Managing film with mailorder labs.

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by raymondc, Jan 11, 2011.

  1. Hi, just a newbie question, as I have yet to get my LF camera.
    1. If I am sending out film to be processed, how do I package them?
    2. I don't have a darkroom. Are colour quickload/readyload film discontinued?
    3. If they are I have no idea how I am going to load the film into holders.
    4. Could one use Cokin P filters or are they too small? I've been reading some books on LF.
  2. 1. In a 3-part film box. Preferably taped shut with a note to return the box to you.
    2. I think so.
    3. Using a changing bag. They are inexpensive.
    4. Depends upon which lens you are using. Reading books is good!
  3. There are also very opaque black plastic bags for storing/shipping sheet film in. Using one inside the 3-part box would also be a good idea.
    There's remaining inventory of both Kodak Quickload and Fuji Readyload film. Kodak punted because the Polaroid asset strippers scrapped the equipment to make them. Fuji dropped them for business reasons. Some are available at attractive prices.
    Note that they used to cost twice as much as "naked" sheet film.
    You might want a changing tent instead of a changing bag to load film holders in. If you get a changing bag, be sure it's cotton, not nylon, which become instant sweat lodges...
  4. I have had good luck with the box the bilm came in. I save the internal packaging and put the exposed sheets back in the box the way they came . . .with black tpe. I shoot in both 4x5 and 8x10 and use a changing bag. Sometimes the bathroom in a hotel can be dark enough with all the lights out in the room.
  5. 01. Padded envelope
    02. Don't know
    03. Changing tent
    04. Depends on the size of your lens, the front diameter and if it is a wide or even a very wide angle lens. The Z series accepts Cookin filters as well as Lee filters (100mm). The Cookin filter holder is moderately priced, and if you want better filters than the Cookins you can invest into Lee filters later. Check the Cookin site for details, they have some notes which filter size is best for which lens diameter, etc.
  6. I saved a couple of Ilford B&W paper packages, 5x7 is perfect (10 shts). There's a black plastic bag that folds over at the top, fits in a cardboard sleeve that can be taped and mailed as-is.
  7. 1. In a light tight box or container with adequate crush protection. The light tight 3 part box that sheet film is purchased in is good, or if you do buy Quickloads you can just use the box they came in. You may want to mark the box with "exposed film do not expose to light" if you think a moron will handle it at some point. If you need some extra boxes initially just post on this forum asking for them or contact the shop that will process your film for some.

    2 +3 It is easy to make a room dark and working at night also helps. If you end up using the typical film holders where you load individual sheets from boxes into the film holders there are lots of instructional videos on YouTube about how to load them.Quickloads and Readyloads have been discontinued but there is still some film around. You need to buy the specific holder for each type of QL or RL film and there is no sense buying the holders at this point unless they are very cheap, or you find a huge stash of QL or RL film. At this point you may as well purcahse and use regular film holders and sheet film from boxes. Just buy some used film holders that are in good shape that don't have light leaks.

    If you live near the west coast Samy's Camera in Santa Barbara has very cheap film processing rates for 4x5 film.

    East Coast
  8. I live on the East Coast but the labs in my area are horrible. So since I'm sending my film anyway, I figured there's not a lot of difference between sending it to NYC or LA. So I've been using Samys with great results. And great prices!
    I put the sheets in the original 3-part box. I tape it shut on all sides, just to be sure. I wrap it in a bit of paper or bubble wrap and use the 'small' USPS priority mail box. It's $4.95 plus a bit extra for tracking, which I always do and I consider VERY important. The 'small' boxes are a perfect size, though I guess a padded envelope would also work just as well.
    You could use a changing bag, or find a dark room in your home (doesn't need to be an official darkroom!). I use a powder room that doesn't have a window. The door isn't totally light-tight, so I normally load at night and stuff a towel under the door. I may add weatherstripping to the door to make it easier to load during the day. Or I may build a small loading room in my basement.
    Quickloads and readyloads are discontinued, but some limited supplies are still available. I wouldn't bother unless you already have the holder and if the film you like is one of the few available.
  9. What if you have to send the from outside the US? What about the x-rays? How do you protect them?

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