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Thread: Where to Print B&W photos?

  1. #1
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    Default Where to Print B&W photos?

    Know film's not really popular these days, but does anyone know where would be good for printing black and white shots from processed negatives? Machine printed ones tend to be quite grainy, while some places that do offer manually printed ones gave relatively lousy image quality (i.e. quite soft, given the FA50 f1.4 I used).

    Any direction would be much appreciated! Thanks!

  2. #2
    jcryan55
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    Default Re: Where to Print B&W photos?

    To give u sound advice, i need more info. Some questions that may need clarification:

    1. Did u shoot on B&W film? B&W images can be also shot on Chromogenic film which u can develop and print at any of the colourlabs. Their shortcoming is it is not as sharp as purist B&W film. Examples of Chromogenic films are: Ilford SFX, Kodak TCN400. Purist B&W film are Ilford Delta 100,400, FP4+, HP5, Pan F etc, Kodak Tmax 100,400, Tri-X, PX125 etc, Rollei’s R3, Retro 100, 400, Infra Red, Fujifilm Neopan 100, 400, 1600.

    2. Assuming you shoot on B&W film. Did u do the developing of the negative yourself or did you send out to others to do? There's a difference becos for a commercial guy doing developing for u, he's likely to use recycleable chemical or a general chemicals. Face it, there's never a general chemcial that can cure all film type. Even for myself, I use diff chemcials and diff dilutions for diff film or even the diff subjects that I shoot. So, whatever u have in mind when u r shooting, the commercial guy probably don't know. He will just use whatever he's using everyday to develop it based on his formula. Sometimes, it just does not address your needs based on his process.

    So, this part is important when you are trying to get a good negative. if badly proceesed, then you cannot expect too much magic to happen when u are getting yr prints done.

    3. To be frank, most colourlab these days are just like scanning machines. They basically scan your negatives. Expect some resolution loss when that happens. So, sometimes, you get all those issues u mentioned above. And the other prolem with digital scanning or prints are that the contrast and tonality can never come as close as what a traditional darkroom print can achieve. If the print is really that important, you may want to consider sending it for print by some darkroom workers who do it nicely and professionally.


    Having said all the above, nothing will beat you printing yourself if are particular and wanted control on the entire shooting, Developing and printing process. Well, that's wht Ansel Adams has been advocating in his teachings. I do know that in such busy society, time is always a precious commodity. The common saying "So many things to do but so little time!"

    Some resources of darkroom workers:

    1. Ruby Photos (don't know the guy's name though) (beside Spinelli Cafe at Peninisula Hotel)
    2. RiceBall Photobookstore (at Basement of Adlephi)
    3. Fee Fee at Hong Lim Complex (Beside POSBank ATMs adjacent to Chinatoiwn Point)
    4. Desmond Kwan (Maestro printer in the region but has very eccentric temper, he's selective who and what he wants to print for u, but his works are wonderful)

    Unltimately, it an individual's choice how high a standard and quality you want out of your negative into the final print. The Standard & quality of the final prnt is has a relationship with the printer's skill, developing process and material used and of course, price to pay.

    Hope that helps.....

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Where to Print B&W photos?

    Wow, thanks for the comprehensive and informative reply... yep I'm shooting the purist black and white film, not the chromogenic ones. Have noted the importance of proper developing of the negatives too as a vital step towards ensuring the film quality. I've started developing the negs at ruby photo some time back, but the prints that came out (6R size) are rather soft.. I'm not sure whether its the negatives, or the printing process(machine printing came out sharper but grainier). Have found fee fee and am currently trying them out.

    Thanks again for all the recommendations. By the way, has riceball moved from adelphi basement to somewhere else? I seem to recall seeing them either at funan or marina sq.. but definitely that they have moved to a new location.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Where to Print B&W photos?

    IIRC, Riceball in Funan now... Ground floor if I'm not wrong.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Kit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where to Print B&W photos?

    Riceball has a new shop in Funan 1st storey (next to Subway). The Adelphi shop is still open for business.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Where to Print B&W photos?

    Heh... Never knew the one in Adelphi still open....
    Even since the one in Funan opened, never had a need to head down to Adelphi.

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