Why should I choose Canadian Film Lab?
We provide exceptionally high quality scans, along with consistent, personal and friendly service.
The difference at Canadian Film Lab is quality, and we attract clients from all around the world, who see and understand the difference between a passable scan, and an excellent one. We pride ourselves on delivering exceptionally high quality scans and service and we confidently believe that we put more effort, care and attention to detail into every roll of film we work on, than any other Pro lab.
Whether you’re an experienced pro or a total beginner with film, we’ll work closely with you to help you achieve the look you want from your film – and we won’t charge you extra for it.
All of this comes at a competitive price with the option of fixed pricing in a number of currencies (see here) and in a competitive timeframe (see below).
As professional film photographers ourselves, we have a unique insight into what today’s film shooters want. If you’d like to find out even more about our ethos and why we’re the lab for you, check out our blog post here.
I want you to process and scan my film. What do I need to do?
We operate a ‘closed client list’ as a way of managing our workload and offering an exceptionally high and personal quality of service. However we are currently adding in new clients for a limited time period. If you’d like to join our closed client list please email email@example.com and we will send through all the details of how to download our order forms and send us film.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you need a reminder of the password.
Can I send my film to you from overseas?
Yes, of course! Clients from all around the world choose Canadian Film Lab because they want the very best for their film. We have clients from Canada, all across the UK, Europe, and around the world, as far afield as South Africa, Malaysia, China, and Australia. You can read here about the benefits of Canadian Film Lab for international clients. To download an order form please click here.
We have a number of shipping options available, including our recommended expedited courier service. We have partnered with DHL, one of the world’s leading international express mail services, to offer a fast and cost-effective delivery service. Please click here to find out more, and to book your shipment using our quick and simple online tool.
International clients may also use our ‘film forwarding’ service for orders of 10 rolls or less. This service is ideally suited to those based in the UK but any clients are welcome to use it. We have trusted team members based at our UK address: Jackie Ward, Unit 1 Centremark House, Sheepbridge Lane, Chesterfield, S41 9RX, UK. They will receive your film, package it securely and send it on to us as part of a weekly shipment (every Thursday) via our DHL express service (usual transit time of 2 – 3 working days) at no extra cost to you. This is a very cost-effective option for smaller orders.
You may also use your own country’s national post service or a courier of your choice. If using your own courier you must provide them with our email address email@example.com so that we receive notification of your order. For your customs declaration please describe the contents of your package as ‘Exposed film’. In terms of value, used photographic film has a nominal value of around 5 cents per roll, so a value of $10 or less should be entered. Please note you should not declare a higher value, such as that you would place on your film for insurance purposes. This is not the intended purpose of the customs declaration, and it will result in duty and tax being applied to your order. If you have any questions please email firstname.lastname@example.org
What happens next and how can I pay for my order?
When we receive your film at the lab, two things will happen. Firstly we’ll drop you a quick line just to let you know your precious film is safely in our hands, and secondly we’ll send you an email with a ‘pay by link’ in it. Clicking on the link will open up a secure webpage with all the details of your order pre-filled in, and you will pay in your currency by card. It’s safe, straightforward, quick and easy.
Will you scan to my preferences?
Yes! You can find out about CFL-Pro – part of our free-to-all approach to tailoring scans – by reading our post here.
We aim to provide you with scans that are very close to the finished article but it is normal for you to make minor final tweaks (for example, we don’t crop, straighten,add sharpening or remove blemishes). If you find that you are regularly making the same type of final edits (warming your images up a little each time, for example) just let us know and we can refine the way we scan and edit your work accordingly. It’s all about building up a great relationship and working together.
How quickly will I receive my scans once you have received my film?
Our expected maximum turnaround for both colour and black and white film is 7 – 10 working days* from the date you complete payment on your order – we are NEVER late, so when we receive your order we’ll provide you with a scan delivery date which will be met or bettered. This is for any number of rolls, though for very large orders (60 rolls and over) turnaround time will be extended a little (if you wish, please drop us a quick line in advance and we can confirm your scan turnaround time). We will email you with a link to download them as soon as they’re ready.
*Working days at the lab are Monday to Friday excluding statutory holidays and other occasional holidays, which will be posted in advance on our Facebook business page. At quieter times in the season turnaround is routinely much quicker than the times shown above. In periods of extremely high demand turnaround time may exceed that shown above; however we will always provide a date by which you can expect your scans when we receive your film.
I need my scans back even quicker…is there a way?
Our Express service offers a 4 working day turnaround service on C41 film at a pricing supplement of x 1.4 or our Super Express service offers 2 working days at x 2 our usual price. You can request our Express or Super Express service via our usual order form.
If you have a specific ultra-short deadline or other turnaround need (for example, a test roll prior to an imminent shoot) please email email@example.com with as much notice as possible. Subject to availability, a further enhanced service may be available for an additional supplement.
Please note at times of peak activity our Express and Super Express services may not be available but this is very rare. The maximum size for an Express order is 60 rolls, and the maximum size for a Super Express order is 30 rolls, and at busy times there may be further limits on the size of order we can accommodate. This is because our priority is to deliver all scans on time, never exceeding our standard turnaround times. We know of some labs who at busy times deliver standard scans weeks late, even whilst continuing to provide a ‘rush’ service at extra cost, and that’s something we just won’t do. If you have a larger order and you need a faster turnaround time please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
How do I get my scans when they’re done?
We will email you with a link to download them as soon as they’re ready. Exciting! There is perhaps no greater anticipation than that of waiting for scans to download.
Your download link will expire after 2 weeks so please make sure you download your scans within this time, or let us know if you’re not able to do so. Once you have successfully downloaded your scans we don’t keep an archived copy, so please make sure you save your scans securely, and if there is a problem with your download please let us know straight away. After 2 weeks, in the very unlikely event that there are any problems with your scans, we would have to rescan your film and charge you again.
What sizes are your scans?
(illustrated for medium format 645. Exact sizes will vary depending on format and camera type)
Small: 2433 x 3342 px (8″ on the shortest side when printed)
Medium: 3047 x 4097 px (10″ on the shortest side when printed)
Large: 3649 x 4842 px (12″ on the shortest side when printed)
Small: 2433 x 3637 px (8″ on the shortest side when printed)
Medium: 3047 x 4547 px (10″ on the shortest side when printed)
Large: 3649 x 5444 px (12″ on the shortest side when printed)
Factors affecting file size:
File sizes vary significantly depending on the content of your images (images with lots of different colours are larger than those with fewer colours, for example) but are usually between 2 MB and 7.5 MB compressed depending on scan size, which is around 20 to 50MB uncompressed, depending on scan size. Scans are provided as high-res JPEG files.
Please note that camera frame sizes vary slightly, but film is scanned using standard masks, meaning that a small amount of frame edge may not be captured during the scanning process. For this reason we recommend that you do not use the very edges of your frame for important compositional elements, as these may be cropped.
Some 35mm cameras imprint exposure or time/date data between frames, which can sometimes result in the frames being lined up incorrectly in the scanner, and the loss of a small portion of the edge of the image in your final scans. For this reason we recommend that you turn off this feature if your camera possesses it.
I don’t know which size scan to get. What size do you recommend?
It all depends on (mainly) two things: what you’re planning to do with the photographs, and what format your film is. If you’re planning on presenting your images in a large format, the bigger the scan the better. If your film is 35mm, then we would recommend the largest size scan to increase detail and minimise grain.
Do you offer discount for large orders?
Yes! You’ll find all the high volume pricing on our pricing pages for each currency.
What happens to my negatives?
