Processing Kodak Disc Film --- Where Do I Go?

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by mark_johnson|44, Sep 13, 2013.

  1. Hi. I live in Chicago, Illinois, and I am interested in having some Kodak disc film processed. I have one disc with 15 exposures, and the photos were taken 25 years ago.
    I have done some research, and I found four labs in the United States that can process disc film. These labs are the following:
    Rocky Mountain Photo Lab (http://www.rockymountainfilm.com/disc.htm)
    Rapid Photo (http://www.rapidphoto.net/Disc_Film_Services.html)
    Film Rescue International (http://www.filmrescue.com/old-still-film-developing)
    Dwayne's Photo (http://www.dwaynesphoto.com/newsite2006/disc-126-film.html)
    Rocky Mountain will process one disc, scan the disc to make digital images, put the digital images onto a CD, and create prints, for $36.50.
    Rapid Photo will do the same for $33.20.
    Film Rescue will do the same for $53.70. Without the prints (CD only), the total is $38.85.
    Rocky Mountain and Rapid Photo do not give any guarantees with respect to results. These labs will charge their prices, whether the results are good or bad. However, Film Rescue will not charge any money if none of the 15 exposures can be developed.
    Now we come to Dwayne's Photo. Dwayne's will process one disc and create prints for only $9.00. There is no scanning, and there is no CD. Dwayne's does not guarantee results.
    It appears that Dwayne's has a very cheap price. Is the price cheap because Dwayne's wants to offer a great service to its customers at a very low price? Or, is the price cheap because Dwayne's offers a very bad and very crappy service?
    My first thought was to go to Dwayne's. But, if Dwayne's is crappy, then perhaps I should go to Film Rescue. Film Rescue may be more expensive than Rocky Mountain and Rapid Photo, but at least Film Rescue will not charge me anything if none of the 15 exposures can be developed.
    I would greatly appreciate the opinions of the people on this forum. Thank you!
     
  2. Rocky Mountain is a scam house. Do an Internet search.

    If you send them your film you will never see it again.

    Do an Internet search.
     
  3. Dwayne's was the last place that did Kodachrome development. Even Kodak stopped and sent people to Dwayne's. I have no idea about their disc processing but everyone here was pretty happy with their Kodachrome and lots of people here still send them E6.
     
  4. Dwayne's will do the standard C-41 process very well. This would be appropriate for fresh Disc film perfectly and recently exposed. But your film was exposed 25 years ago, and probably will provide somewhat to rather marginal results with standard processing.
    Film Rescue does a custom version of the C-41 process designed to get the best out of film exposed a long time ago. They will use a high contrast first developer at low temperature. So they will definitely give better results.
    How was the film stored for the last 25 years? In an air-tight bag in a refrigerator or freezer? Or at room temperature in an non-air-conditioned house? The former, Dwayne's results could be OK. The latter, go with Film Rescue.
     
  5. Humm... I did find LOTS of bad reviews about Rocky Mountain, so I think I would stay away from that place. The only lab from your list that I have used, (many, many times), is Dwaynes. I have always had excellent service from them, with any kind of film. I think their prices are low simply because they are one of the oldest, (maybe THE oldest), lab still operating. They were the last lab in existence to process Kodachrome. They can probably do things a little cheaper because so much of the cost of doing business has already been absorbed over many years. They also do not bother with what I call "fluff". They do not create online galleries of your photos and the only email you will get from them is when your package has shipped, with a tracking number. I think they have streamlined their operations to cut out the nonsense so the price for what is actually important can be reduced. As for no scanning or CD, look closely on their order form. Scanning / CD is, (as far as I have always seen), available at extra cost. I think it is an extra $3, and the scans are large and usable, ... not tiny things good only for email. Also, Dwaynes does not rip you off with unrealistically high return shipping costs. Bottom line, I highly suggest you try Dwaynes. Low cost does not always equal bad product or service.
     
  6. I'd go with Dwaynes. You can always scan the prints with a flatbed scanner. The extreme enlargement required from disc negatives even to get a 3X print is so great that there's no real advantage to having a direct scan of the negatives. When you scan your prints you can make color corrections to compensate for color shift if the colors haven't shifted too much. If so you can scan it as black & white.
     
  7. Dawyne's is one of the highest volume film processors around (if not the highest, outside of the ones that do the work for movie studios). They have a history of big deals with both Kodak (last Kodachrome lab standing) and Fuji (handled their envelope mailers for years). If they're less expensive than the others it's because of that.
    I have no problem with sending out anything to them. And really, what would you rather spend, $9 that you don't get back if the images don't come out, or $53 that you do? I'd do that and scan the prints. You won't get as much image quality as a film scan would, but when you're shooting disc film it's not really about image quality.
     
  8. Well, I've seen the reviews of Rocky Mountain on yelp, and these reviews are, indeed, scathing.
    Regarding the question of where my film was stored for 25 years, the film was in my home's lowest level, in a dresser drawer in the vicinity of my family room. And, yes, my home is air-conditioned in hot weather. Since my film was not in a refrigerator or a freezer, Film Rescue is probably a better choice than Dwayne's.
    I saw one review of Rapid Photo. The reviewer said that he submitted four rolls of film. Two rolls produced good results, and the other two rolls were blank. However, because Rapid Photo does not guarantee results, the reviewer lost $50 on the two blank rolls. Film Rescue, though, does not charge if a roll is blank.
    So, my choice will most likely be Film Rescue.
    Thank you all for your replies.
     
  9. I agree that Film Rescue is the way to go. They actually specialize in this work and are doing something extra (the custom C-41) to make it work. The fact that they don't charge you if it doesn't work is icing on the cake. Personally I would have no problem with a lab charging whether it works or not -- developing 25-year-old film is a crapshoot and they still have to do the labor, use their equipment and chemicals whether anything "comes out" or not.

    No disrespect to Dwayne's but I doubt their prices on this are low because they've absorbed their cost of doing business. I think their prices are low because they run discs through with everything else and don't do anything special to make it work. They evidently still have whatever film holder or slot on their machine to still handle a disc, which was paid for years ago. Beyond that it sounds like 25-year-old discs get the same processing as any other roll of C-41 that shows up in the mail.
     
  10. "And really, what would you rather spend, $9 that you don't get back if the images don't come out, or $53 that you do?"
    If I spend $9 on Dwayne's, and Dwayne's can not successfully develop 25-year-old film, then I lose both the $9 AND the chance to send the film to a more-qualified developer like Film Rescue. If Dwayne's attempts to develop the film and gets no images, then I will not be able to give the film to Film Rescue for re-development. So, I would lose the $9 AND the film. Right?
     
  11. If you still have the film I would contact Horn Photo in Fresno, CA. I recently dropped off a bunch of old expired film there while on a visit, and had it shipped back to me in Indiana. I couldn't be happier with the results! I used them for years while living in California.....and have NEVER been disappointed with their work. http://hornphoto.com/services.html
     

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