New (again) to Med. format

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by jstuedle, Jul 8, 2007.

  1. jstuedle

    jstuedle No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I have not shot larger than 35mm in a couple decades. I've shot only digital since 1999 with rare exceptions. I am getting a Hassy outfit from a friend who is retiring from weddings and I want to incorporate as much into my digital work-flow as possible. I just won a Nikon Cool-scan 8000 on ePay so I will be scanning negs to accomplish that as opposed to a digital back. ($$,$$$.$$) My dilemma is, the negatives. This is the variable I can't control. I prefer to not have to setup my darkroom again and process color. And I am skeptical of my local labs abilities and well as the Wal-mart/Costco alternative. What GOOD labs do you all use? Is the Miller/Burrells type lab worth the extra expense? If you scan from out-sourced processing, do you order 5"X5" prints to use as proofs? Or am I just too concerned and should I let the locals do the film processing and take it from there? I guess the biggest concern I have is after looking at the local labs work, I'm just not impressed. Not only is this a lab, but a portrait studio. The portraits on display are poor to say the least. They remind me of examples shot with a 3-4 MP P&S digital, up-sampled and printed at 11" X 14" and larger. Poor color, exaggerated contrast and vastly over-sharpened with a lack of detail. Also, they took 120 off their price list so I suspect them of sending it out anyway.
     
  2. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    For black and white, if you intend to shoot it, I would suggest DIY for more control, unless you simply don't have the time. For colour negatives or slides, I would give the local shops a try. I think they have to be pretty incompetent to get it wrong. I have used a chain store not normally known for great service or quality when it comes to prints, but they can develop negatives and slides no problem. The only problems I sometimes have with these shops are not with the developing process, but the handling of the negatives - sometimes they are a bit marked. For anything really vital I would take it to a trusted lab (and then to be honest I probably wouldn't trust the mail either)... for most stuff I think the local labs should be able to do a decent job.
     
  3. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    It's not a question of competency. It's a question of consistency. Shoot several rolls of the same thing, take them to the same lab a couple weeks in a row, I guarantee you'll see different results. It's not much more expensive to go to a pro-lab, it's just a matter of finding one. I think it would be cheaper in the long-run to invest in a small dye-sub printer for proofs, and have any actual prints done on a photographic laser printer at a pro lab.
     
  4. jstuedle

    jstuedle No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I can print proofs here on either a Sony dye-sub or one of 2 Epson 2200's. The problem is time. I wonder, do pro labs still offer contact sheets? That would be all I would really need, then scan and print the shots I really use.
     
  5. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    Yep, they most definitely do still print contact sheets for negative film.
     
  6. jstuedle

    jstuedle No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    TX Max.
     
  7. ksmattfish

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

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    I do my own BW, and gave up on medium format C41 and E6 a few years ago. I used to have three local pro labs to choose from. Then there were two, and finally only one. When it came under new ownership I suddenly realized how spoiled I had been. Issues with supposedly trained lab techs mishandling my 120 film (scratches, light leaks, etc...) is what drove me to buy my first DSLR. Now, if I ever had reason to shoot 120 or 4x5 E6 or C41 I'd probably send it to these guys: http://www.douglasphoto.com/

    I think the key could be in finding the competent lab techs you can really trust, and then dropping the film off with instructions that you'd prefer Joe So-n-so to do the processing/film handling even if it means waiting a bit longer.
     
  8. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    Find a pro lab would be the first step. The ladies (?) at http://replicolor.com/ are on point. I use them for my 4x5 work. Too bad they are all the way in SLC, UT. Again it was a lot easier when Jackson Hole Custom Color was around. Consider shooting transparencies. The gratification level is very high and you do not have to bother with dumb ol' scans and or prints. I would be leery of a scanner you won on epay or whatever. As you get into it you will find that 2,000 for a scanner is kind of worth it.

    Love & Bass
     

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