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  1. #1
    2F/2F's Avatar
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    Florence film options

    I may be spending three months in Florence, and I want to explore my photographic options.

    I am interested in finding out what "pro" shops and processing services are available there, and how prices compare to the U.S.

    I am also interested to know what, if any, chemical concentrates and powders I would be able to check. I use all liquid concentrates except for Hypo Clear. I imagine this would be a good time to switch to powdered chemicals, if I end up needing to bring them with me.

    However, if I can buy my normal liquid concentrates while there, I will just do that. I can also have things mailed to me, so that is an option. Has anyone from overseas had a good or bad experience ordering from Freestyle? Anything I need to know (fees, taxes, etc)?

    Also interested in learning how the Italian authorities are about carry on film.

    Ideally, I can head into town with nothing photographic but my cameras, and leave the same way; purchase all my film in the city, have the color processed there (hoping for a true "pro" lab with dip and dunk), process my own b/w there, and bring the unused film home in carry on baggage.

    I will probably bring my Canon FD SLRs and my Mamiya M645. Might bring a Retina IIa or Yashica Electro 35 as well. Sure would be great to bring the Sinar, but not feasible this trip.

    Thank you in advance.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

  2. #2
    photo8x10's Avatar
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    Hi,
    I'm living 10 miles far to Florence, I think a good shop, where to buy films or BW chemicals is fotottica MB, Ghibellina Street in centre of Florence. I'm not sure that they process color, but some "pro" photographer are used to bringing their color films there(you could ask for a pro process). I use this shop sometimes to buy BW chemicals or my sheet films.
    I ordered to Freestyle, is fast enough, but in Italy,but you should pay tax to import, depend how do you spend the cost of this tax.
    When I'm coming back home, I'll ask to my friends, a very good laboratory to have a great and pro processing.

    Best

    Stefano
    Digital is Slow..........Analog is ROCK!!!!

    Visit me at http://www.stefanogermi.com
    Visit My Portfolio in Apug

  3. #3

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    You could try Fotoimpex in Berlin for mail order. Shipping from the US plus duty and taxes will eat up any savings over the Fotoimpex price. Plus you'd save shipping time.

    Italian customs won't notice what you arrive with. The US airport guys will be checking you. OTOH I carry an Italian passport but Americans aren't likely to get hassled. I can't imagine bringing powdered chemicals. The drug dogs might get confused and then you'd be in real trouble -) Plus baggage limits aren't huge.

    Check the carry on limits for the airline you pick. I was allowed a camera bag and a carry on. That was enough to haul an 8x10,RZ and a ETRSI. Oh and I wore my Fuji RF -)

  4. #4
    Aurum's Avatar
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    Even before 9/11 it was a poor choice to travel with powdered chemical samples, even with a lot of supporting paperwork.

    I recall the story 15 years ago when I used to work at a factory that was making bleach powder for hair, and they were transferring production from Holland to the UK. Two of our process guys went to Holland to learn about how to make it and bring back samples.

    Imagine the scene at Schipol airport in Amsterdam, when these two jokers turned up with several kilos of white powder in plastic tubs.

    Imagine that these two were not exactly the most diplomatic pair, and wanted to start an argument

    Rubber gloves were threatened. The sort that vets use on cattle

    After that samples were transported by DHL or Fedex!
    Last edited by Aurum; 10-31-2008 at 04:49 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: more gruesome detail
    "Flatter Me, and I May Not Believe You. Criticize Me, and I May Not like You. Ignore Me, and I May Not Forgive You. Encourage Me, and I Will Not Forget You."

  5. #5
    SilverGlow's Avatar
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    I would suggest the following, and based on my 3 week trip to Tuscany in 2006.

    1. Don't take an chemicals, nor film. Do bring some equipment as required, however.
    2. Buy what you need photographically (film & chemo) there eventhough it will be more expensive, at least your film will not get fogged. Research before your trip, to locate professional photo labs/dealers/stores there. You will find what you need.
    3. FedEx or UPS your developed film, and prints to your home in the USA.
    4. Don't bring a computer. Internet Cafe's are all over the place, and often reasonable in price.

    Keep your travel there and back light, and easy. The extra cost of this plan is well worth it IMHO.
    Coming back home to my film roots. Canon EOS-3 SLR, Canon EOS 1V SLR, 580ex flash, and 5D DSLR shooter. Prime lens only shooter.

  6. #6
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Sorry, but I have to disagree.

    I always carry film, I often carry chemicals, liquid & powder, sometimes a dev tank. However Italy is OK for chemicals & medium format film, LF is another matter Also I take my PC (laptop) if away at a fixed location for more than a week or so. Is till tarvel light

    Ian

  7. #7

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    The shop for supplies has already been suggested by Stefano. If they do not have what you are looking for you could order online or by phone from Fotomatica (see link below). I have been ordering from them for years during my Summer stays in Italy. Film, package chemicals from several manufacturers and also pure chemicals to make your own. Service is excellent and fast.

    If you want to process your own B&W, check the link below (thedarkroom.it); they operate well-maintained darkrooms and are in Florence; the bus that goes to Piazzale Michelangelo stops near them.

    Italian customs do not care how much film you bring in. I typically bring 30 rolls of 35 Tri-X, 50-80 sheets of 4x5, 20+ rolls of 120 and some HIE. Never had a problem.

    Enjoy one of my favorite cities in the world.

    http://www.thedarkroom.it/
    http://www.fotomatica.it/

  8. #8
    2F/2F's Avatar
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    Thank you all for the info. Looks like I will be fine to do most everything there. Still gonna have to look for a dip and dunk lab, however.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

  9. #9
    SilverGlow's Avatar
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    Have a great trip and try to post some pics later if you can...
    Coming back home to my film roots. Canon EOS-3 SLR, Canon EOS 1V SLR, 580ex flash, and 5D DSLR shooter. Prime lens only shooter.



 

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