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Thread: Lab for scanning 4x5 central eastern US (VA)

  1. #1

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    Feb 2016
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    Fredericksburg, VA
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    Lab for scanning 4x5 central eastern US (VA)

    I need to replace my Epson V600 so I can do 4x5 wetscan, but in the meantime I bought a 10-pack of Portra 400 for a special shot. Any recommendations on a good lab? I can develop in my C-41 kit or not, either way. Nick Carver mentions some West coast places but there must be plenty of them on the East coast.

  2. #2
    loujon
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    Feb 2007
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    Western, PA.
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    Re: Lab for scanning 4x5 central eastern US (VA)

    Quote Originally Posted by ibabcock View Post
    I need to replace my Epson V600 so I can do 4x5 wetscan, but in the meantime I bought a 10-pack of Portra 400 for a special shot. Any recommendations on a good lab? I can develop in my C-41 kit or not, either way. Nick Carver mentions some West coast places but there must be plenty of them on the East coast.
    I know there is a very active photo lab in the DC area that is spoken of maybe Dodge Chrome. They kind of get hammered on yelp but it's mostly non photographers with complaints that it was to expensive for development of a couple disposable cameras or to much "pink" in their passport photos. If you read the reviews of medium format/ large format folks they claim it's great.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    Annapolis, Maryland
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    55

    Re: Lab for scanning 4x5 central eastern US (VA)

    My experience with Dodge & Chrome is that they were great at developing film. Scanning... well... in all fairness, almost no one else is going to spend the time to do the job as well as you can do yourself. Period. No one cares about the images like you. No one.

    I'm less and less convinced scanning is about the equipment and more convinced that the user is critical. And a high end equipment does not necessarily mean you're going to have a high end user. D&C has some good equipment... better than my Nikon LS8000, but the results weren't better. Given my experience, I would be candid with them. Ask them about the experience posted on Yelp ( haven't seen those posts btw). See what they say. Do a scan on your Epson V600 and show them what you want so they have a running start at it. Tell them what you're looking for and see what they think they can do. I think this would be a fair test... and let them know you're expectations. They did fine with 35mm which is hard to screw up. MF I was less impressed. Dodge and Chrome is fine, but again, my expectations at that point were high. Probably unrealistic. I thought, "Hmmmm Flex scanner? Nice! What could go wrong?" My own scans from a creaky LS8000 were far better. So that was an experiment, but if you persisted, and if you discussed with them how you wanted it scanned and what you were looking for (which I didn't) maybe your mileage would be better. I'd expect it would. D&C's local, and that has its virtues. I'm not local anymore, but if you learn from my mistakes... even if I had chosen to do the same, I suspect you can get good results. But I would not expect it per se.... but only because you can and do make the effort.

    I would suggest looking at NorthEast Photographic. I think they have a pretty solid business model, and the operator shoots 4X5. I'd suggest calling them and talking the same talk with them. I was pretty impressed with the feedback when - while moving and unable to process myself, - I sent them a roll of 35mm from a new-to-me Nikon FM2n that they developed, scanned, and sent along comments on the negatives that were helpful. When's the last time anyone gave you feedback on negs from a lab? They will also arrange to archive your negatives, too. Worth a look.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    Fredericksburg, VA
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    Re: Lab for scanning 4x5 central eastern US (VA)

    Quote Originally Posted by roscoetuff-Skip Mersereau View Post
    in all fairness, almost no one else is going to spend the time to do the job as well as you can do yourself.
    Thanks and I figured money is better spent investing in equipment that can be used over and over rather than services so I got a V700 and betterscanning holders and wetmount holder. I am very happy, even my black and whites look better and Silverfast software is excellent.

  5. #5

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    Apr 2017
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    Annapolis, Maryland
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    55

    Re: Lab for scanning 4x5 central eastern US (VA)

    For now, I'm trying DSLR scanning with my Nikon D750, the Negative Supply 4X5 film carrier and Negative Solutions app for Lightroom (I also have the 35mm film holder and the 120 holder on order - current Kickstarter). Haven't shot and scanned enough 4x5 to say or know, but the speed of scanning with a DSLR and this set up is amazing. I shoot with the D750 tethered to the computer and use a copy stand (Negative Solutions sells one for those of us who didn't have one beforehand). Epson scanners are fine. But my Nikon Coolscan LS8000 was sooooo incredibly slow that after scanning the 33 rolls of MF I shot in France with my TLR, I was convinced it was time to find a faster way. I think I probably spent almost as much time scanning as I did actually IN France... and that's crazy. So given the improvements in DSLR's and Mirrorless, I am convinced that the wave of the future for those of us not Drum Scanning is to up our game at DSLR scanning. Can't say I'm satisfied that I've done that yet because I'm also learning 4X5 and Caffenol developing.... and there's only so much free time in my life. I traded out my Sony A7R2 for Large Format and a lot of other film gear... which was a good trade, but mirrorless rigs are better for scanning than DSLR's because of their ZOOM FOCUS capability. Live and learn. I prefer film shooting to DSLR's every day of the year, but there's a speed of use facility with DSLR's and this is a great one. Think about it next time. A 24 Meg file is plenty big for the printing I do, but intellectually, I miss the 42 Meggers and the 12X Zoom Focus. Nikon's next generation Z mirrorless will probably do the trick, and I'll wait for that. The laugh is that the cheapest part of photography is the film!!!

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