The service, called 'Ilford Premium Direct - the real black & white developing and printing service by mail', which began to much acclaim in 1997, is seen as a lynchpin for photographers who are not able to have their black & white processing handled locally and who do not operate a darkroom themselves.
Customers simply place any exposed standard-process black-and-white film in the mailer envelope with return address details, and drop it into the nearest mailbox. The price of the mailer includes first class postage each way.
Available from most good photographic retailers and dealers, some of which also provide an Internet ordering service, there are six pre-paid options available.
The special pre-paid envelopes can be used for simply having an existing film processed, or they can be purchased complete with one of Ilford's range of world famous black-and-white films - FP4 Plus or HP5 Plus - in different lengths. The service also accepts black-and-white single-use cameras, such as the Ilford HP5 Plus Single Use Camera, which are sold separately.
The prints are returned in sturdy storage boxes in an average of five days, printed out to 6x4ins with white borders and a choice of Glossy or Pearl surface at no extra charge. Prints can be upgraded to 7x5 inches for a small additional charge, and extra sets are also available. The photographs are printed on Ilford Multigrade RC paper, including XP2 Super films, which are developed in C41 (colour) chemistry.