Art and Photography

Can Anyone Breakdown Film Developing in the GTA?

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  • Jul 15th, 2017 7:35 am
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For people downtown I've been getting rolls developed at West Camera and they've been good so far. It's about $5 a roll for 35mm uncut negatives. I think it's another $1 if you want them cut and sleeved. I scan my own film with my DSLR, a film holder and a light box.
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Resurrecting this thread as I'm just starting to get into 35mm film photography... Need some Toronto suggestions. I have a friend who gets b&w developed in Toronto Image Works, another who goes to Downtown camera, but he also develops/scans his own b&w. Anyway, suggestions are welcome:

- What's the best/cheapest place to buy film (online or B&M)?
- Any suggestions on good, decently priced film? This is just a hobby for me...
- Where's the best place for developing/scanning film? Cheapest place? Best value?
- If I want to try developing my own b&w film in a dark bag and scan it, what's the initial startup cost?
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M1GOmigs wrote:
Apr 26th, 2017 2:37 pm
Resurrecting this thread as I'm just starting to get into 35mm film photography... Need some Toronto suggestions. I have a friend who gets b&w developed in Toronto Image Works, another who goes to Downtown camera, but he also develops/scans his own b&w. Anyway, suggestions are welcome:

- What's the best/cheapest place to buy film (online or B&M)?
- Any suggestions on good, decently priced film? This is just a hobby for me...
- Where's the best place for developing/scanning film? Cheapest place? Best value?
- If I want to try developing my own b&w film in a dark bag and scan it, what's the initial startup cost?
- I find B&H to be the cheapest place to purchase film
- For film I like Tri-X and HP5+ but for inexpensive film Agfa Vista and Arista Edu are also pretty good
- I'm not using West Camera anymore because I find Northern Artist (Yonge and St.Clair) to be easier for me to get to. Both do good work. Don't know if there are cheaper options but these two stores are $7 a roll processed only.
- Startup cost for developing can be cheap if you can find a good setup used but for new stuff it would probably be around $150 from B&H (changing bag, canister opener, developing tank and reels, developer, fixer and stop, chemical storage, mixing containers, thermometer and maybe a few more things I'm forgetting).
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Crappymonkey wrote:
Apr 26th, 2017 4:47 pm
- I find B&H to be the cheapest place to purchase film
- For film I like Tri-X and HP5+ but for inexpensive film Agfa Vista and Arista Edu are also pretty good
- I'm not using West Camera anymore because I find Northern Artist (Yonge and St.Clair) to be easier for me to get to. Both do good work. Don't know if there are cheaper options but these two stores are $7 a roll processed only.
- Startup cost for developing can be cheap if you can find a good setup used but for new stuff it would probably be around $150 from B&H (changing bag, canister opener, developing tank and reels, developer, fixer and stop, chemical storage, mixing containers, thermometer and maybe a few more things I'm forgetting).
Awesome, thanks for this!
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I'm literally omw to Henry's to look at film now
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M1GOmigs wrote:
Apr 26th, 2017 2:37 pm
Resurrecting this thread as I'm just starting to get into 35mm film photography... Need some Toronto suggestions. I have a friend who gets b&w developed in Toronto Image Works, another who goes to Downtown camera, but he also develops/scans his own b&w. Anyway, suggestions are welcome:

- What's the best/cheapest place to buy film (online or B&M)?
- Any suggestions on good, decently priced film? This is just a hobby for me...
- Where's the best place for developing/scanning film? Cheapest place? Best value?
- If I want to try developing my own b&w film in a dark bag and scan it, what's the initial startup cost?
- I usually buy my film online thru B&H. They are usually cheaper and films like Kodak are duty free. Lately, alot of Canadian retailers like Downtown Camera has been lowering the prices of film so they aren't a bad option. The cheapest I've found for film is from buyfilm.ca they are new and I've never used them before so I can't comment on that.

- best place for me to develop film is from TIW. They aren't cheap but you can get a 10% discount if you pay in advance. The only reason why I use them is because they are literally the only place that haven't screwed up my film lol I am not so fussy in paying extra couple bucks per roll (as I'm also doing this for a hobby), but it's pretty heart breaking when you know the store screws up your film as you can never fix it.

-for scanning, the best is to buy a scanner yourself. Most hobbiest usually start with the Epson v600/v550 as they are good value. I got mine refurb from Epson for $120. I would say pick your scanner depending on what you use the final image for. If you are only doing it for social media or your own keeping, buying something cheaper is more than enough. You can always use your negatives if you want to print.

