We love to answer your questions
I want to start shooting film, what would you recommend me?
Wow that’s a tough one! First of all keep it simple: 1 camera 1 film stock, if you are new to film photography then 35mm is higly recommended but if you have some experience with photography you will definitely fall in love with 120 film (aka medium format).
We recommend you to start with one film stock and try to master it, learn it’s ins and outs and see how it responds in different light situations and exposures. Colour or BW but try to stick with one. You will have time to try them all so don´t worry. If you are starting out we recommend beginning with the classics, whose characteristics will suit you better (cheap film often leads to cheap results).
For B&W: HP5+ & 400TX
For Colour: Portra 400
For tips about exposure: https://carmencitafilmlab.com/how-exposure-affects-film/
I’ve never used an international lab before, how does it work?
It’s pretty simple. Basically it’s like a regular lab but involves a bit more communication in order to get perfect results. It is necessary that you print and attach the Order Form with your film and feel free to tell us everything that concerns you in the comments section.
In /send-your-film you can find all the tips about how to ship your rolls to us and once we get it at the lab we’ll take care of the rest 😉 Most of the communication is done by email but we love to hear about you!
The biggest difference might be you won’t deliver your film by hand at the lab but apart from that we’ll try to make you feel as close as if we were just around the corner 🙂
Do I need to name with a project every order?
Even though it’s not strictly necessary it is very helpful when sorting jobs or finding frames to re-scan. It only takes 2 seconds and if you don’t have an exact name you can label it with the month and year it is. There is no excuse!
How long will it take to receive my scans?
The amount of time it takes to process and scan an order depends on the amount of rolls it has, the minimum (without a rush fee) is 5 business days for orders with less than 10 rolls, and from there on it goes in crescendo depending on the amount of rolls.
You can check the full list at /prices
What if I need my scans earlier?
No Problem-o! We’ve got you covered. For these cases we developed the Rush Fee that enables you to get your scans as fast as 1 business day! More info at /prices
So how do I know when receive my package?
As soon as we receive your package you will receive an email saying “Your film is in the house!” with all the information and the links to complete the payment.
Our office team will recount all the rolls and make sure everything is in place. If there’s anything strange you can be sure they will send you an email asking about it! Comments are highly appreciated.
What’s the difference between you and my local lab?
There is no difference per se. There are amazing local labs around but in our experience we found that many local of the labs still left are oriented towards providing just a service and not really treating film with the care and personal touch it should have in our opinion.
Because we receive most of our work by mail communication is key to understanding what a photographer wants and expects. That’s why we always listen and try to treat every single roll with the same care. We believe traditional labs need to step up their game because photography has changed a lot and you cannot just be a film lab now but a Film Lab 2.0!
Ok ok, but where does the name Carmencita come from?
Here in Spain, Carmencita is a name that is usually associated as a grandma’s name or someone that you have a close relationship with. It was a very popular name back in the day so we can’t help thinking back to other times when we hear it. We wanted a name that expressed something done with care, closeness and that was made in the coast of Spain while at the same time appealing internationally. Sounds pretty impossible but we try to make it so every day!
*Fun fact: our founder revealed to us that it was also motivated cause the first lab was intended to be in “El Carmen” district of Valencia and so the name just came up. But we prefer the first version 🙂
Who are you?
We are passionately young,
fool enough to dream,
that nothing is dead
till it’s forgotten.
We won’t be wrong
if we stay as a team,
that could face any threat
beneath what’s begotten.
because somebody said
it couldn’t be done,
we made it possible.
C-41? E-6? ECN-2? Xtol? What is all this jibberish?
All these are names of different chemistry processes that are applied to develop different kinds of film. In colour films it’s pretty standard, C-41 is used to develop all colour negative film, and E-6 is used to develop colour slide film.
When it comes to B&W film things get more funky as there are so many B&W developers, each one with different characteristics applied on each film (also each film has a standard developing time for each developer) and that makes things a bit more challenging. We use Ilford DDX for most of our developing, but you may see many places out there using Xtol, Kodak D-76, Kodak TMax, HC110, etc… all are equally valid.
120, 135, 110, Xpan, 4x5”, 20x26… what formats can you develop & scan?
We do work with all formats of 120, 220 and 135, including Xpan, 6×9, 6×12 etc… Both colour and B&W
· 110 we can process and scan colour & B&W
· APS we can scan and develop although we can’t deliver it with the canister
· 4×5” & 8×10” and other large formats, unfortunately we can’t process or scan them
We do also process infrared negatives and slide film.
