Getting into Film pt IV – Processing +


Ok,  you have purchased a camera, some film and you have shot a few rolls of film through the camera what next? What do i do with these films now?

First step is to get the film processed. If the film is a Color Negative or Black & White Negative film, this is still pretty easy as most labs still process these regularly. If it is a color transparency/slide film then they are a bit tougher as labs equipped to process this are getting fewer.

Color negative film being the most common film is simple, take it to your local lab or lab agent, and get it processed, most labs will process the film, and give you the option of develop only, develop with prints and develop with a digital file/cd of the negatives.

Personally, because i have a flatbed scanner at home that does a fabulous job of scanning negatives, so i just go for the develop only option and scan the negatives at home.  However, if you do not have a scanner at home, then i do recommend the develop and scan options.  This gives you both the negative, and a digital copy of the negatives, so if you want prints, you can use the digital files and take advantage of digital print specials that crop up, or post the pics online.

One thing about the lab scanning the negs is check what resolution images they will supply.

The lab we use here at Southern Cameras is pretty good in that they offer 4 different resolution scan options from a small scan designed for 4×6″ print output to a super high resolution that will allow prints up to 12×18 inches or the equivalent of a 20 megapixel image.

At home for scanning, I use my Canon CS9000F II flat bed, with the supplied Canon scan masks. The supplied masks allow upto 10 35mm negative frames, or 4  mounted 35mm slides, or a strip of 120 roll film that depending on the format of the camera will allow 4  645 frames, 3 6×6 frames or a couple of 6×9 frames.

When I am scanning 645 negs for example, i set my scanner to scan at the highest possible resolution which is 9600dpi. If i leave the output at 100% that gives me a scan of over 10,500 pixels on the longest side for an equivalent of around 110 megapixels! The down side is that this makes the files extremely large, with a JPEG image being up to 200mb EACH!   But generally i turn the output down to around 75%, this still gives an scan of around 7900 pixels on the longest side of an image and produces enough detail to deliver superb prints at 12×18 and larger if needed.

If you are shooting Black & White film, you can send it in to a lab for processing, or process it yourself at home.

Processing at home does require a smallish outlay of $$$ for some equipment, plus chemicals. But all in all it is not actually a difficult process.

Processing B+W film at home is worthy of a post on it’s own, and i think for the moment i am going to go deeper in to that in a future post.

After the film is returned, or processed,  I add the film to my archive, i have an app for my phone that i record details of the film into, and when i scan the film, i create a separate folder for each film, named with the type of film, and what number of that type i have used. In the folder is a txt document with the film details, number, what camera it was shot with, dates shot, who processed it.

The scanned film is then put into a negative file, and the page number is recorded with the film date, type and code number  on the files index page.

If i need to print i go to the computer, get the file and send it to the lab to be printed, or if needed i edit the image, or re-scan to a new resolution to print from.


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