Local Pro Labs forgetting MF

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by joeyk49, Dec 24, 2005.

  1. joeyk49

    joeyk49 Member

    Messages:
    1,325
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2004
    Location:
    New Jersey,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Aaargh! I could just spit!

    I grudgingly take my MF developing to my local pro lab. I say "grudgingly" because he's so damned expensive. But he's the local guy and nobody else does MF...certainly not Wal Mart!

    Now given that most, if not all color medium format stuff is processed C41, it really should't be that big of a deal. There sits his big AGFA processor in the back of the shop cranking out the little stuff, all day long. Maybe I'm stupid, but I'm thinking that its a simple adjustment on the machine and swap out negative carriers and fire away, right? Oh, maybe he has to switch roll paper magazines to the 5" roll...okay, that's pretty tough...

    I showed up, yesterday, to pick up my prints and the clerk said, "You got lucky. I almost had to charge you a scanning fee." Curious, because I just wanted two 5x5 prints of a square 120 Portra negative, I asked why? His reply...now get this ..."Because of the unusual size, we almost had to scan the negative in order to make the print. But, (lucky for me) we're still able to do this one...."

    I was then allowed the pleasure of paying $2.75 plus tax for the two machine made 5x5 prints. (I think 8x10s are about $0.79 at the places I try to stay away from) I guess that I'm supposed to feel relieved that he didn't have to whack me another $10.00 for scanning.

    Is it me or is there something wrong with this picture? (Pun intended) Shouldn't the local pro guys try to keep the business of those of us that like the "unusual" sized formats? Otherwise they will have to compete with the big box stores...

    What's an MFer like me to do? Now don't get me wrong. I'm a CHEAP MFer and I know it. Many people often remind me,so that I don't forget.

    Shipping is always an issue for other locations and I'm not set up to print color (nor are my printing skills up to par).

    Are there any other Cheap MFers out there and what do you do about it?
     
  2. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

    Messages:
    6,710
    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I lnow what you're talking about... I've spit so much in the last year that I'm parched! My (former) favorite pro lab went digital and the quality of their film work became quite poor. I've been looking for a new lab. Fortunately there are 3 to choose from in my local area. I think I found a good one that offers the best price of the three.

    Here's my secret to reducing the frustration: survey all of the local labs and send a "test roll" to each. Then compare quality and choose one lab to use in the future. I have two I'm currently using - one for B&W and another for C-41/E-6.

    To help with the "cheap" part (hey, I resemble that remark!)... I send my wife with the film and specific WRITTEN instructions. My wife and I have a deal... she doesn't ask what I've been shooting and I don't ask how much I just paid for processing. It works great!

    (BTW... I'm not cheap, I'm part Scottish and was raised in New England. We're "thrifty"!)
     
  3. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

    Messages:
    4,049
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Sorry to hear you guys are having so much difficulty, my local pro lab, the one I used to work at, still does MF stuff at no additional cost, costs me $2.31 for processing a 120 roll of film and about 0.40 cents for a 5x5 print, most any of the C41 and RA4 machines are set up to do the MF stuff, what it comes down to, was the lab cheap when they set up and didn't by the MF neg carriers, as far as the C41 machine, alls it requires is a different sized film holder to feed the film into the machine, takes about the same amount of time to process a 120 roll as it does a 24 exp 35mm roll, even the cheap stores like Wal Mart can process a 120 Roll, but they were cheap and did not equip their print machines with the MF neg holder, it is unfortunate, but you are going to see more and more of this as demand goes down for this type of processing.

    Happy Holidays.

    Dave
     
  4. roteague

    roteague Member

    Messages:
    6,671
    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2004
    Location:
    Kaneohe, Haw
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    FYI: We have a new sponsor to APUG that does this type of work: Praus Productions. Just go to the sponsors page, and click on their link (so APUG gets the credit). I have not used them, but am planning on it after the first of the month for some LF B&W stuff. I use Calypso Imaging in Santa Clara, CA for all my E6 work (can't touch the prices and the quality is excellent).
     
  5. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

    Messages:
    4,677
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Location:
    Italia
    Shooter:
    Multi Format

    Now is the time to get setup. The combination of a colour enlarger and something like a Colorstar 3000 analyzer [Or I guess one of the newer Colorlines] will give you prints better then your average machine prints with less effort then driving to the lab. To be totally honest even without an analyzer you'll likely get better prints then the machine made ones if you stick to one paper one film combined with good negatives.

    Sooner or later all the good equipment will be snapped up. Take advantage now while you can.
     