*Kodachrome is no longer available to develop anywhere
Can I push/pull my film with you?
Yes you can and we would love to do so! We do push and pull both in colour (using temperature) and B&W (using time)
Why does pushing cost extra?
The reason because we need to charge extra for pushing and pulling is not due material cost but production workflow. Pushing means that those pushed rolls cannot go in the same bath as non-pushed rolls so we have to stop the production, tune up the machines for pushing and then bring them back to normal to process the rest of non pushed rolls. So it takes a bit of a hassle.
Can I re-develop a roll?
Unfortunately, the laws of physics tell us that when a roll has already been developed can’t be re-developed cause the emulsion has already been fixed, even if it has been poorly developed.
There are specific cases where an emulsion can be re-processed to remove excess of silver or lack of fixing but those are another story.
Can I only develop a roll but not scan it?
We do offer develop only services and we will ship your film just after being processed, usually takes around 1 business to be developed.
What kind of chemistry do you use? Why is that any important?
We only work with fresh Fujifilm Chemistry for colour (C-41 & E-6), the quality of the chemistry is crucial for what we mentioned earlier, a roll cannot be re-developed so if it’s done poorly it’s something that you won’t be able to fix ever again.
Also Fujifilm offers us a quality control service run by their chemistry experts that ensure us our baths are perfect every week before your film dives in.
On the B&W we work with Ilford DDX cause it ensure us the best result for a wide variety of films under 24ºC on our Jobos. Every bath is prepared from fresh chemistry so there is no risk of running low on concentrations, which is a risk when reusing chemistry. We develop with a rotatory system that enable us to use half of the chemistry that normal developing needs.
What scanner do you use?
Our main workflow is done on the Frontier but a couple years ago the Noritsu HS-1800 came to the family to stay. Each scanner has a different personality and suits best a particular type of image over others. It’s all a mater of taste, but for those who love the numbers you can have a closer look at each scanner in our section /scanning
What about the size of the scans?
We have scan sizes for every purpose!
Our M size it’s about 2400 x 3600 pixels and it’s meant to be printed on 20x30cm
Our L size it’s about 3000 x 4200 pixels and it’s meant to be printed on 30x40cm
Our XL size it’s about 3500 x 4700 pixels and it’s meant to be printed on 40x60cm
Our XXL size it’s about 5000 x 6500 pixels mean for prints above 100cm
Sizes will vary a bit depending on the film format because our scanners are design to be attached to a printer an their output size is based on the shorter edge of the image, therefor a 6×7 scan will be a bit larger than 6×6 for example.
You can check all the sizes and samples with each particular resolution at /samples
sRGB or AdobeRGB?
All our scans are made in sRGB, the reason is the huge majority of our clients work with monitors that do not render AdobeRGB nor are calibrated for it. Also only the very latest web browsers support embedded colour profiles (ICC) for their desktop versions not mobile versions.
Apart from that, the Frontier SP-3000 and Noritsu HS-1800 work within the sRGB colour space.
I heard TIFF is the best of the best format there has ever existed
Yeah TIFF is cool, but it usually is overkill for most images. Colour wise the way both scanners render JPGs and TIFF are very similar, resolution wise things change when scaling.
When it comes to printing BIG then there is a key difference. TIFF files can take up to x15 times more space to store in your hard drive than JPGs, the reason is they are usually uncompressed or compressed using a lossless algorithm. What does this jibberish mean? That with a TIFF file you will be storing every pixel individually – which means that you will be able to appreciate the real grain of the film when enlarging to print or do fine retouching.
99% of the work you see from the lab is scanned as JPG. The reason TIFF has an extra fee is because it takes double the time to process, scan, store and export that JPG does.
So, how am I gonna get my images and my negatives?
Just straight from the oven, you’ll receive an email via WeTransfer to your email address from firstname.lastname@example.org (yes this email express how happy are we to deliver your images).
After downloading and reading our feedback you can either ask us to send your film back or wait until you’ve got some orders to combine the shipping of the negs. We personally think you should enjoy the moment and start sharing with your beloved ones the images you created!
I really have a special look for my images, how can I get my look with you?
That’s great! We know each photographer has his own look, that is, among other things, what sets him apart from the rest of the photographers out there. We want to help you getting the look you are seeking for; along your preferences when it comes to colour, contrast, sharpness, skin tones, etc…
We take it so seriously that we created a special tool for it. You can now send us reference images and comments about your work using our Looks platform!
More info at /looks
Can I send you film that is already developed and cut? Even if I developed them myself?
