The Search for the Perfect Professonal Lab

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Andrew West, Feb 19, 2007.

  1. Andrew West

    Andrew West Member

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    At the present, I can't develop or print for myself. Now, I could turn to digital, or I could stick with photography and find a dependable, professional photo lab.

    I need some help with the latter.

    I'll be using them (whoever they may be) for both "professional" (if anything I do might qualify) and personal work so I need somewhere that is both up to par with professional standards and, especially important, somewhere I can afford from my own pockets. I live in Northwest Indiana, so chances are, they'll need to accept mail order.

    In case that's too easy, they need to be quick. By that, I mean that they need to accept new customers, process, proof, and print all within a short amount of time. I have some work that is on a less than encouraging time scale; I'll have anywhere from ten to twenty individual portraits that need to be both printed (traditionally, of course) and digitally scanned for use within a pamphlet.

    For the record, I was going to draw out of a hat but then I remembered this little place and decided fate was better left to larger life decisions.
     
  2. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    Do you live in Western Australia, Western Europe, or, just West of the Wall?

    It might help if you provide some pertinent information.

    Mick.
     
  3. Andrew West

    Andrew West Member

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    My apologies, I thought I had mentioned it. I live in Northwest Indiana, USA.
     
  4. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Black and white, or color? If b/w I would stick with a lab that specializes in it. I can't recommend any in your area as I don't know any, but I would think Chicago would have a few good labs if that's not too far to ship film.

    Good luck with it!

    Welcome to Apug, btw, and we'll have you building a darkroom in no time! :tongue:
     
  5. unohuu

    unohuu Member

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    Andrew, look at Universal Color, just in 'burbs of Minneapolis. I have used them for both scanning and printing of 35mm and 120 b/w See http://www.universalcolor.com.

    Also locally, we here people raving about White House http://www.whcc.com

    I have not used them.

    Luke
     
  6. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    if you dont' mind shipping out,
    dalmation labs in the carolinas does
    true archival + beautiful black and white prints/processing

    http://www.dalmatianlab.com/

    oh, i use whcc from time to time, they make prints through
    (you need to send them digital files) they don't process film ...

    john
     
  7. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    In New York among the bigger labs I like Modernage and Duggal.

    Modernage handles a lot of portrait work and performers' headshots, if that's your main area.

    Duggal is a huge all around lab that handles a lot of advertising work and can process just about anything. Their film processing is very consistent.

    Kenneth Taranto is also a fine smaller lab that does really good portrait and headshot work and in recent years more fine art printing.

    MV Labs is an outstanding B&W custom lab.
     
  8. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    A word of caution Andrew, its best to find a pro lab that you can take your work in personally, and collect it even if you have to make a special journey for your professional work, especially weddings no matter how good the lab is if the postal service lose it , your in trouble.
     
  9. Ken N

    Ken N Member

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    I use Millers Lab here in the midwest. They have a division for "low-volume" pros called MPIX. They handle all of my color printing these days from both film and digital. I do my own B&W.

    Since you're in NW Indiana, I'd also take a look at what's available up in Michigan. I know of a couple labs up there that handle the bulk of the local pros.
     
  10. Andrew West

    Andrew West Member

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    Thanks for the help, everyone. I'm now at the point where I'm comparing prices (and distances my package would have to travel). Also, over the course of my surfing, I found this:

    I found it inexplicably amusing. I'm probably alone in that.

    I'm one of those who use both (each has its uses, as far as I'm concerned). My personal goal, is to start developing my own black and white at home. Unfortunately, with a small child running around the house and some bad experiences with chemistry, it's going to be some time before I'm ready. All said, though, I think I'll be a pretty easy sell as far as that darkroom is concerned.

    And thank you for the warm welcome.

    I've heard the horror stories; believe me, if I had any alternatives right now, I'd take them. I found a place about forty minutes away that does E6, but I didn't see anything about C-41, printing, or the kind of lab they run (Gene's Camera in South Bend if anyone can help with that). I've found a few places in Michigan; close enough to drop off a big order when necessary. The best that we have around here is CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart.

    It's good advice though and is precisely why I am looking for the most local of the labs that can do everything I need/want.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 23, 2007