Film Shops and Photo Labs in Berlin

Or “The Film Photographer’s Guide to Berlin” if you will.

Just recently I thought to myself: Hey, why not compile a list of shops and labs in Berlin that serve the needs of a film geek? It’s probably of good use for people coming to Berlin, and to people living here who are just curious where they can get the good photo stuff. This list is compiled to the best of my knowledge, and might not be a hundred percent exact, so no guarantees here. I’ll fix and add shops as I continue to explore the film photography landscape of Berlin. See it as a good start of shops I’m aware of. If you know more shops around here, let me know!

  • Shops
    • Foto Impex
      Alte Schönhauser Str. 32B

      All kinds of film, a big shelf of rather exotic black and white film, including Efke, Foma, ADOX, and others. Also carry a good line of Holga cameras and Superheadz products. Especially the Holgas are quite reasonably priced, especially compared to the Lomo shop down the street.

      Film prices are very reasonable too, e.g. a 5-pack of 120 Kodak Portra 400VC will set you back 20 EUR. They also have every kind of photo accessory the film nerd could wish for.

      They develop film too, usually on the same day. Check out their catalog for the full pricing details.

    • Monochrom
      Ackerstr. 23

      Specialised in all things regarding black and white photography, this is the shop to go to if you’re into that kind of stuff. Accessories galore, cameras (yes, also toy cameras, but the Lomo kind) and film, lots of film. I usually buy my Rollei Retro film here. Not sure if Rollei keeps making it, but with 2 EUR a roll it was quite a good price too.

      They also develop black and white, and two doors down the street there’s another shop that develops film.

    • Aarven (Website not working)
      Neue Schönhauser Str. 19

      Get your Lomo gear here. They have pretty much everything from the Lomographic Society here, slightly more expensive than in their online shop, but you save on shipping. Take your pick. Do not buy film here, the prices are ridiculous. 8 EUR for a roll of Fuji Superia 100, the cheapest film you could ask for.

    • Schwarzerfreitag Polaroids
      Brunnenstr. 195

      PolaPremium’s first retail store and Polaroid gallery. Get your instant film and camera fixes here. Film is slightly more expensive than online, but you save on the expensive flatrate shipping.

    • Objektiv
      Zossener Str. 37

      Nothing fancy, just a small shop that sells used cameras apart from the usual photography shop stuff. They also have film, but the main reason I keep rubbing my nose on their windows is the shelf with used cameras. They keep getting in new ones from time to time. Luck had it, they got a Lomo LCA in one day, and I bought it immediately. Good people, always up for a chat.

    • Kamera Service Ostkreuz
      Neue Bahnhofstr. 6

      The shop’s been there for more than 40 years. It’s one of the last shops where you can get good service for old East-German cameras. If you have a broken Praktica, Contax, Pentacon, you name it. I had two cameras in for service. While they can’t get replacement parts for everything they might just for your camera, or at least they could offer you a decent replacement.

      They’re also selling used camera gear. Haven’t been there in a while, since they’re opening hours are only from 10 am till 6 pm I think, and they’re closed on Wednesdays as far as I remember.

  • Labs

    • PPS Imaging
      Alexanderstraße 1

      My local lab of choice. Probably had some 150 rolls developed here already. Always good work, never been disappointed. Normally just development will set you back 5.95 EUR per roll, but there’s specials on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for E6 (slide), C41 (color negative) and black and film respectively. On these days the price is 20% less, so 4.16 EUR per roll. I usually collect rolls of each kind, or I only use a specific kind each week, and bring them in all at once. Development is usually done within 2 to 3 hours. On normal days you get 10% off when you give them 24 hours time. 220 film is 10.71 per roll, 8.33 on the respective special days.

      They also have five giant fridges full of film, including Ilford, Fuji and Kodak, so mainly the big brands. They do prints of all kinds of course, develop 4×5 film too. They don’t have a price catalog and a full service list online, but trust me, you’ll be served here. They also rent out camera and photo gear, I’m constantly eyeing a Hassy 503CW.

      Con is that they’re opening hours could be a bit better. There are labs close by that have slightly more consumer-friendly opening hours. PPS is open from 9 am to 7 pm weekdays, and 9 am to 4 pm on Saturdays. No extra fees for cross-processing, no idea on pushing/pulling though, never tried it.

    • Pixelgrain
      Rosenstraße 16/17

      A friend has his film developed here, and is a happy customer. They’re not open on Saturdays, but Sundays from 2 pm to 9 pm, and weekdays from 9 am till 8 pm. Their current pricing list is available. Prices for just development are similar to PPS. Just like PPS, no extra cost for cross-processing and pushing/pulling one stop.

      They also rent out photo equipment and cameras.

    • Jet Foto
      Memhardstr. 7

      Can’t say much on the quality, just that their pricing seems quite reasonable. They’re open till 10 pm I think. Their website still states 11 pm, but they just changed that, and I saw it in their store window.

      Full list of prices is available. These guys are also open Sundays from 2 pm to 10 pm. Cross-processing is slightly cheaper than slide processing. Cheapest price for C41 development, acetat sleeve however is extra.

Polaroid Notes

If someone would’ve told me a while back that I’d see one of my Polaroids on an Amazon or Barnes & Noble product page some day, I’d have laughed out loud (LOL’d if you will). But yet, here we are. The Polaroid Notes, curated by Jen Altman, are available for your buying pleasure.

Picture 6.png

I’m a bit offended that Urban Outfitters calls them lady-like, but what can you do.

They’re available at

I have yet to receive my pack, but I’m sure they’re all awesome. I’m so humbled, which is still an understatement, to be a part of this.

A little story on that cupcake shot. I took it right after J jammed the SX-70, and the rollers were still a bit dirty, which you can see on the shot. I decided that it was right in the spirit of Polaroid to leave it as it is, and enter just this shot. There’s no such thing as a ruined Polaroid.

