Those who keep an eye on my Facebook page will know that over the past year I have fallen in love with analog photography. Just old-fashioned with a roll! I love the character of analogue photos, and photographing this way is a lot more fun and exciting to do. After all, you cannot immediately see what you have photographed and whether it is correct. A luxury that we perhaps make too much use of in the digital age.
After photographing, the rolls must be developed. Because this is a process - especially for color photos - that I have not yet attempted, the photos are sent to a film lab, where they are developed and scanned.
Now there are 2 major film labs in Europe, viz Carmencita in Spain and UK Film Lab in England. Together with colleague Peter Kasbergen the idea arose to do a comparison between these 2 labs. Besides the fact that it seemed like a fun experiment to us, it was of course also a good excuse to shoot a few rolls of analogue in good company. That's why we went with models Liselotte and Mariska out and about in beautiful Den Bosch!
Peter and I both have one Mamiya RZ67 with Sekor 110mm 2.8 lens used for this shoot. We used both Kodak Portra 400 as a movie. We set the exposure (shutter speed and aperture) the same for each photo. Medium format scans were ordered from both labs, without indicating preferences for colors, brightness, contrast, etc. The photos on the left were taken by Peter and developed and scanned by Carmencita. The photos on the right were taken by me and developed and scanned by UK Film Lab.
Although there appears to be little difference in the development of the films (after all, this is a largely standardized process), the differences are mainly in the scans. The colors of the Carmencita scans appear to be a bit cooler with more emphasis on blue/pink and in UK Film Lab the hue appears to be a bit warmer, with more emphasis on the greens and yellows.
When I compare them side by side, my preference is UK Film Lab. I find the colors slightly more natural and the warmth of the colors suits my style better. But since this is mainly a matter of the settings when scanning, I think you can ultimately get largely the same results with both labs. In any case, there is no visible difference in terms of quality. Ultimately, it is important to develop a relationship with your lab so that they can ensure that the scans meet your needs.
But of course the question is: What do you prefer? Which lab do you use, and why? I am very curious about your reactions!
PS I understand that this is not an in-depth comparison. We only used 1 type of film, 1 model of camera and 1 type of lens. In addition, we have not included other factors, such as price, delivery time, communication, etc. in this comparison. If there is a need, I can elaborate on it.
LEFT: Carmencita RIGHT: UK Film Lab