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Author Topic: Shooting MF film, sending it out, getting beautiful digital files and negatives  (Read 4946 times)

sully75

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I moved on to a boat recently.  It's pretty small. I was intending to survive with my  om-d but I haven't really taken a liking to that camera yet.  I don't think I want or need my 4x5 here.  But I would really like to use my mamiya c330s.  Chance of having darkroom access anytime soon is minimal.  No room for a scanner. 

So I'm just wondering if it would be possible to send out both color and bw film somewhere and have them send me back nice negatives and good digital files.  Like 2400 pixel files.  Without it costing a hideous amount of money.  Is there such a place?  Extra points if they are likely to stay in business for a while.

Thanks!
Paul
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tsjanik

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sully75

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So I assume that's $12 a frame for scanning and not for the whole roll, yeah?   Too rich for my blood even though I know what a pain scanning is.
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tsjanik

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Here it's a bit cheaper:

http://vantuil.com/processing-services.html

I would suggest that if you want inexpensive scans of whole rolls for web or screen use, you should consider a flatbed.
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Cineski

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OP, your financial expectations in today's world are a bit of a stretch.
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JohnBrew

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Good luck!

EricWHiss

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Here in San Francisco, I can recommend several shops....   most of which do the 120 processing for about $6 a roll and will scan the whole roll for $12 +-   

Oscars Photo Lab http://oscarsphotolab.com/
Light Waves http://www.lightwavesimaging.com/
Photoworks http://www.photoworkssf.com/

There also is a city run photo center where you can become a member and develop, print and scan on your own for basically free.  They supply the chemicals all you need is the print paper.  It's called the Harvey Milk Photo Center.   http://harveymilkphotocenter.org/

I myself scan the negs just by shooting them with a digital camera on a light table since this works fairly well and is a LOT faster than scanning and much cheaper in the long run.

You didn't mention where you were located, but perhaps there is something similar where you are? Film doesn't have to be expensive.
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epines

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The Icon and A&I in L.A. both offer such services, I believe. Not sure of prices, but give them a call. Both are good. I prefer The Icon.

DanielStone

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if you're shooting C-41(color neg), Indie Film Lab has become a "go to" for a lot of wedding/portrait shooters.

IMO, pricing is pretty competitive

check em out:

http://indiefilmlab.com/

-Dan

EDIT:
Indie uses a roller-transport processor to process their film, FYI. Most pro labs use dip-n-dunk, which I greatly prefer due to much less chance of potential scratching. Icon does great work though, I send them a lot of my film to process, E-6, C-41 and occasionally b/w when I can't do b/w myself.
http://online.iconla.com/efilm/
« Last Edit: August 02, 2013, 08:32:27 PM by DanielStone »
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SecondFocus

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Another vote of confidence for The Icon in Los Angeles. I have been using them for some time now.

http://www.iconla.com
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sully75

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God the price at indie is about right.  Do you get monstrous scratches?  That could make it doable.
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DanielStone

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God the price at indie is about right.  Do you get monstrous scratches?  That could make it doable.

I have not used them myself, since I am in the same town currently as Icon.
However, there are quite a few professional wedding and portrait shooters who use IFL for their processing and scanning.

A top-notch lab will keep their equipment in tip top shape. With a roller transport processor that means cleaning the racks and rollers EVERY DAY. And depending on your volume of processing, sometimes multiple times/day.
A film processing lab that scratches their customers film doesn't stay in business for long...

I have NOTHING against roller transport processors in general, but if given the option between that and dip-n-dunk development (or rotary, like with a Jobo), I'd prefer DnD.

However, there are some downsides to DnD processing too:
·With rollfilm (especially 35mm or 220, especially with E-6(slide) processing, you can have density differences from the ends of the roll to the middle of the roll. Usually not much, but since the ends of the roll are in longer (1St in, last out) than the middle, you can sometimes see a slight difference in density/contrast when composting the end to the middle frames.
·Same thing with sheet film. With C-41, the total ”normal” developing time is 3:15mins. NOT long. So the slightest change in timing %age wise will affect density vs traditional b/w and E6 processes. With LF you can also get into issues regarding insufficient agitation, usually during development and the bleach steps (w/C-41 being the most problematic, especially when you are talking 4x5 and larger sheet formats. With E-6 your bath times ate longer, so you technically have more ”fudge” room than with C-41.

Whichever lab you use, make sure that the lab gives you what you PAY FOR. This means CLEAN FILM, CLEAN SCANS and great customer service.

Please don't let any if my above writings deter you from shooting film. I'm just relaying some of the most critical points I've found that have aided me in finding great labs who deliver what they are selling 100%, EVERY TIME.

Lastly, with digital post-production these days (even with shooting film), there is a great deal of control one has vs the traditional darkroom (although I still enjoy making handmade RA-4 prints from my color negs). But just like with everything film, getting it in-camera(at least to me) makes post so much easier and more enjoyable than fumbling around in Photoshop trying to correct things after the fact.

Have fun!

-Dan
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sully75

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Thanks Daniel.  Anyone used indie?
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Doug Peterson

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Scan quality is really not well quantified by resolution, so two labs both providing "2400px" wide scans are not necessarily the same (even when the scanner model used is the same the quality depends, if anything, more on the operator), and when you see $2 for a roll of film to be scanned (beyond the cost to develop it) I would be suspect as to the quality of the scans. Can't hurt (beyond minimal cost and time) to send them a test roll to see what you get back.

Beyond that, I'd suggest looking to see how many rolls you plan on shooting. A 30mp digital back (like a used P30+) would produce RAW files (much easier to manipulate after capture than scanned film) at much higher resolution. That could be in the ballpark of $6k which at Icon prices [$5/roll + $25 process+scan] of 1-2 rolls per week for two years (without accounting for the cost of shipping or the likely increase of film processing/scanning over the next few years). Won't fit on your Mamiya 300 but would fit on various Mamiya 67 or Mamiya 645 models or other bodies with more classic feels like the Hasselblad 500 or Contax 645.

To me the only joy of shooting film was the darkroom. So for me shooting film and having someone else process, scan it, and then do the rest digitally isn't any different than shooting a digital file in the first place. Obviously that's going to vary by person; if you enjoy shooting film for other reasons you shouldn't be lured away from it.

gerald.d

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Amazing.
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ondebanks

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A 30mp digital back (like a used P30+)....could be in the ballpark of $6k

Doug,

So is $6k what your employer, Digital Transitions, charges for a used P30+? If that's the case, why doesn't your website link simply say so? I can't abide websites and print ads which say "Call for pricing"!

First of all, it's frustrating not to see the price up front, transparently and instantly, like other businesses do.
Secondly, phoning the USA long distance is a completely unnecessary cost to place on an international potential customer.
Thirdly, has Digital Transitions considered the mismatch in time-zones/business hours between New York and other parts of the globe? Should someone have to get up in the middle of the night to call DT?

I'm sure this policy predated your move to DT. But you should really use your position there to end it.

Ray
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inglis

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I used Indie Film Lab this summer for the first time with 120 film and was happy with the results, but I am an amateur and might have missed something. I do like that they can keep the negatives until you want them back to save on postage costs.
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Ben Rubinstein

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Doug is tech as far as I'm aware, not management.

ondebanks

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Doug is tech as far as I'm aware, not management.

Indeed, but he is the principle public face/personality of DT, and the best conduit between the actual & prospective customer base and management.

If DT value him as much as they should, they will listen and act accordingly.

Ray
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J-KNIGHT

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Duggal Visual Solutions in New York City.  Excellent C-41 processing and scans.  Top NYC pros use this lab.
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