View Full Version : Film Processing in Boston

27-Jun-2013, 08:21
I'm new to LF photography and am looking for a place to process my 4x5 B&W film. Does anyone have any good recommendations for the Boston area (I live north of the city). Has anyone ever used the following:

Digital Silver Imaging (Belmont, MA)
Dorian Color (Arlington, MA)
Colortek (Boston, MA)
Color Services (Needham, MA)


27-Jun-2013, 11:39
I'm north of Boston as well. I've used Dorian in the past for C-41 & E-6 but not for B&W. Their prices are a little on the high side but I think that's because they don't do as much volume as the bigger Boston labs (there used to be a lot of them). I'm going to give Colortek a shot on my next batch of C-41 because they're conveniently located (across from South Station right off the expressway) and because they're half the price of Dorian ($2.75 vs. $5.50 per 4x5 sheet) for C-41.

Do you know how you want them developed (which developer, times, etc.)? You'll need to check with each lab to see if they use something that's acceptable for you. Neither Dorian nor Colortek's price list lists the B&W developers available.

Peter Lewitt
27-Jun-2013, 12:15
Color Services. An excellent lab, very nice people, used to dealing with professionals, artists and galleries.


Oren Grad
27-Jun-2013, 13:04
I've used Color Services, but only for C-41 roll film. It's been a while since my last roll. Quality was basically OK except that they were occasionally a bit sloppy about cleanliness, and I'd get a frame or two or three with some serious grit embedded.

My general experience with B&W lab processing is that whatever is called standard development tends to be way overcooked for my taste and printing habits. Do some test sheets, and be prepared for the possibility that you'll routinely have to pay extra for push or pull development to get negatives that suit you.

27-Jun-2013, 14:06
I've used Dorian for years in the past for E6, and they were/are great. I'd definitely give them a try. Never a problem with quality.

Light Guru
27-Jun-2013, 14:48
If your not going to process the film yourself (which is really easy) then there is not a real big need to stay local for development.

27-Jun-2013, 15:23
I have also used Dorian's for many years and have never had a problem with them. They process both color and black and white film.

27-Jun-2013, 19:57
I've had bad luck at Colortek. The last time I used them--a couple of years ago-- they ruined some quickloads--they came back with weird bubbles from the processor. I've had better luck with Dorian and Color Services. I also send out to Praus. They're pretty dependable.

27-Jun-2013, 20:08
panopticon i think still processes b/w they are now way-south of boston in rockland.

i've never used anyone but me, and amy hahn ( who used to have a lab on congress street i think )
to process film. labs tend to use hardener in the fixer, if you don't like hardener ask if they use it.

Oren Grad
28-Jun-2013, 08:32
panopticon i think still processes b/w they are now way-south of boston in rockland.

Ah, that's right - out of sight, out of mind... < sigh > The website is Panopticon Imaging.

Which reminds me that I've actually used Panopticon, too, for 35mm B&W, but it was a long time ago, back when Tony Decaneas was the owner and they were behind BU, near Kenmore Square. Like just about everybody else, they overdeveloped my film. I liked the gallery, though.

28-Jun-2013, 17:30
hi oren

i never was (un)fortunate enough to use panopticon. i was going to have them process a slew of film for me years ago
it didn't matter how dense they were since i was going to have them contact print on azo i was going to supply them with :)
but the hardener was the dealbreaker.

28-Jun-2013, 19:09
I'm a bit biased (I used to work there), but Paul at Panopticon Imaging runs a really first rate black and white lab. Nitrogen burst dip-and-dunk with Xtol calibrated very closely to enable consistent running of the LVT film recorder. The man truly has it down to a science and is just about as friendly as they come.

Color Services is an excellent lab as well, and I bring all of my color film there and have a lot of experience with their scanning/inkjet printing operation and their work is very, very, very good. That said, for black and white processing I would give Paul a ring - you won't regret it.

28-Jun-2013, 19:09
That is one hell of a run-on sentence. Just goes to show my enthusiasm, I suppose.

28-Jun-2013, 19:12
I'm also pretty sure you can drop film at the Panopticon Gallery in Kenmore Square. They used to do a daily pickup for their Boston customers.

28-Jun-2013, 19:34
I would suggest to learn how to develop the film yourself. Cheaper and faster.