Curious about film developing?

FAQs

Everything you might possibly want to know about film development and scanning with the WonderLab!

Our Lab Services

Film development is when we use chemistry to turn your exposed film into negatives that can be scanned and used for printing your images.

If you order development you will only receive your physical negatives back.  If you require digital images that can be viewed on your computer or phone then please select one of our scanning services. See our other scanning FAQs below for more information.

We do not currently offer a photo printing service but please keep checking back for updates as it is something we plan to offer in the future (with something rather special...)

Scanning is how we turn your negatives into digital images. We offer three scanning resolutions, which one to choose depends on the end use of your images. Please see more information on scanning resolution FAQs - below.

When scanned your images will be uploaded to your Customer Account - please see this article for more info

We offer four resolution options: 

1. Low Res --> Best for social media / photo albums!

Approx 1500x1024 pixels; JPEG format; less than 1MB in size and with Standard Retouching.
Low Res scans are perfect for printing or displaying 6x4 inches - they will also work well on social media or website where you need to keep loading speeds fast.

2. Standard --> Best for personal websites / zines / projects!

Approx 3600x2400 pixels; JPEG format; 1-2 MBs in size and with Standard Retouching.
Standard scans will be absolutely fine for posting on social media, personal websites, emailing to friends/family, and for making prints up to size A4

3. Premium --> Best for exhibits / large prints!

Approx 5400x3648 pixels; JPEG Format; 4-5MB in size and with Premium Retouching.
Premium scans are bigger and can also be used for posting on websites that can accept larger files (and won't simply compress that back down like Instagram or Facebook) - and they can make prints up to size A3

4. Premium TIFF --> Best for home editors and professional display!

Approx 5400x3648 pixels; TIFF Format; 50-60MB in size and with Premium Retouching.
Premium TIFF scans are much bigger file sizes, so prepare for a longer download time and more computer memory needed! The bonus of this is that they contain much more information within the same number of pixels as the Premium JPEG scans, so you can edit them yourself (in Photoshop or similar) and get much better results with strong edits.

TIFF is a 'lossless' format, so hasn't had any compression applied by software before arriving in your inbox. It also means that even though the pixel resolution is the same as the Premium scan, you should be able to print slightly larger without loss of meaningful detail - up to size A2.

*All of your images will get Standard retouching and fixing (rotation, file naming, basic dust removal). Colour films will also go through the ICE process that automatically removes many scratches and objects on the surface of the emulsion. Please note that this may still leave some artefacts on your image that are an integral part of the analogue look!

However if you order Premium JPEG or TIFF then our team will invest extra time to deliver a Professional retouching service: eliminating every speck of dust and artefact from each frame so they are ready to be printed/edited at a professional level. This will give you the CLEANEST POSSIBLE SCANS!

Sprocket scanning is when the film is scanned with the perforations or sprocket holes to be part of the image.  We offer this service at an additional cost and it will add up to 2 days to your film turnaround time as it is a very manual process.

We use the following specialist equipment to process and scan your film:

Film Processor

1. FujiFilm FP 563SCAL (Colour Films)

2. JOBO ATL 1500 (Black & White) 

 

Scanning

1. FujiFilm Sp3000

We scan all of your films using a FujiFilm Sp3000 which allows us to work on your pictures frame by frame.  The Frontier scanner renders images with a beautiful tone and retains great detail on highlights using advanced highlight recovery algorithms. It has a smooth grain and enables a strong contrast on your images.

2. Epson V850 Pro

Our Epson V850 Pro scans with excellent tones and ensures the brightest and darkest areas of your images are replicated allowing impressive detail and range.

We will only be using our flatbed scanner in case that we need to scan large formats on 120 films such as (6x9,6x17, 6x24), large film formats 4x5, 5x7, 8x10 or special requirements such as Sprocket scanning + Panoramic Shots. 

For colour chemistry we use: FujiFilm CN16S

For Black & White chemistry we use: Kodak XTOL for the vast majority of films, or Kodak HC110 when needed for special films

If your film format and type are ones that we can develop then we will happily process your film.

However we cannot guarantee the quality of the negatives or scans you will receive due to the unpredictable nature of expired film.

Formats and chemistries that we cannot currently process (but are in our plans) include:

- 127, 5x4, 5x7, 8x10, 220
- E-6 colour slide film
- ECN-2 colour cinema film
- B&W reversal films (Fomapan R or Adox Scala reversal)
- Adox CMS specialty
- Washi speciality films (specifically W, V, R, I, F)

 

Over time we plan to one day be able to develop all of the film types that we sell online so please stay tuned through social media or our website for updates on this.

