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Best place to send off my B&W Film for developing ?

Discussion in 'Colour or Not' started by Skyehammer, Mar 3, 2014.

  1. Skyehammer

    Skyehammer Well-Known Member

    Just taken my first spool of B&W over the weekend [ with a tripod !! ] , so now I'm thinking who still develops B&W , maybe they all do , I don't know .

    Do Boots develop B&W , they'd be convenient , but would they do a good job ?

    Who do you send off your B&W films off to ?

    I'll have 50p e/w that the first answer will be ' I do it myself ' , ! [​IMG]
  2. deanolorenzo

    deanolorenzo Well-Known Member

    I've thought about the DIY route long and hard, but divorce would probably soon follow so I too need films processed. To the best of my knowledge Boots do not. At least not in Tamworth when I asked two weeks ago. Be careful of eBay, I once used it or a person on it, and they were sh1t.
    Palm labs or AG Photographic in the Capitol ( that's Birmingham to those not in the know. They were good for me and that's where I shall return. Their film is also well priced. I do look forward to seeing some more replies.
  3. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    Ilford lab?

    I suspect that if Boots do b&w it would only be from C41 films (Ilford XP2 and Kodak 400CN) rather than traditional type films. If using C41 mono films the lab can produce reasonable prints if they can be bothered to set the equipment up to do so.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2014
  4. AlexMonro

    AlexMonro Old Grand Part Deux

    Don't think Boots normally do B&W (I take it you're talking conventional silver B&W, not chromagenic C41 process emulsions like Ilford XP2 or Kodak BW400CN?) but you could ask if there's a convenient branch.

    Snappy Snaps do B&W, but most of the local branches have to send them off to a specialist lab. They're probably not particularly convenient for you, I believe their nearest branches would be Aberdeen or Glasgow.

    If you're going mail order, Ilford are probably one of the best:

    I must admit, I can't really give personal recommendations for labs, 'coz "I do it myself"! :) For developing film, you don't really need a darkroom, just a developing tank, changing bag ("dark bag"), a few measuring jugs & bottles, a thermometer, watch with a second hand, rubber gloves, the chemicals, and the kitchen sink. You can then scan the negatives - many flatbed scanners will do a reasonable job - and print from the computer.
  5. Roy5051

    Roy5051 Well-Known Member

    Try Karen Willson in Bristol (an AP advertiser in the small ads), Tel: 01179515671 web: www.kwfilmprocessing.co.uk. I have used her in the past with good results.

    If you use Boots, they will develop C41 films (XP2 etc) like colour negative film, but normal b+w they have to send off and it takes about a week.

    I have found that Boots print Kodak CN400 with more neutral colour (i.e. near enough true B+W) but XP2 has a colour cast.
  6. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Dean,

    Why? I'm genuinely puzzled.

    It really is very easy, quick and cheap. Processing, that is, not divorce.


    Geren and Learning like this.
  7. connie

    connie Well-Known Member

    Agree with Roger but if you really don't want to try and process them yourself - i have used westminster studios in the past when i didnt have time myself, and very pleased with results. See link for contact details

  8. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    not ever sent one off sorry! but should you be tempted to try it (not difficult) I recommend a fair bit of practice putting the film on the spool as this is the hardest part! I never had a proper darkroom - just fought it out with the coats in the cupboard under the stairs - there is nothing quite as much fun as standing in the dark and wrestling a spool, a bottle opener*, a cassette, a pair of scissors except perhaps finding the black tank.

    *good for getting the end off of the cassette - I got fed up fishing for the leader.
  9. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Very true. For just how easy, see http://www.rogerandfrances.com/subscription/ps how process 35-120.html

    Another possibility, of course, is Ilford XP2 Super, which goes through the same chemistry (C41) as colour negative films.


  10. Skyehammer

    Skyehammer Well-Known Member

    It was my first go with B&W , and I used an Ilford HP5plus film .

