Film Developing in the UK

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Matthew
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I don't usually get my black and white films lab-developed, but what with Edinburgh Festival I ended up with 4 films, and away from home. So I decided to try @AgPhotographic process only. One thing I did notice was that the postage cost for them in the nifty price estimator is wrong, so that'll get corrected in the next update. I posted the films freepost Sunday in Edinburgh, for a Monday morning RM collection (not a public holiday in Scotland). I got an email that they'd been received on Wednesday, then another that they'd been despatched later on Wednesday, and this morning they arrived. I thought that was pretty good service. I used to have problems with delays etc years ago, but it looks like they've really improved their systems.

When I first opened the envelope, I rather liked the feel of the sleeves they have put the film in... but I've just realised there are no filing holes, so unlike FilmDev I'll have to re-sleeve the negatives once I've scanned them. Just a bit annoying, so @AgPhotographic if you're reading this, sleeves that can go straight into a binder would be really useful! (Maybe they supply them with a request? Anyone know?)
Hi Chris,

It's a really good point you raise - we are going to be introducing a choice of sleeving options on our new website, which we are working on at the moment. There will be a standard option (which is what we use at the moment) and then a Secol option (which is super archival) and probably a Kenro option or similar (maybe Print File)

We already use the Secol pages for some commercial customers who are looking for very high archival standard sleeving

Matt
 

Peter B

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Anyone had anything back from Filmdev this week ? They usually close for a week in September which they previously have announced via their Twitter account. They haven't updated that for a year though.
I've just posted 3 films off to them. I didn't pay the extra for tracking, so I'll not know when they are delivered. If I do hear anything, I'll update this.
 
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I've just posted 3 films off to them. I didn't pay the extra for tracking, so I'll not know when they are delivered. If I do hear anything, I'll update this.
If they were sent as a normal parcel via Royal Mail (which mine always do as they don't fit through the large letter sizing slot), you should get a code on your receipt that allows you to see when the parcel has been delivered (although not where it is if still in transit).

e.g. https://www.royalmail.com/track-your-item#/tracking-results/02127E0C02AE6D3B
 
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excalibur2

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Anyone had anything back from Filmdev this week ? They usually close for a week in September which they previously have announced via their Twitter account. They haven't updated that for a year though.
Well if true we should have an extension for entrants..... if closed the last week of Sept.
 

Peter B

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ChrisR

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Posted two films Monday, got the scans yesterday, so they're still alive and kicking!
 

Peter B

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My films were delivered to the lab Thursday am and I got the invoice and transfer late today (Friday), and particularly pleased that the shots from my £5 Chinon came out OK, apart from the ones I underxposed by 4 stops. :asshat:

000094500003-copy-tp.jpg
 
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Took a film in for processing and scanning to Snappy Snaps in Lincoln. They said they could email me the scans. Good, I thought, saves me a walk. Alas, no negatives - which is rather obvious as they cannot email negatives, can they?
 

dmb

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Took a film in for processing and scanning to Snappy Snaps in Lincoln. They said they could email me the scans. Good, I thought, saves me a walk. Alas, no negatives - which is rather obvious as they cannot email negatives, can they?
That is the model Walmart in the USA follow - and you don't get your negative back even if you go back to the store !!!!
 

RaglanSurf

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That is the model Walmart in the USA follow - and you don't get your negative back even if you go back to the store !!!!
WTF!
 

dmb

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Posted my films Monday AM, received the files about 5pm today (Weds) - great quality and service from Filmdev.
 

ChrisR

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As mentioned above, I rarely get my black and white films lab-processed, but for a couple of reasons including limited solo time (no in-house devving while OH around!) and the potential for something suitable for the October FPOTY round, I sent a roll of FP4+ off to Flmdev along with a roll of Ektar. To keep costs down, I opted for small scans for the FP4+, reasoning that if there were any keepers (there weren't), I could re-scan them myself when the negatives came back. Uploaded the scans on Wednesday, and I've just checked the pixel dimensions: 1545 * 1024. It was scanned on the Noritsu. This is quite a lot smaller than the small scans on the Frontier. From their site (for 135):

"Noritsu HS-1800...

