What do you look for in a film lab?

Messages
4,626
Name
Gareth (Not Gary!)
Edit My Images
No
I was/am curious as to what people on here who use a lab for their dev and scan look for in terms of their lab and, if you don't use one already what could potentially sway you to use one for your dev & scan needs.

If you know from my postings, I use Canadian Film Lab as for me, they have a great balance between price and customer relationship. I have built up a good rapport with them and they know how I like my scans to look and turnaround in around a week from them receiving the film.

Also, let's try and be realistic here. As much as I am sure some people would love dev and scan for £1 and turnaround within 4 hours, that's just not gonna happen. :D
 
Messages
4,456
Name
Nige
Edit My Images
No
One thing I wish more labs would do is to provide example scans of their various scan sizes on their website. Filmdev do this so you can see what your results might look like based on the price point you choose. It would give a good point of comparison. Some labs are way more expensive than others for scans and it would be nice to see if the price differential is worthwhile.

I use Filmdev for C41 dev and scan and have been perfectly happy with the results. I usually use the medium scan size option, but a couple of months back ordered a large scan of a couple of rolls just out of interest, While the results are nice, and the files are massive, I can't say I really noticed any additional detail being resolved.
 
Messages
2,500
Name
John
Edit My Images
Yes
What I do not like is when the lab just quotes the file size of the scan. I want to know the pixel resolution and compression - file size is basically meaningless.
 

excalibur2

My F4's Broken...
Messages
10,625
Name
Brian
Edit My Images
Yes
For me cheap price as if I have any winners I scan myself with a V750. When you think about it the start position (the neg) is the same for a top lab or say Fimldev i.e. using Kodak or Fuji C41 chemicals (assuming they are fresh), so it's what you do with the neg after and if anyone is competent to use a decent scanner and Photoshop should get results maybe equal to a top lab or at least somewhere near. But for printing its has to be a top lab for best results.
 
Messages
4,882
Name
Ian
Edit My Images
No
Reliability. I had a few mucky negs from AG, so I switched to Filmdev. When Filmdev closed, I switched back to AG and the problem hasn't resurfaced.

I also like speed. Not neccessarily "4 hours", but If I post negs out on Monday, I like to have the scans back by Friday. Waiting 2 weeks is "acceptable" and the norm for E-6, but anything over that (pandemic aside) isn't acceptable (to me)

Cost is a factor, but not a massive one. I want to feel like I'm getting value for money, and Filmdev deliver that. I hate scanning, and it's taken me far longer than I thought it would to get acceptable 35mm scans. Both AG and Filmdev deliver exceptional quality [well balanced] "medium" scans that I can print to 13x19 with minimal to no pp. If it's a "not sure if this is any good" roll, the basic scan that comes with a Filmdev job is enough for me to print a decent A4 contact sheet before scanning the winners myself (as Brian says). I have Negative Lab Pro for colour correction and whilst it's still a fiddle to get the colours right, it's good enough for me. No lab offers the service of checking my contact sheet and only scanning the decent shots :) That, I'd pay for!

I'll continue to do B&W myself because of the control I have over developing, speed and cost. Nothing would make me move to a lab unless they made selling the chemistry illegal.

I looked at CFL mainly on your recommendation. My issues...

A roll of 35mm with a "medium" scan is £13.50 vs Filmdev's £6. Let's call it twice the price. The CFL scan is bigger @ 3000 x 4100 vs Filmdev 2000 x 3100. In terms of an A3 print (I don't need bigger from 35mm) that's 180ppi vs 120ppi. I'm not a nose-to-the-print kinda guy and my eyesight is terrible, so whilst CFL may say their scans are bigger, and they are, I'm not going to see it. Also return of negs is a pain. You have to wait until they have a few and they bulk send them back to you (at your [unspecified] cost) or you gan get them expedited (again, at [unspecified] cost). Both AG and Filmdev are clear about their postage (Filmdev is free return, AG is free to send)

I really don't get the value-add that makes CFL twice the price. I looked at their "pro" offering, but I am not a photographer who uses templates, so applying broad brush PP is of no benefit to me. Dust spotting is about the only useful service, and either Filmdev/AG use very clean environments, or their software does a grand job. Pro photographers might benefit from their service (which is who I suspect their target market is) but an amateur like me won't.