  6. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,560
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Location:
    Pacific Nort
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Last time I was in Costco I went to the photo lab in house and asked if they do 120. I was told that they can print them but they can't develop the film. Of course they do all of the formats of digital. Dave, do you have a name for the lab, I live in Wash. State?

    Merry Christmas all,
    Curt
     
  7. Phillip P. Dimor

    Phillip P. Dimor Member

    Messages:
    1,063
    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2004
    Location:
    Westport, MA
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    At my work we do runs of 120 after closing. Our machine takes about 15 to 20 minutes to calibrate itself with the auto 120 gate and it can interrupt the steady flow of one-hour 35mm film jobs.. Then again when it's slow we can do it within an hour or so..

    Developing the film is a piece of cake though, we just feed it through the same noritsu film processor.

    We charge $0.50 to $0.60 per 4x6 I believe, developing is like $2 to $3.. I guess that's not bad, I don't know. I've never really gone the MF color route.
    Our processor though is a digital light system, not a single enlarging lens in there.
    It's a bundle of fibre-optic cables each representing a pixel. We scan all the film (35mm, aps, 120) and then send it over electronically to the printer.

    It's not terrible, it can look nice. I used to run a Gretag/San Marco that used a sliding bank of enlarging lenses to print picture packages and the quality off of that was outstanding. Sorry for the OT.
     
  8. eddie gunks

    eddie gunks Member

    Messages:
    1,159
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    Location:
    Saugerties,
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    yeah! my local guy basically want out of everything but the digital and easy 35mm. they want 15$ for 120 E6!@#$!!! for develop only C41 it is almost $4. i shoot 6x7 so a 4X5 inch print is good, but because he has to "push the button" on the machine from the 4X6 setting he wants over a buck! 4X6 are .39$!! he jut cant get film out fast enough.
    on the great side i use Sams club for all my 35mm. it is cheap and good. the C41 is back to me in 20 min. and i just realized....stupid me.....that they will do 120 film too. i am not sure of the price but as you can see i have no other option. oh!!! i do, i have been shooting alot of B&W and processing it myself.

    eddie
     
  9. stevew4567

    stevew4567 Member

    Messages:
    5
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2004
    Location:
    Gloversville
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    My nearest "local" lab (which is 45 minutes away), just stopped processing B&W MF. I'd been toying with the idea of processing and printing my own anyway..... this just made my decision to dedicate some basement space and purchase equipment that much easier.

    Steve Williams
     
  10. haris

    haris Guest

    In my town in labs they will develop C41 120 (machines have option for both), but no E6 and no B/W. Price for 120 developing is same as for 35mm. But no lab make prints from 120. When I asked lab owner, whom I know well, why no 120 prints, he said that getting 120 mask(s) for Frontier he has in lab would be too expencive. And it would, I think he said one mask for 120 would cost him about 5000 EURO... And since he become digital messiah, no hope for future. So, best way is to do it for myself. And I belive that would be case in future for all of us 120 film users...
     
  11. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,604
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    Location:
    U.K.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I recently asked my local prolab recently if they could process and proof 120 film, and do 5x5 proofs in an hour, the guy replied "No the only thing worthwhile that happens in an hour is making babies ". I suppose these days I aught to be grateful that at least they know what 120 film is, because I have been into plenty of highstreet D&P shops that don't, not to mention photographic stores where if you ask the staff for 120 film they don't know what it is, in fact anyone who uses film is regarded as a bit of an eccentric
     
  12. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,192
    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2005
    Location:
    Los Alamos,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Despite the fact that a lot of people seem to be switching to MF, I understand that demand for MF film is way down. That means less to process, and many shops are finding it uneconomical or logistically impossible to keep their MF processing equipment working. The largest local chain, Inkley (Ritz) now sends all MF to Atlanta for processeing, with very questionable results and very long waits (3 weeks or more). Two pro shops I know of within 100 miles of here will handle 120 for C-41 processing, and one will handle it for E-6. That's pretty sparse for a major metropolitan area. I've been doing more and more of my own processing, but now it's becoming hard to get the chemicals.
     
  13. haris

    haris Guest

    Am I wrong, or it is easier to get chemistry for DIY processing in Europe than in USA?
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    17,979
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    It's easy to get E-6 and C-41 chemistry in the US, but you may have to pay for hazmat shipping if you can't purchase it locally.
     
  16. rpsawin

    rpsawin Subscriber

    Messages:
    517
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Orrtanna, PA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Seattle area Prolab

    Curt,

    I'm in Seattle and I use Ivey Imaging http://www.ivey.com/intro.html for MF develop only. I tried three other labs in the area and think I get the best results from them...fwiw.