The Noritsu supports both Xpan and Half Frame formats and 16bit TIFF

All Black and White film is scanned on the Noritsu

Small 1545px x 1024px

Medium 3091px x 2048px

Large 6774px x 4492px"

"Fuji Frontier SP-3000

Small 1818px x 1228px

Medium 2988px x 1972px

Large 4547px x 3047px"

It's disappointing that the small scans on the Noritsu, the only scanner they use for black and white, are smaller than the Frontier scans, while for the other two sizes the Noritsu scans are larger.
 

ChrisR

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... It's disappointing that the small scans on the Noritsu, the only scanner they use for black and white, are smaller than the Frontier scans, while for the other two sizes the Noritsu scans are larger.
I made a comment about this to Filmdev on their web form, and David rang me back today. Unfortunately the scan sizes on both machines can't be set directly, but are set by choosing the appropriate print size (although Filmdev don't offer prints). In each case, they opt for the smallest print (6x4" in both cases), the largest available print, and a suitable one in between. The different small scan sizes come from the Frontier printing at 300 dpi, while the Noritsu prints at (IIRC) 254 dpi.

David said they'd thought about making the small scan a 7x5" print instead, but the Noritsu would still have scanned at the same hardware resolution and then done some software upscaling. They didn't believe that was appropriate, and I agree.

They don't use the Frontier for black and white because the Noritsu does a much better job, apparently, and it's a lot more work to get the Frontier scans up to the same quality.

Since I was actually being both lazy and cheap (in not devving my own in the first place, and opting to save £2 in the second), this doesn't really worry me. I'll just try to remember not to choose the small scans in the future.
 

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Does anyone have any recommendations for a good lab that will process large format (4x5 Colour and B&W) or any to stay clear of?

So far I know of the following but I've never used their services;
https://www.harmanlab.com/
http://www.bayeux.co.uk/
https://metroimaging.co.uk
http://www.the-darkroom.co.uk/
http://www.peak-imaging.com/
http://www.palmlabs.co.uk/
http://www.digitalab.co.uk/
http://www.spectrumphotolabs.co.uk/

I would certainly use Ilford/Harman, Bayeux and Metro but the latter two might be a little too steep to use all the time ~ Any input appreciated.

Thank You
Came across this post while looking for a cheaper 4x5 processing option, so I clicked through the various links:

Harman £3.60
Bayeux and Metro both £10, so out of the question
The Darkroom £4.15
Peak £4
Palm Labs £2.50 (£3 for E6)
Digitalab £4.20
Spectrum don't appear to do 4x5 now

I haven't factored in postal costs yet, but Palm look interesting. I know I should do my own, but I can only do it when the OH is out of the house for a sufficient time (and I'm not out with a camera!). The trouble is, at least one of these sheets is probably borked, and odds are they all could be. :(

PS for £1.50 Harman will send out a film box and black bag in advance. I know that's probably unnecessary for most on here, but included just in case a LF newby sees this.
 
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Want to add a post to give a thumbs up to AG Photographic - the cheapest I found for dev and scan, came back super-quick - though I quickly realised how few computers have CD drives these days, d'oh.
AG have a scanned photo internet download option these days, so perhaps give that a try next time? :)
 
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As mentioned above, I rarely get my black and white films lab-processed, but for a couple of reasons including limited solo time (no in-house devving while OH around!) and the potential for something suitable for the October FPOTY round, I sent a roll of FP4+ off to Flmdev along with a roll of Ektar. To keep costs down, I opted for small scans for the FP4+, reasoning that if there were any keepers (there weren't), I could re-scan them myself when the negatives came back. Uploaded the scans on Wednesday, and I've just checked the pixel dimensions: 1545 * 1024. It was scanned on the Noritsu. This is quite a lot smaller than the small scans on the Frontier. From their site (for 135):

"Noritsu HS-1800...

The Noritsu supports both Xpan and Half Frame formats and 16bit TIFF

All Black and White film is scanned on the Noritsu

Small 1545px x 1024px

Medium 3091px x 2048px

Large 6774px x 4492px"

"Fuji Frontier SP-3000

Small 1818px x 1228px

Medium 2988px x 1972px

Large 4547px x 3047px"

It's disappointing that the small scans on the Noritsu, the only scanner they use for black and white, are smaller than the Frontier scans, while for the other two sizes the Noritsu scans are larger.
The fixed scan sizes on the Noritsu are a bugbear of mine. The 6MP medium scan is too small for me, whilst I don't need the 30MP of the large. I wish they could offer 16MP (or even 12MP) scans. I guess the scanners were designed in an age where people just scanned for prints - small= 6x4, medium= 7x5/A4, large=A3+
 

ChrisR

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I'm trying to update the nifty dev/scan price estimator. I've got most of the prices; surprisingly little has changed given the turbulence since 2019 when I last checked. Filmdev are supposed to be offering black and white again from 12 April, but haven't changed their price list to reflect this yet, so I'll wait for that.

