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Thread: Developing and scanning film

  1. #1
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    Developing and scanning film

    Where do you develop and scan your medium format film? I got a quote from my local camera store and just want to make sure that I know my options...

    How much does it usually cost to develop film for medium format? Where is the best place to develop the film? Is there an online based company with competitive prices?

    Do you scan your images yourself?

    Thanks!

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    Re: Developing and scanning film

    I develop all my B/W films myself . These are Fuji Acros and ILFORD DELTA 100 and 400 . My color films get processed by a Kodak Q-Lab .
    If I have only a few negatives to scan (Fuji + ILFORD + Kodak Ektar 100) I scan them myself with my ArtixScan F1 . If i am short in time I get them scanned by a Prolab .
    They use an IMACON 949 and HASSELBLAD X5 scanner .
    Unfortunately the price per scan is rather high but extremely good .
    Regards . Jürgen .
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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    Re: Developing and scanning film

    I started recently to shoot more film and I tested several labs. A few local and a couple in other states.

    What I found, is that all of them got the develop part right. Where you will find variations is in scanning and proofs. If you are looking for scanning, it will cost you more.

    One local lab charges $12 develop/proofs/scan (fairly low res)
    Second local lab charges $18 for the same thing but bigger scans
    Third lab (CA) charges $18. When you factor in the shipping, it was about $26/roll. For me it wasn't worth it.

    I'm waiting until the next year starts and I will get an Epson 750M scanner to scan myself and have the local lab do the developing.

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    Workshop Member ptomsu's Avatar
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    Re: Developing and scanning film

    Similar situation here in EUrope meanwhile! Developing is not easy to find, and I often had problems with dust on newly developed film even in special labs and scanning in good quality is expensive - some $50 per 6x6 image.

    This was the reason why I finally bought a used Hasselblad X5 (half of new price) which after all my tests is the "cheapest" serious scanner available anyway. I spent tons of time with other scanners (even Nikon CS 9000 etc) and NEVER was happy with the results - I am a bit picky yes, because I was looking finally for large prints from MF scans.

    SO either you find a good scanning offer (which is hard) or you take the burden and buy one of these used beasts (and Hasselblad/Imacon model should do - main difference is speed and ease of workflow). But then you get high quality and if you have to scan around a few hundred shots then at the current scanning prices a used (or even new) X5 gets pretty interesting. If I had to scan only a few shots I would not care and simply take the best and most convenient offer.

    Maybe not the answer you are looking for

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    Re: Developing and scanning film

    I develop my B&W film at home by myself, i have few developers which are doing great jobs, and i use my Epson V750 as scanning, for color i use a local lab which is the only lab in my country and they can develop film from 35mm up to 8x10 color and B&W, they are doing a great job, just i wish to have a dedicated film scanner at least or better a drum scanner.
    Tareq

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    Re: Developing and scanning film

    Oh forgot to say that this lab can scan with Mini-lab Noritsu scanner and with Imacon scanner, not sure what that drum scanner they have but they said they have scanner for MF and scanner for up to 8x10 sheets.
    Tareq

  7. #7
    SCHWARZZEIT
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    Re: Developing and scanning film

    Peter, there's a scanning service in Germany offering Flextight X5 raw FFF scans at under €10 for a 500 MB file. For anyone who can't afford a drum scan this is really an excellent option. As for the higher price you quoted I'm pretty sure it's not just the scan but also some work going into the file so the client receives a finished or almost finished printable high res file.

    I never used an Imacon or Hasselblad scanner but from what I've heard in terms of convenience it's as easy as it gets.

    -Dominique

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    Re: Developing and scanning film

    Quote Originally Posted by SCHWARZZEIT View Post
    Peter, there's a scanning service in Germany offering Flextight X5 raw FFF scans at under €10 for a 500 MB file. For anyone who can't afford a drum scan this is really an excellent option. As for the higher price you quoted I'm pretty sure it's not just the scan but also some work going into the file so the client receives a finished or almost finished printable high res file.

    I never used an Imacon or Hasselblad scanner but from what I've heard in terms of convenience it's as easy as it gets.

    -Dominique
    Sure, as easy as it gets. But what still remains - which is most work - is dust removal.