We will automatically store and safely archive them for you for a period of time (usually when your file of negatives reaches one inch thick, or when approximately 12 months elapse*) before contacting you via the email address we hold on file for you, to arrange their return and send through a postage/packaging invoice. Why do we do this rather then automatically sending them back after your order? Simply because it helps our customers to save money by batching negatives into fewer deliveries, especially those customers sending in film regularly. Want your negatives back sooner? Please let us know with as much notice as possible and we can arrange this for you. *Sometimes we might need to return negatives to you sooner than this, for example if our storage space at the lab is running low. Also at peak times or when workload capacity demands it, we may not be able to return negatives as quickly as this.
I’d love to improve my film photography and I wondered whether you’re able to give me feedback on my exposures/treatment of the film I sent to you?
Don’t worry, with every order we’ll provide you with written, personalised feedback on how your film turned out so that you can continually learn as you shoot. This is completely free-of-charge. Education and helping film shooters to achieve their desired look is a major part of what we do.
What kind of scanners do you use?
Fuji Frontier SP3000.
What kinds of film can you develop and scan?
In terms of film developing, we’re all set up for C41/colour film and black & white film. We can handle these formats: 35mm, APS, 120 and 220 formats. For scanning we can deal with colour and black and white in 35mm, APS, and 120/220 format of the following kinds: 6×4.5, 6×6, 6×7, 6×8, 6×9. We can cross process E6.
There are a few other film formats, such as X-pan, that we can also handle. For more information please see ‘I have an unusual type of film…can I send it to you?’
Can you push/pull film?
Yes! We can push/pull colour and black and white film. There is a small extra charge for this service, as detailed on the order form. For black and white film we can push/pull as standard up to 4 stops; however, film manufacturers will have recommendations about the push/pull ‘limits’ of their film, so you may wish to check this out. For C41 we can push up to 3 stops and pull one stop, though the latter is rarely necessary. Please note that pushing will always alter the look of your final images in some way…it introduces more contrast and grain, and in the case of C41 it does change the look of the colours, so that in general the results aren’t quite as natural. Having said that, if you’re shooting in good light and exposing well, pushing can create some good results – see our Blog post here for some example shots taken by Christian Ward of Canadian Film Lab.
Do you offer a scan only service, for already developed negatives?
Yes we do. The prices and turnaround times are the same per roll or part-roll as for our develop and scan service. This is the same whether your film comes cut or uncut. Please note – unlike for our own develop and scan service – we don’t remove dust in the edit for film which has been developed elsewhere. This is because when we develop black and white film ourselves we use a controlled process which minimises dust on the negatives. For film which has been developed elsewhere we have no control over the way in which the film has been developed and handled, and potentially removing dust could be an extremely lengthy process.
Do you offer a develop only service?
I’m afraid we don’t offer a ‘develop only’ service. We do however provide an exceptional quality developing and scanning service, and we would love to receive your film for this service.
Can you scan to include the rebate/edging/sprocket holes on my film?
This is something we are asked from time to time, especially for lomo shooters or those shooting film for a ‘retro’ or ‘vintage’ look. Unfortunately we are not able to include the rebate/edging/sprocket holes of the film in the scans, due to the design of the negative masks.
I have an unusual type of film…can I send it to you?
We can process and scan many different types of film! If you have something a little out of the ordinary, please read on to find out whether we can accept your film…
We offer a service for panoramic formats. In 35mm this includes X-Pan, for which there is a small pricing supplement compared to standard 35mm film (please see pricing page for full details). X-Pan requires an adaptation of our usual scanning technique. Because there is no specific X-Pan mask we scan this film using a medium format mask, and we then have to crop the resulting scans manually. Please note that as a result, if you are shooting X-Pan or a similar format, the scans will be smaller than the equivalent 35mm size. Also any half frames you shoot on the same roll, will be half that size again. We therefore recommend that X-Pan shooters choose large scans. X-Pan film can also not be scanned with our usual ‘digital ICE’ dust-removal technology. Although we take all possible steps to reduce dust and fibres within our process, usually a small amount will remain.
We can scan 6 x 12 (medium format panoramic) negatives. Each frame will be split and scanned as two separate images, which we will colour match ready for you to ‘stitch’ together in post-processing.