- developing your own bw cost usually cost about $100 or so depending if you can make due in your situation. Some people don't need extra measuring bottles, changing bags, etc so their cost can be cheaper. If you are still exploring the different types of film, I would say hold off on your own developing until you know the style and film type you will most likely shoot with. There are no one developer that fits all bw films. Knowing your films also gives you an indication of you screw up the developing process or not lol
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MoonDoggy wrote:
Apr 27th, 2017 10:43 am
- I usually buy my film online thru B&H. They are usually cheaper and films like Kodak are duty free. Lately, alot of Canadian retailers like Downtown Camera has been lowering the prices of film so they aren't a bad option. The cheapest I've found for film is from buyfilm.ca they are new and I've never used them before so I can't comment on that.

- best place for me to develop film is from TIW. They aren't cheap but you can get a 10% discount if you pay in advance. The only reason why I use them is because they are literally the only place that haven't screwed up my film lol I am not so fussy in paying extra couple bucks per roll (as I'm also doing this for a hobby), but it's pretty heart breaking when you know the store screws up your film as you can never fix it.

-for scanning, the best is to buy a scanner yourself. Most hobbiest usually start with the Epson v600/v550 as they are good value. I got mine refurb from Epson for $120. I would say pick your scanner depending on what you use the final image for. If you are only doing it for social media or your own keeping, buying something cheaper is more than enough. You can always use your negatives if you want to print.

- developing your own bw cost usually cost about $100 or so depending if you can make due in your situation. Some people don't need extra measuring bottles, changing bags, etc so their cost can be cheaper. If you are still exploring the different types of film, I would say hold off on your own developing until you know the style and film type you will most likely shoot with. There are no one developer that fits all bw films. Knowing your films also gives you an indication of you screw up the developing process or not lol
Thank you... this is very helpful! I'm definitely not in a rush to start developing my own just yet, especially since I have a 1 year old running around and not much in the way of space. But if I'm able to grab a scanner for a decent price, then that at least lessens the cost when I get my film developed.
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Some good advice here already. My two cents:

  • B&H or Adorama are good places to buy film online. Freestyle in LA used to be great too, but the shipping may kill the deal.
  • I would suggest Tri-X or HP5 Plus to start with, especially if you are not developing the film yourself. Arista.EDU is OK but tends to curl, and commercial labs might not know what to do with it (B&W developing is not a standard process and commercial labs tend to be heavy-handed with it). There is a lot to be said for choosing a film like Tri-X and sticking with it for your first 20-30 rolls.
  • Buying your own scanner will definitely cut costs, but be sure to budget time for scanning and retouching. Hardware dust-removal tools cannot be used on conventional B&W film.
  • You might also consider using Ilford XP2 Super to start. It is a chromogenic B&W that handles and processes as a C-41 colour negative film, so commercial processing will be cheaper and faster. To top it off, hardware dust-removal tools do work with this film. It has a nice look to it as well. If you are short on space and don't want to handle the chemistry at home, you could easily just use XP2 Super as your main film, have it processed commercially and scan at home as needed (wouldn't recommend this approach with conventional B&W film, as it really needs custom treatment to perform its best).
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JHW wrote:
Apr 28th, 2017 1:00 pm
Some good advice here already. My two cents:

  • B&H or Adorama are good places to buy film online. Freestyle in LA used to be great too, but the shipping may kill the deal.
  • I would suggest Tri-X or HP5 Plus to start with, especially if you are not developing the film yourself. Arista.EDU is OK but tends to curl, and commercial labs might not know what to do with it (B&W developing is not a standard process and commercial labs tend to be heavy-handed with it). There is a lot to be said for choosing a film like Tri-X and sticking with it for your first 20-30 rolls.
  • Buying your own scanner will definitely cut costs, but be sure to budget time for scanning and retouching. Hardware dust-removal tools cannot be used on conventional B&W film.
  • You might also consider using Ilford XP2 Super to start. It is a chromogenic B&W that handles and processes as a C-41 colour negative film, so commercial processing will be cheaper and faster. To top it off, hardware dust-removal tools do work with this film. It has a nice look to it as well. If you are short on space and don't want to handle the chemistry at home, you could easily just use XP2 Super as your main film, have it processed commercially and scan at home as needed (wouldn't recommend this approach with conventional B&W film, as it really needs custom treatment to perform its best).
Thanks! Learning something new with every post!

