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Need Good Online Source For 35mm Print Film And Processing

Here's my dilemma:

I live in the Tulsa, OK area and have recently been having much difficulty finding 35mm film, other than the Kodak color Ultra Max offerings from Walgreens. As of a few weeks ago not one Walgreens store in my area carries their own house brand anymore, which was a real bargain, nor can I even find Kodak BW400CN (I have three rolls remaining). I don't step foot in Wal-Mart, so I have no idea what is available them, but I might look out of sheer desperation. I will look again at the major grocery-stores such as Reasors and Harps, but forget mom-and-pop places and small, independent pharmacies and groceries - nobody carries film anymore.

Processing really limits me. Nobody that I can find around here processes anything other than C-41.

So. That brings me to my next question: Where would be a good place online to buy good black and white film at an economical price? The only place I know of offhand is Freestyle (I have their catalog) and several offerings interest me. Does anyone have positive experience with Arista.EDU Ultra or Arista Premium lines?

As to color film, any opinions regarding the import Kodak Gold 400 GB or import Fuji Superia 400 ISO?

Which brings to mind another concern. Even if I buy some B&W film from Freestyle or another source I will need someone to develop it at a price that won't break me. Again, because nobody locally processes anything other than C-41. Right now, looking at getting just the negatives developed with a CD. In the future I will be getting negatives only so that I can scan them and probably print them myself.

I know, I really should look at learning to develop my own B&W film, maybe even color, but space is so limited in my small house that I don't know if I will ever be able to accomplish that. Still, I can dream.

It is a pity that I got into film photography so recently and so late in life that it appears that I have entered into this hobby at just the time that it is waning in mass popularity and has now become something of a niche.

I will probably purchase a nice digital camera just to have around to capture imagery of casual events such as family gatherings, etc. Still, I love my old Yashica Electro 35 GSN, Kodak Retina 1a and Argus C3. I will use these cameras for very special events as the price of film and processing is rapidly becoming prohibitively expensive on the local retail level.

Yeah, I am a "Noob", but I do appreciate any suggestions and advice anyone can offer.


Developing B&W film is easy and can be done with minimal material and cost.
There will always be a supply of film. There are too many hobbyist and art photographers for the demand not to be able to drive some supply.

If you wanted you could merge the technologies. Do your capture in B&W film, develop it at home, scan it, and print it digitally. Minus the computer and ink jet, you could put together an enlarger-less film darkroom for a lot less than one may think.
A changing bag runs about $25-$30, developing canister the same, a basic set of chemicals would cost maybe $50, and film scanners start at $50ish now. If you use liquid concentrate chemicals, you don't need storage canisters, just a measuring cup and mix up one batch at a time. Add a thermometer to that so you can keep things consistant, and with shipping one can be printing B&W for well under two hundred bucks. You don't even need a "darkroom" just a cardboard box to keep your supplies in.

B&H is a standard in photography supply. Save esoteric chemistry, they have it.
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I was in the exact same boat a few months ago.

First, if you dig around, you MAY find an old camera store that sells film. Other than that, its all online. I find that between Freestyle and B&H, I can find a good price on film and other supplies.

Developing B&W is a piece of cake. Really, the hardest part is practicing winding film onto the reel in compete darkness. If you can find a way to temporarily make a bathroom or closet light tight for long enough to break open a canister, get it onto a reel and into a daylight processing tank, thats all you really need. After that, its about $50 in chemicals, measuring supplies and jugs. I've never done it, but from what I hear, developing C-41 at home is dead easy too. It just takes a little more careful monitoring of temperature.

So, developing is esasy. Printing is a bit more of a challenge.

When I decided to take the plunge into film, I originally wanted to develop B&W, then scan. If you look around though, you might find an enlarger or entire darkroom setup for cheap or free. A darkroom for printing does require a little more thought than just a light tight room or changing bag. If you think it through, you could possibly make the whole thing break down easily. Minimum, you will need a room where no stray white light can get in, a stand for an enlarger, an area for the developing trays, and preferably running water. I'm using a spare bathroom for this. If you don't want to enlarge, you can always get a small setup to do contact prints.