I also checked Carmencita. I know a few people here have used them in the past. Their website seems to suggest that return postage is €8 in Spain, €15 in the EU and €25 to €50 for the rest of the world (including UK, of course). If that's the case, there doesn't seem to be much point in including them. But have I misunderstood? Do they generally NOT return the negatives (like Canadian Film Lab, for example... I've shown their return cost as zero).

There are all sorts of arbitrary decisions I've had to make to get some sort of consistency in the pricing. I'm assuming 120 is 6x6, for example; some places charge different scan prices for other sizes. So the message is, maybe use the estimator to identify a couple of options, then check with their actual web site before ordering. Their prices are the right ones!
 

ChrisR

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I'm trying to update the nifty dev/scan price estimator. I've got most of the prices; surprisingly little has changed given the turbulence since 2019 when I last checked. Filmdev are supposed to be offering black and white again from 12 April, but haven't changed their price list to reflect this yet, so I'll wait for that.

I also checked Carmencita. I know a few people here have used them in the past. Their website seems to suggest that return postage is €8 in Spain, €15 in the EU and €25 to €50 for the rest of the world (including UK, of course). If that's the case, there doesn't seem to be much point in including them. But have I misunderstood? Do they generally NOT return the negatives (like Canadian Film Lab, for example... I've shown their return cost as zero).

There are all sorts of arbitrary decisions I've had to make to get some sort of consistency in the pricing. I'm assuming 120 is 6x6, for example; some places charge different scan prices for other sizes. So the message is, maybe use the estimator to identify a couple of options, then check with their actual web site before ordering. Their prices are the right ones!
Filmdev say their order form will be updated at the weekend, but their prices haven't changed!

Having re-read the Carmencita web pages, I think they do return the film every time. They also don't charge VAT on non-EU purchases, which means it would be payable on arrival in the UK. For the moment, I'm still going to leave Carmencita in the main page just as a marker, but not include it in any of the calculations. Anyone with sufficient bulk orders to cope with €25+ return postage is probably using them already (I think @Carl Hall used to), or capable of their own research!

I will update the nifty 135/120 dev/scan price estimator shortly (it's on Google Docs for those unfamiliar; you just update the front page with the numbers of rolls of various types). The data pages now show the date last checked...
 

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Can someone please check that they can change the number of rolls on the Summary page, but can't change anything else? Not sure I've done the protections right!
 

RaglanSurf

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Can someone please check that they can change the number of rolls on the Summary page, but can't change anything else? Not sure I've done the protections right!
It appears to be locked Chris, I cant enter anything.
 
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Can someone please check that they can change the number of rolls on the Summary page, but can't change anything else? Not sure I've done the protections right!
I can't change the number in any of the six boxes, so something is amiss I think. I don't think I can change anything else either though - tried a few random cells.
 

ChrisR

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It appears to be locked Chris, I cant enter anything.
I can't change the number in any of the six boxes, so something is amiss I think. I don't think I can change anything else either though - tried a few random cells.
Thanks, I do this so rarely I forget how. Can you try again now, please? I hope I've fixed it this time!
 

RaglanSurf

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Thanks, I do this so rarely I forget how. Can you try again now, please? I hope I've fixed it this time!
Working now Chris, thanks (y)
 

ChrisR

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Has anyone else had problems with the apparent date of their Noritsu scans? I'm not sure this affects anyone but me, but anyway...

I sent some films to Filmdev for FP4party. When the WeTransfer download came back, I loaded the files into Capture One Pro (12), and did a little modest PP. Then I wanted to make a Smart Album of all the FP4party images this year (ignoring files tagged FP4Party from previous years). However I soon found this wouldn't work as most of the images were apparently dated 01/01/1970. This is a highly suspicious date, being the UNIX "epoch" date, implying that the date fields are actually zero. The same files imported to Aperture (bless) were all appropriately dated. It looks to me as if the Noritsu is creating JPEGs without all the appropriate (exif) metadata tags....

