/ 35mm Film and processing, Where from and what's best

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mikehike on 03 Jul 2014
Ive a 35mm film camera that I wish to use, bit of a whim at the moment. I wish to produce some nice Black and White images.

Where to get film and process?

At one end of the cost scale
Pound Shop colour negative film (nf), developed in colour then scan myself, then LightRoom (LR) convert to Black and White (B&W)

At other end of the cost scale
Buy Ilford B&W NF have the film processed to negative then high res scanned in then emailed back to myself where I can PP in LR then send for printing.

Above is the gist of what im after, does anyone do similar that can give advice on what works best and where to buy film and online processing companies.

mh
Blue Straggler - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to mikehike:

Online processing I use

http://www.photofilmprocessing.co.uk/

Short thread here with a link to sample results
http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=520395

Film - Ilford HP5+ is 6.99 at Boots and always on a "buy one get 2nd half price" so it works out as 5.25 per roll when you buy two. Not too bad.
Tall Clare - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Noooo! They completely f*cked up a load of my wedding pictures.

I'd go with Ilford every time.
Armadillo on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to mikehike:

You could try some Ilford XP2. It's processed in standard C41 colour chemistry, so any photo lab that will take film can process it, but the result is a black and white image. It can be a good half way house before getting into 'proper' black and white film.
mikehike on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to mikehike:

Cheers guys for the heads up and that thread link, just the info I was looking for. UKC Brilliant.

mh
simon c on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to mikehike:

UK film lab has been getting very good reviews but it's fairly high end on the cost scale. http://ukfilmlab.com/ I haven't used them yet but will probably pop a roll through them for research purposes.
Larey - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to mikehike:

Try http://www.7dayshop.com/photo-video-supplies?cat=636

the have B&W in the 4-7 range and lots to choose from, quick, good service.

I develop myself, the kits cost 30 quid and chemicals probably 20 and are so simple to use, you dont have to be super anal about temp with black and white. You can pick up second hand film scanners for cheap too. It quickly becomes worth the money, means you can scan all those old negatives you have, and means you can push and pull your film if you need to.
Blue Straggler - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Armadillo:

> It's processed in standard C41 colour chemistry, so any photo lab that will take film can process it, but the result is a black and white image. It can be a good half way house before getting into 'proper' black and white film.

I have found that quite a few mini labs can't handle XP2 and either refuse it or send it away to a parent lab (with a 2 week lead time). In fairness where I say "mini lab" I mean the ones in Tesco etc. which used to be handy for me, but rather less so now. I do use XP2 from time to time but I send it to semi-pro labs.

Clare yes I remember about your wedding pics. I've actually not processed a film since then anyway. I can only recommend based upon my own experience I guess


dek - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Blue Straggler:

My only complaint about those chromogenic mono films is they seem to lack any 'character'?....just too bland for my tastes...
Dorq on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to mikehike:

Try a roll of Kodak C41 B&W, send it to a place that just does colour, like Photoexpress in Hull. It should be fine, as it has an orange base meant for colour paper.

Try a roll of XP2 C41 B&W, send to Ilford and get nicely presented prints on B&W paper. It has a grey base meant for B&W paper. Or as above and the prints on colour paper will have less impact.

Both can be scanned at home with digital ice, as there are no silver particles in the negs to mess with the infrared, should you want an A4 or A3 in future. But getting scans done at the same time is easy, the Ilford boxes are nice. Ask for borders at the place in Hull or mark it on the order form. Ilford and AgPhotographic have a borders tick box I think. Not the 6x4, 7x5 is minimum, especially with white borders, hardly more expensive and granny can see better, no regrets later, look better on the wall...

Or:

Get genuine B&W roll of film, send to Ilford, as above but keep negs very clean in case you want to scan yourself in future. Darkroom print some day?

Or:

Buy B&W film, develop it at home, have a sh*tload of fun, scan it and just spot heal the bits if you struggle with dust. You don't need much kit and that can be had in Wilkos etc. Send your scans to a lab for prints whenever.


I don't think you will need to do much with the emailed scans from Ilford, they are very good already.

Poundshop film: converted colour film, even the expensive stuff like Portra, doesn't give as comprehensive a representation of tones, IIRC, though you can play with filter effects with greyscale conversions.

Be careful sending B&W film to normal labs that only do it occasionally. They can sometimes give you crap results. A lab that does proper B&W is better, IMO. Chromogenic B&W is less of a risk, though the cleanest negs always come from a place like Peak Imaging or the other pro labs, which is why their prices are so painful. Not that places like Photoexpress are bad, it's just that you get the occasional bits. Photoexpress are very friendly and responsive to special requests, IMO. AgPhoto are slow.

Never take anything, especially something that requires basic intelligence like C41 B&W greyscale prints, to Boots. IMO, anyway.

Jon
RichMoss - on 04 Jul 2014
In reply to mikehike:

Although I haven't used them for a few years, I used to be happy with Peak Imaging. You could also have a play with processing your own - its pretty straightforward to do.
Henry Iddon - on 08 Jul 2014
In reply to simon c:

According to the website they hold on to your negs and email you a download link for the scans - not returning the negs post processing as standard which is a bit weird !
simon c on 08 Jul 2014
In reply to Henry Iddon:

yeah I noticed that although they do send them back 12 months later or when your file of them reaches an inch! I guess its a way of ensuring repeat business and also cutting down on postage costs.
Dorq on 08 Jul 2014
In reply to Henry Iddon:

Whoa! Thanks for pointing that out - I was going to try them (their website is purdy)

I hope all those people's film strips are in a safe place. Last claim I remember reading for non-professional loss was 200, back in the days of Jessops (and their method of losing 1 in 10 films). Not so good if you are a student and moving a lot, either.
Henry Iddon - on 12 Jul 2014
In reply to Dorq:

I emailed them and they said they're happy to send them straight back - a bit of an over site they really - they should mention that option on the site.
NeilMac - on 12 Jul 2014
In reply to mikehike:

http://www.ag-photographic.co.uk/paterson-processing-starter-kit--enlarger-1949-p.asp

If your paying 15+ for each film and processing and then want further enlargements then DIY may be a good value option. And it's great fun!
ads.ukclimbing.com
Dorq on 12 Jul 2014
In reply to Henry Iddon:

That's good to know. I will try them when I don't want any prints done. Perhaps they will expand to printing some time in future. Another thing regarding their methods is the accumulated risk of having all of your film strips sent back at once, after a year; though recorded delivery would mitigate that, I guess.

On the prints subject, beware, anyone, of places that don't do proper C-prints, which are usually colour-lasered through the film onto 'Fuji Crystal Archive', which is wet processed. I tried a place in the Lancs area for 120 (I forget the name and details) and they came back as 'Dry Prints', probably an inkjet. Their website was one of the generic fuji-designed sites. The dry prints look awful compared to C-prints.

Today or tomorrow is International Kodak Film Day or something like that. I hope to waste some Tri-X and Portra tomorrow.

Jon

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