Hot Grain! Come and get some Hot Grain!

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by malachite, Jul 31, 2004.

  1. malachite

    malachite Heavily Medicated For Your Protection

    Feb 23, 2004
    Likes Received:
    Not in Arizona anymore
    OK, my favorite B&W lab closed it's doors awhile back and I've been shopping for a new place. Good 'Ol Bob's Camera developed everything by hand and printed great contact sheets, but Bob finally retired. I've been forced to have my stuff developed by the commercial pro-labs but pro results is the furthest thing I'm getting. I won't even go into the contact sheets I refused to pay for so lets talk developing.

    Where is all this grain coming from? TMax 100 is all I ever shoot to stay consistant but I'm getting way too much grain. Fuji chemicals at one lab, Kodak at another, all grainy. And we're talking about looking at the negative, not prints or scans.

    The only thing I can think of is temperature. I'm getting a bit of contrast gain that's noticeable but I'm seeing tons of grain on my negs when viewed through a loupe. I asked if their 'dip and dunk' developing machines regulated temperature as well, all I got was blank faces and "I don't know..." :cry:

    Is my thinking on the right track? I feel like I'm doing nothing but wasting money and just need to start developing my own B&W with a changing bag and day-light developing tanks.

  2. ksmattfish

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

    Aug 25, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Lawrence, KS
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit

    The digital revolution has done 2 things that are hurting anyone's chances of getting traditional process BW done well at any lab:

    1) Reduced the overall business/profit. This means they can't afford to pay good people anymore. When I worked a "pro" lab, most of the employees were photog students; most with only 1 photog class under their belt, and very little understanding of what is going on in the darkroom.

    2) Reduced demand. This results in less competence with the traditional equipment; people don't get trained well, because not as many people are having the services done. Also less maint on the equip, less taking care of the chems, etc...

    Anyway, there are good labs out there, but no matter what references you get, and no matter how much you pay, no one, no one, is going to do your stuff like you could do it. Now you might need to climb the learning curve a bit, but when you do it yourself you will put some love or soul or whatever into it, that the best trained lab guy never will.

    I could earn $10 extra on every roll of BW if I let the lab dev it for $3 (dev only), but I do a better job, and no scratches or badly cut negs. And if there is a problem, then at least I know who's fault it is.

    As the saying goes, if you want it done right, do it yourself.

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