Screenshot 2021-04-26 at 14.36.29.png

It turns out that C1Pro is a bit fussy about dates. It extracts a couple of dates from the exif metadata tags in the JPEG file; DateTimeOriginal in particular. In the exif tags for these files from the Noritsu, the DateTimeOriginal tag is blank, as is the CreateDate tag. It appears Aperture is happy to use the FileModifyDate (which does have a value), but C1Pro ignores that. I've no idea which tag LightRoom uses, or if it has a problem.

Where Filmdev do some PP, even rotating the file to portrait format, this is done in Photoshop, and apparently PS finds an appropriate tag (presumably the FileModifyDate tag), and copies that, so those files appear properly dated. So this gave le the weird situation where the first 6 files in the folder (ie the first 6 images on my roll) were dated 1970, and the next image was dated 2021!

I rang David at FilmDev and had a chat about the problem; we agreed I'd send him some evidence. After some interactions with strangers on twitter, I found out how to extract the exif tag using exiftool, and sent FilmDev some examples of bad files and good files. They said they'd get their engineer to look into it.

Today they came back with a new set of files which import into C1Pro properly, yeah! This apparently uses an extra step in their workflow, which we would need to request when sending the negatives in. I suspect their engineer has packaged up some exiftool commands to take the FileModifyDate and load it into the DateTimeOriginal tag. The latter tag also gets modified for files that have gone through the Photoshop step, but this shouldn't matter.

Anyway, on the off-chance that anyone else has this problem, please ask FilmDev to fix the image creation dates when you send your negatives. I haven't worked out an appropriate form of words yet, but I'll probably add a note like "Please fix image dates for Capture One Pro"!

Note, I've been very specific about the version of C1Pro, as I'm a couple of versions out of date, and who knows, they might have fixed it in later versions.

Also to note, a couple of years ago there was an opposite problem with films from FilmDev; files that had been through Photoshop often (always?) appeared to Aperture to be dated in 1904, another suspicious date indicating a zero field. It looks like this was a bug in PS that eventually got fixed.

Meanwhile, a nice guy on twitter, name of Colin Devroe, has built me a utility to fix the exif dates for problem files I've already got. At the moment it works, except when there are spaces in directory names, which I use quite a lot (eg "Master images"), so he's trying to fix that. If anyone wants a copy when it's working, I'll put you in touch...
 

excalibur2

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Forgot to mention:- A nice surprise with filmdev as I sent a film first post (2nd class) last monday and received an email with invoice 3:50 pm wednesday (y)...and a pat on the back for Royal mail getting the film from south to ooop north quickly.
 
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Today they came back with a new set of files which import into C1Pro properly, yeah! This apparently uses an extra step in their workflow, which we would need to request when sending the negatives in. I suspect their engineer has packaged up some exiftool commands to take the FileModifyDate and load it into the DateTimeOriginal tag. The latter tag also gets modified for files that have gone through the Photoshop step, but this shouldn't matter.

Anyway, on the off-chance that anyone else has this problem, please ask FilmDev to fix the image creation dates when you send your negatives. I haven't worked out an appropriate form of words yet, but I'll probably add a note like "Please fix image dates for Capture One Pro"!
This is great news Chris! When I was trialling C1 or one of the other big DAM tools (I can't remember what it was) I had the same issue. When I imported my Lightroom images into the new catalogue (or whatever the software calls it) I ended up in a hot mess. I moaned at the software providers about it and after looking at the EXIF data their response was "the scan is wrong". I just ditched the trial there and then. Didn't think to speak to the scanners!

Lightroom has a "sort by added" function which removes the need to organise by date, but if you're using a collection to pull on the date (which I don't need) then you're up the creek minus paddle.

Edit to add: What do you specifically ask for? "Right date plz?"
 
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ChrisR

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This is great news Chris! When I was trialling C1 or one of the other big DAM tools (I can't remember what it was) I had the same issue. When I imported my Lightroom images into the new catalogue (or whatever the software calls it) I ended up in a hot mess. I moaned at the software providers about it and after looking at the EXIF data their response was "the scan is wrong". I just ditched the trial there and then. Didn't think to speak to the scanners!

Lightroom has a "sort by added" function which removes the need to organise by date, but if you're using a collection to pull on the date (which I don't need) then you're up the creek minus paddle.

Edit to add: What do you specifically ask for? "Right date plz?"
I thought I'd replied to this, but obviously not!

I propose to add a request like "Please fix image dates for Capture One Pro". Might possibly leave out the last 4 words, as you suggest!

