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  1. #1
    joeyk49's Avatar
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    Local Pro Labs forgetting MF

    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. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by joeyk49
    Aaargh! I could just spit!
    Are there any other Cheap MFers out there and what do you do about it?
    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. #3
    Dave Parker's Avatar
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    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. #4
    roteague's Avatar
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    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).
    Robert M. Teague
    www.visionlandscapes.com
    www.apug.org/forums/portfolios.php?u=2235

    "A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist" -- Louis Nizer

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by joeyk49
    I'm not set up to print color (nor are my printing skills up to par).

    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. #6
    Curt's Avatar
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    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. #7

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    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. #8

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    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. #9

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    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. #10

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    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...

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