Finally, all labs have the really annoying issue of scanning everything at the same resolution. So the benefit of shooting medium format is immediately lost because they're sending you the same sized file as if it were 35mm! I can only assume the software they use scans a preset resolution. CFL actually state on their scan size page that 645 scans are *smaller* than 35mm!!
brqerhheq.JPG

Filmdev are more vague but I suspect the process is the same...
hjjtrwrtj.JPG

I gave up trying to find sizes on AG's site. They don't seem to want to show it and instead give you the file size... Which is 18Mb for a "medium" scan no matter what sized negative... 35mm or 6x9.

If there was a lab that delivered the same scan resolution across the board (so that bigger negative = bigger scan) I'd very seriously consider moving.
That's my tuppence!
 
Last edited:

ChrisR

I'm a well known grump...
Messages
9,796
Name
Chris
Edit My Images
Yes
It's a good question. I'm looking at price, turnaround time, customer service and quality, I guess. Chemistry can be an issue; I've liked the results from XTOL, and was initially leery of AG because of Negastar (though it's turned out OK).

I've put a couple of labs in the bad bin because of experiences of poor developing quality: dust, water marks, scratches etc.

I was VERY down on AG a few years ago because their turnaround time was so poor and so variable, and I could never get a decent response when I called. I'm glad to say that they have improved beyond all recognition, and have one of the best, most efficient and responsive systems I know of. If their scan prices were less expensive, I'd use them much more; generally now it's only when I have some black and white that for some reason I can't home dev, but that I'm happy to scan myself.

I do like Filmdev because they seem to score well on all my criteria. I've always had good responses to any issue. The only outstanding bugbear I have is that the date/times of scans are often not in sequence, and this screws up the default order once I load them in Aperture, so I have to spend time getting them in order again. I think this is because some scans go through an extra re-touching process and this affects the date/time. The current situation is better than it used to be, when some shots had zeros in the date/time field! Oh, and the small black and white scans (with the Noritsu) are really too small; annoyingly smaller than the Fuji (they told me both were fixed dimensions, sized for a 6x4 print, just that the Noritsu reckoned they could get the same quality with the lower resolution... or something like that).

I used to use Peak a lot but don't seem to have done so much recently. I might well use them for E6 if I had any!

Silver Pan Lab, last time I looked, had by far the most customer-oriented and flexible approach to developing, but their turnaround time is reportedly quite slow. They're closing down briefly to move to larger premises (than the home darkroom!), so things might improve there.
 
OP
gazmorton2000
Messages
4,626
Name
Gareth (Not Gary!)
Edit My Images
No
Turning into a good thread this.

I still don't get the method of using a dedicated scanner (lab) for a contact sheet and then scanning the best on an inferior flatbed, however I struggle to get on with flatbed scanning. Takes ages to get anything close to what a lab can get, for me with my V700 (which has been in it's box for over a year - anyone want it?). But perhaps @Harlequin565 has a point with regards to the extra cost for CFL. Maybe I will try the two rolls I have here with FilmDev next week and see what the results are like.

I would love to do the whole process myself as I really enjoy the development process, but the scanning. AGH!
 

excalibur2

My F4's Broken...
Messages
10,625
Name
Brian
Edit My Images
Yes
Turning into a good thread this.

I still don't get the method of using a dedicated scanner (lab) for a contact sheet and then scanning the best on an inferior flatbed, however I struggle to get on with flatbed scanning. Takes ages to get anything close to what a lab can get, for me with my V700 (which has been in it's box for over a year - anyone want it?). But perhaps @Harlequin565 has a point with regards to the extra cost for CFL. Maybe I will try the two rolls I have here with FilmDev next week and see what the results are like.

