Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions

 How do I order processing or enlarging from Dale Laboratories?

  • From digital cameras order online at www.iPrints.com or by burning images to CD-Rs and mailing them into our laboratory. Please click here for more information.

  • From film you'll be mailing your exposed rolls or developed negatives to us in mailers we provide or in your own envelopes. Please click here for more information.

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What is the normal turn-around time for my orders?

 • iPrints.com for online prints and enlargements from your digital camera –

– Print sizes from 4" x 6" to 12" x 18" will normally ship within 24 hours (Monday - Friday) of the time we receive the uploaded images over the Internet

– Print sizes from 16" x 20" to 20" x 30" will usually ship within 5 - 9 business days

• 35mm and Advanced Photo System film processing orders –

Allow one day (Monday - Friday) for each processing service you request. Using this guideline you can expect the following turn-around times:

– Process and print on sizes 3 1/2" x 5," 4" x 6" and 5" x 7"… 24 hours (Monday - Friday) from the time we receive your film

– Addition of slides from 35mm print film or Picture CDs…add 1 - 2 days in-lab

– E-6 slides … 1 - 2 days in-lab

• 120 film processing orders – 3 - 5 business days

• Reprint and enlarging orders from 35mm, APS and 120 film –

– Print sizes from 4" x 6" to 12" x 18"… 3 - 5 days in-lab (Monday - Friday)

– Enlargements from 14" x 20" to 20" x 30" … 5 - 9 business days

The service times listed above are estimates based upon our normal turn-around times and are provided for you to use as a guideline. They are not guaranteed since other factors, such as extremely heavy volume or the possible necessity of reprinting your order…with extra time required…may cause delays. So, it's very important that you allow sufficient time for us to provide the high quality processing, prints and enlargements that you deserve.

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How do you ship my orders to me? How long will it take for my orders to arrive?

 • Orders within the U.S. are shipped by First Class, Priority Mail or DHL –

– First Class Mail usually takes from 2 - 4 days after it has left our laboratory for your order to be delivered anywhere in the U.S.

– Priority Mail is routinely delivered in from 2 - 3 days. Please note that the U.S. Post Office advertises two to three day delivery … and nearly always delivers on time … but does not actually guarantee delivery within the two to three day time span.

– DHL 2nd Day packages are delivered in two days. This is guaranteed by DHL to most … but not all … locations in the U.S. Signatures are not generally required, unless you specifically request "signature required" with your order.

– Larger orders may be shipped via DHL Ground to provide computerized tracking. These packages generally are delivered in from 2 - 4 days after leaving our laboratory.

• Shipments by DHL, FedEx or UPS Next Day Air -

– You may request this service to be charged to your airfreight account number. Please include a note with your airfreight account number or contact our Customer Service department to make arrangements.

– We can also add the shipping charges to the credit card you used for your order, billing you directly for expedited, next day delivery. These shipments are charged at actual shipping cost.

• Shipping to Canada, Mexico and overseas –

– We ship by U.S. Mail, which connects to the mail service in your country. International mail service is quick and, depending on the destination country, usually very reliable. Shipping charges are listed on our mailers and price lists.

– Shipping can also be arranged by DHL or FedEx at an additional cost. Please advise us if this is your preference. Be sure to provide us with your email address so that we can contact you with the shipping charges before we ship, since overseas airfreight can often be quite costly.

– Our assumption is that packages being shipped to you are for personal use. Therefore, the Customs Declaration will state "No Commercial Value."

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Can I trust the mail? Will my film be damaged, lost or X-rayed?

  • The U.S. Postal Service is one of the most reliable postal systems in the world. We receive and ship tens of thousands of packages each year with absolutely minimal loss and virtually no damage.
  • The U.S. Postal System uses security systems other than X-ray. So, your film is safe to ship within the U.S. We have also not seen X-ray damage from other countries. However, if you're traveling outside of the U.S., you may wish to carry your film through inspection and then mail it when you're back in the U.S.A.
  • To assure safe and fast delivery to your home or office, we ask that you make sure that your address is legible, complete and correct … including the right ZIP code. Be sure that you include your correct apartment or suite number and that your address is exactly the one issued to you by the Post Office.
  • If you are concerned about theft in your neighborhood, you may want to request 2nd Day Air delivery with your signature required or indicate a Post Office box as your mailing address.

