For reasons of work and geography I cannot process my own film nor scan it and I cannot do anything darkroom related. I am totally reliant on external develop, print, and scan, and with film I only shoot true B&W.
I used to use a small shop near my parents place, but they moved into assisted living and the lab closed. My father taught me to shoot BW and I always did with my Minolta SLR. I've never given it up. I used to send my rolls home to my father and he'd get them processed locally, literally around the corner. Last I receipt I have it was $17+tax for true B&W 35mm with 4x6 prints and a scan good enough for web sharing which is important if you're really living out of a suitcase for most of your work.
I tried the Kodak 400CN film but did not like it, nor the paper. I looked at what most of mine and my Dad's were for years and it was an Ilford RC stock. Very nice stuff. For color I shoot digital, mostly snapshot stuff. But I see in BW when I want to compose. I just prefer BW photo paper and would like to continue if affordable. The scans are my backup copy and what I use to share with family who are scattered. I don't edit on a computer. I spend enough time in the field in front of a screen. I expose properly the first time and edit the 4x6's thumbs up, thumbs down. I guess for a fellow in his late 20's I am old school because I use photo albums!
Is there anything like what Ilford Lab Direct does in North America? Their prices aren't great but I presume the quality is there, but the shipping is total madness. I'd hate to have to give up BW shooting due to affordability.
I do see a link to a place called "The Darkroom" in the APUG banner.
Anyone have experience with this place?
Looks promising because their prices are reasonable, but I'd like to know if anyone has used their services and the quality of their product. Going from local to mail order requires some diligence.
I shoot only 35mm and usually use the T-Max 400 or the Ilford equivalent, although I have used Tri-X and 100 speed film from time to time. I may go through 15-25 rolls per year.
It's a bit off topic on APUG. howver I think there's a few labs in the US offerering a similar service to Ilford, try looking on the Ilford website.
How hard is it to ship in and out of Toronto, for you?
Bob Carnie is good people.
A lot of folks here may not have experience with "The Darkroom" as most do their own B&W.
You may want to consider Ilford's color process B&W, XP2. It's closer to a traditional B&W film than Kodak's product which uses an orange mask similar to color film for compatibility with minilab color printers. XP2 doesn't have the orange mask. You would be able to get the film processed and scanned at any color minilab, and then have traditional darkroom prints made for the "keepers" by sending off only those negs.
Thanks for the link. At $33/roll for BW I start to balk at the cost. That's 2x what I was paying with my old lab.
Originally Posted by Bob-D659
These prices are scaring me straight to digital, sadly.
I'll try XP2 from Ilford.
Ian Grant, I do not understand this comment:
"It's a bit off topic on APUG. howver I think there's a few labs in the US offerering a similar service to Ilford, try looking on the Ilford website."
Labs are banner ads on APUG. Not everyone has a darkroom or can ever have one. Or is APUG restricted to those who do not use labs and can comment only on darkroom ownership?
Call me confused.
Thanks for the replies.
APUG certainly isn't restriced to people who do their own work.
I think what Ian meant is that the scanning and digital output is generally off topic for APUG. That stuff is open discussion for the hybrid sister site dpug.org.
The costs are one reason most do their own b&W. The pricing you're seeing may be oriented to people looking for high-end custom work.
One alternative for you may be to hook up with other members in your area who might be willing to do some processing for you. You could try posting a note in the Canadian regional forum.
I do my own B&W but the other day someone told me about Kodak's print svcs. From your file they will print on silver-halide paper. The prices seem reasonable and just checking their website -- they have a join and get $10 off your first order plus 50 free prints. They offer other options as well. I'm not aware that Ilford has a similar svc. (personally I use Ilford film and paper)
Guy wants to continue using film, but that's an off-topic topic? Arghhh. Apug drives me nuts sometimes.
I've not used the lab you mention. But if you are willing to ship it to the US, NCPS (northcoastphoto.com) does B&W, decent scans, and prints. Developing is $5.75/roll, scans are either $7 or $12 per roll. The $7 scans are 3000x2000, the $12 ones are larger. Personally, the $7 scans (the 'budget' ones) are plenty good enough - I'd save the $5/roll for something else. That gets you down to $13/roll plus shipping. I've never gotten prints from them. But I would imagine the prints are done straight from the scans, so if you have a local place that does prints from digital files, just get your stuff dev'd and scanned, pick out the keepers, and then take those files to your local place and get the prints done. You'll likely save a lot of money that way. The people at NCPS are very nice and if the first batch of scans comes back to contrasty or something not to your liking, include a note in the next batch and/or call them and I'm sure they'll work with you to get something you are happy with.
What I do is just get the scans for my color (I do my own B&W at home). If I need prints, I do it at one of the many online places like MPix or WHCC, etc. Then you get a choice of output papers, Kodak, Fuji, etc. Some places even offer prints on B&W photo paper, RC or FB, from digital files.
Lastly, I'm sure Bob at Elevator does wonderful work. I'm not sure how much it would cost you though :)