I would love to do the whole process myself as I really enjoy the development process, but the scanning. AGH!
Well if you can produce great shots (or many) for every frame on your neg then maybe you should stick to Canadian film lab (or similar) or not bothered by costs, but for me most of my shots or not VG (boring or record shots) so it would be a waste to even get medium scans from filmdev....and how many guys here have paid for an expensive lab and are disappointed with the results either blaming themselves or the camera.
So if you are an advanced amateur or pro then there can't many photographers who use the cheap labs.....horses for courses?
 
Messages
1,275
Name
Craig
Edit My Images
Yes
This has been very timely for me, I haven't picked up a camera in a couple of months but looking at finally getting a 6x6 MF soon. And likely using a lab to do the dev and possibly scanning to start with.

I have used the usual suspects mentioned on this forum for 35mm in the past, but never been fully happy with the scans, so ended up with a Plustek and doing my own 35mm scans which I am much happier with, though it is time consuming.

If I move to MF I will likely want to find a lab to do my colour dev and scans, at least to begin with. But if I am going to be investing into MF with a view to producing a lower quantity of quality landscape photos I don't want to skimp on the lab just because of cost and turnaround. So would be interested to hear the views of people on quality of scans that they receive?

@gazmorton2000 if you're serious about not wanting the V700 I would happily talk about a price with you.
 

excalibur2

My F4's Broken...
Messages
10,625
Name
Brian
Edit My Images
Yes
This has been very timely for me, I haven't picked up a camera in a couple of months but looking at finally getting a 6x6 MF soon. And likely using a lab to do the dev and possibly scanning to start with.

I have used the usual suspects mentioned on this forum for 35mm in the past, but never been fully happy with the scans, so ended up with a Plustek and doing my own 35mm scans which I am much happier with, though it is time consuming.

If I move to MF I will likely want to find a lab to do my colour dev and scans, at least to begin with. But if I am going to be investing into MF with a view to producing a lower quantity of quality landscape photos I don't want to skimp on the lab just because of cost and turnaround. So would be interested to hear the views of people on quality of scans that they receive?

@gazmorton2000 if you're serious about not wanting the V700 I would happily talk about a price with you.
Well guys have shown here that even the cheaper Epson flatbeds are VG for MF negs, it's 35mm that is more of a problem if you want prints over A4. On the net you can see results V750\V700 ver Fuji Frontier scanner (very expensive new) and the V700\V750 holds up well.
 
OP
gazmorton2000
Messages
4,626
Name
Gareth (Not Gary!)
Edit My Images
No
Well if you can produce great shots (or many) for every frame on your neg then maybe you should stick to Canadian film lab (or similar) or not bothered by costs
So if you are an advanced amateur or pro then there can't many photographers who use the cheap labs.....horses for courses?
I m neither an advanced amateur or pro (any more, however I may be dipping my toe back in again) and if I was, for those I would definitely stick to a lab I have used for a while. However I have a couple of rolls from lockdown snaps that I may send to FilmDev to try.

@gazmorton2000 if you're serious about not wanting the V700 I would happily talk about a price with you.
Very good chance of it to be honest as I haven't used it for a long time, maybe 18 months or more.

Well guys have shown here that even the cheaper Epson flatbeds are VG for MF negs, it's 35mm that is more of a problem if you want prints over A4. On the net you can see results V750\V700 ver Fuji Frontier scanner (very expensive new) and the V700\V750 holds up well.
If I could get results close to those I get form the labs, I may consider it but it's very time consuming and frustrating from my experience. I like to remove the variable that is my poor scanning skills.
 

Andysnap

<span class="poty">POTY (Film) 2015</span>
Messages
15,920
Name
Andy Grant
Edit My Images
Yes
Reliability. I had a few mucky negs from AG, so I switched to Filmdev. When Filmdev closed, I switched back to AG and the problem hasn't resurfaced.