Yes, we can develop Black & White film in the following formats; 35mm and 120 film.

No, we do not currently develop these film types but we hope to offer this service in the future so please keep in touch via social media or our website for updates.

Yes! Please remember to add on scanning to your development in order to receive digital images as we do not currently offer a photo printing service.

Yes, please add any notes to push/pull your film when you place your order.  Alternatively you can add a note when you post the film back to us.

Please note that we do not charge extra for this service 😊

Yes, we absolutely can but you will need to purchase sprockets in addition to scanning when you place your order.  This is because they will need to be scanned with the flatbed scanner.

Please also add a note to say your images are panoramic so we know you only want the image and not the sprockets as well.

Shipping Your Films

1 - Purchase the number of films you need processing across 35mm, 120 and 110 and proceed through checkout. Remember to add any order notes at this point e.g. to push/pull film, request how you want the film cut etc.

2 - Once you have placed your development order you will receive an email containing a link to generate a FREE TRACKED postage label, specific to your order 🙌🏼

Please note: our free postage service is only valid for one trip so please collate all your film together and send them in one parcel when they are all shot. This also helps to reduce waste and benefits the environment too!

3 - When you are ready to send us your 35mm films, print out the postage label (it can also be printed at a local Post Office for free), and make a note of the unique tracking number that will print just under the barcode - 13 characters long and ending in 'GB'

4 - Pack up your film securely with a note of your Analogue Wonderland order number, and pop the whole package into a postbox or parcel drop-off.

For sustainability purposes please use recycled and recyclable packaging for this stage ♻️  If you happen to have some Analogue Wonderland boxes on hand then they are perfect! We have designed them to last >8 journeys through the post for this very reason.

5 - You can follow your parcel's journey to the WonderLab by entering your unique tracking number at https://www.royalmail.com/track-your-item - so now all you need to do is relax, put up your feet, and await your scans!

Using the link on your order confirmation email you can generate a personalised postage label for free tracked postage.  The label will include your order number and return address which means we know exactly whose order has arrived with us and saves you having to include any other information with your order 😊

Remember that the postage label covers the cost of one parcel only so if you have more than one development on your order please wait until you have finished shooting all of your film before posting them to us.  Remember to make a note of your tracking number too so you can check if it has been delivered to us.

As soon as we have developed or scanned your film it will be packaged up and sent back to you using Royal Mail’s 1st class service which aims to deliver next working day including Saturdays.

*Please note that you will be charged at checkout a small cost for returning your negatives. Please see the next question for further details.

Postage of your precious films into our lab is FREE and Tracked!

However we charge a small amount for returning your negatives to you after processing.

This will be £1.50 for standard Royal Mail 1st Class and £2 for a faster service. If you live locally and choose 'Pick-Up' then you won't be charged a penny.

And if you don't need/want your negatives back then you can drop an email to help@analoguewonderland.co.uk and we'll refund you the charged amount!

Please pack your parcel with the environment in mind and reuse any packaging you may already have.  Our Analogue Wonderland boxes are designed to be reused and will protect your film without any other packaging or if you still have the film case or box your film arrived in this will be sufficient to protect it in transit.

We also enjoy seeing how creative you can be so don’t shy away from using what you can find around your house but nothing too big please! 

Our free postage service is only valid for one trip so please collate all your film together and send them in one parcel when they are all shot. This also helps to reduce waste and benefits the environment too!

While you wait we advise storing your film in a dark, dry place until it is ready to send in.

Once your film is received at Analogue HQ, we will send you an email notification to let you know it has arrived safely.

By using our tracked royal mail service you can also follow its progress into our Lab online.

Absolutely!

Analogue Wonderland HQ’s opening hours are 10am-4pm Monday to Friday

Please make sure you have already placed your order online and you have your order number written out for us when you hand the film over.

If you also want to collect your order please leave a note when you drop off to make sure we don’t post them out to you.

Our location: Analogue Wonderland

Yes - you will receive multiple email notifications as your film goes through our lab:

1 - when your film has been safely received and prepped

2 - when your scans are ready and your negatives are about to be sent back to you

These emails will also contain up-to-date expected turnaround times for each stage.

Receiving Your Scans

You will get an email notification confirming that the scans have been uploaded to your account. You can then log in to 'My Photos' area of your AW customer account from your phone or computer to see the images.

You are able to view/download them individually for fast sharing OR download them altogether in a ZIP folder for offline management.

You need an active account to be able to view your scans through the WonderLab software. If you don't yet have an active account then you can do so here

In this case it is highly likely that you have unsubscribed from our entire email list in the past - which means that legally we cannot send you email updates!

