ART Film processing?

themolsen

New Member
Sep 29, 2006
7,363
Jacksonville, FL
This has probably been covered before, but I can't search :o

I want to dip my feet into some film action this year. My grandfather, who recently passed away, used to shoot for the Army in WWII and Korea and literally has 2 military trunks full of film equipment. Mostly Pentax stuff. Cameras, lenses, filters, flashes, etc., but mostly a bunch of darkroom equipment (which we already donated most of to the university).

Where should I send off to get my film processed (C-41 and b&w)? Thinking about Millers because they'll develop and scan it for you, then send it to you on a disc.

Processing it myself is out of the question for right now.
 
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Kappa00

Pizza
Nov 25, 2008
370
In on some answers. I shot a roll of C-41 and sent it to Fuji. The CD they sent me had super low res images on it and they weren't in focus. The prints were in focus but had weird scrapes and dust marks on them. Needless to say, I'm never sending film their way ever again.
 
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themolsen

themolsen

New Member
Sep 29, 2006
7,363
Jacksonville, FL
No replies? Come on, OTAP, you've never failed me before :hs:

If I have to, I'll sweeten this thread with a list of some of the film gear I acquired...
 

S P

New Member
Sep 25, 2010
280
I can vouch for NCPS.

I've had a lot of work processed there and the results have always been nothing short of spectacular. Cleanliness is excellent, as are their high res 16.8MP scans. They can take care of any special processing requirements with your film, and cut it and/or sleeve it however you want including even putting it in albums, along with mounting slides. All scans come back on archival quality DVDs. You pay for the privilege but it's worth it. I've never had any problems with them and have always been very pleased and felt like I've gotten my money's worth, and then some.

The only thing that sucks is that if you're on the east coast like I am, it takes awhile to get out there and back unless you pay for expedited shipping. Typically I'd priority mail the rolls out there and snail mail it back and that would be about a week or maybe a week and a few days total turnaround time. If I sent them out by Wednesday or Thursday, I'd typically have them back by the end of the following week. The last batch I sent over a year ago took closer to two weeks, but they had a backlog and have since added another scanning station.

It's Ken Rockwell's lab. :)

I used to use my local costco and got very clean and good and consistent results with 6MP scans for practically nothing for awhile, but then for whatever reason they went straight downhill and started having lots of issues. Gunk and streaks all over the scans, dirty scanning, corrupt CDs, not scanning at their advertised resolution, etc. Got tired of it. The local pro shop around here I'm sure would do a better job, but they charge you nearly as much as NCPS does for still only 6MP scans which is "premium" for then. At that rate I'd rather just mail it out because I'm not going to be satisified with only 6mp scans when I could be getting much more.
 
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themolsen

themolsen

New Member
Sep 29, 2006
7,363
Jacksonville, FL
Cool, good responses, thanks.

The body I decided to use is a Pentax Super Program. I had like 15 or so lenses to choose from, Pentax, Minolta, Tamron, Tokina (all from the 70s-80s), but for this weekend, chose the Pentax 50mm f/1.7, 35mm f/2, and 85mm f/2. There's a Minolta 18mm f/3.8 lens I want to try out at some point, too, along with a myriad of telphoto lenses, adapters, multipliers, a couple mid-range zooms, 4 BAGS of filters, 4 rangefinder cameras from the 50s and 60s, and even some 4x5 format stuff. I was like a kid in a candy store going through everything.

Camera works like a friggin charm... haven't shot any film in it yet, though, so I haven't exactly tested it.

LOVE the ruggedness and simplicity of everything. It's almost enough to make me want to switch to film for casual shooting... I'll wait for results, first, before making any rash decisions ;)
 
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themolsen

themolsen

New Member
Sep 29, 2006
7,363
Jacksonville, FL
Am I going to be severely limiting my images by having B&W film converted in to JPG files? Even if they're high resolution, they'll only be 8-bit files. What's your experience with converting film to JPG?

Then again, I'll have the negatives, so I can always re-scan at a higher quality in the future if I feel it's needed.
 

Cesium

OT Supporter
Nov 25, 2004
11,661
Colorado
Yea most likely you can get more detail out of a purely digital image. Film these days is fun to play with, but it's pretty limited in the amount of detail you can scan out of it.

I hope this statement won't start any debates though.
 

alexromo

Active Member
Jul 10, 2005
4,548
Wahiawa
ive found tutorials online, from what-to-buy to how to develop film in your own bathroom sink

makes me want to get into film :(
 

S P

New Member
Sep 25, 2010
280
If you get the high-res scans from NCPS, I don't think you're ever going to feel the need to re-scan at a higher quality in the future even with JPG scans. The JPG files from NCPS are monster sized files with very low compression. About 10MB for 16.8MP. In comparison the Large/Fine JPGs out of my 5D2 at 21MP are usually a good bit smaller. You'd need far more than just a home or prosumer scanner to be able to top what you'll get from NCPS.
 
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themolsen

themolsen

New Member
Sep 29, 2006
7,363
Jacksonville, FL
Yea most likely you can get more detail out of a purely digital image. Film these days is fun to play with, but it's pretty limited in the amount of detail you can scan out of it.

