Film Labs – an overview


This week I’m going to touch a bit on some of the best film labs around the country, who I use for what service, and why.

Currently I have 1 main lab I use (The FIND Lab) and and a few others I use for special projects.

Here’s the schedule for the next weeks posts.

Sunday – The Darkroom
Monday – PPI or Pro Photo Irvine
Tuesday – Indie Film Lab
Wednesday – PhotoVision
Thursday – Little Film Lab
Friday – The FIND Lab
Saturday – recap

All of the above labs I’ve used on several occasions and either currently use or wouldn’t hesitate to go back to them if there was suddenly a reason they became the better choice.

Just to be inclusive I’m also to mention today one lab I don’t use, but seem to have a following:

Richard Photo Lab
Made famous by the fact film wedding photographer Jose Villa uses them and they have been active supporters in the return to film and sponsored FILM season 1.  Average to high prices and at one time their color pac or color profiling service (how a lab fine tunes their color to a photographers style) was the most expensive I’d ever seen.
They are however one of the few places that still does honest to goodness darkroom printing from B&W negatives.

Of course many neighborhood Walgreens still have photo labs in the stores. I’ve used these on many occasions when testing new gears – just to make sure shutter speeds are accurate and there are no light leaks. Their quality is by definition average – these machines run on auto pilot. They also can only handle C41 processed 35mm film. Don’t bother bringing in your medium format film, and if you bring in a B&W roll and they don’t notice it their chemistry will ruin your negatives. The biggest downside is their photo CD, their images are sized at 1215 x 1800 pixels. Not much use for anything bigger than a 4×6 or 5×7 – but acceptable for online use. However; for just over $10 for just developing and the photo CD it is a quick and easy way to get your new gear checked out and make sure it’s in good shape or to handle those old Gold 200 rolls of 35mm film you burn off on some point and shoot camera for fun. Hey if you find a great shot you can always send the negative in to have it rescanned at a pro-lab.

Here’s a pair of shots from a test roll checking out a Zeiss Ikon 35mm  rangefinder camera I once owned.

Test roll on Zeiss Ikon Rangefinder developed and scanned at Walgreens

Test roll on Zeiss Ikon Rangefinder developed and scanned at Walgreens

no comments
Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *