Scan at home or pay the lab?

Started 6 months ago | Discussions thread
Macro guy
Macro guy Veteran Member • Posts: 3,511
Re: Scan at home or pay the lab?

rinser wrote:


I'm an absolute beginner at this. I have a Yashica 124g. I have rolls of 120 film I need to develop.

Because I'm just starting out I was going to leave everything to the lab...but then I saw how much it's going to cost.

I'm in London and to develop into negatives is about £10. This goes up to £15 for negatives and prints, another few quid for them to be scanned.

Added to this is the cost of the film and the postage...I'm looking at around £1.50 - £2 a photograph.

How does everyone else here manage? Would love to know how you approach this

One, probably naive, idea I had was to pay for the negatives, then scan myself. The cost of a decent scanner like the canon 9000 is around £200 - does it make sense to spend on a scanner, and have the lab do the negatives?

One final thought was this - how hard is it to develop negatives yourself? To cut out the lab altogether is tempting but I'm a novice and the learning curve just trying to take the photographs is steep enough!

Thank you in advance for any advice.



It's not hard to develop film yourself, BUT you need equipment to do it like a developing tank, chemicals, bottles,thermometer, reels and the like to do it.  Furthermore, you need different chemicals for different types of film.  B&W neg film uses one set, color neg film uses another set and color slide film uses a third set.

So, you're looking at about $150 worth of chemicals/equipment to start with.  Then, you have the cost of a scanner and then you have the time you need to invest to scan your images.  Even when everything goes ok, it's a COLOSSAL pain in the rear.

Besides, if you're going to digitize your images anyway, what's the point of shooting film?  You may as well shoot digital.  If you're going to print them analog style, then you need an enlarger, a timer, trays, chemicals, paper, grain focuser, on and on and on and on.

I'm old enough to have shot most of my life with film and back when digital wasn't available, I avoided the darkroom like a plague.  I would shoot slides, let the lab develop them and only a few really good ones would get printed.  Back then, film was cheap and so was the developing. For the most part, printing was cheap as well, but not if you wanted a really well made print.  That was very expensive and that's why I only printed when I had an exhibition.
Frankly, I see no point in shooting film and going through all this trouble and the expense just to have a digital file.  You'll be much better off shooting with a digital camera.

If you insist on shooting film, then shoot slide film, send the film to the lab, get a slide projector and a scanner and only scan the very best images.

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