I also like speed. Not neccessarily "4 hours", but If I post negs out on Monday, I like to have the scans back by Friday. Waiting 2 weeks is "acceptable" and the norm for E-6, but anything over that (pandemic aside) isn't acceptable (to me)

Cost is a factor, but not a massive one. I want to feel like I'm getting value for money, and Filmdev deliver that. I hate scanning, and it's taken me far longer than I thought it would to get acceptable 35mm scans. Both AG and Filmdev deliver exceptional quality [well balanced] "medium" scans that I can print to 13x19 with minimal to no pp. If it's a "not sure if this is any good" roll, the basic scan that comes with a Filmdev job is enough for me to print a decent A4 contact sheet before scanning the winners myself (as Brian says). I have Negative Lab Pro for colour correction and whilst it's still a fiddle to get the colours right, it's good enough for me. No lab offers the service of checking my contact sheet and only scanning the decent shots :) That, I'd pay for!

I'll continue to do B&W myself because of the control I have over developing, speed and cost. Nothing would make me move to a lab unless they made selling the chemistry illegal.

I looked at CFL mainly on your recommendation. My issues...

A roll of 35mm with a "medium" scan is £13.50 vs Filmdev's £6. Let's call it twice the price. The CFL scan is bigger @ 3000 x 4100 vs Filmdev 2000 x 3100. In terms of an A3 print (I don't need bigger from 35mm) that's 180ppi vs 120ppi. I'm not a nose-to-the-print kinda guy and my eyesight is terrible, so whilst CFL may say their scans are bigger, and they are, I'm not going to see it. Also return of negs is a pain. You have to wait until they have a few and they bulk send them back to you (at your [unspecified] cost) or you gan get them expedited (again, at [unspecified] cost). Both AG and Filmdev are clear about their postage (Filmdev is free return, AG is free to send)

I really don't get the value-add that makes CFL twice the price. I looked at their "pro" offering, but I am not a photographer who uses templates, so applying broad brush PP is of no benefit to me. Dust spotting is about the only useful service, and either Filmdev/AG use very clean environments, or their software does a grand job. Pro photographers might benefit from their service (which is who I suspect their target market is) but an amateur like me won't.

Finally, all labs have the really annoying issue of scanning everything at the same resolution. So the benefit of shooting medium format is immediately lost because they're sending you the same sized file as if it were 35mm! I can only assume the software they use scans a preset resolution. CFL actually state on their scan size page that 645 scans are *smaller* than 35mm!!
View attachment 285146

Filmdev are more vague but I suspect the process is the same...
View attachment 285147

I gave up trying to find sizes on AG's site. They don't seem to want to show it and instead give you the file size... Which is 18Mb for a "medium" scan no matter what sized negative... 35mm or 6x9.

If there was a lab that delivered the same scan resolution across the board (so that bigger negative = bigger scan) I'd very seriously consider moving.
That's my tuppence!
This... I can honestly say that Ian has said pretty much exactly what I would eventually have typed only more eloquently, thanks Ian :)
 
Last edited:

excalibur2

My F4's Broken...
Messages
10,625
Name
Brian
Edit My Images
Yes
If I could get results close to those I get form the labs, I may consider it but it's very time consuming and frustrating from my experience. I like to remove the variable that is my poor scanning skills.
Well if like me, when you might get a winner after using about 10 rolls of film it might be worth it to scan that one frame and get the cheapest dev of the neg. ;)
 
OP
gazmorton2000
Messages
4,626
Name
Gareth (Not Gary!)
Edit My Images
No
Well if like me, when you might get a winner after using about 10 rolls of film it might be worth it to scan that one frame and get the cheapest dev of the neg. ;)
Ha. Well I take my cameras where they can get wet, sandy, dusty, scratched, stolen and generally used so perhaps it increases my chances? ;)
 
Messages
1,492
Name
Lloyd
Edit My Images
Yes
I use Rapid Eye for most of my processing now. They're more expensive than my usual (Peak Imaging) but:

- They don't charge extra for speed changes (which evens out the cost a little)

- Super clean negs

- They're local

- They have darkrooms which means I can pick up my negs and jump straight into contact sheets + prints. Or I can use their Flextight scanners if I want to skip the darkroom bit.

