Good mail-order lab needed

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Robert Kennedy, Mar 29, 2003.

  1. Robert Kennedy

    Robert Kennedy Member

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    I may be heading out on a road trip soon. It will involve some backpacking so I am looking to go light. I figure a good way to do this would be to send some of my film in for developing while on the road. I HATE the idea of hauling all my exposed film around with me or having to leave it in a car. Plus, I like to break up large batches "just in case".

    Now I have never used one of the large national labs. I need a recommendation. I mostly shoot black and white 120.
     
  2. bmac

    bmac Member

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    I would honestly just send it back home and process myself upon my return. Mailorder and traditional black and white is a sketchy situation.

    Brian
     
  3. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I agree with Brian, but that said, I've had good experience with Modernage for straightforward development of TMX, and I know they'll take mail order, and they do a decent volume of B&W for commercial purposes (headshots, advertising, weddings, etc.). They will also give you multiple contact sheets at no extra charge on those rolls where your exposure is inconsistent. Locations at www.modernage.com.

    Whichever you choose, you should send some test rolls first. They'll do fractional pushes and pulls and are very consistent, so you could even work out what to ask for for N+ and N- development.

    dr5, known mostly for their B&W reversal process, will also develop B&W negs by inspection--develop only, no contacts. I've never used them for this service, but I would trust them to get it right. I think he just moved back to the West Coast. Info at www.dr5.com.
     
  4. docholliday

    docholliday Member

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    Rule #1: Never trust anybody to develop your B&W negs but yourself
    Rule #2: Never trust any lab when on the road to develop any film for you...they don't care for you because you ain't returnin' business
    Rule #3: Never trust anybody to develop your B&W negs but yourself, especially when on the road.

    When I travel, I take M&M mini tubes (the colored ones for candy) and put my developed rolls in them (1 per tube). I then seal the tube up and throw it into a zip lock bag. If I'm doing a long hike, I'll find a drop point and send the film back to myself, then Jobo them when I get home.

    Color's a bit different. You can usually find a decent color lab when on the road. If you tell the lab that you're a pro, on remote location for a shoot, (no matter if you are or not, though I am) the lab will do you good.

    But, in the case of B&W, labs don't know what density you like. So, they'll run it for "the middle" (yup, THEY define middle) and hope that you fall into the 90% of people that don't understand B&W and just "think it is the coolest look".

    I'll do this for hikes in all kinds of weather, the M&M mini's tubes will hold a roll of 120 perfectly and seal the tube against moisture. The ZIP lock adds a second layer of protection...

    With that in mind, you could always shoot a C-41 B&W (yech, disgusting Shtuff), but it allows the film to run in a color process...
     
  5. ken s

    ken s Member

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    Hello, I am a custom B&W printer and I also do custom processing for pros in my area, (Boulder, CO). I do small batch processing and will do tests runs to zero in for your specific needs. I had woked in pro labs for 25 years and have gone off on my own. If interested please get in touch and we can discuss details. sanville@mindspring.com Thanks, Ken