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View Full Version : Another lab bites the dust



Jim Andrada
23-Sep-2017, 17:37
I stopped by Photographic Works here in Tucson today to drop of a couple of sheets of 5 x 7 - and discovered that they no longer process film. (They did last week!)

Not by choice I should point out. Their dip and dunk line cratered last week and they can't find anyone to repair it, or repair parts for that matter, and the cost of setting up a completely new line would be excessive.

So they're shutting down the processing business.

Too bad. It was only a 10 minute drive from my house. Guess I'll get the Jobo up and running.

bob carnie
24-Sep-2017, 06:25
I stopped by Photographic Works here in Tucson today to drop of a couple of sheets of 5 x 7 - and discovered that they no longer process film. (They did last week!)

Not by choice I should point out. Their dip and dunk line cratered last week and they can't find anyone to repair it, or repair parts for that matter, and the cost of setting up a completely new line would be excessive.

So they're shutting down the processing business.

Too bad. It was only a 10 minute drive from my house. Guess I'll get the Jobo up and running.

Sounds like lack of film, a new technolab dip and dunk is under 15k which in the lab world peanuts.

LabRat
24-Sep-2017, 07:56
Sounds like they might be looking for an excuse to get out of the shrinking processing market... Used processors can be had for little to nothing these days, so there would be costs involved, but little incentive... Sorry to see it go...

Steve K

Jim Andrada
24-Sep-2017, 08:50
Well there are a couple of other issues that might be influencing their decision. They're located on Grant Road which is being widened and it still isn't clear that they're going to be able to keep their building. They've been talking to the City of Tucson but it still isn't clear and probably won't be for quite a while since the businesses on each side of the street seem to be fighting over which side loses their parking or even their building. Anyhow it's a bummer. Particularly since my Jobo crapped out last night.

DolphinDan
24-Sep-2017, 18:49
Hi Jim,

They stopped processing E6 film in December or January. That is when I switched to North Coast Photographic Services over in San Diego or Carlsbad. Ken Rockwell recommends them. Good service so far.

I agree that it is disappointing that they are not even developing negative film. TCR in Tempe stopped processing E6 film a year or 2 ago. I think that they still process color and B&W negative film:

http://www.tempecamera.biz/Film_Processing_s/622.htm (the webpage says that they still process E6 film, but that is not correct)

Maybe that is close enough for you...

Namaste,
Daniel

AuditorOne
25-Sep-2017, 10:09
I spread my processing work between North Coast Photographic and Blue Moon. They are both very good labs and I can recommend either. I develop all my own black and white but some of my c-41 and all of my E6 go out to these labs. (reminds me, I have some to go out right now.)

Steven Ruttenberg
27-Sep-2017, 17:35
Tempe Camera does not process any color sheet film. Only black and white now. I was just there and had my b/w 4x5 developed there, but had to send my color film to The Dark Room in CA. The Art Intersection in Gilbert you can process your own black and white film for 8 bucks an hour to use the lab and they supply everything. If you want to do color, you need to bring your stuff and rent the lab for 8 bucks an hour.

I want to start developing my own color and black and white, but figuring out what is needed and how to go about it is quite annoying and confusing.

seezee
28-Sep-2017, 11:35
I want to start developing my own color and black and white, but figuring out what is needed and how to go about it is quite annoying and confusing.

Steve, I taught myself B+W with not much fuss just by poking around the corners of the internet. There are tons of resources here to get you started. I'd be happy to share my workflow with you if you want to start. There are plenty of more qualified members here who I'm sure would do the same.

You can build a basic darkroom for very little money and with a minimum of equipment and consumables. Google "stand development" if you just want to dip your toes in without worrying too much about times and temperatures. Also check out the many YouTube videos demonstrating the process. Adorama has a great learning section, too.

As to which developers to use, there are a million opinions on this. Pick one and learn to use it. Rodinal is inexpensive, lasts forever, has low toxicity, and is easy for novices to learn with. I'm sure others will chime in with their favorites.