The zip file I got had 74 image files for the 37 frames, with the updated files identified as "xxxxx (1).jpg". I was a bit worried about that, but an overnight email told me "The folder [Filmdev] sent was just for comparison with the original scans in the software you are using and contained two sets of the same images. Your completed order would only be the one set of scans in a folder for each roll just with the date of processing applied."

I'm intrigued by the suggestion that in some circumstances the incorrect image creation date would affect Lightroom users. Could others comment please if this problem does restrict them? I'm wondering whether to try to persuade Filmdev to apply the processing by default rather than request!
 
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Meanwhile, a nice guy on twitter, name of Colin Devroe, has built me a utility to fix the exif dates for problem files I've already got. At the moment it works, except when there are spaces in directory names, which I use quite a lot (eg "Master images"), so he's trying to fix that. If anyone wants a copy when it's working, I'll put you in touch...
If you don't mind running stuff from the command line, then I think you can just say something like:

exiftool "-alldates<filecreatedate" "Master images"

 

ChrisR

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I thought I'd replied to this, but obviously not!

I propose to add a request like "Please fix image dates for Capture One Pro". Might possibly leave out the last 4 words, as you suggest!

The zip file I got had 74 image files for the 37 frames, with the updated files identified as "xxxxx (1).jpg". I was a bit worried about that, but an overnight email told me "The folder [Filmdev] sent was just for comparison with the original scans in the software you are using and contained two sets of the same images. Your completed order would only be the one set of scans in a folder for each roll just with the date of processing applied."

I'm intrigued by the suggestion that in some circumstances the incorrect image creation date would affect Lightroom users. Could others comment please if this problem does restrict them? I'm wondering whether to try to persuade Filmdev to apply the processing by default rather than request!
As well as the potential fix from Filmdev for future work, I also applied the fix that Colin Devroe wrote (which basically packages up a command similar to the one @Retune mentions, and applies it to a Directory) to an existing file. It worked (the files had their dates fixed), but C1Pro was still showing the incorrect dates. I asked Capture One via twitter about this and they pointed to a way to synchronise the metadata (click on the 3 dots in the metadata section of the Info tab). And that worked! So I can fix up older folder if they are annoying.

However, I don't see why others should suffer from this problem, so I have just now emailed the European distributor of Noritsu scanners with my evidence, asking them to put in a bug report to Noritsu! (Quite a few other UK labs use Noritsu scanners, including AG.)
 
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ChrisR

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Distributor replied to say:

"Unfortunately the [Noritsu] HS-1800 Scanner was discontinued and it is not able to improve the software. [sic]"

It's a German company, he's doing better than I would in German! Filmdev use the HS1800 scanner.

I sent a couple of rolls off to Filmdev on Monday, requesting the date fix be applied. We'll see how that goes.

BTW the "synchronise metadata" button in Capture One Pro apparently creates a XMP file for each image file. The XMP file contains all the metadata, so I guess I've got to keep them. Luckily they are very small.

I'm guessing from the lack of replies here that only Ian @Harlequin565 has had trouble with the dates in Noritsu files, using their software?
 
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Distributor replied to say:

"Unfortunately the [Noritsu] HS-1800 Scanner was discontinued and it is not able to improve the software. [sic]"

It's a German company, he's doing better than I would in German! Filmdev use the HS1800 scanner.

I sent a couple of rolls off to Filmdev on Monday, requesting the date fix be applied. We'll see how that goes.

BTW the "synchronise metadata" button in Capture One Pro apparently creates a XMP file for each image file. The XMP file contains all the metadata, so I guess I've got to keep them. Luckily they are very small.

I'm guessing from the lack of replies here that only Ian @Harlequin565 has had trouble with the dates in Noritsu files, using their software?
Mine used to arrive jumbled up when I requested scans (although the contact sheet sent with the negs was fine), but I'd just re-shuffle them in Lightroom, so not a massive issue.
 

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If it's just a matter of taking data from one (fixed) position in a scan and using it to overwrite another (fixed) position, isn't it a trivial programming job? I assume the data is in a header of invariant format.

Just to be clear, I mean a separate program that could examine and fix all files without an appropriate date in a given directory. Picked by file extension I presume to just look at the scans.
 
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Just to say I had great service from AG Photo again.

Quick and decent prices. They also developed a roll of APS for me; my god those are tiny negatives :oops: :$
 
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