Where can I develop or scan my 35mm or medium format film in the UAE?
Updated on Wednesday, February 1 2017
Most photographers will agree that shooting film or analog is a special treat, if not for the better dynamic range or "the look" that film gives you, then at least because the process slows one down and results in a much more deliberate and thoughtful approach. Processing, developing and printing your film is another story but you might be surprised that there are some affordable options right here in the UAE. We took them for a test drive and summarised our findings below.
Kodak Photo Fast
Click here for directions
Hours: 9am - 10:30pm (Sat-Wed) | 4pm - 10:30pm (Fri)
Photo Fast offers developing, printing and scanning services for colour and black-and-white film shooters.
Developing only - C-41 Colour Film:
- 30 Dhs per roll
- 35mm or 120mm film
- Hourly and 2-day services available
Developing only - Black & White Film:
- 30 Dhs per roll
- 120mm or 35mm film
- The film is sent away to be developed (at UCF, details below) and generally takes 1-2 weeks
Following Development, you have the option to have your film scanned in either High or Low resolution. A roll of film, whether it be 35mm or 120mm costs 10dhs to scan for low resolution Images which are provided in JPEG format and are approximately 5mp in resolution (for 120mm film).
High Res Scanning:
You have the option of having the images scanned in Tiff Format, which costs 5dhs per image, but this only changes the format from JPEG to Tiff and doesn’t affect the final resolution of the image. Photo Fast no longer offers Drum Scanning in-house.
Photo Fast also has several printing options available in variable sizes from 6x4 to 12x24. They use Royal Paper for prints up to 12x16 and Kodak Professional Paper from 12x18 to 12x24 sizes. The prints come out looking great and we were very happy with the results. We would like to mention however, that the prints aren’t made using high grade fine art paper for exhibition and gallery work. So if that’s what you are after, then you should consider getting the negs drum scanned digitally and have them printed at GPP.
United Colour Film (UCF)
Click here for directions
T: 042675599 (ask for the Lab and Mr. Sultan)
UCF has been in Dubai for over 30 years and provides state-of-the-art printing and imaging services to professionals.
Developing & Proofing:
While you can develop film at UCF and even though it costs slightly less than Photo Fast at 30 Dhs per roll, it is only applicable for Black & White film. UCF no longer supports the development of Color Film, whether 35mm or 120mm. Getting low resolution scans made for proofing purposes takes longer as well and costs 15dhs per roll of film. Developing usually takes 1-2 weeks.
NB - we recommend still dropping off your Black & White film at Photo Fast for forwarding on to UCF; as UCF's premises are not easily accessible, and you can get a roll developed and proof scanned for a lower total cost (40 Dhs) if you take this route.
Drum Scanning & Printing:
The real advantage of UCF comes in when your aim is to get high resolution scans and/or prints of any kind or size, from foot long indoor posters to meter wide outdoor signage. Coming in at 1dhs per MB for a drum scan, makes UCF a lot more cost effective for Ultra-High requirement work or bulk jobs.
With a plethora of printing options and the ability to get ultra high resolution scans on tap, United Color Film is the place to go for when you want to get serious about your film work whether it be getting the highest quality digital scans or large 300dpi prints. The only limitations with UCF are the lack of support for the development of color film and the non-availability of high-grade Fine Art paper.
What You Should Know:
An important difference in the printing process betwen UCF and Photo fast is that Photo Fast can print up to a maximum of 12x36 and does so from the negative directly. In the case of UCF, any print beyond A4 size requires the image to be drum scanned and then printed. If all you want is a print, you dont need to pay for the drum scan, but keep in mind that you should make sure that the scan is done at a high enough resolution to get the best quality from the print. This is just something to be mindful of when you go to get big prints made from UCF. And speaking of being mindful, do remember to tell both UCF and Photo Fast to give you a true scan from the negative, i.e. not to edit or process it in anyway, otherwise you may not be entirely happy with the fidelity of the scans and/or prints.
- If you do decide to explore any of the options mentioned above, please give Photo Fast and UCF our reference. With enough interest, we can hopefully secure a discount for the GPP community.
- If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us either by phone (043808545) or email (email@example.com).
Looking to develop your own film?
Tashkeel have a fully equipped darkroom which enables members to process film, enlarge and experiment with traditional black and white printing techniques. If you're looking to enlarge as well as develop, Tashkeel stocks various photographic papers which are available for purchase and their darkroom has five Durst M670 enlargers.
Advance booking of the darkroom is required and you'll need to be a Tashkeel member to use the facilities. For more information you can call +971 (0) 43363313 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community - Analog Photography in UAE Facebook Group
This Facebook group comprises a great community of film shooters who share helpful tips, resources, photos and updates from the UAE. All are welcome to join! - Click here to go to the Facebook Group.
Are you looking to buy film? Check our the large range available at the GPP Store.