The FIND Lab – A Film Lab Review

 

The FIND Lab

Founded by ‘Film Is Not Dead’ author  and photographer Jonathan Canlas the FIND lab began as an extension of the Film Is Not Dead workshops in that in the early days this labs services where only available to attendees of the workshop.

A casual look at their website shows that their prices are average to perhaps a bit on the high end, but a more in depth look shows their services typically include more value than at first apparent.

In the year I’ve been using them I can also state that The FIND Lab seems to be always looking to find new services and continues to evolve as one the top current film labs with unique services like Hybrid editing and their 1for1 film purchase program.  They’ve quickly become one of the top film labs in the county and I wouldn’t expect that to change anytime soon.

Costs & Offerings

While their initial costs seem at best average it doesn’t take long to realize there are several value added services included in these costs.

First on all their scan choices when they are sent back to you the files are organized in folders based on the type of film used for that roll.
Screen Shot 2015-04-26 at 2.51.47 PMSince I keyword all my images in Lightroom by film type this is a huge service.   I used to keep duplicates of my lab orders with the film types hand written in and then do my best to match them up and keyword them when I downloaded the scans.   This simple little service easily saves me 5-10 minutes of work per order at a minimum and takes the guesswork and occasional errors out altogether.

Second is their Feedback which comes on all premium scans and is available as an option on basic scans.  While sometimes the feedback feels a bit basic if there’s nothing that really jumps out at them (all the metering was good, focus good, etc) there are times, especially when experimenting, that the extra few minutes the lab invests on that feedback is quite handy.

Besides just because I’ve been shooting film since the ’70’s doesn’t mean I know it all.   When I switched to digital in 2001/2002 I was an mid level amateur at best.  I’m constantly evolving and sometimes their feedback is vital in that.

Besides I love it when they pick out shots they really loved from the set. 🙂

Third – the level of adjustments I think far exceeds what most other labs do.  Their premium scans include custom color correction, which is not just color and density adjustments on the scanner, but fine tuning color in photoshop if needed.   Only my last order it was noted that they removed the green cast to some skin tones from people close to the grass.  I know some of the other labs do this as well, but I don’t think they all do.

Even their basic scans include color and density adjustments in the scanner (which some other labs don’t do on their basics, they do 100% auto pilot on them).

The FIND Lab also offers proof prints, has E6 processing coming, recently added some Noritsu scanners and they’ve launched two new services that are pretty unique in the industry.

Hybrid Editing – Partnering with Kirk Mastin of Mastin Labs this is a service for those photographer who use digital cameras as well as film but want the color and tone on the digital to more closely resemble that of the film counterparts.

1for1 – A unique program that allows the lab to buy film in bulk and then pass along those better prices to people who use their lab.   For single roll prices there’s a savings of it looks to be 10-15% over retail.

My experience with the lab

 

I sent my first rolls into The FIND Lab just about a year ago, April 2014.   I was a fan of Jonathan’s book and was planning on attending one of the final “Film Is Not Dead” workshops in Denver later in the year, and for the most part just wanted to support his work a bit since I felt his book played a big part in my return to film photography.

In all honesty I wasn’t expecting much, at the time they where a Frontier only shop and I’d yet to find a Frontier only lab that really nailed the color the way I liked it – I always used Noritsu scanners.   To my surprise however it only took a few emails back and forth with  lab manager Belinda to have my scans coming back looking as good or better than anything I’d received elsewhere.

With E6 on the way my only wish is they could find a way to offer a “basic B&W” since I love shooting B&W for personal work and would love the chance to get a better price even if I had to do my own spot and dust adjustments.

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Recommendations

I think The FIND Lab is one of those top film labs that everyone should try, and while they might not be a perfect fit for everyone,  it won’t be for lack of services.

The FIND Lab Website

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