So, to sum up: Awesome!

Oh yes, and go buy a set. You won’t regret it.

There’s Something About Slide Film

When I started shooting film about two years ago, I started out with cheapo consumer film, which can be nice too, mind you. Agfa’s Vista is a pretty nice film, and cheap. Anyway, a friend soon recommended I check out slide film.

Said and done, I bought some rolls of Kodak Elitechrome and Fuji Sensia, both very nice slide films on their own. Not too great for cross-processing, but that’s not was this is about anyway. It’s about slide film, processed as slide film, stuffed into a sheet of acetate foil for your viewing pleasure. By that time I already had picked my lab of choice so it didn’t matter if bigger retailers didn’t offer slide film processing anymore, or if it took them more than a week. My lab did it in two hours, after which I could see what I shot, without mentally reversing the colors. Man, that stuff is awesome.

Appreciation

Not only is the grain finer, the contrast and the saturation is usually much better than with color negative film. Don’t get me wrong, I still love color negative film, I have my phases where I shoot what I feel like, but it’s just something special with slide film.

My next steps involved buying a couple of different rolls for our wedding trip to Sydney. I stuffed them in the Holga, and had them cross-processed. Big mistake. Most of them came out with awful color shifts, or the fact that slide film’s exposure range is a lot smaller than color negative, together with accidental bulb mode turned them into a vintage looking mess. Some might call it “lomo”, but whatever. I’m not here to judge.

Anyway, I got my hands on some rolls of Agfa RSX-200 and some Velvia 100. My word, what a difference. That is some serious slide film porn with this stuff. And so blue! But what’s really special about slide film in the Holga is the fact that it’s 120, and therefore you get 6×6 centimeters of awesomeness per shot. You don’t even need a loupe to look at it, you can enjoy all of its awesomeness right away.

Stingray

Except for some specific slide films I like cross-processed, processing the film using E6 (aka slide film processing) is clearly the way to go. It just looks so awesome, every time a new. The fact that you could scan it up to something like 100 megapixels is mind-boggling. It’s downright awesome, any way you look at it, and I mean that literally. Of course you need awesome light when you shoot 100 speed slide film with the Holga, but when the sun is out, just try it. You won’t regret it.

Slide film, I think I love you. Black & white and color negative, you’re still awesome too.

What A Difference A Stop Makes

It’s not a secret that the Holga is broken by design. It comes with a switch for sunny and cloudy weather, but believe it or not, that switch doesn’t do anything. Just until recently I chose to ignore this flaw, but the Holgaroid changed my mind. What annoyed me was that it needs insanely good light to get decent results.

After Kai reminded me that I still could do the aperture mod, I gave it a go, and gave the Holgaroid another extended whirl yesterday. My word, that rather simple mod does make quite a big difference. If you don’t believe me, have a look at these two photos, shot within 30 seconds of each other.

Holgaroid Tomatoes
Holgaroid Tomatoes

The left one is brighter, and that’s the one taken with the cloudy setting, which now actually works on one of my Holgas. It’s really nice to suddenly have this additional 2/3 of a stop to play with. Yesterday it was extremely bright outside as you’ll see on some of the other Holgaroid shots, but for this scene I chose a scene partly in shadow, so I can see a potential difference.

The modification itself is pretty easy, you don’t even have to do the whole thing, if you just want a slightly wider aperture, just pop out the ring on the lens as described on by Nicolai on his “facts about Holga apertures”, or you can do the whole deal, if you have some superglue at hand. The additional step of glueing the ring back on the aperture arm is pretty easy. Of course it’s also quite interesting to see how the innards of a Holga work, they’re amazingly simple, and it’s quite easy to figure out how you could for example disable the bulb mode altogether.

Believe me, it’s so worth it. That additional step comes in really handy when you’re shooting with 100 speed film. But yesterday in some scenes it was so bright that I could safely use the sunny setting with the Holgaroid. The cool thing (if you think that way) is that the additional 2/3 of a stop bring you to closer to a real stop f/11 than you are with the Holga’s default aperture of f/13.

Personally, I don’t care that much, because even with the default aperture I managed to get nice exposures on 100 speed slide film, but a time may come when it suddenly becomes important. I’d suggest you read the facts page about all the nitty gritty details.

I have the original Holgaroid by Polaroid (yes, they really made it) that only takes type 80 film. I do like the square a lot, so it’s no big deal, but the fact that there’s only the low-speed Viva film left to shoot threw me off a bit. I do think we’re back on now, and I might just have to order some more of that film.

Another thing I noticed with the Holgaroid back is that it makes for a lot wider angle than the standard Holga lens. Anyone can confirm this? It felt like I could get a bit closer to things, and that I even had to to have them fill the frame.

Summer!

Oh Summer, I do love you. Lots. You don’t even know or appreciate how much I love you, I’m sure. But I do, I really do. I wouldn’t mind if you were nine months long, leaving out Autumn and Winter going directly to Spring again. I don’t need either of them, that’s why we love to escape them and go to Australia and/or New Zealand every now and then during Winter, remember?

Raspberries

Of course you do. You are in fact my favorite season, dear Summer. Spring is nice too, but it’s not as great as you are. I love everything you have to offer: heat, sun, strawberries, raspberries, meeting up with friends on the blue hour, meeting up with friends during the day, having picnics, warm summer nights, summer rain, being out on our balcony watching the street life down below, being out in the country, playing inline hockey in the heat, just everything. Yes, I even love Summer in Berlin. I wouldn’t mind the occasional ocean beach around here, but whatareyougonnado.

Hops & Barley

You are just plain awesome, Summer. I just wanted to say that. Carry on, Summer, with all your awesomeness.