However it is easy to resubscribe - and you can choose to rejoin the marketing mailing list or JUST receive emails relating to your WonderLab order and scans.

Simply head here: update preferences and make sure to fill in your email address and tick 'Status updates on your WonderLab orders (including scan confirmation)'

Miscellaneous

Absolutely! Just remember to provide their contact email and address so the developed film and scans will be sent to the gift recipient instead of you.

If you want them to receive digital images please add a scanning service onto your order.

Alternatively you can purchase a gift card from our store - and pass it on to the lucky recipient.

As standard we cut film into strips of 4 frames but if you request it we can cut your film into strips of 6 frames and use archival negative sleeves free of charge. 

Please specify if you want them cut differently in your order notes when you checkout.

If there are no visible images on your film after developing, we will get in touch with you directly via email or phone and will refund any scanning costs you have already paid.

Unfortunately we will not be able to refund you the developing cost - as we will already have performed that service - but our lab technicians will be happy to discuss possible causes with you to avoid future disappointments. We've all been here before!

No - but we have a generous reward scheme that will allow you to quickly convert your orders into significant savings on future development (or new film!)

Head here to read all about WonderPoints

The WonderLab servers will hold your images for 6 months before deleting.

There are plans coming that will allow customers to extend that time - watch this space!

Please always make sure you fully wind your film back into the casing when you are finished shooting.

If you have 120 film, ensure that it’s wrapped tightly and secured with tape or an elastic band to prevent it unravelling in transit.

Please get in contact with the lab team as soon as you can!

They will be more than happy to discuss the results with you, what you're not happy about, and advise on how to avoid future disappointment.

We laid out our detailed intentions in a past article that you can read here. A quick reminder that there are two main stages to our plans:

Stage One - launch the WonderLab with all the best practices from labs around the world while guaranteeing top quality dev and scan results for our customers from day one!

Stage Two - push the boundaries of technology, partnerships and new ideas to improve on those best practices - over the coming weeks, months and years

So, how are we doing so far - specifically against the intentions laid out in our original article?

We will recommend from the beginning on sending the films to the lab in a more sustainable way. This simply means that customers will be encouraged to reuse the boxes they already have and not to use plastic when sending them - Yes! Please do re-use Analogue Wonderland boxes or similar if you can - they're build to survive multiple trips through the postal system 💪🏼

 

Use chemicals that contain components with the lowest possible level of toxicity. This means using chemicals that are free of hydroquinone, metal and sulphites - we're using Kodak Xtol for B&W which is an ascorbic-acid based film developer so is lower-impact than many. However it does still contains sulphite so the next step is to source and rigorously test other options in the market. There's a very promising formulation made by a company in the US, but it will need fully checking with all films here in the WonderLab before we are able to recommend for customers' films. It may be that we can move some films to this developer faster than others - the next few months will tell.

 

Create a system in which plastic film pots, 120 spools, and disposable cameras are returned to the production line. (This is going to be a tricky one but I know it is not impossible) - conversations are ongoing! In the meantime we are separating everything that comes to us back into individual components for local re-use, local recycling, or temporary storage until the conversations are finalised.

 

Degrade the toxicity of the waste chemicals as much as possible before they are sent to a responsible disposal company. (Ideally I would love to be able to do this process in the lab and reuse the chemicals for something else but... I don't know if that's feasible yet, I hope so) - accounts set up with a verified responsible disposable company. We're also attending a workshop in November specifically designed to assess how much chemical waste dilution or disposal can be brought 'in-house' for greater control and oversight

 

Use fixers made from sodium thiosulphate instead of ammonium sulphate - currently using ammonium hyposulphite - we're also testing sodum thiosulphate fixers against each emulsion but are not yet ready to recommend. Similar to the developer in point two, it may be that some emulsions can be moved to the new fixer sooner than others - the next few months will tell.

 

Extending the life of the fixer by silver recovery. This silver recovery process could extend the life of the fixer by up to three times. That's more than 100 films that can be fixed without the need for the fixer to be discarded as soon as it is completely exhausted! - Our initial plan wasn't workable due to the required machine size from current set-ups 😢 However we have an ongoing project with Sustainable Darkroom to better understand their research and see how it can be reapplied on an appropriate scale (there are promising early tests with electrolysis!)

 

Use more respectful packaging when shipping orders. It should be from recycled sources and be recyclable or biodegradable. This includes envelopes for negatives, negative sleeves and large envelopes for larger prints - Yes all good, with exception of negative sleeves - we can't get the volume at present on rolls as needed, as soon as our supplier can get it sorted we'll make the switch

Still have questions? Drop us a line and get in touch.