- They have a cafe/bar (Photobookcafe) which is a hub of sorts for photographers, really nice collection of photobooks too

- The owners are nice people (as are the people that work for them), they've saved me a few times on tight deadlines (as in get these rolls developed and scanned within the next 4 hours tight) when I assisted

- I see all kinds of great work (from really great photographers) coming out of their print processor while waiting for my own prints to come out. It's a constant source of inspiration and shop talk.
 
Last edited:
OP
gazmorton2000
Messages
4,626
Name
Gareth (Not Gary!)
Edit My Images
No
I use Rapid Eye for most of my processing now. They're more expensive than my usual (Peak Imaging) but:

- They don't charge extra for speed changes (which evens out the cost a little)

- They're local

- They have darkrooms which means I can pick up my negs and jump straight into contact sheets + prints. Or I can use their Flextight scanners if I want to skip the darkroom bit.

- They have a cafe/bar (Photobookcafe) which is a hub of sorts for photographers, really nice collection of photobooks too

- The owners are nice people (as are the people that work for them), they've saved me a few times on tight deadlines (as in get these rolls developed and scanned within the next 4 hours tight) when I assisted

- I see all kinds of great work (from really great photographers) coming out of their print processor while waiting for my own prints to come out. It's a constant source of inspiration and shop talk.
The dark room and cafe sounds excellent. I would definitely support a lab with such facilities if they were local. I have enough equipment here to start a small dark room but nowhere to do it in my new house.
 
Messages
4,882
Name
Ian
Edit My Images
No
I still don't get the method of using a dedicated scanner (lab) for a contact sheet and then scanning the best on an inferior flatbed,
I wouldn't pay for a low rez scan, but as Filmdev offer it as part of their service, that's how I look at it. Typically these days though, I just pay for the medium scan and save myself the hassle.

I like to remove the variable that is my poor scanning skills.
In My Opinion, once you discover how to get sharp scans, it becomes straightforward. And the bigger the negative, the easier the scan. With my V550, I had the Epson holder, and the Betterscanning Holder and I spent HOURS twiddling the little plastic nobs to try and get the sharpest scan. In the end, plopping the neg straight on the glass and covering with the ANR glass Betterscan sent with their holder got me the best results.

And for 35mm fiddling with the V550 was a waste of time. I bought the Plustek 8100 on a prayer and it was *streets* ahead of the V550 - Be that with betterscan holders, Epson holders, bloody Digitalizrs and straight on the glass... I've even stopped using the V550 for 35mm contact sheets now, just feed all the 35mm into the Plustek and play Factorio while I wait....

Getting to grips with sharpening is probably the best thing I ever learnt. I do think Filmdev sharpen a bit heavily, so I request unsharpened scans and do it myself in LR.

I'd be very interested to hear your thoughts on Filmdev. I was tempted to try CFL so I could compare them myself, but it would cost a fortune as I very likely would have to get my negs expedited back to me.
 
OP
gazmorton2000
Messages
4,626
Name
Gareth (Not Gary!)
Edit My Images
No
Maybe people could share examples of various lab scans they've had - just the file as received without any supplementary processing you might have done. It would be good to compare and contrast. Happy to stick up a few of the Filmdev large scan files I got if anyone is interested?
Shall we start a dedicated thread? Or we could do it in here, whichever. :)
 
Last edited:

excalibur2

My F4's Broken...
Messages
10,625
Name
Brian
Edit My Images
Yes
Maybe people could share examples of various lab scans they've had - just the file as received without any supplementary processing you might have done. It would be good to compare and contrast. Happy to stick up a few of the Filmdev large scan files I got if anyone is interested?
h'mm posting here for 35mm at about 1000px X 760px would you see the difference from low to high scans esp on a monitor and not a print....so you would have to show crops as well?
For me and from Filmdev quite a lot of their scans need adjusting in Photoshop, so I could put people off going to them by posting some of the worst (before adjusting) which isn't fair as they are so cheap.
 
