Fed up with Allen's Camera


TPF Noob!
Jul 5, 2013
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I'm new to this film thing. I've only developed about 3 rolls so far. My brother has had terrible luck at places like wal greens and such, dealing with people who don't seem to know a thing and receiving disappointing quality results. We started taking our business to Allen's Camera which is about the only place I know of that develops in the area. Today someone lost one of my rolls of film (it has since been found) and they completely forgot to develop my film before their closing hours. No one there can answer my questions I have about the different kinds of film they carry. And most of the time they have to get a second and third opinion on what the prices on the film rolls even are. Anyway, I was hoping someone has some advice or has had better luck then me with getting their film developed for less than $10 a roll preferably. Have you guys had any luck sending them in somewhere or do you just develop yourself? Is it worth investing in a scanner?

Thanks in advance.
I send them to my kitchen where i develope them myself, it is not hard and you don't need to spend a lot of money on equipment and yes it is worth getting a scanner i use the Epson V500
This is one shot wide open and scanned with V500 and vuescan pro

I have a great local shop that develops and then I scan at home. I'd invest in the scanner regardless of how you end up developing. That will cut your developing costs down (if you mail them out and are not asking for prints as well). Unless you need a high volume of really high-res scans, then stick to a flatbed scanner, which can be had new for about $150-200. I use the Canon CanoScan 8800 (there's already a new model...the 9000 I think?)

There are a few threads here that have discussed scanners so if you decide to go that route, there's plenty of advice to be had. Possibly too much ;)
Your story is essentially timeless, and was often told in the days before digital photography and the growth of the Internet.

You assume those risks with every roll of film you do not process/print yourself.
A bit of survivalism seems now to be part of shooting film for anyone who relies on what's left of commercial lab services in N. America. Mail order processing is probably worth looking into, especially if you don't want/need prints of whole rolls. Some labs offer good quality dev/scan service or straight processing for not a pile of $. It's what's left of old school "One hour" mini-lab service that causes problems for many, thanks to low-volume, inept staff and under-maintained machinery. High volume labs tend to do it best since they usually run calibrated C-41 and E-6 lines and monitor chemistry closely. Having a scanner lets you use budget-priced printers like Costco who have mostly ditched film service or online services. DIY b&w processing isn't scary difficult or expensive.

If possible, consider buying film from places like B&H or Freestyle where you can get a bigger variety of fresh film at prices lower than local stores.
It seems to depend on where you live what's available; there are a couple of camera shops in my area but drugstores and discount stores have never been the best option for me. There are places in the US that do mail order - Dwayne's in Kansas, Blue Moon in Oregon, The Darkroom in San Francisco, Lomography online. The Darkroom has a flat rate of $10 and other options of higher res scans, prints, etc. Printers/scanners are an option if you want to scan your own and/or do your own prints (I do a combination - usually get film developed and scanned, print some of my own, etc.).

Keith and CGW you guys make it sound more difficult than it is. I've done some of my own B&W darkroom work but don't have access to a darkroom currently, and I've had color film developed for years - options are more limited but they're still available.

You might find info. on Film Photography Project | An Internet Radio Show & On-Line Resource for Film Shooters Worldwide , they do regular podcasts (which I'm way behind on listening to!), videos including basics on using film even on how to load a camera, a Flickr discussion group, etc.
"you guys make it sound more difficult than it is."

Who said that? Not me. Tons of online tutorials on b&w processing.
Are you developing color or B&W? If you are talking B&W it is very simple to do the film at home. A changing bag will let you load the film in daylight while your arms and hands are inside the light tight bag to load the tank. Are you using 35mm or something larger? If you go to the Freestyle website you can select the various films they carry and by clicking on each one you can find the characteristics of each film. That is more accurate than someone's personal opinion. To develop B&W is just a simple time process with 3 chemicals and a wash under running water. Freestyle will also list the recommended chemicals for the various films.
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I live in the Allen's camera area, haven't tried getting any film done there yet. But if youre wanting to get 35mm done head down to costco, they do a decent job at a cheap price. However every now and then I do get a hair thin line across the portion of the film but its easily fix able in photoshop. But for 120 I'd say send off the rolls to places like The Darkroom or Old School lab, they'll be a lot more reliable

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