lab versus darkroom cost

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by SquirrelNuts, Feb 18, 2004.

  1. SquirrelNuts

    SquirrelNuts TPF Noob!

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    I recently purchased a lot of B&W film from Adorama, and then I found out the costs for developing and printing. A good local shop will do 36 exposures for about $16. Wal-Mart (I know, I know) will do a two-week send out for about $8. Putting aside the cost of the equipment, it is cheaper to have my film done by someone else or do it myself (ignoring the cost of equipment, but including the cost of chemicals, paper, and replaced items).

    I do realize you would eventually get better results and satisfaction by doing it yourself, which I suppose can be considered in the cost.

    Has anyone figured the price per print for a 4x6?

    I am interested in doing 4x6 and 8x10 from 35mm negs.

    -SquirrelNuts
     
  2. voodoocat

    voodoocat ))<>(( Supporting Member

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    I would just process the film yourself and when you want a print done. It costs probably $1 in chemicals to process a roll of 36.
     
  3. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Traditional process BW film dev is at least 1/2 price compared to lab costs as long as you aren't adding in the cost of time. I usually feel that I have more time than money to spare, and I've gotten pretty quick at developing, so for me it's easily cheaper than the lab. And less scratched negs too.

    C41 process BW would probably cost you more to dev at home than at the lab.

    Small BW prints are going to be way cheaper at a lab, than from a home darkroom. It takes me just as long to print a 4x6 or a 5x7 as an 8x10 or 11x14, and with materials and time I don't start breaking even compared to lab prices until I'm up to 8x10 or bigger. On the other hand the attention I give my own prints is PRICELESS!!! You can't buy love; it's either there or it's not. Also, these days your BW lab prints aren't likely to be gelatin silver prints, which is what you'd be making in your own darkroom, and they are beautiful.
     
  4. SquirrelNuts

    SquirrelNuts TPF Noob!

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    matt,

    In the second half of your post, are you refering to C41 processing?

    -SquirrelNuts
     
  5. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    C41 is film processing and has nothing to do with prints.

    Most labs produce RA prints or these day it might even be a digital process.

    BW prints done in the home/school darkroom, and at some custom labs are gelatin silver prints.

    The pro labs around here will do BW and color RA 4x6 prints for less than $0.40 each. 5x7s for about $3.50. 8x10s for about $7.00. I'm just saying that the labs can crank out small prints way cheap and quick compared to doing the work yourself. They will not be as nice or as long lasting as the ones you do yourself, at least if you know what you are doing. Of course in my home darkroom I don't print every shot. I make a contact sheet and only print the ones I want.
     

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