Yes and yes, we do scan film that has already been developed but we won’t correct flaws in the developing if there are since that is another kind of service, we will scan it as is and trying to do the best colour wise.
The reason why the pricing is the same as undeveloped film is that because in our experience many of the films that have been brought to us previously developed were poorly done and we had to spend extra time in the scanning and adjusting each frame to compensate for the bad developing. Also when the film is already cut it takes extra time cause we have to feed strip by strip instead of the whole roll at once, reason why we have to charge a fee of +2€ per cut roll.
How do you make your prints? It is 100% analog?
All our prints are made with inkjet printers properly calibrated to match our screens. You guessed it, that means all our prints come from digital files. It is hard to say but it is extremely rare to be able to produce truly analog prints nowadays and as a young lab we had to build everything from scratch and implementing a darkroom for prints was out of our reach since the beginning.
Nowadays there are 2 main options when it comes to printing:
- Wet Labs (high prints/hour ratio, use chemistry and print with a laser beam, high maintenance cost)
- Dry Labs (better consistency, lower prints/hour ratio, lower energy consumption, inkjet system)
There are many many reasons to take into account but after considering the possibilities we believe the DryLabs offer a better and more contemporary solution, both for quality reasons and eco sustainability.
*If you are interested in prints 100% real analog straight from the negative the guys at Rebel Lab in Barcelona do a fantastic job! Drop them a line saying you come from Carmencita and they’ll treat you extra nicely
So, you don’t have a big dark room where you print everything under a charming red light?
Unfortunately no, we do not have one. Although we would love to! That’s how many of us felt in love with analog photography and we deeply encourage you to try for yourself!
If you have questions on how to do so feel free to drop us a line at email@example.com
Do you print digital files also or only film images?
We print all kind of files, from film scans to jpeg’s to RAW files!
What’s the best way to send you my images?
Do you retouch and adjust before printing?
For basic prints we print them exactly as you send them to us since the size is usually quite small. For Fine Art prints we check the files up closely before printing looking for any possible imperfection, but we do not do retouching unless specified.
How do I know I will get the same colour I see on my screen that I see on my prints?
Well that’s a tricky one. As we mentioned earlier, we work with sRGB colour space, the global standard so it is very likely that your computer will be able to work with it. If you have your screen calibrated to that profile you should see something very close to what we see!
Also take into count prints will always look a bit darker than the images you see on the screen due to their nature. The light bounces of the prints instead of lighting the image from behind.
What’s the real difference between “Fine Art” prints and the basic prints?
There are many “real” reasons why they are different but the most important would be the paper they are made of. Believe it or not the quality of the paper is responsible for 60% of the quality of the image, and when talking Fine Art the variety of papers is immense.
Apart from that Fine Art prints are made with printers that have between 9 and 11 inks and high precision nozzles up to 1440×2880 dpi
So basically you will get a richer image, deeper tones, better contrast and better colour with Fine Art images adding also the personality of each paper 🙂
*That being said basic prints also deliver a fantastic quality but Fine Art is for those images that you want to take to the next level.
Time wise how long does it take for the prints to arrive at my place?
Since you drop the files at our platform it will take usually 2 business days to leave the lab and if you booked express shipping it will be at your home the next day.
So basically only 3 business days from sending it to receiving it!
Can I order prints directly form my negatives without scanning them?
Yes and no. As mentioned earlier, all images nowadays are printed from digital files that means scanning the images previously. We offer prints made directly from an auto-scan upon request but we do not really recommend it.
Can I ship my negatives and new film all together? And prints?
How long does the shipping take?
There are 2 options available in the shop, Express (24/48h) or Economy Express (4 days).
All shipments are delivered by TNT or FedEx and are insured for 100€.
Do you make bulk discounts?
Unfortunately no. Our film prices are very tight in order to be as competitive as possible and help photographers shoot more film without dying in the attempt. Unless you have a crazy big amount of the same film stock you want to purchase we cannot offer you any discount.
Do you sell slide film?
We used to but most of the photographers that work with us shoot negative film and we ended up with expired slide film in the warehouse. We feel there are much bigger shops out there that are still able to supply slide film still 🙂
Do you have gift coupons?
Yes we do! You can find them in our section /goods
Do you sell film gear also?
We do not sell film gear since we are oriented to film only although you can find some really cool items we make to help film photographers organise their film and tote bags that will help you recognise film photographers around your town 🙂
You can find them at /goods
Can I pay after I received my scans?
Since we are online based all scans must be paid before leaving the lab cause otherwise it would make it really inconvenient to keep track of the payment plus it wouldn’t be fair on those who pay for their film on time.