Steven Ruttenberg
28-Sep-2017, 16:31
Steve, I taught myself B+W with not much fuss just by poking around the corners of the internet. There are tons of resources here to get you started. I'd be happy to share my workflow with you if you want to start. There are plenty of more qualified members here who I'm sure would do the same.

You can build a basic darkroom for very little money and with a minimum of equipment and consumables. Google "stand development" if you just want to dip your toes in without worrying too much about times and temperatures. Also check out the many YouTube videos demonstrating the process. Adorama has a great learning section, too.

As to which developers to use, there are a million opinions on this. Pick one and learn to use it. Rodinal is inexpensive, lasts forever, has low toxicity, and is easy for novices to learn with. I'm sure others will chime in with their favorites.

Thanks for the information and the offer to help. I have been watching videos, etc and it is apparent one can go as simple as a single drum or as complex as a state of the art chemistry set up. I think I am somewhere in between. I like the big stainless steel sink, and water chiller/warmer to keep water at right temp. I even think the whole tray processing looks like a way to go. But the other way with a jobo or nova etc seem a way to go as well or use to compliment the tray developing.

I will be looking for a lot of help as I get into this more. Especially when my Chamonix 45H-1 arrives.

seezee
28-Sep-2017, 17:05
Best bet is to start simple. A single drum, no roller, or trays. You can use the 'taco' method in a $30 Paterson Universal tank with fine results. If you decide you want to keep developing your own, then you can think about a motor base or (heavens to Betsy!) a Jobo.

Steven Ruttenberg
28-Sep-2017, 17:14
Best bet is to start simple. A single drum, no roller, or trays. You can use the 'taco' method in a $30 Paterson Universal tank with fine results. If you decide you want to keep developing your own, then you can think about a motor base or (heavens to Betsy!) a Jobo.

Very true! I'm seriously considering that. But I am also leaning towards tray developing. I am taking a developing class at Art Intersection in Gilbert. So I should get plenty of practice with some variety to learn how I want to go.

Jim Andrada
29-Sep-2017, 20:46
It turns out that the repair to my Jobo won't be as expensive as I had thought so I'm sending it off tomorrow. I started out tray processing about 40 or 50 years ago when I had a darkroom - which I don't have any more - and the way this house is built with skylights in every room (including the bathrooms and even the big closets) it won't be easy to make one. Lately I've only done my own processing when I had more than a couple of sheets - now I'll just have to do it all the time. I'll survive.

ben_hutcherson
30-Sep-2017, 12:24
This is just me, but I've been sorely disappointed every time I've had B&W commercially processed.

I use D76 probably 90% of the time(my other developers are Rodinal and TMAX) but really any common developer will work. The process is dead simple and, as others have mentioned, requires a minimum of tools.

D76 is generally sold as a powder, and in the most common form in the US you mix a packet with 1 gallon of hot water. I usually let it sit for one day before using. The most common ways to use it are either "straight" or diluted 1:1. Both ways have their advantages and disadvantages-diluting 1:1 tends to reduce contrast but gives "sharper" negatives with better defined grain vs. straight. Watch your developer capacity, as 16 oz. of 1:1 is roughly 1x135-36, 1x120, or 4x4x5. If doing 2 rolls of 135-36 in a two-roll tank(16 oz) straight is necessary. The SP-455 tank holds four sheets and 16 oz, so is fine straight or 1:1. If you are smart with your storage, bottles have a shelf life of ~6 months after mixing, and packets last a very long time.

For roll film, used tanks and reels are virtually give away items. I prefer stainless steel, although that can start a war. Plastic is easier to learn to load, but I found stainless a lot easier and faster once I got over the small learning curve.

For sheet film, I splurged and bought an SP-455 tank, which I love, although there are plenty of alternatives out there. I seem to recall that there's a Kickstarter for a 5x7 version-I haven't kept up as I don't do 5x7.

If you're going to scan, you don't even need a full blown darkroom. You can use a changing bag to load your tanks, and then process in daylight tanks under room light.

