Sending C-41 out now while my Jobo gets fixed. (I hope!) I chose based on proximity, price, and a personal recommendation. So far so good. No decent cost effective local options, alas.
I have a mini-lab about 25 miles away that still does C-41 process and color prints and enlargements. They do 120 and 35mm. The lady there has been processing for years and her quality is good. This business had to move a couple of years ago and prior to that they did E-6 on site. Now the machine is gone and they send all of the chromes to Seattle.
I have been using CHROME in San Diego. I usually hand carry into the lab. They do C41 and E6. I have been satisfied with their work, prices are reasonable.
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I no longer have a local lab as an option so I have to send my film out or build up the capability to do E-6 and C-41 sheet film myself. Not really interested in that option, so I use a lab. I had some Kodachrome processed by Dwaynes and can say that I will not be using their service for any other film. They are operating at a consumer quality level.
When I make my lab choice, the following factors drive my decision.
1) Quality of work. If I'm getting film back consistently covered in scratches or with rinse or processing issues, I'm going to work with another lab. Sheet film (and frankly 35mm) is not cheap, and many of my trips are once in a lifetime opportunities with more invested than a $2 sheet of film.
2) Total Price. If I've got two labs competing on equal quality, I'm going to choose the one with the lower total price, which in my mind includes the shipping and the processing fees. A couple of labs I've worked with have charged $12 to return a box that cost me $4.50 to ship up. Another lab has free shipping for orders over $50 and is only $4.50 for orders under $50.
3) Turn around time. In part it means the lab is close so the shipping time will not be long. I also want to work with a lab that has a frequent processing cycle. For one thing its a good indicator that the chemicals are in order and that they have the business to support a frequent cycle. I hope that is an indicator of a lab that will still be here in years to come.
The labs I currently work with are Slideprinter, RPI and Photocraft. I really like Photocraft, but they don't have C-41 sheet processing and I've been using more of it lately. Their roll film C-41 processing is great though.
I send out all color film. All large format E6 and C-41 used to Calypso when they were still in Santa Clara but, after they moved to Santa Cruz (and stopped doing C-41), I started taking my LF color stuff to a small local lab (Alan Photo-Lab in Pleasanton). Small format C-41 goes to E&J in Dublin.
For me, it is all about consistent quality. Considerations of cost and turnaround time come in way behind quality. I am happy to pay more for consistent quality. I don't mind if it takes a week if I know it'll be done well. However, I have a very low tolerance for labs that screw up my films. This is why I don't bother sending films to Wal-mart, Walgreen's rite-aid, Costco, etc any more.
Last edited by BradS; 10-21-2009 at 11:36 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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"Do you send out film for processing?"
No, I process mine in-house! B&W and C-41!
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sometimes i use someone local because i know she does a VERY good job.
but most of the time i drop off to a send out that goes to fujilabs.
i have been doing this for 10 years or so, and don't have a complaint.
they are inexpensive, and do a good job.
if it is e6 or 110 or 120 they forward it on to dwaynes
and i get it back a few days later. still, no complaints.
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Quality, quality, quality.
I do most of my own processing for my personal work.
What I send out is all my wedding and event film. I charge the client $50 a roll for film, shipping, and processing; on top of my fees. I get proofs and scans corrected for density and color.
I buy the best processing I can find, right now that's Richard Photo Lab.
Originally Posted by tjaded
Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO
"We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin
I use an in town lab for my C-41 and E-6. Black and white, I process myself.
I process my own black and white stuff but for color processing I use Dale Labs for most things and Praus Productions pretty much exclusivly now. I do send Kodachrome to Dwayne's.
Helping to save analog photography one exposure at a time