Getting back into film. No one develops anymore! What to do?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by 777funk, Oct 15, 2011.

  1. 777funk

    777funk Member

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    I just bought a 35mm SLR and a Canon 50mm f2.5 Macro lens and a bunch of professional low ISO films (Velvia 50, Ecktar 100, Ecktachrome, Portra, and a few others) and it's time to get back into film.

    Calling around it seems like it's difficult to get developing done these days (we live rurally). I don't want prints but I'd like negatives for scanning.

    So far here are my options:
    1. Walgreens (Fuji Frontier I believe-Not sure if they develop slide film) about $8
    2. Walmart (Send out) about $7
    3. Send it to Dwaynes or North Coast Photo $4-7 plus shipping
    4. Do it myself (unsure of the cost)

    I put 4 as the last option and maybe it should be but part of me says do it yourself.

    Having it developed is the easy way out. But should I expect good results? Any comments on the listed developers?

    If I go with option 4 (develop it here), I don't know much about the chemicals. I have no doubt I can do it (done B&W) and I mix dyes and colorants for my instrument finishing regularly. I can work a gram scale:smile:

    But what is the most cost effective way. I don't want to setup a permanent dark room. I have a small house so I'd need something I could take into a bathroom and setup/teardown quickly.

    I've seen home made chemical setups such as this:
    home-made-c-41-chemicals (Google it)

    And I've seen kits at stores.

    I don't really want to pay the kit costs. I'd like to have a system that will keep for months at a time and I would like to not be tossing expired product.

    Is there a good cost effective system for the home developer (say 3 rolls per month)?
     
  2. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi 777funk
    walmart sends out to dwaynes ... so you will
    save yourself the shipping if you send out through them.
    i was going to start to home process my c41 + e6
    but i don't want to deal with the chemistry .. not the mixing
    or using, but dealing with the afterlife of it ... having to deal with the disposal.

    good luck !
    john
     
  3. average-guy

    average-guy Member

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    If all you want is negatives, you don't need a darkroom. You can use a changing bag to open the film canisters and load them into the developing tank. Since most modern tanks are light-tight, you're all set to start developing. As far as chemicals I use D76 for black and white but it doesn't have a long shelf life(measured in months), if that's important then I would use something else like HC-110 it has a long shelf life(years if kept in full bottles). The cost of developing B/W film is pretty cheap, I get my supplies from Freestyle Photography and I'm thinking it puts me back about $25 if I'm out of everything and need to restock. I've never done my own E-6 or C-41 and I don't have any experience with other B/W developers. Hope this helps.
     
  4. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    I would suggest starting with b&w and just see how you fare with doing that yourself. Then once you feel comfortable with that, try c41. It's just like b&w but with some extra temp controls. You can also do E6 yourself but it is definitely not as sh*t-simple as b&w. It takes careful timing and temp control, so I wouldn't begin with it if you are brand new to DIY film developing.

    In principle, all of the kits can be aliquoted so that you can do small batches; you'd just need a good scale and measuring beakers to do that.

    Let me suggest starting with a b&w staining developer kit like liquid wd2d+, which comes in two bottles, has exceptional shelf life, and can be mixed in very small batches without needing to dissolve any powder.
     
  5. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    My problem is with the shelf-life and expense of color chems. As I recall color chems need to be used within a week or two - and I just cannot commit to a schedule. So my color goes to the labs. I have some friends in LA so I tend to send to them.

    I have no problem mixing chems in April and using them in October. So B&W fits my lifestyle. I wouldn't dream of having a lab process it for me.
     
  6. 777funk

    777funk Member

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    Thanks! So I'd guess the c41 and e6 at Walmart (Dwaynes) is decent quality then?

    Probably not worth messing with color developing myself?
     
  7. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    It's worth trying your local Walgreen's for C-41, I think. Some do a good job, some don't---it's worth testing them (with an unimportant roll) in case the quick turnaround is useful for you.

    Color developing usually requires careful temperature control---that's the main thing that keeps me from doing it.

    -NT
     
  8. 777funk

    777funk Member

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    I'd think a Crock Pot with a Rheostat would do a pretty decent job at maintaining 100F for a set period. Actually an easy way to get a rheostat with a plug on it would be a Router Speed control. They're about $15-50 depending on what store. Harbor Freight Tools has them for $15 occasionally. I'd think this plugged into a crock pot with no lid should be easy to hold 100F.

    What keeps me from doing it is the chemistry shelf life. Maybe dry chemicals (powder) would last longer?
     
