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Professional Processing

Last October I started to develop B/W film and up until this week I have not had one film processed in the lab.

For the last couple of months I have been wondering if my developing is any good. I always find fault with it, whether it is the density of the negative or the contrast, it just hasn’t felt right for a while now.

So this weekend I found myself using a Fuji 1600 Neopan in the Leica mini II in a range of conditions from bright daylight, to inside a gallery and finally at home with the family without a flash.

This is a great film, but one I thought was difficult to develop correctly and so I took it to the lab and had it processed by people I trust with all my colour and slide film and used to trust with all my B/W.

The outcome of all of this is that I am happy to keep developing at home as the lab did a worse job on this film than I would. Grain is something I always expect with this film but scratch lines are not. I adjusted the highlight density on the scanned images too as at box speed they managed to blow the film out.

This shouldn’t read as a rant about how fabulous I am – as that is not the point I am trying to make.

What I am wanting to say is that if you are not developing your film at home, you should be, as this is the easy part of photography. Capturing the picture is so much harder than the simple mechanical process of developing, yet developing is part of what makes film a more tactile process.

Posted by simon on March 2, 2011
1 Comment Post a comment
  1. 03/2/2011

    I totally agree on processing your own B&W film because if you don´t you miss the whole process. Sometimes if a lab is reliable it is ok, even though many labs dissapear in the nordic part of Europe. I use a lab in China that is ok, but just for color procesing. Total controll is the best and as soon as I can build a lab home I will take over even the color development..


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