    Now I went to Boots Inverness about a month ago , and I have to confess that I've forgotten what the nice man said , but somewhere in the back of my mind I'm pretty sure he said that they did process b&w , but I will take the advice of one of you lot [ not the develop it yourself route , well not just now maybe in the future ] .
    Roger , I've just been reading yours and Frances' Handbook on Black and White Photography over the weekend and I'm enjoying it immensely .
    I have your book on Medium Format Cameras as well which is also a very well laid out book and a good read , some of the photographs in it are breath taking , as if I am actually looking at those people through a window , brilliant stuff , Roger .
  11. Skyehammer

    Skyehammer Well-Known Member

    Where do most of you buy your b&w films and which would you suggest ?

    Thanks ,

    Peter .
  12. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Thank'ee kindly.

    Do not neglect Ilford's own processing. They have the most to lose if it goes wrong!

    Also, HP5 is probably the best film in the world to learn on. An armourer friend who's also a photographer described it as "the AK-47 of films, almost impossible to screw up."


  13. AlexMonro

    AlexMonro Old Grand Part Deux

    ...Unless you try re-using Ilfosol 3 developer too many times...

    Ah, well. I always did want to experiment with intensifiers...

    Peter, if you do actually more or less follow the instructions, you're pretty certain to get a usable result. There's quite a lot of margin of error in pretty much everything with B&W film developing - times, temperatures, concentrations etc. (unlike colour which is rather more critical). I used spirit vinegar for stop bath one time because the suppliers were out of stock. Just don't get cocky!
  14. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    I used Discount Films Direct or Mailshots in the past. They also sell some items on Ebay and Amazon which makes for easy ordering. If you want the more esoteric films, such as Maco it is down to whoever carries stock.
  15. deanolorenzo

    deanolorenzo Well-Known Member

    Dear Roger, haha!!! My biggest problem is health, or chances are I would have at least tried it by now.
  16. Skyehammer

    Skyehammer Well-Known Member

    Brilliant answers as always , many thanks .

    Got to rush to Portree , meeting about our Son /
  17. AlexMonro

    AlexMonro Old Grand Part Deux

    I missed this question, until I saw Nimbus' reply.

    For me it's Discount Films Direct http://www.discountfilmsdirect.co.uk/, Mailshots http://www.mailshotsuk.co.uk/, 7dayShop http://www.7dayshop.com/, and occasionally various odd characters on eBay - usually when I'm looking for very cheap outdated film.

    Film suggestions: HP5 is a good all rounder. If you want to have a play with the big grain / low light effect, I believe Kodak Tri-X is still available. Assuming your using 35mm, if you want less grain in good light, then Kodak T-max 100 or Ilford Delta 100 are more modern emulsions. For Low light with minimal grain, Kodak T-max 3200 or Ilford Delta 3200.
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2014
  18. hotwenxynt

    hotwenxynt In the Stop Bath

    Some of the non specialist companies do not have high volume of sales of conventional B&W films and I nearly come unstuck a couple of years or so back when I sent for a quantity of FP4 which arrived at my address, but the cartons indicated that it was 8 months out of date. My film stock now comes either from AG Photographic, Ffordes, or Firstcall Photographic. They can all be relied upon to supply in-date and fresh film.
  19. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    My dad showed me how to process 120 size Verichrome Pan when I was about eight or nine; I'd watched him before but he had not actually taught me, and I had not handled the film in the changing bag before then. It's not quite child's play; its a very serious bit of magic. It did not take long to realise that it went wrong if one cut corners of cleanliness and dryness of the spiral before loading, or cut corners by guessing instead of weighing chemicals, or got the temperature or the time wrong, or was too impatient with fixing and washing times. Processing film, first under supervision, later left to mess up is a very good exercise in how to carry ot good technical procedures. I suppose that today's child would simply regard this as a task for robots. That's sad.
  20. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Two years is a long time these days when reviewing film suppliers. This is a 2014 thread

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