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What if I need my processing done in less than Dale's normal turn-around time?

Please include a note with your order, specifically indicating the day on which you need your order returned … or call our Customer Service department before sending your order in. We will do our best to meet your special service and time requirements.

  • Sending your order to us via FedEx or DHL next-day (morning delivery) service will provide you faster delivery time and can save a day's time in-lab by arriving early in the day. You may also request next day air return of your order (at an additional charge).
  • We are here to serve you. When we can accommodate your special needs we will strive to do so at no additional charge. However, if your order requires overtime work to complete it or to complete other customers' orders, which have been pushed back by your request, special service charges will be applied.

Please be sure to check with our Customer Service staff at (800) 327-1776 to let our staff know what you need and so that we can let you know what we can do to help. Our representatives will advise you about the options available and let you know if any special service charges will apply. It's important to note that unless a special service charge is incurred … with a commitment by our people to get the job done at all costs … any steps we take to expedite your order will be on a "best effort" basis and cannot be absolutely guaranteed.

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Should I take pictures with a film or digital camera?

This is a question that we hear constantly … especially from film photographers who are being blitzed by advertising and feel that they are somehow being left behind by not "going digital." So, just for the record, we'd like to state that prints and enlargements you take on your ten-year-old film camera are likely to be as good … or better … than prints made from a digital camera you purchased last week.

This does not mean that we can't give you superb prints and enlargements from your digital camera.

The bottom line is that whether you shoot film or digital we will give you excellent photographs. There are no bad choices here.

We're finding that many of our photographers are doing the smart thing and shooting with both film and digital cameras, depending on their specific needs.

Here are a couple of the pros and cons of each type of camera:

 Digital cameras


You get "instant gratification." You'll be able to see your picture right away. If your picture is not exactly what you want, just erase the image and shoot again.

– If you have the skills and software you can edit images in Photoshop to retouch, enhance or add creativity to your photographs.

– You'll save money on film (after spending ~ $60 - $150 on memory cards).

– You'll carry less weight, both in the camera and by not having to carry film. This is a real advantage when you're traveling.

Memory cards are not adversely affected by airport X-rays as film can be.

Faster Printing. Easy, online ordering of prints and enlargements using iPrints.com rather than mailing film or negatives.


– The color and image quality…while often equaling film…rarely exceeds it. On the other hand, many people like the sharp, chiseled look of digital images. It all comes down to a matter of your personal taste.

More limited exposure latitude. While film has an exposure latitude from one stop under to three stops over, digital cameras must be exposed within plus or minus one half stop for optimum results.

Less camera durability, plus planned obsolescence. Digital cameras and their circuitry aren't nearly as sturdy as film cameras. While a film camera can usually "take a licking and come back kicking," digital cameras tend to be more fragile. Digital camera models are often replaced with newer models by manufacturers over very short periods of time. So, it's important to buy your camera from a camera manufacturer (like Nikon, Canon or Leica) who is likely to support the camera over the years rather than a consumer electronics or computer manufacturer whose major interest is in selling you their newest model each year.

– There's more work after the picture is taken than with film. If you've missed your exposure you may have to do some Photoshop work to salvage it. You should also be backing up digital images to CDs and organizing your pictures. When you shoot with film you effectively get a "done deal" when you snap the shutter and your negatives are an automatic back-up.

Film cameras


Great color and a "rounded" image for very natural looking, true-to-life pictures. Film is especially good for reproducing skin tones.

Wide exposure latitude makes getting a useable picture nearly fool-proof. Once you snap the shutter, you're pretty well assured of a good picture.

Color slides, which have the widest color gamut in photography.

– Color print and slide films are readily available anywhere in the world.

Superb prints and enlargements.

Optional Picture CDs with your processing give you digitized images for computer applications.

All post-exposure work is done by the lab. You don't have to spend hours editing your pictures in Photoshop or trying to print your own pictures (unless you want to).

Your camera will never be obsolete. Your old camera will produce even better pictures now with new, improved films. Even though the camera is old, the technology behind the film and our lab is cutting edge.

Your pictures are archival. Film formats will be printable and prints viewable well into the future. (You will never have to adjust to any change in storage standards as you will have with digital images. Prints are viewable with just light. Digital media like magnetic tapes, floppies and even today’s CDs may not have readers in even 10 years that can open their images.)


No instant viewing. You need to wait until your film is developed to see your pictures.

