscessing, it helps to maintain the dyecloud's permenance.


     
  21. bob100684

    bob100684 Member

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    hmmmmm near worcester...whats the name of this place?
     
  22. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    Photo Express - on route 20 (the westbound side) near the intersection with Farm Rd. It's about 2 miles from the Marlboro-Sudbury line.