Unfortunately for Calgary photographers who like to use film, it’s really hard to get 120 film developed anymore. Everywhere has to send it out to be done and it’s terribly expensive.
So, I’ve been looking for an alternative and I might have found one in the form of thedarkroom.com. I sent them two 120 rolls a little while ago and thought I’d rate their service here.
I spent $10.00 USD to get their basic service. It includes developing, scanning to a CD, and an upload to the Internet.
Overall, I had a good experience with them. The service was quick and it was super cheap, which made me happy after having paid as much as three times that to get my film developed and scanned before.
In the end though, the quality of the scan was not what I expected for a base-level scan. The resolution was only 1024 x 1024px at 72dpi, where I would have prefered something more like 3000 x 3000px at 300dpi (or something). I find it strange that they say that resolution is a good one on their website, as from experience working in a photolab, I’d say it’s fairly low-quality for anything over a 4×6 print, and even then, a 4×6 print won’t look a good as it could at this resolution.
I did like that the photographs were automatically uploaded to the internet. As soon as they were done, I had digital copies of my files, even though I hadn’t received my negatives back. It made it easy to get to work right away on what I wanted to get done (until I realized how low the resolution was, of course).
I do plan on using them again, but next time, I think I’m going to either upgrade the scanning or opt for development only and just scan the film myself on my Epson flatbed. In the end, what do you have if it’s not of usable quality?
All in all, I give them 3 out of 5 film spools.