The latest analogue article is designed to help you look at 2 film developing companies to use. Starting out with film one of your earliest problems is choosing what to do with your negatives. Do you try developing yourself or pay someone else?
This article is a brief look at a couple of companies who we have used and are on our recommended list. Proof of their quality will be presented along with their details too.
If you want to try developing yourself, go for it. But if you want to look at your options please read on.
2 film developing companies to use
(Colour film option (35mm))
For those of you who shoot colour, there are so many options. Many local “copy” shops offer express services to help you with this. Just remember to look for c41 when using colour negative film, as this refers to the chemical process. If you are shooting slide film, look for e6 developers.
Starting the journey to film, several companies we tried at different price points – local copy shops, eBay and a company with a website. After finally trying the low priced company from eBay the decision was simple, stick with them.
Foto Factory ONLY process 35mm film, but they were chosen for 3 reasons:
They have returned photos via post within 3 days! Their service was so reliable you get used to it. Quite often I would post Monday and photos would arrive ready for the weekend.
Read that statement again, £3.75! That is correct, so for that, you get low res scans (4.5meg files) on a CD and your negatives. It truly is superb value and one of the cheapest around.
Look around my galleries, my Instagram feeds and you will see the images scanned by them. Their results are first rate and please do not take my word for this, go look for yourself. Any image returned by them that is poor is down to the photographer!
Trialing a company over many months (been using 7-8 months) and over 20 rolls prove their consistency.
2 film developing companies to use
(Medium format + Black & White option)
Many of you will be shooting using black & white as this is supposedly the easiest to develop at home. Some of you may also shoot medium format and since Foto Factory can only process 35mm, this company was used for these too.
So, the recommended option for medium and 35mm b&w is (FilmDev), run by a gentleman called David. Again after trialling other companies I gave this one a try and was blown away by the great customer service and image results.
Filmdev develops all types of film, 35mm, medium format, colour and black & white. My experience relates solely to medium format black and white. They were chosen because:
During the first trial, the owner (David) actually called me to warn me. The parcel had come open during transit and this may cause light leaks. They explained they would do their best and even recommended a solution (using hair bands or rubber bands over the film). After they were developed he called me again to say how many exposures had been lost (not many).
When the negatives and scans came back, I was close to tears. The results were amazing, so many were well exposed and in focus, the colour rendition of the Portra film is sublime. They had done a sterling job, only a few exposure issues due to the light leaks.
Colour processing for 35mm or medium format starts at £4 for low res scans and medium res scans are only £2 more! Black and white prices are approximately double. Again, very reasonable and comparable to the other well-known companies on the internet.
The one thing that makes them different, David invoices after the work is done. This is so rare to see in this digital era.
So far my experience has been limited to colour (Portra) film in medium format. However, both occasions (approx 8 rolls in total) were consistent with each other. Having this experience as a beginner helps you understand the tones and colours of the particular film too. So there are advantages to using the same process and supplier for your work.
As an advocate of not paying for something where possible. Film development has been the one area I will not relax on. I will continue to use the experience and skill of others to ensure quality work is maintained. When the timing is right and I am equipped with some test film, I will look at home developing.
Please do not just take my word for these companies, try them. But to see examples of there work, check out my work here:
or check out this article that features 35mm + medium format work:
If you want to try either company, here are their contact details (tell them Andrew Walmsley recommended you):