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35mm BW Developing and Scanning


iancrowson e2
4 211 129 United Kingdom
11 Nov 2012 5:09PM
Can anybody recommend a processing firm for a 35mm and 120 BW film developing and good quality scan. I tried a couple of firms with varying results. Some have had lots of grain even with FP4 and I think is must be down to the processing rather than the scanning.
Thank
Ian

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thewilliam 6 4.9k
11 Nov 2012 5:25PM
There are very few labs that will develop conventional mono films such as FP4 or Tri-X as well as a skilled amateur darkroom worker.

Chromagenic mono films such as Kodak TMax CN, now called BW400CN, or the Ilford equivalent are processed by machine with stringent process control, so "ordinary" labs or even some minilabs do a pretty good job.

The choice is simple: learn to develop FP4 yourself and remember not to cut it until it's been scanned or use chromagenic film.
KenTaylor e2
10 3.0k 2 United Kingdom
11 Nov 2012 5:39PM
Peak Imaging springs to mind

It wouldn't be my guess that its a processing fault but rather some over exposure where some film exhibit grain. There were some films that misbehaved when scanned depending on the grain structure within the emulsion.

I would be tempted to develop the film yourself should you find no joy then edit what you want scanned.
thewilliam 6 4.9k
11 Nov 2012 5:57PM
Developing the film yourself is straightforward and the kit is almost given away these days.

Be very careful with temperature control and cleanliness. Be aware that each film + developer combination has its own effective ISO speed and it's rarely what's printed on the box. Do some tests before developing important films and when you've got it right, use the same combination if you want consistent results.

For the very best results, read up on the "zone system" and follow the advice.
cidereye 2 1
11 Nov 2012 6:54PM
Checkout Karl Howard, he's been advertising in AP Mag for years and operates a very nice mail order B&W process service. He charges 6 per film which includes a contact sheet, compare that to anyone elses prices and if you send 2 films or more the price drops to 5 per film inc contact sheet. Can't fault his work and the turnaround is usually very quick too. He's a one man operation as far as I know and advertises in the back pages of AP mag every other week in the small ad's. I did manage to find his address & phone number online though -

http://www.cylex-uk.co.uk/company/karl-howard-12987668.html
Sooty_1 e2
4 1.3k 203 United Kingdom
11 Nov 2012 7:12PM
I wouldn't recommend the zone system just yet! It's quite involved, and while not over complex, it requires extensive testing of film, exposure and developing to do properly. Better to stick with one film, one developer and practice before you do anything important.

Dev tanks (like Paterson ones) are cheap, and chemicals like ilford ID 11 or simar can be ordered online if you don't have a supplier nearby. It's easily possible to get started home developing for less than the cost of 3 or 4 films and processing.

Nick
nickthompson 7 133 England
11 Nov 2012 7:49PM
What about developing colour film? Is this trickier?
Nick
Sooty_1 e2
4 1.3k 203 United Kingdom
11 Nov 2012 8:34PM
Simply, yes! With black and white, you normally dev at 20 deg C, and being a few degrees out isn't critical, plus you can compensate according to a graph supplied with the developer. Colour requires exactly 38 deg C for most processes for colour print film, and they are usually 3 or more bath processes. Both first and second dev are temp and time critical, and its much harder to maintain the high temperature.
Doing BW, I use cold tap water with a splash of hot, but in the warmer weather, I just use the cold; its in the mid-teens usually. Colour requires a temp controlled bath which really needs maintaining at the right temp for consistent results. If you don't have one, a sink of water you keep topping up with hot to the right temp is the only way. Errors in time or temp of either dev will result in colour shifts and exposure problems. In short, it's probably easier to get colour print done commercially.
Colour slide is also trickier, but less so as you can vary the time to compensate for the temperature. You used to be able to get room temp chemicals, but I don't know if they're still available.

Processing at home is good though, as you can adjust the process to suit yourself on e you are used to it.

