120 (645) print processing - any good, inexpensive labs?

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by bobatkins, Sep 23, 1998.

  1. I'm looking for a decent, inexpensive lab to process and print 645
    format negatives. Any suggestions? I read about Sunset Color lab
    in another thread, but they sound a bit odd (no credit cards etc.).
    "Reliable Photo" advertise in Pop Photog and their prices seem
    reasonable. Anyone here used them? They seem to be set up for
    wedding/portrait stuff, but I guess that's the norm for 120.

    <p>

    What about Kodak? They sell a DP-12 mailer, which I assume is for
    6x6 format? Has anyone sent them a 645 format film, if so what did
    they do with it?

    <p>

    Most of my work is landscapes, still life etc., not portraits and
    weddings, so ideally I suppose I'd prefer a lab not set up for VPS
    and low contrast printing, but I suppose I'm asking a bit much,
    especially with the "inexpensive" qualifier!
     
  2. Answering my own question in part(!), it seems that the Kodak DP-12
    may be for 35mm 12exp (though the PK-12 is for 120 slides...).

    <p>

    How about Porters? Anyone used their 120 mailers ($7.95)? Their
    catalog doesn't comment on 645 vs. 6x6 vs. 6x7 formats though.
     
  3. Try www.photo-tek.com they have good prices and take Visa and Master card, amex,Discover.
     
  4. I HAVE HAD VERY GOOD RESULTS WITH ABC PHOTO AND IMAGING SERVICES IN
    MANASSAS, VA. 1-800-368-4044 ASK FOR MELISSA KING
     
  5. I tried Reliable and had excellent results the first couple of
    times. I then had questionable results two time in a row. Their
    prices are certainly fair, but I'm not real confident in their
    consistency after my experience. I've recently tried LPL Photoworks,
    1201 West Broadway, Minneapolis, MN 55411 (Ph 612/588-7861) and the
    two batches I've sent there were done very nicely and their prices
    are very competitive.
     
  6. Why do you want to use a mail order lab? Aren't there any labs in your area which will handle 645?
    One lab I use quite regularly for developing and proof prints is Overlake Photo. They do mail order, and they are inexpensive. Every 10 rolls processed gets you the 11th one free. They also have quantity discounts. The B&W developer they use is Rodinal, and they use dip & dunk tanks. Nothing goes through rollers.
    Problems I've had with them: Their 8x10 prints are sometimes really awfull. Who, us, focus the enlarger? What water stains on the print? You can't prove we etched that finger print into your slide. If its a machine-made proof print, it'll be OK. I think they do better 35mm work than MF.
    On occasion an 8x10 will come out right. Usually it doesn't. The 8x10 of flowers on my wall using Fuji 100/1000 at 800/1000 was done by them (they also processed the film) and its one of two prints they did right.
    Specify "do not cut film" on your order. The less they handle the film, the better. I don't recommend that you send them 220, as the tanks they use are the "short" ones, so the film is draped over a hanger. Sometimes it's not centered, so there might be a small hanger mark inside the frame. I haven't seen the mark show on the light box.
    Yes, I do use them a lot. I don't bother with them for custom prints, and if I do have them do a print then it's with film I really don't care about. Otherwise, they process a lot of film for me. My last order with them was about 20 rolls. Two of the E-6 had a red stain in the first frame, so they ran it back through the bleach/fix and the film came out fine. They have pulled and pushed E-6 for me quite nicely. Don't use them for Kodak HIE or Tech Pan. Other than that, the're OK.
     
  7. Try Photo Finishing Specialists http://www.pfsphoto.com.
     
  8. I just tried Reliable and they screwed up my order by printing the wrong
    size proofs, 3x5 instead of 5x7. I don't see how they can think anyone who
    shoots 120 would want a 3" proof! I thought print quality was just okay.
    They took a long time also, about 6 weeks.

    <p>

    Sunset is slow also but they have never made a mistake order wise and
    their work looks good.

    <p>

    Patience is the key with these low price guys.
     
  9. I have my 120 645 negs processed at Sears Ala Moana 1 hour photo in Honolulu, Hawaii. They will reprint if the color balance is off at no charge. Helps to gets to know the workers; complement them when prints are good; and even when some prints need to be redone. Try to establish a personal professional relationship with any lab and they will put extra care in handling your negs.

    <p>

    Not all mini labs handle 120; depends on what machine they use.
    Those that handle 120 film can generally print to 6X6 but 6X7 and 6X9 can be a problem finding a minilab processor

    <p>

    I have tried so-called pro labs wiith poor results. Had negatives destroyed by their faulty processing.
     
  10. In the distant past, I found that the Kodak mailers are o.k if you
    like very small prints. I use Dorian Color Lab in Arlington, MA. They
    are the only people who touch my color film now! I have tried MANY and
    have come to trust these people with the most valuable and the regular
    film also.
     

Share This Page

1111