UK Lab Recommendations Needed - thanks!

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by stuart_templeton, May 16, 2016.

  1. Hi All,
    I’m new to the forum so apologies if I’ve repeated an oft-asked subject – I did do a search but couldn’t find anything current. If there is something I missed feel free to lock/freeze /delete the thread if needed (just please pass me the link first).
    I used to shoot a lot of 35mm film up until about 2008/9 when I started to lose my interest in photography and things came to a halt (long story).
    However the bug has started to nibble again and I’ve recently started dusting off my 35mm gear and digging out those old rolls of film I’ve like to get developed finally – just one thing – where on earth do I send them as all my old labs have closed!!!
    I’ve tried a couple of on-line mail order labs thus far, but I wasn’t overly blown away by what I got back. So could somebody please recommend a good lab in the UK - I’m local to Milton Keynes if it helps, but I don’t mind doing it by mail (part of the fun of film is the wait after all).
    As I’m only really a Snap-Shooter I’m not after perfection but I would like to get something back of reasonable quality - even if I do mainly get 6x4 and 5x7 prints and scans. I do occasionally however shoot stuff like XP2 and slide film so it would be good to know somebody that knows what they’re doing with those types of film too (I’ve seen some awful dev work on XP2 in the past).
    Thanks in advance for the help – when I finally get some good scans I’ll stick a few in my gallery.
  2. Stuart, welcome to I send mine to Palm Laboratories in Birmingham, and have been happy with the results, although postage is a pain:
    For C41 35mm colour print film, in my area at least (Leicester) the larger Boots stores still provide a developing, printing and scanning service.
  3. david_henderson


  4. Another vote for Peak Imaging. I've used them for ages and have just rung them about processing some E6 4x5: one of their comments started 'most of our customers ...' -- if they're in a position where they have more than one customer sending in E6 4x5 in 2016 I think they clearly know what they're doing!
    I am sure other labs are also fine, but Peak Imaging definitely are.

    PS if you are planning on processing a substantial amount of B/W buy a tank and a few bits and do it yourself: it really is easy and very cheap if you use something like Rodinal which lasts for ever.
  5. Thanks for the Response Gents - I'll certainly check out both palm and Peak (3 votes can't be bad).
    As for the B&W question - I have considered that. I have about 5 rolls of HP5 that need to be developed but what's stopping getting that done (and shooting more) is the cost. I've often thought of getting some basic Dev equipment and doing it myself (my wife even has experience in doing it) but without access to a decent film scanner or a darkroom I'm not sure what I'd actually do with the negatives.
  6. Stuart: not a completely serious reply, but the thing to do with B/W is get access to a darkroom and make prints. Obviously this is not practical if you aren't somewhere where there is a shared darkroom or willing to dedicate significant space and money to one, but making B/W prints is extremely satisfying, at least for me.
  7. While I'm in the US, from what I've read the Ilford UK lab for B&W is a wonderful service.
  8. Tim - I'm not likely to get one myself but thiking about it there is a local photography club that's more than lilely to have one... certainly worth thinking about.
    I could go the scanner route - I've noticed you can pick up Nikon Coolscan 35mm scaners for sub £100 althogh I admit I know nothing about them.

    John - I'll look into Ilford - thanks!
  9. Hi, I've returned to film and develop and scan my own black and white and colour. I picked up a EPSOM 4490 film scanner for less than£50 on ebay and get good results for 35 and120 film.
    Developing your own is significantly cheaper. If you're not confident, lots of local Art Schools and FE colleges still offer courses. Good luck!
  10. david_henderson


    Unless your volume of film usage is high, I'm not at all sure that reduced cost is a good reason to process your own film because I think the saving will be pretty trivial. I think the best reason to process yourself is if you have a desire to control the entire process yourself, which might also include scanning yourself and /or making prints yourself whether analogue or digital. Its not even really a quality thing, and there's plenty of people making or having made quality monochrome prints that don't develop their film personally. Its something you either want to do or you don't.
  11. Peak imaging did some great jobs for me

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