I hope this statement won't start any debates though.
I wouldn't agree with you AT ALL in that statement. If scanned properly, a 35mm negative contains a good deal more detail than most digital cameras.

If you get the high-res scans from NCPS, I don't think you're ever going to feel the need to re-scan at a higher quality in the future even with JPG scans. The JPG files from NCPS are monster sized files with very low compression. About 10MB for 16.8MP. In comparison the Large/Fine JPGs out of my 5D2 at 21MP are usually a good bit smaller. You'd need far more than just a home or prosumer scanner to be able to top what you'll get from NCPS.
I'm not so worried about the size and resolution of the file as I am about the bit-depth. Then again, it would ultimately be converted to JPG for print anyways. I'll just be sure to re-save the files as uncompressed .TIFFs for storage and if I need to edit them, then convert back to JPG for output.
 
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Marix

OT Supporter
May 23, 2006
27,969
I'm not so worried about the size and resolution of the file as I am about the bit-depth. Then again, it would ultimately be converted to JPG for print anyways. I'll just be sure to re-save the files as uncompressed .TIFFs for storage and if I need to edit them, then convert back to JPG for output.

I'm a bit of a noob when it comes to film, but if you were printing, why not just get enlargements from the original negative? Surely that's better than scanning in, converting, then printing?
 
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themolsen

themolsen

New Member
Sep 29, 2006
7,363
Jacksonville, FL
I'm a bit of a noob when it comes to film, but if you were printing, why not just get enlargements from the original negative? Surely that's better than scanning in, converting, then printing?
If I want/need to make any edits on the computer, that'd be my concern. But yes, you're right, I could just print directly from the negative for optimal results :bigthumb: Being that a lot of my film shots will be B&W, I'll probably want to make levels and contrast adjustments in PP on the digital scans. But we'll see :noes:
 

Cesium

OT Supporter
Nov 25, 2004
11,661
Colorado
I wouldn't agree with you AT ALL in that statement. If scanned properly, a 35mm negative contains a good deal more detail than most digital cameras.

And I disagree. But that's why I said I don't want to get into this argument because it's stupid. :dunno: I still love shooting film and scanning negs though.
 
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huntz0r

New Member
Apr 18, 2005
15,859
Charlotte, NC
I just take my C-41 to the drug store. They have big computerater machines that do the processing without any input from the counter jockeys, and you still get the negatives back. If I cared that much about high res scans I'd just man up and buy a scanner for 150 bucks and run the negs through, after a few rolls of not paying extra for "quality" processing it would pay for itself.

Maybe I'm just cheap tho :dunno:
 

Cesium

OT Supporter
Nov 25, 2004
11,661
Colorado
I just take my C-41 to the drug store.

This works well depending on the location you use. I actually had my last roll developed at a Walgreens in a crappy neighborhood near my work. Seems to me they get enough film through there (poor people don't have digital cameras yet I guess) to keep the chemicals nice and clean. Or I just got lucky. The prints and negatives I got back were very nice, even compared to the stuff I've been getting from A&I. I've also had very bad results from drug store minilabs. It all depends on the staff and how much film volume they get through that particular store.
 

Valence

Just a dude, playing a dude, playing another dude.
OT Supporter
ive found tutorials online, from what-to-buy to how to develop film in your own bathroom sink

makes me want to get into film :(

I just bought a complete setup for black and white film and prints. It's super easy to setup and very cheap, all things considered. If you shop around enough on ebay, craigslist, you can everything you need, including enlarger, for about 150 bucks.

First, shop around for an old school camera store. Houston has one called camera coop, they usually have used equipment that is much cheaper than buying online. Used changing bags, tanks, etc are what you need.

So if you guys want to shoot black and white film, here's what you'll need. Keep in mind this is beginners equipment.

First off you'll need scissors, an old school can opener, nothing special.

Next up, you'll need a patterson (my preference) developing tank.
http://www.amazon.com/Paterson-Univ...ZMIH/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1297341310&sr=8-1

You may or may not need a changing bag, to take the film out of the spool and load it into the reel. I use the master bathroom, lights out everywhere, door to bedroom shut as well as bathroom door. No need for towels at the door, it's dark enough. In case you do need one get a large one:
http://www.amazon.com/Adorama-Large...1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1297341372&sr=1-1

You'll need two graduates to measure your chems
http://www.amazon.com/Adorama-One-P...1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1297343995&sr=1-1
http://www.amazon.com/Adorama-oz-50...1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1297344030&sr=1-1

Search youtube on loading a patterson tank with film
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vo-Sjkg0YFo

Next up you need developer. I use ilfosol-3 for film ONLY at the moment. It's a liquid concentrate you mix at a 1 part developer to 9 parts water ratio, then pour down the sink when done.
http://www.adorama.com/ILIS.html

Next, you need stop bath. Now, some say just rinse well with water, others say use stop bath. Since I'm just starting out too, i use it. Liquid concentrate, mix in ratio on bottle. Pour down sink when done.
http://www.adorama.com/ILSB.html

Next up you need fixer. I have both ilford rapid fixer and sprint fixer, sprint is more affordable. when i run out of the ilford, I'll use the sprint.
http://www.adorama.com/ILRF500.html

Next, you rinse film, and use a wetting agent. It helps the film dry more evenly and prevents water spots. I use the sprint wetting agent and stabilizer. It's a large bottle, and trust me, it'll last forever.
http://www.adorama.com/CHSWA.html

Next up, hang the film up to dry, and use these clips, one end is weighted, helps keep film straight.

http://www.amazon.com/Adorama-Stain...WJ8M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1297341698&sr=8-1

All this can be had for about 80 bucks.