Last edited:
Messages
3,529
Edit My Images
No
Price isn't everything, but it is something. And FilmDev is one of the very few places that offers a large scan for a reasonable price. For £8, I get 30 MPixels 6774 x 4492), as much as I could ever need from 35mm. At CFL, I'd be paying double that for 20 MP (I'd be fine with that resolution, but the price difference is significant). Ag annoyingly give their scan sizes in MB rather than pixel dimensions, but their £15.49 '~80mb' scan file size is in the same range as a large 8-bit tiff from FilmDev. RapidEye charge £30.60 for large scans, which are the same size as the large Noritsu scans from FilmDev. At that price, factoring in the cost of the film, I'd be paying about £1 per frame.

Since FilmDev do pretty much everything else right (clean negatives and scans, fast turnaround, online scan delivery, good communications, free return of negs) I don't see a compelling reason to use anyone else for colour at the moment, unless I'm in a real rush (I see they're not doing B&W due to coronavirus, but oddly that also includes C41 like XP2 - anyone know why?). I recently shot a test roll in a 'new' camera and had it developed at a local branch of a well known franchise. I wasn't paying attention to the scan size (another branch had given me something reasonable), but I paid more than FilmDev charges for those large files. The local scans were nice enough, but the resolution was a pitiful 1.6 MP.
 
Last edited:
OP
gazmorton2000
Messages
4,626
Name
Gareth (Not Gary!)
Edit My Images
No
h'mm posting here for 35mm at about 1000px X 760px would you see the difference from low to high scans esp on a monitor and not a print....so you would have to show crops as well?
For me and from Filmdev quite a lot of their scans need adjusting in Photoshop, so I could put people off going to them by posting some of the worst (before adjusting) which isn't fair as they are so cheap.
I don't think it's unfair at all.

You post what you receive from the lab and then people know how much work has to go into them. I have to do very little, if anything to my scans save for a small rotation usually. If the scan needs adjusting but you're happy that's fine but some people would prefer to pay for a service which virtually eliminates and editing time.

I'm sure people can judge what's down to the lab though and the photographer in their assessment of the scans.

I am tempted to try FilmDev with these two rolls after the good reviews. I have had a roll done before for them for free when I went on a photowalk years ago and they are pretty good from what I remember.
 
Last edited:

excalibur2

My F4's Broken...
Messages
10,625
Name
Brian
Edit My Images
Yes
I don't think it's unfair at all.

You post what you receive from the lab and then people know how much work has to go into them. I have to do very little, if anything to my scans save for a small rotation usually. If the scan needs adjusting but you're happy that's fine but some people would prefer to pay for a service which virtually eliminates and editing time.

I'm sure people can judge what's down to the lab though and the photographer in their assessment of the scans.
Well it could be the difference between CFL and Filmdev in that you get what you pay for......anyway it doesn't bother me adjusting in Photoshop as I've being doing it for years and doesn't take long and the dev on the neg is most important. When Asda used to do film the girl told me that she puts in fresh chemicals everyday early in the morning (y) So if any lab does your film when the chemicals are nearly exhausted, it will show in the quality of results from the neg.
 

RaglanSurf

Forum Idiot - FPOTY
Messages
11,125
Name
Nick
Edit My Images
Yes
Speed, quality & price. What I can’t stand is poor communication, if it’s going to take 2 weeks I’m fine with that unless you’ve sold me on the promise that it will be 3 days.
 
