Does 4x5 & 8x10 need a Dev/Scan Service?

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If you've used my lab, or even the FIND Lab, Indie, Goodman, etc... you're familiar with the dev/scan workflow. I like to think of it as the modern version of Kodak's original "You push the button, we do the rest" pitch. It's great for roll film, and with the lab scanners that we use you can get print-ready files for a very reasonable price these days. I've made pigment prints from my Fuji Frontier scans that enlarge quite well, and will last generations. No need for clunky desktop scanners that never get the color right from C41 film.

One thing I've noticed though, is that there really isn't a good option for large format shooters. You can get 8x10 or 4x5 processed "fairly" easily at a variety of labs. 4x5 isn't too bad, as the flatbed scanners available today do very well with it. 8x10 however is a pain. Getting a good scan without newton rings is an exercise in self flagellation. Other labs will do a dev/scan with 4x5 on an Imacon for about $20/sheet, not really a budget option when you don't know what you're going to get...

I'm wondering if anyone would be interested in a proper and affordable Dev/scan workflow? I am considering acquiring an IQSmart3 scanner, along with an Expert Drum jobo system for sheet film processing. I'd be able to do B&W, E6, and C41 quite easily. Using the IQSmart3, I could supply "proof" quality scans for a reasonable price, or a "digital contact sheet". These might print well to about 8x10, or be great for online sharing. Once reviewed, you could order a "fine art scan" using the IQSmart3 at it's higher resolutions. I think I would be able to do this because the IQSmart can do 2 sheets of 8x10 at a time, or 8 sheets of 4x5. Or dagnabbit, 1 whole 11x14 thing of beauty. If you don't know, the IQSmart3 has an optical resolution of about 5200ppi, and rivals drum scans for quality.

This would require significant investment on our end, so I want to gauge the interest. For 4x5, I would hope to hit a price point of $10/sheet dev/scan with an 8x10 'proof' file included.

Let me know your thoughts!

4x5 film would still be processed in our Phototherm SSK-8r, and 8x10 would go in the Jobo using Expert Drums. 11x14 would have to be processed in Print Drums as I understand it. I would be VERY excited if someone sent me 11x14 film.
 

rgeorge911

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That sounds pretty interesting to me. I have just realized that shooting 6x12 on Velvia is costing me more than $5 per image after paying E6 processing and panorama up-pricing. 4x5 at 2x is not so bad. But, I probably won’t do a lot of either at those prices. I will probably shoot more B&W in both sizes, where I can develop and print much cheaper, and with my own hands.
 

Peter Schrager

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You should check Edgar praus..in Rochester
If you want to run a service that's what you're up against...send in a roll of E6 and see how it comes back. .seeing is believing
I'm all for more is better though and wish you luck
 

Richard Man

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I am offering similar services mainly because I shoot a lot of XPan, MF, and 4x5 (and sometimes 8x10) and I have a number of scanners. It's definitely "occasionally pay for dinner" type of income rather than living wages. If I were you, I would be careful of sinking in too much investment unless you happen to use the tools yourself. Your time is money, and you have to maintain your equipment. For me, it makes sense to offer what I do, but I would not invest in an IQSmart3 just to scan for others.
 

nimajneb

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You should check Edgar praus..in Rochester
If you want to run a service that's what you're up against...send in a roll of E6 and see how it comes back. .seeing is believing
I'm all for more is better though and wish you luck

I don't shoot large format, but Praus is who I take my color film to for development. The results have been great so far, 35mm and 120. He's a nice guy. Sadly he's the only processor in the Rochester area as far as I know.
 

Richard Man

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Just being able to get 8x10 scanned well at a reasonable price would be very nice!

I don't want to steal Parus' thunder, but due to demand, I am offering Epson flatbed scanning for 5x7 to 11x14 scanning. They are not super high quality or anything, but even with the flatbed, it generates HUGE files. PM me for details if interested.
 