Expense for film (offset by not having to buy memory in advance).

Greater weight to carry on trips with metal cameras and lenses, plus film.

Film can be damaged by X-rays and heat before it is developed, while digital images aren't subject to X-ray damage.

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What type of Internet connection do I need to order prints online from iPrints.com?

  • Due to the large size of digital camera files we suggest using a high-speed DSL or cable modem rather than a dial-up connection. It is possible that on a dial-up connection … depending on the size of the order you are uploading…that you will "time out" and not complete your order, based on restrictions imposed by your Internet Service Provider.

  • High-speed connections can also experience problems if you try to upload too many images or files that are too large. The upload speed of the high-speed connections is a mere fraction of their download speed. So, the possibility of "timing out" is still present.
  • Downloading our Print Wizard can help with both slow-speed dial-ups and placing larger orders using high-speed connections. The Print Wizard will down-sample your files, if necessary, to the size needed for the print sizes you're actually ordering (i.e. While you might want a 3 MB file if your printing a 12" x 18" enlargement, you don't need a file size that large to print an excellent 4" x 6" print.) So, by cutting the size of your files down, you'll be able to automatically place your orders more easily.

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 I'm having problems uploading my JPEG images to iPrints. When I try to send a large number of pictures only a percentage of them load and then my Internet connection fails. What is going wrong?

 You're experiencing a "timing out" problem or exceeding the maximum uploading restrictions of your Internet Service Provider (i.e. going over a 10 MB upload limit imposed by the ISP for consumer-level connections). Please see the explanation above. Here are a few suggestions on how to place your orders with out the aggravation:

Download our Print Wizard
to cut down on unnecessarily large image files. Or…

Break your orders into smaller parts, staying below the 5 or 10 MB limit of your Internet Service Provider. Please note that while our order form will indicate multiple shipping charges with different orders, we will only actually charge you the shipping rate for a single order. Or…

Burn your images onto a CD-R and mail the CD in to our laboratory. (This is often the easiest method of ordering a large number of prints and enlargements or prints from very large image files.) Please click here for more information.

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Does Dale Laboratories process 35mm black and white films?

 Yes, we handle both traditional black and white and the new, chromogenic black & white films (such as Kodak B&W) that are C-41 compatible. Both are printed using our Digital Pro Proofing service for unsurpassed quality on prints and enlargements. Please click here for additional information on making prints from black and white films or click here for an order form for digital enlargements from developed B&W negatives.

We can also convert any color negative, slide or digital file to black and white when digital enlargements are ordered. Just use our enlarging order form, order a digital enlargement size and request a black and white conversion.

If you want museum quality black and white enlargements, you may want to consider our Black & White Fine-Art Prints. They're made with special, carbon-based pigments that give the ultra-wide tonal range that previously was only found in selenium prints from old masters like Ansel Adams. Please click here for an order form. B&W Fine-Art Prints are priced the same as Giclée Color Art-Prints.

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What is the archival keeping quality of your slides, prints and Giclée art prints? Of prints I make at home?

  • Color photographic prints made on Kodak photographic paper have a dark-life of over 100 years. That means that if stored in a dark drawer they will last that long without any significant fading or color shift. In light, that time will be shorter, based upon the intensity of the light and the amount of ultra-violet light. (Based on information from Eastman Kodak.)

  • Slides made by us from color print films now have an estimated dark-life of between 75 and 100 years, as do today's Ektachrome films.

  • Giclée color prints are rated by Epson, who manufactures the archival inks we use, at over 200 years. However, we do not have complete faith in the scientific techniques of their evaluation laboratory and believe a more accurate estimate of Giclée print life-span is more likely between 25 and 75 years.

  • Our Black and White Fine-Art Prints use carbon-based inks on museum-quality papers. They should have an archival life-span of at least 100 years.

  • Home-made ink-jet prints have widely varying life-spans, depending in large measure on the specific inks and paper used and the amount of ozone and other contaminants in the air. Ink jet prints may last a matter of months or for only several years. We tend to distrust some of the manufacturers' estimates of archival life of ink jet prints. This is based on them setting a very liberal standard to define the degree of color shift that constitutes fading and the fact that the institute, which does their evaluations, is paid and supported by the very same companies whose products are being evaluated.

  • Thermal prints will probably last, under temperature controlled conditions, around 25 years.