I currently have all my film developed and scanned by a very reputable shop in town, but for my first rolls of medium format, I decided to send them a little further afield.....to Canada in fact! The Canadian Film Lab used to be one of the best in the UK before relocating across the pond, so I was keen to see what they could do.
Despite being across the pond in Canada, shipping was easy, as they have an address in the UK that will forward packages to the lab directly. Once received by the lab, you get a confirmation email with a link to pay the processing costs, and then it's just a case of waiting for that awesome email to let you know your photos are ready to download. In this case, I received my scans eight days after the initial confirmation email, which was five days before their original estimate. So the total time from me posting the film to downloading my images was a little over two weeks.
I chose to have the medium size scans, which came in at 3605px on each side. I'm still very much new to film photography, but I was really impressed with the quality of the images themselves.
Despite buying a 5 pack of Portra 160, I only had 4 rolls to use (as I had to sacrifice one to obtain an empty film spool). I've never shot with 160 before, as I've mostly used the much more common Portra 400. I was hoping that the film would at least make the most of the beautiful Autumn colours, which was in full display at the time.
So 4 rolls, 47 photos in total (I missed one frame as I stupidly forgot to wind on the camera body before attaching the film back, so when I wound the camera on to cock the shutter, it skipped the first frame of the film.....lesson learnt there!)
Overall, I'm really happy with them, especially the exposures, which was my main worry shooting on a fully manual camera for the first time. I rated the film at 100, and exposed for the shadows. There were a few frames where I could have done with a couple of extra stops, but nothing major. I'm still learning how to use a light meter in harsh sunlight with strong sunlight and shadows. I also missed the focus on a few shots too. I mainly shot at f/2.8, and the 80mm Zeiss lens has a crazy small depth of field. I took my time on most images, so maybe these were the ones I rushed a bit. The lab includes a feedback report as part of their service, providing general comments on the images from their point of view. They too stated a few images were slightly underexposed, but generally "their were no significant issues"! They also stated a couple of images were affected by flare, and of course, the first image on one of the rolls was blank. Already knew that one!!
Of course, this was the first time I saw the results from the camera itself! So it was a relief to see it worked perfectly, and I operated it correctly too (apart from that one missed frame). The lens is tack sharp wide open. No CA, or blurriness in the corners. Some slight vignetting is the only 'negative' thing I could see in any of the images. The lens produces beautiful out of focus areas too, without any harsh blurred details. I'll definitely play with more shallow depth of field images on the next rolls.
These are a selection of my favourites, just resized in Lightroom. Some images have been straightened a little, another thing I need to take my time with when composing through the waist level viewfinder.......