Leica Question for M Film Camera Owners


Hall of Famer
Jersey Shore
Real Name
For those who own Leica film cameras, how do you process your images? Do you still have darkrooms? Do you send out your film to be professionally developed into negatives? And, once that's done, do you have them printed professionally? Do you do your own printing? Do you scan your negatives and then switch to a digital work flow?

I'm asking because, as I search for a Leica film camera of my own, I'm trying to work out some of these questions for myself. I'll probably be shooting mostly black and white. I used to have a darkroom in the 70s and 80s. But I suspect that won't be practical for me these days. I'd like to know how others are managing their work flow.
"When i have more free time"- I will start doing B&W again, process the negatives and scan them. I have the enlarger and support equipment, but the develop and scan allows this to be done in a half-bathroom.


Rockville, MD
Almost always I'm using black and white film; I process it myself then scan to jpeg files with some adjustment in PS Elements. I have a darkroom and print only the images I want to display at home or on request by others.


I also mainly use B&W film and process myself. TMAX in HC-110 takes 5-6 minutes developing and 5 min fixing. Not really too time consuming. Slides go to AgX.

Scanning wise, I use my digital camera and macro lens. This involves more manual labor and getting-used-to but "scans" faster and yields better results (as you can do stacking without losing resolution).


New York, USA
Real Name
I have mine developed at a pro lab who also does high resolution scanning, and then I print them myself from the digital files in my studio. Gone are the days when I had enough space for and time for my own darkroom. Today, many of the higher quality labs do a really nice job of developing and scanning, so I leave that to them because most of my work is digital and I just can't justify an analog lab. I used to let them print both my film and digital work, but I found that they could never quite match the print quality I get when I do it myself. My printer takes up a bit of space in my studio and requires some maintenance, but I'll never again let someone else print my work. I've worked with some of the best and they do good work, but printing is just too personal.

Brian McGloin

New Member
Real Name
Brian McGloin
I've been shooting wonderfully cheap Lomography 100 and 400 print film in a Leica M4-2 with a 35 f2 Summicron.
The film looks a lot like Fuji Xtra and is inexpensive. I don't think I would use it for paying or "serious" work ... or maybe, it's really not bad.
I use a local lab, Blue Moon Camera, here in Portland to develop and scan the film. While not the least expensive, it is local and their quality is phenomenal.
Hello Biro,
Glad to see so many good approaches.
For film exposed with my M4 I like to process it myself. Since the demise of Fuji Neopan 400 I have been using mostly Tri-X. It works nicely with HC110. I have used a Nikon scanner in the past and been very happy with the results. I have tried an Epson V750 also. Currently I'm giving a Leitz Beoon with an el nikkor a real workout. I think it may turn out to be the best way for me.
Keep Eager.


Top Veteran
I shoot colour negative film, which is taken to the local photolab where they dev, scan and print. They send me the scans by Dropbox, and I can pick up the prints at my leisure. This does limit the subject matter of my film photography a bit.

I've got a pile of black and white rolls in the fridge that I shot some years ago, thinking that I'd learn to develop film and scan it myself. This has yet to happen.

I've seen a lot of people develop their black and white film and then scan it in various ways, either with an Epson flatbed, Plustek tray scanner, old Nikon scanner, or use a DSLR, macro lens and copy stand. The results I've seen from using a DSLR and macro lens to scan negatives is really quite amazing, although the processing seems to take some effort and skill.
Real Name
I have my negatives developed at a professional lab - but they get send off to there, and it does take weeks. I'll start developing my own b&w films soon (I'm a LabBox backer), but only time will tell if I have enough time to do all of it. Colour will probably get rarer from there on ... I scan my negatives myself and have just bought a Braun FS 120 to take over the bulk of that load; it'll be some time until I have cleared the backlog, though. I'm not sure if I still need the CanoScan 9000F Mk II I've been using until now, but if not, all the better. So, my workflow is part analog, part digital; enlargements are done by the same professional lab (from the negatives, of course).

The results I've seen from using a DSLR and macro lens to scan negatives is really quite amazing, although the processing seems to take some effort and skill.
^ That - and time! It's a one-by-one process that requires you to adjust the setup for every single negative/slide. Possible results are fantastic (especially with the D810 and D850 and Nikon's dedicated accessory), but you have to factor in the effort.

My only other worry is that M4-P does eat a lot of HP5+ - it's much more voracious than the M6 ... I think I'll have to put it on a bit of a diet. The M10 should help with that ...


Latest threads

Top Bottom