film processing : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I am just starting out in this 4x5 stuff. The lab that I used to get negative film developed has stopped providing this service. They will still develop transparencies. Is it worth it to try to learn how to develop the negatives (C-41) myself or should I switch to E-6 film?

(if I switch to E-6 film what is the best way to print from transparencies?)

-- Benjamin Hilyer (, March 23, 2000


c-41 is a piece of cake. Printing from transparancies is a pain.

-- Bill Mitchell (, March 23, 2000.

If you want prints, shoot print film. You can always mail them off to be processed. If you switch to chromes, you can have Ilfochromes made, but be prepared to spend some money.

-- Ron Shaw (, March 23, 2000.

Benjamin: I suggest you contact your local photography studios for their recommendations on a color lab. There are numerous labs that do large format processing for the professional photographers. Also, check in Shutterbug for a listing of labs where you can send stuff to. C-41 can be done on a limited basis, but it is expensive to do in small amounts. You can do both the C-41 and the prints in a home darkroom, but you have to be a glutton from punishment and have a basement full of money to do it right. You need a color head enlarger, temperature control, color analyser, at least a color drum, and tons of color paper. The chemistry does not keep long. It ain't practical. E-6 requires exact temperature control, expensive chemicals, ect. and you still have to have a print made. Use a good color lab. Work with them until you get what you want and then furnish detailed instructions when you send an order in. It's a lot cheaper in the long run, and you have someone to fuss at when the finished product is less than what you want. Regards, Doug.

-- Doug Paramore (, March 23, 2000.

When you shop for a lab make sure to tell them you are talking about 4x5 film. Not all of them do, even though their ads say that they process "professional" film (that usually means 120)

-- Tony Brent (, March 25, 2000.

E-6 is a pain to do at home. I tried it for a while and decided it just wasnt worth the effort, and got much better results from Prolab in Seattle. On the other hand I dont see any reason you cant learn to make Ilfochrome prints from your transparencies. Its not cheap, but once you learn it its cheaper than a lab. Some people say negative printing is easier but I've never tried it.

If you decide to go E-6 its worth the effort to shop around for a cheap but good place. Thats probably true for any process. I cant get slides done locally for under $2.50 a sheet, so I still send my slides off for processing.

-- Wayne (, March 25, 2000.

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