View Full Version : 4x5 negative mailing

18-Jul-2011, 07:25

Sorry if this is a bit naive, but I am new to LF.

How do I about mailing (or even taking it to a local store) 4x5 sheet film for development?

I only have the 1 box and don't have spares.

Can I get away with stationary envelopes/ziplock and a black plastix bag? And how I protect the emulsion from scratches?

I would appreciate your advice.



18-Jul-2011, 07:45
Try to get another film box or two. I'd send you some, but I'm down to my last two.
Post a 'WTB' in the For Sale section, many people will happily send you a few boxes for the cost of postage.
After that, put your exposed film in one of these boxes, tape it up, and write your name and phone number on it, even if you're just dropping it off at your local lab.
Always request that the box be returned to you when you receive/pick up your film.
Don't risk sending your film in anything else.
And don't worry about scratches if you're handling the film carefully and properly.

18-Jul-2011, 07:50

If you have a relationship with the lab you are mailing the film to, just call them and request several empty film boxes (three section only) Only that will insure a light tight seal for the trip. Envelopes, black plastic bags, and any other method are totally unsatisfactory and will result in fogged or completely exposed film. A fifty sheet (or smaller) film box fits nicely into one of the USPS flat rate boxes for video tapes, or can be easily shipped in a large enough mailing envelope.

A word to the wise from sad personal experience: Tape the box shut before shipping. Write full name, address, etc. on the box or tape a business card to it.
Thoroughly tape the envelope or shipping box so there is no chance of it coming open in transit. I had to re-shoot a full week's worth of work over 100 miles from home because a USPS envelope came open and I had not put that info on the film box. Lost forever.

As to scratches, the film boxes are so near the same size as the sheets, there is almost no wiggle room. I over forty years, I've never yet seen a scratch on film from shipping. From the rare lab accident yes, but not from shipping.

Sirius Glass
18-Jul-2011, 12:56
I suggest that you package it as stated in post #3 and you label the box "Exposed Sheet Film - Open in darkroom only". The put that in another box with the instructions, return address ... and pack it in another box or shipping envelop.

18-Jul-2011, 15:33

Thank you so much for your kind advice.

I am going to post a ad on on the Sales section and see if any philanthropic person is willing to help me out!:)

I am trying a small experiment my friend suggested. I am going to drop a single sheet of exposed film at Walmart and see if they will process it.

The word is that they won't, but I want to try it for myself, especially since I know that Dwayne's in Kansas is one place they outsource developing to.

Otherwise, I simply cannot afford store development....I'd rather use my bathroom.