    Hope this helps,

    Bob
     
  17. brianpatrick

    brianpatrick Member

    Messages:
    5
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2008
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    ivey shuts it's doors monday.
     
  18. msage

    msage Member

    Messages:
    297
    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2003
    Location:
    Washington State
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Maybe if more film photographers worried about quality and patronizing labs that catered to us instead of worrying about finding THE cheapest deal and saving a f*****g nickel on a print, a few labs may survive. OK, I feel a little better saying that.
     
  19. Travis Nunn

    Travis Nunn Member

    Messages:
    1,602
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2005
    Location:
    Henrico, Vir
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Or if the only "pro" lab in town would care enough not to scratch every f*****g frame on every f*****g roll of film (120 or 35mm) and when I complain about it their answer is to buy a DSLR I wouldn't have to ship my slides out of town to get processed.

    Yeah, you're right, I feel much better after saying that.
     
  20. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,604
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    Location:
    U.K.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You missed out Travis

    You missed out the f*****g holes where the film clips had been in the best shot on the roll, and the f*****g drying marks.
     
  21. arigram

    arigram Member

    Messages:
    5,474
    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2004
    Location:
    Crete, Greec
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    At least I can't complain about this one.
    There is a local, professional lab that not only does a good job developing C-41 120 rolls, but they even print chemically. So far I have been quite satisfied. They even seem excited to process my film, do it really fast and give a discount, though the actual price of three euros per film is quite expensive. Thankfully I don't often do color.
     
  22. elekm

    elekm Member

    Messages:
    2,059
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2004
    Location:
    New Jersey (
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    I read that most photo shops are using traditional chemicals to make prints (from digital or film), because the cost of chemicals is much lower than the cost of ink for inkjet or dye for dye-sublimation processes.
     
  23. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    8,003
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2003
    Location:
    Milan
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    It is also much faster.
     
  24. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,434
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2005
    Location:
    NE U.S.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I guess I should feel blessed, there are 3 labs/photo stores near me that will take 120. Of the three, I've used two of them, and they both do fine work, even in an hour. I wish it was as cheap as 3 euros though.

    For me the big problem is that the only local shop doing E-6 quite doing it last month. So, I'm about to start running my own.
    At least I've got enough backlog of film to use the kit almost immediately.
     
  25. Stephen Frizza

    Stephen Frizza Member

    Messages:
    1,438
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    ergh!

    I couldn't agree more with you! I own a small pro lab in Sydney Australia and if you want quality you have to expect two things. First a wait in time and secondly to pay more money!

    on the note of another poster

    I don't know of any "prolab" which could process film, print a proof sheet and print by machine a whole roll of 5x5" prints in one hour. this sounds like minilab to me! and if something like this is required of a pro lab then expect a 100% surcharge on the job as that kind of turn round sounds totally unreasonable to me.

    Also as for complains to drying marks its not hard to ask a pro lab to re wash a film!

    On the issue of clip marks in a frame, If a client tried to squeeze an extra frame onto a roll of film where a frame really shouldn't go...is the lab operator really responsible for that neg getting the hanger clip though the frame? If its so important to save the frame tell the lab operator before you hand them the film that you have "Squeezed a frame in" where the hanger clip needs to go. that way the lab operator can alter their processing method and save it!
    if you don't know how many frames of 6x7 should fit to a roll of 120 ask the lab! its 10 not 11, 36 exposure film can shoot 37 frames but when your squeezing 38 or 39 frames (yes I've seen it god knows how!) .... expect a chance of loosing one! the film recommends 36 exposures for a reason!

    Ok another thing scratches, Scary and certainly shouldn't happen in a pro lab!
    however not all scratches are occurring because of the lab! sometimes it can be grit in the camera or the canister gate etc... and if it is the lab and it is a one off event while unfortunate and they should take responsibility I do have to say shit happens.

    I really feel if you are squeezing the labs for cheaper and cheaper prices, faster turn rounds and more services expect the incidence of problems occurring with your work to increase.

    Stop bitching , treat your analog labs with respect! you'll appreciate them when their gone!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 28, 2008
  26. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    17,979
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    In New York you could get one hour turnaround on E-6, but I suspect it would be a double rush at 200% (yes, two hundred percent) surcharge, since the normal NYC turnaround on E-6 is four hours from the larger pro labs.

    Most NYC pro labs will do negs and contacts with 24 hour turnaround standard to allow for drying time. Not sure what they would ask for one hour or something along those lines.