  9. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    I bought a Tetenal /Jobo 1 liter C41 press kit, seems to work well , 5 films done in the last 2 days. It is powder and mixes up easily, store it in 500ml recycled water bottles. A plastic basin sitting in the sink makes it easy to maintain 100F, float the chems in it and just add a small shot of hot tap water every couple of minutes. I have a floating thermometer in the basin.
     
  10. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I found that Costco near where I live does a good job. They charge about $4.19 for C-41 24 expourses.

    Jeff
     
  11. F/1.4

    F/1.4 Member

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    If you're just look for develop only, do Costco. Avoid places like Rite Aid, or Walgreens like the plague. Believe it or not, the vast majority of Costco's revenue comes from their Photo dept. So they hire people who take care of it.

    Walgreens and Rite Aid don't. Most of the employees don't know what a densitometer is, and they never run control strips in their Noritsu's unless something goes wrong, like 5 roll of film came out blank. They almost never clean the filters, rollers, or top off the racks. Trust me, of all the cheap places, Costco is the best, BY FAR.

    Speaking from personal experience here.
     
  12. 777funk

    777funk Member

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    Bummer that there's no Costco near me. I do however have a Walmart of course. Hopefully that will be a good option. We'll see. If not I'll have to figure out how to do it myself.
     
  13. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    Talk to the staff that work there, ask how often the machine is cleaned, etc. Watch them and see if they drag the film on the floor when feeding it into the scanner. That is a good reason not to go to that store. :sad:
     
  14. 777funk

    777funk Member

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    They supposedly don't develop film at any Walmart anymore. They send it out at mine I do know for sure.
     
  15. ColdEye

    ColdEye Member

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    Costco is really good, and the price is nice too. Walgreens was the worst I have tried, they can't even cut the negatives properly.
     
  16. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    It really depends. I've got a local CVS pharmacy whose photo manager is a large-format guy and runs a tight ship; they do good work. Others make complete hash of it. There was a long thread a few months ago---it seems like most people's local drugstore-minilabs are marginal-to-poor, but a number of people have found good ones.

    Costco does seem to be consistently good, but the OP didn't list them as an option.

    -NT
     
  17. moonmanphoto

    moonmanphoto Member

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    What part of the country do you reside. I have been send my stuff to Dan's Camera City in Allentown, Pa. for years. They do excellent work E-6, C-41 and B&W)
     
  18. M.A.Longmore

    M.A.Longmore Member

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    I started using W@lM@rt recently for for C-41 processing.
    A roll of 35mm / 36 or 120 cost $.88 for developing only.
    Unfortunately they will only provide a CD for 35mm if prints are being made.


    Ron
    .
     
  19. CGW

    CGW Member

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    "Believe it or not, the vast majority of Costco's revenue comes from their Photo dept."

    Really? Then It's amazing they're still in business!
     
  20. 777funk

    777funk Member

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    Wow are you kidding me? $0.88 that's amazing!

    My local (30 minute drive) store said they only did prints (no option for develop only). I'll have to talk to the right person. Seemed like the rep that was there wasn't very knowledgeable.
     
  21. average-guy

    average-guy Member

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    Definitely ask the photo manager. My local walmart does "develop only" with a picture cd for $3. The manager is a retired "pro" photographer who is well known in the community.
     
  22. F/1.4

    F/1.4 Member

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    Have you seen how huge Costco's photo dept. is? Their volume is insane.
     
  23. ctsundevil

    ctsundevil Member

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    I recently asked the photo manager at my local Costco what their volume is and he said they were doing about 30-35 rolls a day.
     
  24. pukalo

    pukalo Member

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    Try home developing - as long as you follow the directions, and use a cheap styrofoam coolerand carefully adjust your tap water to the correct temp, it is super easy. Just got done developing 3 rolls of slide film - supposedly the most difficult of the 3 film types. Negative film, C-41 is similar, so it should be no problem.
    I got into this earlier in the summer, and regret I put it off so long, due to mythic claims on the net that it was too hard to do at home. Its easy, super easy! And results are better than you will get from a pro lab. I suspect the claims of difficulty come from people who dont follow directions, and/or are not patient to get their water temp to the specified temp before beginning.
    Anyways, all you need is a Styrofoam cooler, 7 1 liter pop bottles, and a digital cooking thermometer. Plus a Paterson developing tank, abouy 40 bucks. Get one that can do 3-4 rolls at once, to save time.
     
  25. albada

    albada Member

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    The photo-worker at the Costco in Carmel Mountain Ranch (San Diego, Calif) said they're doing about 20 rolls/day and that that's not enough to keep up the chemistry. He added that the developer is intended for 150 rolls/day. So I can see the end of film-development coming soon at Costco. Prepare for mail-order or DIY (develop it yourself).

    Mark Overton