Favorite Photolabs, which to Choose...


A photolab that messes up negatives but has cool results or a photolab that prints great images but seems too normal.

Which would you choose?

I bought my Diana F+ Aviator to yield something my digital camera wouldn’t: spontaneous, weird results. As I am slowly learning the ups and downs of film photography i have reached a dilemma…

There are two photolabs relatively nearby to me in Irvine, California that both process 120 film

One of them, Photo Boutique, has some pros and cons:
-It’s closer to where I live
-The weekend volunteer seems easier to communicate with than the Pro Photo Connection people
-The digital scans have edge codes (which are sometimes desired)
-1 hour development
-Sometimes the mistakes end up looking pretty cool
-They have messed up 2 out of 3 of all the rolls I’ve had them develop (on one of the rolls only 6 of 12 images shot came out)
-Some photos have “Newton Rings” ( the weird rainbows near the lamp in this picture)

-Because the tape sometimes has shifted or broken during development the volunteer had to edit the colors and some photos came out under developed -Prints come out on rectangular paper with white borders

The other photolab, Pro Photo Connection, has its pros and cons as well:
-Not only do they develop 120 film but they also carry lots of it and carry some Lomo cameras
-The prints come out on square paper which looks very nice
-The digital scans have edge codes (which are sometimes desired)
-They have a higher chance of NOT messing up
-It’s just a little farther than Photo Boutique
-They to seem a little harder to communicate with (not every photographer is a lomographer)
-The digital scans/prints do not have edge codes (which are sometimes desired)
-Development takes longer, especially in the holiday time
-The pictures and negatives came out TOO perfect

I have decided that I might start having my film developed at Pro Photo but get the negatives scanned at Photo Boutique for edge codes. If it is a set of pictures I wouldn’t mind taking the risk with, then I might go to Photo Boutique.

But now I want to hear from you: Which would you choose? and why?

written by orangeuke on 2010-12-22 #gear #tutorials #lab-rat #tipster #development #120-film #photolabs #film-processing #irvine


  1. rav_bunneh
    rav_bunneh ·

    I'd pick the second. I'd rather have the pictures come out than not come out at all.

  2. mochilis
    mochilis ·

    I normally prefer a lomographer-friendly staff, because they seem to understand better what you want but, on the other hand, the quality of developement and printing (no matter the time it takes) is so important that I would also go for the second lab!

  3. stouf
    stouf ·

    I would go for the first one. And when you say 'on one of the rolls only 6 of 12 images shot came out' this is not their fault. When you process a film it is completely bathed in chemistry, it is impossible to process one shot and not the next one. Maybe you forgot your lens cap? : )

  4. judith_spear
    judith_spear ·

    I'd go with the second photo lab. Your second photo is great - nice vinetting and a cool blurry quality around the edges. For me, I'd like exciting pictures because of something I tried rather than a mess up at the developers. I like getting square prints. If the staff hasn't been super friendly I wonder if you start to go there more often you'll find a more knowlegable employee.

  5. bass_clarinet_2000
    bass_clarinet_2000 ·

    I would go with the second. I would like my pictures to come out. The cool messed up ones are thrilling, but it is worth the price of getting them developed to be messed up? Do they cut you a break if they messed up a film?

  6. orangeuke
    orangeuke ·

    Thanks to everyone for all the comments! This was my first Tipster! @Stouf the lens cap was off and you can slightly make out the dark picutres but it's because in certain cases the tape had broke and rhe film was underdeveloped the results are still interesting though and because lomo is one of my loves and hobbies I am happy with most anything :) @bass_clarinet_2000 yeah the volunteer is really nice and made me a cd of 3 rolls for the price of one and gave some discounts on big mistakes.

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