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04-10-2012, 07:45 AM   #1
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Traditional, NON-digital, mail away developing/printing/enlarging?

Does anyone know of any mail away pro labs that offer the traditional method of developing and printing/enlarging? Well, I know the developing process is traditional. I know my two local (and when I say local I mean each are 30 and 45 mins away from my house, respectively) pro labs develop the negative, then scan it, create a digital rendering of the image, and then create prints from that.

Does such a place exist that creates prints with an enlarger? OR do I have to work around Einstein's theory of relativity?

I'm all about technology and technological advancements, but it's kind of a shot to the heart when I heard that. I thought to myself. "What's the point of going out and spending the time and money working with film, when, at the end of the day, I get a print from a digital image?" When I shoot film, I want a print from film so I can reap the reward of the analog process.

Am I the only one getting butt-hurt about this?

How ARE the quality of the scanners pro labs use? The Printers?

CAN the scanners and printers of pro labs even replicate the effective resolution found in a 120 neg?

I'm going crazy here. Anyone help?

04-10-2012, 08:04 AM - 1 Like   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by KristopherM Quote
I'm going crazy here. Anyone help?
I'm sure there are plenty of people here willing and eager to help you go crazy.
Welcome to the forum.
04-10-2012, 08:28 AM   #3
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I get good results from the places I get my film developed. My local photo store, can process color film and scan it for reasonable prices and good results. They do black and white by sending that to an outside lab. There are still places to get traditional film processing and custom printing services. It does depend on where you live. In terms of getting processing by mail, that I haven't looked into because I can get what I want locally.

My local store (northern california) does send their work out to Swan Labs for custom work.
http://www.swanphotolabs.com/swan08/index.php

I've had very good results from them as well. Check them out.
04-10-2012, 09:04 AM   #4
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Traditional wet printing, particularly on colour is very rare now. If it is a truly pro lab they will scan in line with the print size. so for smaller prints if they are developing the roll it will be a machine scan that is acceptable for 4x6 proofs for instance. most labs also offer higher end scanning services (16 bit vs the machines 4 bit). and then various types of scans up to wet drum scans which are quite costly but will produce a file that can exceed what you could print in a wet lab.
I do have one lab locally who did no digital work (recently he started high end scans and piezography prints) but it is strictly b/w and his hours are greatly reduced now. his Fine art prints are excellent but not cheap

the high level pro film lab is struggling to survive (one of the best in Toronto closed in february)

for mail away labs in the US have you looked at dwaynes
A trusted name in photo processing for over 50 years - Dwayne's Photo

04-10-2012, 09:15 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by KristopherM Quote
Does anyone know of any mail away pro labs that offer the traditional method of developing and printing/enlarging? Well, I know the developing process is traditional. I know my two local (and when I say local I mean each are 30 and 45 mins away from my house, respectively) pro labs develop the negative, then scan it, create a digital rendering of the image, and then create prints from that.

Does such a place exist that creates prints with an enlarger? OR do I have to work around Einstein's theory of relativity?

I'm all about technology and technological advancements, but it's kind of a shot to the heart when I heard that. I thought to myself. "What's the point of going out and spending the time and money working with film, when, at the end of the day, I get a print from a digital image?" When I shoot film, I want a print from film so I can reap the reward of the analog process.

Am I the only one getting butt-hurt about this?

How ARE the quality of the scanners pro labs use? The Printers?

CAN the scanners and printers of pro labs even replicate the effective resolution found in a 120 neg?

I'm going crazy here. Anyone help?
I have used this place twice very successfully:

Ultra High Resolution Scans - Precision Camera & Video

Scans are excellent. They use RA-4 (silver halide) paper if you choose a print option and processes so the scan is laser/digital then optically printed. Labs have not done traditional optical prints for about 15 years now. Frankly, these newer systems are far superior to the older lab processes, especially wit colour and focus accuracy.

Remember: C-41 processing was always lab designed with home processing by hand an afterthought.

For 120 negs a scanner like the Epson V750 will equal a quality lab scan, maybe even surpass it. Only a a drum scanner can do better. but flatbed scanners are not great at 135 format. For that lab scan is best IMO, though a dedicated 135 scanner like the Plustek 7600 series will achieve superior results with enough time and effort. Scanning is an art unto itself. I found the Precision Camera scans more than adequate for printing up to 8x10 from 135.

Dry prints are pretty good, especially for 135. But for medium format, not so good IMO. Also, RA-4 paper is undoubtedly the superior archival standard. Dry print inkjet systems are not as durable.

I am talking colour here, not black and white. For B/W a whole different set of options apply because the processing is not standard and has now become a far more home-hobby interest. For those wishing to do B/W at a lab, I highly recommend (in order) the Ilford XP2 or Kodak 400CN chromagenic films. These can be scanned at colour prices, whereas lab processed and scanned B/W is a task with more cost due to the lack of automated IR dust removal systems.

Also note that if you are a Rangefinderforum member you get a discount on the high-res scans at Precision Camera, explained here:

Scanning Special! - Page 22 - Rangefinderforum.com

I wish Adam and PetaxForums would get in on this deal. Film needs all the help it can get!

Sample scan:
04-10-2012, 01:43 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
For 120 negs a scanner like the Epson V750 will equal a quality lab scan, maybe even surpass it. Only a a drum scanner can do better.
...or maybe any of the Nikon 120 scanners or a Imacon/Hasselblad. In any case, the V750 scan of a 6x7 negative, even at 2400 dpi will yield a file that is larger than most of our computers are capable of dealing with!


Steve
04-10-2012, 02:08 PM   #7
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KristopherM you didn't tell us where you live but there are definitely still places that do darkroom prints. Just as an example here are a couple I have found in Canada:

The Lab Works

The Professional Digital Photo Lab ~ Full service photo finishing lab located in Vancouver,BC, Canada

Also, you might look around for a photo club or a community college with a photography program, they might have a darkroom available for use and you could try doing it yourself.
04-14-2012, 04:44 PM   #8
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Porter's in Cedar Rapids Iowa offers pre-paid processing mailers for C-41 in 120. Turn-around is about one week. Cost is moderate. Unless requested the film is uncut, sleeved and then put in a heavy cardboard tube with plastic ends. I suppose if a truck ran over it there would be damage...

04-28-2012, 03:54 PM   #9
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OP> Just received a packet from Holland Photo Imaging in Austin, TX. They list "traditional enlarging" for prints. Check their web site if you are still looking for an answer to your question.
05-01-2012, 10:42 AM   #10
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Blue Moon Camera in Portland offers optical machine prints as well as enlargements:

Services | Blue Moon Camera and Machine


Steve
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