I do E6 with the Arista kit. I prefer to let a lab handle it and do so for all of my 35mm and some 120, but don't have a local option for 4x5. The concentrated solutions have a long shelf life, but once diluted they go bad quickly. Thus, I wait until I have enough to use them to capacity(which is why I often mix 120 in with sheet film) and then use the chemistry to exhaustion. Each run takes me an hour or a little more, so I will usually set aside a weekend and put in 12 hours or better on a Saturday doing nothing but processing film. If I don't get finished, they usually are okay the next weekend, but I wouldn't want to push beyond that. The other issue is that B&W is generally done at room temperature, while color(both E-6 and C-41) are done at elevated temperature-105F or 40.5C. I generally run the process start to finish with my chemical bottles and developing tank sitting in the bathtub filled with water. I let the bottles sit for a while to come up to temperature, then drain and refill to get to the target temperature. Fortunately, the first developer is the main step where time and temperature are absolutely critical-the other steps are done to completion so I just extend their time a bit since the tub will generally have dropped a few degrees by the time I get to them.

Steven Ruttenberg
30-Sep-2017, 17:23
It all sounds simple. Hopefully the first time goes without issues, but I am sure there will be something. Always is no matter how simple.

Just like taking the photograph. Seems simple enough, but first time I loaded film cockeyed in some holders, then I forg to close the shutter and pulled dark slide out part way. Then I didn't get the film holder in all the way. About 95%. Then I kept confusing myself on shutter speed. All that on a simple task. All rookie mistakes.

So I expect my first few times developing to yield around. 75% success rate.

Jim Andrada
30-Sep-2017, 20:18
Developing of B&W is as has been said really straightforward. I "learned" how to do it when I was 4 because my father wanted "help" - not sure he really understood just how "helpful" a 4 year-old would turn out to be, but he had a good sense of humor, so all was well.

Probably the biggest issue will be getting the agitation right, but it isn't rocket science.

neil poulsen
1-Oct-2017, 08:29
We fortunate to have a local lab in Citizen's Photo in Portland, Or. Very convenient to be able to drop off film and pick it up in a reasonable amount of time, usually next day for color negative.

Dhuiting
6-Oct-2017, 06:13
As a person that develops both c41 and E6 regularly at home in my Jobo (and sometimes black and white in my jobo when Im feeling lazy, although I like the tray method best for black and white sheet film and hand inversion tanks for black and white roll film because of the way the highlights turn out) I highly recommend doing it all yourself if you can buy a new Jobo (usually a new Jobo can be had for the price of jobo parts and the headache of shipping that thing somewhere to get it fixed). For me the convenience of doing my 8x10 color negatives immediately after a shoot when I'm super excited to see the results is priceless. Plus I do some other local photographers' film (including a very very famous Minnesotan LF guy who may start going through me next week, very exciting!) and that pretty much pays for my chemicals, which I order from Freestyle. The satisfaction and savings, along with the aforementioned convenience, have made it quite a fun and pleasant thing to DIY all my film and I highly recommend it!


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Steven Ruttenberg
6-Oct-2017, 18:47
This is a big reason I want to develop my own film. You hit the nail on the head.

LabRat
7-Oct-2017, 06:29
This is a big reason I want to develop my own film. You hit the nail on the head.

Yea, and you can bring out the Walter White/mad scientist in 'ya...

I used to mix my bulk chems outside, with my scale + mag mixer, and my neighbors would (politely) ask "what kind of potions are you mixing" ??? ;-)

Good times...

Steve K

mdarnton
7-Oct-2017, 07:31
I have been getting my 35mm processing and scanning here: http://www.precision-camera.com/photo-lab/
I switched to them because of the superior quality of their scans compared with other places I had tried. Note that they also process sheet film.

Jim Andrada
7-Oct-2017, 18:04
I highly recommend doing it all yourself if you can buy a new Jobo (usually a new Jobo can be had for the price of jobo parts and the headache of shipping that thing somewhere to get it fixed).
Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Last time I looked a new Jobo was around $3400, if by "New" you meant fresh from the factory. Mine is probably 15 years old and it just took its first trip back to Boston to
be repaired. I like it, but biggest problem around here is the 90 degree "cold" water in the summer. Makes me wish Ilford made XP2 in 4 x 5.