View Full Version : Mail Order Sheet Film Processing

Mike Kovacs
13-Nov-2005, 06:36
I have my first 10 sheets of4x5 colour transparency to mail out, and I was wondering how people handle the logistics of this?

I have an empty sheet film box that I can accurately label with type and number of sheets, all E6 Velvia 100F in my case. Bubble envelope OK or am I asking for the box to be destroyed sending in this way?

My local lab no longer does 4x5 E6, so I'm stuck mailing it to Toronto Image Works at $3.50 CND per sheet. If any Torontonians have a better suggestion, please do let me know. I doubt shipping it outside of Canada is worthwhile due to increased shipping costs, and the risk of mishandling by US customs.

13-Nov-2005, 11:08
I stick the sheets in an empty film box, and stick that inside a standard post office Priority Mail shipping envelope. Never had a problem. The lab should have a form you can print out and include with your order as far as what you want done.

tim atherton
13-Nov-2005, 11:22
It's a while since I got anything processed in Toronto - Image works was usually good for E6 (I've seen some really poor 4x5 processing from Steichenlab recently - bad chemistry control)

As for shipping - If you want to ship Xpresspost, a 4x5 film box just fits nicely in the Canadapost Xpresspost padded envelop - or via regular mail the polythene padded envelopes Canada Post sells at their outlets come in just the right size and are pretty tough.

One added thing - after a bad experience long ago I printed out a bunch of labels with

OPEN IN DARKROOM ONLY! UNEXPOSED FILM (or something like that - in red) with a space for Film Type and Number of Sheets and my name and phione number in the bottom corner

Especially helpful when I'm sending E6 in an old box from C41 film (I usually take a black marker to the film type on the box in those cases) - call me paranoid, but it's based on experience... :-(

13-Nov-2005, 14:18

Aside from Toronto... The Lab in Vancouver does exceptional work for me... here's their website:


They're really, really finicky about their chemistry QC.

Furthermore, processing E6 4x5 is only CDN$2.65 per sheet. :)

In addition to what Tim has suggested... I'd find one of those dark plastic bags that will hold the film inside the standard 4x5 boxes. That way, if the box gets crushed due to "delicate handling" then, at least, your film will have a chance of surviving further exposure. :) Label both the box AND the plastic film bag. [Since I don't have to ship my films for processing this isn't a worry for me. However, I use to see photographers send their film into a lab using these black, plastic bags that originally held 4x6 sheets of printing paper. They said it always worked well... even when the post office damaged the outer box.]

Good luck.


tim atherton
13-Nov-2005, 14:23
oh - and do make sure to tape the box shut.... :-)

Mike Kovacs
14-Nov-2005, 12:54
Thanks - until recently I was in Vancouver for 8 years and never heard of those guys. For that price, they are worth a try.

ABC Photocolour on 4th Ave was always good to me but they don't seem to accept mail order processing.

14-Nov-2005, 20:11
Hi Mike,

I'm not sure when exactly they opened their doors but I've had really good work from them...

ABC Photocolor has been pretty decent as well.

I know a good number of pros use The Lab and that's why I've recommended them to you as well. Some of the images they have on their wall look pretty awesome!

If you'd like me to speak with them about mail order processing... let me know and I'll give them a jingle, ok?

Where abouts are you located now?


16-Nov-2005, 11:57
I am on the other side of the planet, but have you tried Bob at elevator studio. He is supposed to be the best in town (Toronto) on b&w - I dont know about E-6