As far as scanning goes, I've gotten mixed reviews. There are a variety of scanners out there ranging from $50 to $2000. The best bet is probably to go with one of the Epson flat bed scanners in the $200 range. If you have an old computer that has a SCSI port, there are a lot of old orphaned SCSI film scanners out there for less than $50

Another option to pursue is developing yourself, then getting a lab to scan. I have not done this yet, but I did some pricing, and found one place that I could get 35mm negatives scanned at a decent resolution for 50 cents an image. I probably won't get entire rolls scanned this way, but its a good option. I'm probably going to be doing this for color film.

Hope this helps. I'm somewhat of a noob too, so don't worry about asking anything. I'll probably be asking along with you!
I can't help on the processing, but have you looked at B&H and Adorama for the film? Since both stores do huge volumes of sales, film should be fresh, and their selection should be excellent. If you're not familiar with them, they are the two biggest NYC camera superstores. Both have excellent service, and usually some of the best prices.
You might be able to source film from a university store or camera shop near a college. Good luck with the rest of it!
First off, hello fellow Tulsan!

I haven't ordered online film processing for a while but did this exclusively while in school. I studied photography and moved to Tulsa to pursue a career as a photographer, but turns out there aren't too many jobs for a guy and his 4x5...

I have done mostly medium and large format transparency through online vendors, but the biggest recommendation I have is be picky. Since you are using film I'm assuming you are doing this as an artistic process. It might not be very obvious, particularly if you don't have a lot of experience with film, but every film has a personality and a texture (I'm sure you know this since this is the best part of working on film) but the processing can impact the performance of the film. You really want to find a vendor that is affordable but caters to artists and professionals. They will be able to give you more individualized attention and process your film with knowledge and experience. I would 'audition' several different vendors as you want to be able to compare quality. You also really want a vendor that will allow you to make some corrections or adjustments through this stage, such as push/pull processing, or other more creative changes. As an art, photography is so much fun because you can make such an impact on your final product through so many places (shooting, processing, printing) and you don't want to lose out on this part of the creative process because you are out sourcing (which by the way, I obviously support. Nothing is as fun as processing and printing your own film, but its not always realistic).

I have used both Tri-Color and E-Six online to process film and used E-Six for the majority of my film. They are well priced and have been responsive to my needs in the past.

As far as film goes I have used Calumet Photo as my primary source. It's been a while since I've bought film but I loved the service and variety I can get from Calumet, which caters to Pros. B&H has moved more towards the mass consumer electronics market lately. Call me snooty, but I'd buy my computer from them before I bought my film...I think they do a process by mail product as well, but its gonna be the same you'd get from a wal-mart or walgreens.

Also, to keep it local, Camera Gallery down in South Tulsa and Apertures near 15th and Harvard (did this close? I can't find it online...) may be good places to talk with other guys about where they source their products. The staff at places like this tend to be photographers on the side and will chat you up, especially if you're using film. Everyone gets nostalgic about that now...

In closing I think it may be appropriate to use our state's new motto: Thunder Up!
Have fun!
Thank you for your suggestions for online/mail-order film processors.

After some thought, I believe I will do the following:

Buy some true B&W film, shoot and send it out for processing. Once the negatives arrive, scan them and make a backup CD. Also, back up to a thumb drive and put that drive in my safe deposit box.

Ideally, I plan on developing my own film (true B&W and color print negatives) and use current technology to scan and print digitally. Since I live in a small house and have no room for a full-blown enlargement dark room I believe the aforementioned will probably be the best way to go for my own purposes.

You have been very helpful.

Thanks Again!
That sounds like a good plan. All except for the multiple backups and files in a lockbox. That just seems excessive! If you are really worried about the photos, just store the negatives in good negative slides, then store in a fire box in your house. While B&W film shouldn't be exposed (no pun intended) to harsh environments, its fairly hardy. I work in the graphics industry, and we have an entire warehouse filled with old film files that we occasionally pull and scan in when some customer wants an old job reprinted.

As far as processing, I do encourage you to make the jump to processing B&W sooner than later. It is easy, cheap, and takes up no more room than the space to store a few bottles of chemicals.
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