We can usually scan half frame 35mm film but two frames will be scanned together, meaning that the same corrections will be applied to each pair of images.
As well as all of the mainstream professional and consumer film stocks, we also have experience working with a wide range of film stocks, including Cinestill and lomography films. Often the particular type of lomography film is not identifiable from the outside of an exposed roll, so please include details of the film stock on your order form, and ensure that you have selected the correct type of processing for your film (C41 or black & white).
If you are sending in a very old film (more than 20 years old) please contact us in advance to ensure that we are able to process it. Please note also that any film that arrives at the lab with age, environmental or camera-related damage, may not be able to be processed because it could potentially cause damage to our processing equipment. Similarly, we are unlikely to be able to process film that has been soaked in a ‘film soup’ due to the possibility of it causing contamination to the chemistry or damage to our equipment. Please contact us in advance if any of these issues apply, and we’ll be very happy to advise.
If your film requires a specific type of processing please contact us in advance. This will not apply to most ‘mainstream’ film stocks (e.g. Kodak, Fuji, Ilford, Agfa stocks that are still in active production) but may be the case with less commonplace brands (such as Rollei films) and more commonly with unusual black & white film stocks, where the manufacturer may specify particular chemistry to be used for development, for example.
We can process Agfa Scala film, however it will be processed as a b&w negative – not as a reversal process.
Processing types we offer are C41 and Black & White.
Can you tell me a little more about the work you do with my film?
Certainly! We scan your film on Fuji Frontier SP3000 scanners, adjusting each frame by eye, primarily for global image colour and brightness/density. Pro lab scanners also allow some small tonal adjustments in the scan, but in order to allow us to work closely in line with our clients’ preferences we also – unlike many other Pro labs – include a further edit as part of our service. The editing process includes any further tonal adjustments and small tweaks that may be beneficial, as well as allowing us to ensure a good level of consistency across a client’s order. Uniquely, this edit includes a separate step where we seek to address the colour casts that are often present as a natural result of the shooting and/or scanning process. This is what gives CFL scans their exceptionally ‘clean’ look.
Our overall aim and role is to produce a natural, clean looking image with good colour accuracy, reflecting simultaneously the natural appearance of the scene and light that you as the photographer chose to capture; the inherent underlying character of the film stock you chose to shoot, and the particular preferences that you have for the overall ‘look’ of your images in terms of colour (warmth / coolness), contrast and brightness. Through our unbeatable feedback process we also help you to make any changes to the way you shoot, that will help you to get closer to the results you want. For more information on how to set up your preferences with us please see canadianfilmlab.com/ukflpro. The colour corrections we make are global to the whole image and we aim to prioritise and tailor these corrections to give a balanced and aesthetically pleasing final result that is in line with your colour preferences.
This is a fine balancing act and it is where our skill and experience both in lab work and as photographers, really shines through. Within this process we also aim to maintain good overall image quality, which can be lost in overcorrected/overworked images. This is where good exposure is key. A well-exposed negative gives us more ‘information’ to work with in our process.
At Canadian Film Lab we do not believe in providing rough-and-ready, under-corrected (or so-called ‘basic’) scans. When a significant degree of work and correction is left to the final editing process, the end result can never be as good as if a high quality scan had been produced in the first place.
Many clients say that they rarely or never edit their images. This is wonderful praise for us to hear as a lab but because the role of a pro film lab is not to provide a full editing/retouching service, we always say that this isn’t to be expected. If you find that you are making the same type of adjustment routinely to your scans (for example, brightening them all, or warming them all up a little) simply let us know and we can adjust the way we scan and edit your work accordingly. However, as a photographer you have a unique vision in your head when you take a photograph. Through our experience and by working closely with you to develop our understanding of our preferences, we will always aim to get as close to this look as is possible within our process. However, your unique vision for this shot may mean that there are further small editing touches that you wish to make, when you receive your scans.
Film is our passion and we always go the extra mile for our clients to help produce beautiful images.
Where can I find your business terms and conditions?
For our business terms and conditions, please see here