I've been told by several people that tri-x and hp5 are good, so that's probably what I'll stick to. Although good to know about the XP2... I'd love to eventually get into home processing b&w, and my wife's done it before so at least I'm not totally flying blind.

I am getting a scanner, although everyone tells me how time consuming it can be... I'll just have to sacrifice some of my videogame time to properly scan and retouch. Plus, the impending end of the NBA season should give me some free time ;) I've had some people say that they tend to use lightroom much less when they work with film vs digital, although that's probably also because it's a hobby vs actual work.
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^ What really takes time is cloning out the dust marks on the scanned images. It's a pain, and using XP2 Super plus ICE on your scanner saves you from that pain.

PM me if you want more info.
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I may have bought way more film than I can shoot

Have some Fuji 800, 400, 200, and Kodak Golds. I do have some Fuji Slide film too.

PM what you want!
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bhrm wrote:
Apr 28th, 2017 4:44 pm
I may have bought way more film than I can shoot

Have some Fuji 800, 400, 200, and Kodak Golds. I do have some Fuji Slide film too.

PM what you want!
Darn, I forgot you posted this... oh well, next time. What Fuji film is it, Industrial?

I just put in an order for a variety of film at www.buyfilm.ca so we'll see how that goes. The owner seems like a good guy though. Also, they just ended a promo where if you order over $100 in film, they throw in a Ricoh Point & Shoot as well as free shipping... Looks like they've also lowered their shipping costs.

So far I've shot Kodak Portra 400 and Fuji Superia 400 on a Minolta SRT-102. I just got a Canon AE-1 and can't wait to see how the photos from those turned out, shooting Superia 200.

Shooting film is super addictive, and if I wasn't already invested in the Fuji system, I probably could see myself fully shooting film.
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I have a spare 45mm f2 for the Minolta MD mount
I may also feel like parting with one of my X700's as well, i have two. Big plus is metering and electric shutter powered by dollar store batteries, no expensive zinc-air nonsense.

Films are Superia
M1GOmigs wrote:
May 16th, 2017 3:38 pm
Darn, I forgot you posted this... oh well, next time. What Fuji film is it, Industrial?

I just put in an order for a variety of film at www.buyfilm.ca so we'll see how that goes. The owner seems like a good guy though. Also, they just ended a promo where if you order over $100 in film, they throw in a Ricoh Point & Shoot as well as free shipping... Looks like they've also lowered their shipping costs.

So far I've shot Kodak Portra 400 and Fuji Superia 400 on a Minolta SRT-102. I just got a Canon AE-1 and can't wait to see how the photos from those turned out, shooting Superia 200.

Shooting film is super addictive, and if I wasn't already invested in the Fuji system, I probably could see myself fully shooting film.
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The Canon AE-1 is a classic. One of the great things about these older SLRs from Canon is that you can easily find really nice lenses on the second-hand market.

Another "sleeper" brand is Olympus. Their manual focus cameras, and the lenses that go with them, are great.

Portra 400 is a very nice film. Another colour neg film to try (I assume Fuji still makes it...) is Reala. I was never really fond of the Superia series. The colours seemed garish to me (but these days, anything can be fixed in PS).

All this film talk has me thinking about my old Rolleiflex. Maybe it's time to break it out and put some rolls through it this weekend!
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JHW wrote:
May 17th, 2017 9:35 am
The Canon AE-1 is a classic. One of the great things about these older SLRs from Canon is that you can easily find really nice lenses on the second-hand market.

Another "sleeper" brand is Olympus. Their manual focus cameras, and the lenses that go with them, are great.

Portra 400 is a very nice film. Another colour neg film to try (I assume Fuji still makes it...) is Reala. I was never really fond of the Superia series. The colours seemed garish to me (but these days, anything can be fixed in PS).

All this film talk has me thinking about my old Rolleiflex. Maybe it's time to break it out and put some rolls through it this weekend!
Yeah, I've shot two rolls of Superia (400 and 200) and the colours are just weird... and this is shooting indoor and out. It does give it a kind of "retro film vibe" though... and TBH, I barely do any post processing on the photos I'm taking. If I really wanted ultra sharp, vibrant photos with natural colours, I'll just pull out my Fuji X-T1.

I currently have an AE-1, and managed to get an AT-1 as well (pretty much similar camera but with needle metering system)... unfortunately it seems like the lightproof seams on that one are really degraded... All in all, I've spent $30 plus a 7 year old Fuji digital camera in exchange for all my film gear :D
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