Nick
nickthompson 7 133 England
11 Nov 2012 9:26PM
Blimey that is trickier. Why is it then that B&W processing is dearer than colour processing when you send it to a lab?
Nick
Snapper e2
9 3.8k 3 United States Outlying Islands
11 Nov 2012 10:24PM

Quote:Blimey that is trickier. Why is it then that B&W processing is dearer than colour processing when you send it to a lab?
Nick



Colour processing is pretty much automatic once the film has been tagged onto the one before it, but b&w is normally done by hand and you're paying for the person's time.
Sooty_1 e2
4 1.3k 203 United Kingdom
11 Nov 2012 11:12PM
Yes, and colour print is much higher volume, so the chemicals are in the machine and in bulk. BW is much more specialised and low volume, therefore cost more per film to either dev by hand or fill the machine up.
thewilliam 6 4.9k
11 Nov 2012 11:37PM

Quote:Simply, yes! With black and white, you normally dev at 20 deg C, and being a few degrees out isn't critical, plus you can compensate according to a graph supplied with the developer. Colour requires exactly 38 deg C for most processes for colour print film, and they are usually 3 or more bath processes. Both first and second dev are temp and time critical, and its much harder to maintain the high temperature.
Doing BW, I use cold tap water with a splash of hot, but in the warmer weather, I just use the cold; its in the mid-teens usually. Colour requires a temp controlled bath which really needs maintaining at the right temp for consistent results. If you don't have one, a sink of water you keep topping up with hot to the right temp is the only way. Errors in time or temp of either dev will result in colour shifts and exposure problems. In short, it's probably easier to get colour print done commercially.
Colour slide is also trickier, but less so as you can vary the time to compensate for the temperature. You used to be able to get room temp chemicals, but I don't know if they're still available.

Processing at home is good though, as you can adjust the process to suit yourself on e you are used to it.

Nick



We used to have a professional grade C41 (colour neg film) facility and it's quite simple if you're organised but you do need to be processing a fair number of films to keep the process stable.

Back in the 1970s and 80s, I was doing C41 on a kitchen sink scale as an amateur, using the developer as single-shot but re-using the bleach and fix. Temperature control is easy if you use a heated aquarium as a water bath. People like Nova do the immersible heaters and we used an ordinary aquarium pump to blow air through the bleach. You CAN adjust the dev time to compensate for temperature changes or dilution of the dev but it's better to stick to the official 100 degrees Farenheit. Good quality photographic thermometers don't cost much when new and are given away in this digital age.

We always did mono processing to the same tolerances as colour and the negs were a lot easier to print as a result. I still remember much of my school chemistry because it was my favourite subject, even though I did my A levels back in the 1960s.

As I said above, consistency is the key to success with both mono and colour.
Sooty_1 e2
4 1.3k 203 United Kingdom
12 Nov 2012 12:29AM
From when I used to do colour, you got odd colour shifts if the time/temp compensation was even a little out. Besides, why would you want to dev colour print at home when you can get it done in Boots for 5? (Other processors are available!).
I suspect the OP doesn't want to spend money buying a temperature controlled bath (you can pick up Novas and Jobos for a steal these days) and the other problem is that the chemistry for developing is very limited compared to film days, due to lack of demand. There used to be dozens of products on the market for home processing, including colour and they were cheap, but now it's very specialised and the low volumes make it quite expensive.

If you shoot a lot of film, I'd also consider a bulk loader. I worked it out once, 30m film (about 20x36 frame films) cost about 1.50-2 per film, then processing myself cost another 1.50 per film, so without any prints my film cost less than 3.50 each, developed. A contact sheet was a few pennies and I could work from there.

I think FP4/HP5 is around 60 for 30 m which works out at 3.00 per film and the chemicals cost around 20-30, but you'll get dozens of films with that. If you then scan instead of print, that's about all the expense.

Nick
thewilliam 6 4.9k
12 Nov 2012 9:47AM
My favourite mono developer is Agfa Rodinal so I bought a few bottles when Agfa went into administration.

It's used one-shot so it's good for occasional processing.

Not so many years ago, some builders unearthed a bottle of Rodinal that had been buried during the bombing of 1944/5 and it worked perfectly. Few photo-chemical have such an incredible shelf-life.

If you bulk load, be very, very careful with cleanliness. It's easy to get grit into the velvet light-trap and just one particle gives lovely scratch down the length of the film so keep the cartridge in its pot when it's not in the camera.
KenTaylor e2
10 3.0k 2 United Kingdom
12 Nov 2012 11:38AM
I very much doubt that iancrowson, the OP, has any inclination to begin home processing unless as I suggested no suitable Lab can be found.

There are cheap and cheerful Labs abound with the scanning being only low resolution.
For high quality scans you will find that they price each scan per frame where the use of a contact sheet is useful if not essential in choosing which image is worthwhile.

I don't see where home processing colour film came from but that's is how threads go more often than not.

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