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    Re: Developing and scanning film

    Quote Originally Posted by ptomsu View Post
    Similar situation here in EUrope meanwhile! Developing is not easy to find, and I often had problems with dust on newly developed film even in special labs and scanning in good quality is expensive - some $50 per 6x6 image.
    I received quite a number of developed films from my KODAK Q-LAB with lots
    of small particles of dirt and dust on the negatives .
    All films were developed on a Monday .
    The developing machines stand still over the weekend and need some time to get back to "clean processing" .
    Never get films developed on a Monday . I got this hint from a very good friend , who had the same experience . Since I follow that advice , I had no more trouble again .
    Regards . Jürgen .
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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    Re: Developing and scanning film

    I run a small lab, and much of my work is scanning and processing. If you are looking for rigorously clean negs, you want to do it yourself or use someone like me...i.e. a very small scale lab which processes by hand and one-shot. Also someone who is scrupulous about cleanliness in the lab. OR, you find a very high end professional lab that runs lots and lots of film and still maintains a lot of cleanliness. There are a couple of reasons for this -- in small labs and minilabs, the film processing machines tend to use roller-transports. The film is dragged across rollers that can pick up dust and grime over time. This is particularly common when you bring 120 film to a lab that mostly processes 35mm -- the 35mm track will be mostly clean, with gunk on the edges...when you pull the 120 across it, will pick up all the gunk that built up around the edges of the 35mm film path. This is solved by lots of cleaning, which most labs no longer have the volume, manpower or inclination to do. Also, most larger labs use replenished solutions -- they are using the same chemicals over and over again. Over time these get dirty. There are ways around this, but it is still an issue even at good labs. Then there is of course the matter of handling. The less the film is handled and the cleaner the environment the better. Ideally you want filtered forced air drying with a clear exhaust path.

    The best way to avoid dust is to do it yourself -- use distilled water when you mix your chemicals, and at least filtered water when you process, and especially use distilled water with photo flo/ilfotol at the end before drying. Try to avoid rugs, carpets, towels, fuzzy sweaters etc when in the lab. Vacuum and clean regularly. Use a hepa filter if you have one. Dry it in a drying cabinet...if not, find a place that has very little traffic, such as in a shower in a bathroom that you do not go into until the film is dry.

    For black and white, I charge around about 10 dollars a roll for hand processed black and white (usually in a Jobo), but that includes a 25.5% VAT. I can't charge too much because so few people even do it here anymore. I have given up processing E-6 and C-41 because doing it in a Jobo requires lots of work (about an hour per process, which can only have up to four or five rolls or 10 sheets of 4x5) and 5L of the chemicals costs over 125 dollars here. I simply could not charge people enough to make it worth my time, so I gave up doing it.

    On the matter of scanning, I also do that with a Hasselblad X5. Dominique is correct in that the X5 is quite easy to use, but the majority of your time is spent loading and cleaning the film, setting up the scanner and then doing the subsequent editing. Clients very rarely want FFF files because they can't really do anything with them unless they are very computer literate or they have an Imacon/Hasselblad scanner already. Everyone just wants TIFFs. If they say "match the slide" or hand you a print, that requires a lot of work in both FlexColor and Photoshop. Other times they just want a rough scan that is easy for them to work on later. That requires a lot less. As such, I do all my scanning on a quote by quote basis. If you just want a flat, basic scan with no work, the charge could be as low as 8 or 9 dollars for a full resolution scan. I do not charge differently for different resolutions because they really do not make much of a difference in the workflow...the X5 is so fast that if you scan at 1000 dpi or 8000 dpi it takes only a minute or so difference. Most of the time is in the scanner's loading, and pre-scan gymnastics. A 500mb scan takes about 2 minutes. If you want to match a slide or have a file that has been cleaned up and worked on intensively, then it is going to cost much much more. I would love to be able to charge 50 dollars, but the market here simply does not exist for that, so the best I can really charge is around 20, and that is for a scan that takes 30 minutes to an hour of editing. But since it is my own business and I am the only employee, I am basically slave labor!

    Scanning is much better for the bottom line than the film processing though...as much as I enjoy it, I barely break even on each roll I process, and I certainly wouldn't if I had to have any employees. For example, mixing a 1L working solution from the 7 step E6 process takes about an hour, hour and a half if you do it as carefully as it needs to be done. Then you have to do the entire process at +/- 0.1 degree C at 38C. The process itself takes about 45 minutes to an hour. The chemicals in a 1L working solution cost 25 dollars and expire in one week, and can process about 15 rolls. Then clean-up takes about an hour. So if someone hands you a single roll of film and wants you to process it, you start out in the hole about 3 hours of attention-intensive labor and 25 dollars. It is not a good proposition most of the time! I only really process color for myself anymore...
    Last edited by Stuart Richardson; 2nd December 2010 at 11:35.
    My photos are here: http://www.stuartrichardson.com and more recent work here: http://stuartrichardson.tumblr.com/ Please have a look at my book!
    My lab is here: http://www.customphotolab.is and on facebook

  11. #11
    Super Duper
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    Re: Developing and scanning film

    Precision is running a special, if you order our Ultra High Res Scans, developing is free.

    This saves $4 for C41 and $6 for E6 (unmounted.)

    The scan CD is $12.

    We use the same equipment as NCPS (North Coast) if you are familiar with them.

    Resolutions are:

    35mm 4181x6305px
    6x4.5 4824x3533px
    6x6 4760x4832px
    6x7 4815x5902px
    6x9 4815x7588px

    We are finishing an online order form, I will post the link tomorrow.

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