View Full Version : US processing labs
I'm looking for a reasonably priced processing lab in the US I can mail my exposed 4x5 negatives to. There's a lab in town (Memphis) but they're a little pricey and I've heard a few negative remarks regarding their work.
If you send your exposed negatives to an out-of-town lab, what has your experience been (regarding price, turn around time, quality of lab, etc)?
Thanks in advance! :)
BWC Imaging in Dallas.
Black and white, or color negatives?
If color, I've had great luck with Samy's in Santa Barbara, its $1.50/sheet + return shipping. Great service, and they're very quick on turnaround times(although NOT open on the weekends). They also offer E-6 processing for $1.70/sheet (4x5) and $5/sheet for 8x10(same price for C-41 8x10 as well), just in case you shoot 8x10 as well :)!
I just got off the phone with them, their website is currently down for maintenance(b/w they're merging it with the Samys Camera website), however, if you send an email to the address below requesting the mail-order form for C-41 processing, they'll happily email it to you :)! You can also call them at the phone # listed below if you have any questions. They're open until 6pm most days.
btw, a $5 Flat-Rate envelope/box usually works great for 1-2 boxes of exposed film there and back.
I second the recommendation for Samy's Minilab in Santa Barbara.
I just used them for the first time with 6 rolls of 120, C41 and E6...all perfect at $5/roll.
http://4photolab.com/ is Edgar Praus's lab in Rochester, they do mostly mail order from around the world, top-notch work, reasonable prices, they do everything a real pro lab should do. Call and you talk to the person working on your order. Very popular with members here.
I'll second Praus; fine QC for me. Old Kodak quality incarnate.
Nate Potter, Austin TX.
I was using Samy's and they did fine for a while, but I recently send a large batch of film from a big project and they botched it. The film had mottling and drip marks along the edges.
I may try Praus but for now I'm now using Taylor Photo, they're in Princeton, NJ (sort of local for me) but I think they'll take mail order. http://www.taylorphoto.com They do a good job with the processing but you need to remind them to keep the hanger clips close to the edge of the film. I don't know why you need to remind them of this, but if you don't you may get the clips 1/4 inch into the image area. If you remind them, however, they do great.
For you Praus users I have a question: for 4x5 C-41, do they put the hanger clips on the long side of the film or the short side? I prefer the latter since in that case they get cropped out on my print sizes.
on the top, short side
could you post a sample of the "mottling"? I had this a little bit on some 8x10 sheets I sent them a few months ago, but it was so close to the outside edge of the negative that it didn't affect the shots due to cropping while scanning.
pretty please :)?
not that I'm tied to the hip lab-wise, I've had great results so far from them, but if this is becoming more of a problem, I'd like to not risk it :o.
Thanks frank. I'll probably give Praus a try, sounds like a great lab. Taylor isn't bad but it's just far enough of a drive to be a pain in the neck.
Dan--The mottling in the sky was only on a few frames and I didn't keep those scans, but it's normal C-41 mottling. The edge drips were the bigger problem.
I mostly scanned photos without the problem since I shot duplicate frames of each photo. But I think I have a few scans. I'll look around and post something tonight or tomorrow.
I wouldn't say any photos were ruined, but some frames had to be cropped more than I would have done otherwise. Of course with 8x10 the same size edge flaws might fall outside of your scan.
I had been using Samy's since the end of last year and had sent them hundreds of sheets with no serious problems. Well not too serious, now that I look back there were other more minor edge issues I hadn't noticed at the time. Figures the problem would get worse when I sent them film from my trip out West. Also, the fact that they put the clip marks on the long ends of the film means I need to crop more neg than I would like to maintain the 4:5 ratio for my prints.
It's a shame, Samy's was so cheap. But I probably won't use them again.
we can CALL them on it :)? Literally, call them? The (2) Matt's(yes, there are 2 matthews in the lab) are great guys, and seem to be very open to suggestions from the past little "bumps" I've had myself(not big ones, but I've had 2-3 drip mark instances w/ c-41 on 4x5 and 8x10 sheets). Let them know. You've sent more film to them than I have it seems, but if they hear from a good customer(like yourself) that there are problems, I'll bet they'll happily rectify it, or fix it so it doesn't happen again(like re-training their people on how to load the racks on the Refrema).
just a suggestion
I highly recommend LTI (http://www.ltiny.com) in NYC for processing and printing.
Ive used them for many years and they are great. Their employees are amazing to work with and are really nice.
They process E6, C41 and B&W in D&D. The quality is fantastic.
They also have some amazing traditional printers.
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