I bought an enlarger - a bogen mini, a contact sheet press, tubs for the paper development, an easel, a timer, a safelight, and tongs for about 85 bucks. Add in specific paper developer ilford multigrade paper developer, and paper of various sorts (get RC paper to start) and you're pretty much all set.
 
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Valence

Just a dude, playing a dude, playing another dude.
OT Supporter
And I disagree. But that's why I said I don't want to get into this argument because it's stupid. :dunno: I still love shooting film and scanning negs though.

Well, it's been said a 35 mm can contain about the same usable 'information' and resolution that a digital camera around 20 mp would. However, that's not truly accurate because the resolution of a scanned negative is ENTIRELY dependent upon the scanner used to scan the negative. Unless someone drops 5 to 10 grand on a negative scanner, you're going to end up with about a 4 to 6 mp image with any scanner in the 200 to 400 dollar range.

Also, by the time you use a paid scanning service for negatives you're going to pay a dollar per image to get high res and a non compressed format I.e. Tiff
 

S P

New Member
Sep 25, 2010
280
Well, it's been said a 35 mm can contain about the same usable 'information' and resolution that a digital camera around 20 mp would. However, that's not truly accurate because the resolution of a scanned negative is ENTIRELY dependent upon the scanner used to scan the negative. Unless someone drops 5 to 10 grand on a negative scanner, you're going to end up with about a 4 to 6 mp image with any scanner in the 200 to 400 dollar range.
this.

Yeah pretty much. You're going to need A LOT more scanner than any home or prosumer scanner will give to get all that you can out of 35mm film, which is why I've never bothered with a scanner at home because the scanner I'd want is way more than I'd want to spend. If you want quality results as far as resolution and detail with a home flatbed type scanner that's $500 or less, you're best off shooting a larger format like 645 or something.

I've never run any scientific or side-by-side tests, but just eyeballing what I get out of my 5D2 (21mp) and the ~17mp scans I get from NCPS I'd say they're roughly equal as far as detail goes, with the digital image being a bit cleaner, and the film image being a bit grainier but generally having nicer colors, more dynamic range, and much smoother tonal transitions. Depends on which film I'm shooting, of course.
 

S P

New Member
Sep 25, 2010
280
I'm a bit of a noob when it comes to film, but if you were printing, why not just get enlargements from the original negative? Surely that's better than scanning in, converting, then printing?
That's the very best way to do it. The color and quality I see looking at some of my Velvia 50 slides directly with a loupe are nicer than the digital scans and what computer monitors can display, even though the pro quality high-res NCPS scans are indeed very nice. Looking at or printing directly from the slides is still noticeably better, though.
 

S P

New Member
Sep 25, 2010
280
I'm not so worried about the size and resolution of the file as I am about the bit-depth. Then again, it would ultimately be converted to JPG for print anyways. I'll just be sure to re-save the files as uncompressed .TIFFs for storage and if I need to edit them, then convert back to JPG for output.
Wouldn't worry about it too much. They'll give you a very workable JPG file saved at very low compression.

I think most of the problems people have with 8-bit JPEGs is misplaced on the number of bits and should instead be blamed on whatever created the JPEG in the first place. Last night I was shooting some sunset skyscapes and the off-camera JPEG from my 5D2 had noticeable banding/posterization in it in the shadow areas, visible at web display size. The RAW files were fine, as were the 8-bit JPEG file created from the RAW in DPP software. The posterization and banding had nothing to do with 8-bits not being enough and everything to do with the lousy in-camera processing engine in this particular camera not being enough.

I've never had any complaints whatsoever about the quality of NCPS's scanning including their JPEG files, and have never noticed any JPG anomalies either. I'm not sure if they do TIFF files for output or not, but just call and ask.
 
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themolsen

themolsen

New Member
Sep 29, 2006
7,363
Jacksonville, FL
Good responses, and cool discussion going on.

S P: thanks for all of your insight into NCPS. They seem like the best deal for doing what I want.

I shot a test roll of cheap CVS 800 film yesterday just to make sure the camera WORKS properly. I'll find out tonight :noes:
 

Cesium

OT Supporter
Nov 25, 2004
11,661
Colorado
I shot a test roll of cheap CVS 800 film yesterday just to make sure the camera WORKS properly. I'll find out tonight :noes:

:bigthumb: I need to shoot a burner roll sometime soon. I've been meaning to take some shots of the welders at work doing their thing... film seems like the perfect medium for that sort of thing.
 

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