Printing B/W Negatives at Digital Lab?

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by victor_hooi, Nov 29, 2007.

  1. heya,

    I have some B/W negatives that I've developed and printed before.

    I need to have some prints done fairly soon, and I don't really have time to get
    to a darkroom and make some more prints.

    A traditional lab I use (Blanco Negro) can do it, but it's a bit expensive,
    considering the number of prints I need done, and the sizes.

    I rang up a local Harvey Norman (a computer superstore we have in Australia -
    probably a bit like Best Buys?), and they said they could do it.

    However, what sort of quality can I expect out of this? I guess there would be a
    big difference between doing it on B/W paper, and having it done at a digital
    lab - is there any way to emulate the B/W effect? Can you emulate toning?

    Or if anybody knows a cheap way of getting B/W prints done in Sydney....=).

    Thanks,
    Victor
     
  2. A well calibrated digital RA-4 printer can produce reasonable B&W prints. They may not be totally neutral in tone, may have a slight color cast. The blacks will not be as deep as a true B&W print.

    If not well calibrated, they may have a serious color cast, and not the same one from shadow to highlight.

    If you can get good scans of the negatives, mpix.com can print digitally on real B&W paper from Ilford.
     
  3. Depends on whether or not you have scans already. I've found the weak link in the digital
    minilab is the poor scans, especially with blown highlights and grainy blacks. You can
    adjust the darks down after the fact, but blown highlights can only be fixed by rescanning.

    That being said, I like taking my C41 film to a digital minilab for dev and scans because
    for $2, it's all so quick and painless. I then rescan the keepers at higher quality at home.

    As far as color cast, I've found a lot of time the ridiculous color cast with the C41 BW films
    is in the jpg scans as well. When I get proper monochrome jpgs printed at digital minilabs
    or a place like WHCC, I've found that they acceptably monochrome without much in the
    way of a color cast.
     

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