Do you accept Paypal?
We used to accept Paypal but after a couple years we realized the 3% commission on every transaction it was just too much and we could invest in much more interesting things to improve the lab than rather giving that money away.
We now work primarily with payments by Credit Card but we also accept Bank Transfer.
*If you can only pay by Paypal there are exceptions but in very special cases
I want to pay by Bank Transfer, what do I need to do?
Paying by Bank Transfer is totally possible! You can find the option after following the “check out” button on the welcoming email. If you have any trouble just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and they will be happy to provide all our bank details to complete your payment 🙂
I’m not from Spain, do I need to pay VAT (Value Added Tax)?
- If you are shipping from within the EU you will be obligated to pay Spanish taxes unless you have a professional VAT number able to do intracommunitary transactions
- If you are shipping from outside the EU you are automatically exempt to pay Spanish taxes 🙂
- If you are living in Spain or you are a Spanish citizen we are obligated to charge the VAT.
If you have any question about it please let us know at email@example.com
What if I get a blank roll, do I get my money back?
It is already painful enough to get a blank roll so we will only charge the developing cost if that happens and fully refund you the scanning cost for said roll.
Where is my money going?
It is hard to put it in exact numbers but we feel it’s totally okay to ask and we want to give you an idea of where
- 67% Salaries
- 19% Infrastructure & Supplies
- 9% R&D, Saving and Lab investments
How can I get a discount?
We are truly committed to our work and that’s why our discount policy is very strict. The only discounts we ever give are during workshops and it’s a single-use coupon meant to encourage.
How should I pack my film, I would love some advice
How long will it take to receive my package?
Since the moment it leaves the lab it will take on average 4 business days travelling with Economy Express shipping. Although we always offer the option of Express 24h shipping if needed!
What are the prices?
The prices will vary depending on where you are located but generally within the EU the shipping price for returning negatives is 14€. You can check all the rates at /prices
Can I group different shipments into one? Film, prints and negatives?
Yes indeed! Once you pay for a shipment you can always add prints, negatives or fresh film to it! We will pack everything together and send it in one happy box 🙂
Ok, and how should I ship them to you? Do I really need a private courier?
We receive packages by all means of transport. Many choose to use the standard postal service of their country and others use any other type of courier services out there. In our experience private couriers have shown to be the fastest and most reliable service but regular post is a perfect option if you are not in a hurry.
Any way you choose to ship your film to us, make sure to have a tracking number from your package! This is crucial if ever there is any issue or delay to helping us know where is your film and we can actually place a claim or ask to the postal services with a reference if needed.
How will you ship my negatives back to me?
Between 10-20 packages leave the lab everyday to every corner of the globe. Within the workflow of the lab everything is sent out by TNT/FedEx daily. Either Express or Economy Express your films or prints will be delivered always by a private courier at your desired address 🙂
Are there different shipping options?
Unfortunately we are not able to provide other shipping options unless previously agreed.
If you work with a certain courier company already and you want to organise the shipping from your end that is also possible and we do it often actually. Just let us know in advance too!
Will I get a tracking number?
All our shipments have a unique tracking number and they are usually provided automatically by TNT when booking a shipment to your address.
If you don’t receive it please let us know and we will provide it for you 🙂
What about customs?
For imports (when you are.shipping film to the lab) we recommend you to not put a high value on the package if you are shipping from outside the EU, the reason being it will get stopped in customs with the consequent added cost. We usually can get through it but this will also increase the delivery time of your scans due the bureaucracy.
When exporting (when we are sending film to you) if you purchase new film at the shop we are obligated to declare the value that’s inside the package in film.
And what about X-Rays????
Oh the X-Rays, the biggest fear when shipping or traveling. In our experience most courier companies always scan the content of their packages before shipping BUT with much milder X Ray scanners than airports, so it does not affect the film.
When flying we recommend you to always bring your film in the carry on baggage, never check-in film to travel with luggage under the plane, and if you can have it inspected by hand the better. Although you might encounter some resistance by the airport security staff, the truth is that most western countries use modern scanners that only harm film above 800ISO.
We’ve seen X Rays in some cases when photographers flew from countries like Israel, Japan or Vietnam, where the X-Ray machines can be older and much more aggressive.
Is sending chocolate mandatory when sending you my films?
Some of our founders say it used to be mandatory but no anymore. Nevertheless it is highly appreciated by 100% of the staff at the lab and keeps the motivation levels high when working on the scans during those long summer and cold winter days. Also during spring and specially during autumn 🙂
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