Messages
3,529
Edit My Images
No
They are doing C41 B&W - I rang them to check before sending in a roll of XP2
a couple of weeks ago. Got the scand and negs back without issues.
Thanks! I think I misread the message on their site: ' Please note due to a reduction in our capacity during the coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic we are accepting orders for C41 Colour films only this also includes Ilford XP2, Fuji Neopan 400CN and Kodak 400CN which are a C41 process.'
 
Messages
4,456
Name
Nige
Edit My Images
No
Thanks! I think I misread the message on their site: ' Please note due to a reduction in our capacity during the coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic we are accepting orders for C41 Colour films only this also includes Ilford XP2, Fuji Neopan 400CN and Kodak 400CN which are a C41 process.'
I know, it's a bit confusing isn't it? That's why I rang them.
 
Messages
4,882
Name
Ian
Edit My Images
No
I think ful rez files are required. The forum mangles anything I post in terms of sharpness so it will need to be full size, unadulterated. And then the poster would need to describe equipment and conditions. A scan from one of Nige's Canon Sureshots would invariably* look different to something I took on a 6x7.

It would need care to avoid turning into the performance of laces on shoes by comparing overall marathon performance.

(Edit to add, one person's subjective view might actually be more valuable. I know Gareth is a very talented photographer - so is Nige. My images are extremely random in quality and consistency)

*invariably = almost certainly better
 
Last edited:
Messages
4,456
Name
Nige
Edit My Images
No
Here are a couple of my large Filmdev scans. These are direct saves to jpeg from the original tiff files I received. No editing, no compresion (other than anything that Flickr might do - although I don't think it does much if any). Clicking the links below will let you see the full-size versions - 6774 × 4492 pixels - or you can click the size links at the top of the Flickr page to see them smaller.


1 - Nikon F80 | Sigma 105mm f/2.8 OS HSM | Kodak Gold 200

View: https://www.flickr.com/photos/189160761@N02/50071820458/sizes/o


1 - Nikon F80 | Sigma 105mm f/2.8 OS HSM | Lloyds Pharmacy 200 (expired 2008)

View: https://www.flickr.com/photos/189160761@N02/50072618772/sizes/o/
 
Last edited:

excalibur2

My F4's Broken...
Messages
10,625
Name
Brian
Edit My Images
Yes
Here are a couple of my large Filmdev scans. These are direct saves to jpeg from the original tiff files I received. No editing, no compresion (other than anything that Flickr might do - although I don't think it does much if any). The links below will let you see the full-size versions (or you can click the size links at the top of the page to see them smaller).


1 - Nikon F80 | Sigma 105mm f/2.8 OS HSM | Kodak Gold 200

View: https://www.flickr.com/photos/189160761@N02/50071820458/sizes/o


1 - Nikon F80 | Sigma 105mm f/2.8 OS HSM | Lloyds Pharmacy 200 (expired 2008)

View: https://www.flickr.com/photos/189160761@N02/50072618772/sizes/o/
Oh well I can't join in as all my scans are low scan from labs, but can show what can be achieved with 35mm film, dev by Boots, Fuji superia 200 and scanned and printed by a pro lab..I was amazed when I saw it as even close up it looked very good. the white smudge was caused by my flash gun as the light was poor.



My scan as the flash has degraded the quality of the pic:-
 
Last edited:
Messages
10,447
Name
Suz
Edit My Images
Yes
I've only been consistently happy with filmdev. Easy to order. Decent turn around too. Decent scans. I also notice other labs seem to cause damaged negs. Ilford did it. The sleeve was rippled where the post office machines mangled it. Filmdev ones don't have this damage as I assume they use a better envelope. Simple things make all the difference.
 