Peter Schrager

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I don't shoot large format, but Praus is who I take my color film to for development. The results have been great so far, 35mm and 120. He's a nice guy. Sadly he's the only processor in the Rochester area as far as I know.
how many do you need ..Praus does amazing work on anything he touches
class act all the way...
 

Pioneer

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This isn't something I have given a lot of thought to but I will certainly have to do some follow up.

Currently I contact print my 8x10 work and then scan those prints that I think have some promise. I am not there yet but if any of those scans look especially promising my intent would be to have the negative drum scanned.

Being able to scan direct from the negative without the cost of a drum scan would be a nice option, and a develop/scan workflow right from the lab would also be interesting. What kind of prices are we considering and how much work would be necessary to keep something like this sustainable?
 
OP
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Yeah I mean I wouldn't not offer a service at my lab simply because others are offering a similar service, re Praus. I'm sure he does great work! As do IFL, FIND, RPL, etc. But I'm here in Maine, and my goal would be to offer a streamlined process at low prices. For example, he'd do an E6 sheet of 4x5 for $4 and a small scan for $20. So $24 for E6 and $23 for C41. I'm saying I could do C41 for $10 and maybe $15 for E6. IQSmart scanners allow me to scan all the way to the edges, and are regarded as higher end than Imacons. For me they offer better economy because you can do 8 4x5s at once. You could then print an 8x10 or share that image to the web, archive it during a project etc. Then when you're ready for a show or something else, you can order a larger scan at any time! PLUS that's not even factoring in the time it would take to ship in chromes, get them back, view them, ship them back for scans etc... This is a way to get digital proofs as soon as the film is done, scan hi-res only what you want, or not at all. It keeps 4x5 affordable for an ongoing project. The proofs I have in mind for this price would be color and density corrected by probably not dusted. Remember the intention is that they're proofs. Good scans at their size to be sure, but no fine-art scan.

I'm not sure what I would charge for 8x10, hopefully not double. I would use Expert Drums, and custom chemistry of course. If I got enough E6 demand I'd use Fuji Hunt chemistry, but I'd have to have commitments from people because that chemistry doesn't keep. Honestly most people who send me film do C41 or B&W, and for that I use Flexicolor and a variety of B&W devs from Kodak and Ilford.
 

Tim Stapp

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OK, I'm interested. The largest C-41 negative that I can print is 6x7. I've made a commitment to large format (4x5 now and 8x10 in the future) and medium format (6x7). I have promised my wife that I would strictly use the d*g*tal for color. But..., the allure of a LF color negative is just too much to resist.
 

John51

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Not sure where I should ask this but it is the only thread about scanners I've found so far.

Where can non advertisers discuss all things scanner related?
 

MattKing

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Not sure where I should ask this but it is the only thread about scanners I've found so far.

Where can non advertisers discuss all things scanner related?
You need to enable the "Hybrid" option at the top of the screen. A whole bunch of additional sub-fora will be then available to you, including the "Scanning and Scanners" sub-forum.
 

sepiareverb

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You should check Edgar praus..in Rochester
If you want to run a service that's what you're up against...send in a roll of E6 and see how it comes back. .seeing is believing
I'm all for more is better though and wish you luck

Edgar does not scan 8x10 film. I’ve been using him to run my 810 Portra and I get back an 810 proof print that is run through an enlarger, not contact printed. Quality of these proofs is erratic. My last batch was not well color balanced, and there is always at least one print where the neg is poorly seated in the carrier or the easel. His film processing is certainly top notch.

I am very much looking for this service. I don’t shoot 45, only 810. A decent proof scan from developed film, with the option of choosing a higher end scan before the film comes home seems perfect. I have little to no need for a C-print proof, I only use it to scan as a means of sharing the image or for thumbnails in my workflow. Really hope this comes together!
 
OP
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Bump for an update???

I'll be launching the 4x5 version of the service soon! Within a matter of weeks I think. 8x10 may take some time longer. I think I know how it will work, but it will require a significant investment in processing equipment.
 
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