Messages
5,918
Edit My Images
Yes
I've only been consistently happy with filmdev. Easy to order. Decent turn around too. Decent scans. I also notice other labs seem to cause damaged negs. Ilford did it. The sleeve was rippled where the post office machines mangled it. Filmdev ones don't have this damage as I assume they use a better envelope. Simple things make all the difference.
AG send the negs back in good quality translucent plastic sleeves, inside a padded, post-paid, envelope (to send your next batch of films to them) inside a thick card A5 size envelope, so it fits through the letterbox.

Last time I used Filmdev the negs arrived back in an A4+ envelope with 'Do Not Bend' stamped on it, which means that the postperson either needs to knock on your door to deliver it, as it won't fit through the letterbox, or ignore the 'do not bend' and fold it over to post it. Either way, it's a less desirable outcome than AG's fairly armour plated A5 offering that's there on your mat with the contents unharmed, with no need to go to the sorting office or rearrange delivery if you were out when Royal Mail tried to deliver it, or crawl out of bed to open the front door if you're working nights or wanted a lie-in that morning!

As for turn-around time, I've been using AG for about 4 years now and found their (pre lockdown) turn around times very good - I've often posted on a Tuesday and had the scan and negs back through my letterbox on Thursday or Friday the same week - eg pretty much a same day turn-around service (for C41 & B&W scan or dev only) from them receiving the film. Lockdown time: I posted 2 x C41 and 1 x B&W for 'develop only' on Tues last week, and got the negs back Weds this week, which I don't think is bad considering how busy Royal Mail and AG are at the moment.

That said, it's swings and roundabouts with most of the top labs, they should all be pretty good or thereabouts, as far as the modern world allows them to be. So if the one you're with makes you happy then why stray?
 
Last edited:
Messages
3,529
Edit My Images
No
The problem is most scanners (Nortisu and Frontier) were initially designed to scan for prints. The scan sizes correlate to print sizes, so small is 6x4, medium 7x5 to A4 and large A3+.
They could just tell us, though - e.g., Ag spends a whole page banging on about MB and DPI, but never gives us the most useful numbers, the pixel dimensions:


At some high street labs (if you can find them) you'll be lucky if the 'Large' scans are what FilmDev calls 'Medium'.
 

excalibur2

My F4's Broken...
Messages
10,625
Name
Brian
Edit My Images
Yes
The problem is most scanners (Nortisu and Frontier) were initially designed to scan for prints. The scan sizes correlate to print sizes, so small is 6x4, medium 7x5 to A4 and large A3+.
...could be the reason I have to adjust the scans from some labs as they were setup to print as many are too bright on my monitor...h'mm although Filmdev don't do prints.
One day I'll have to print from a lab scan with no adjustment to compare with my adjustment to the same scan that looked right to me on my monitor....well one day :rolleyes:.
Anyway I have proved to myself you can just get away with an A4 print on low scan from a Frontier...erm well millions of Joe public wouldn't know any different unless I produced the same print from high scan ;)
 
Messages
5,060
Name
Peter
Edit My Images
Yes
Last time I used Filmdev the negs arrived back in an A4+ envelope with 'Do Not Bend' stamped on it, which means that the postperson either needs to knock on your door to deliver it, as it won't fit through the letterbox, or ignore the 'do not bend' and fold it over to post it.
Filmdev certainly used to do that, but also offered the option of a soft envelope that would fit through a letterbox. They changed a year or 2 back and now supply the negs in a card-backed envelope which will fit through a letterbox, but it still has "Please do not bend" on it.

As far as Ag translucent sleeves are concerned, I bin them after transferring the negs to sleeves that fit a ring binder, which the Filmdev sleeves already do. As you say, it's all a matter of choice and long may we have that choice. :)
 

excalibur2

My F4's Broken...
Messages
10,625
Name
Brian
Edit My Images
Yes
now supply the negs in a card-backed envelope which will fit through a letterbox
Well I solved the letter box problem (not esp for returning negs) by sawing a bigger slot, in the wooden door, with a bigger letterbox (black wrought iron (y)) bought from the bootie for £1 :D
 
Top