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05-09-2010, 07:28 PM   #1
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Film Processing Labs: 1 hour photo difference?

If I'm getting a roll of C-41 film processed, is there a difference between the the technique employed by a good lab against that used by a good 1-hour photo place (Costco)?

Do they use the same chemicals and stuff?

Is "1-hour Photo" a euphemism for "crap"?

05-10-2010, 06:30 AM   #2
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It's all one hour places now.
In this, as with everything else, it's the people working there.
05-10-2010, 06:49 AM   #3
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Wheatfield is undoubtedly right, that they are all using the same machines, it is just a question of who is operating them.

I assume that the question concerns retail locations which don't purport to be professional labs as a main focus of their business. Among those, I have had the best luck with Costco. The results have been better than other locations. I would attribute that to the fact that at the location nearest to me, they have one or more employees who do nothing buy mind that department.

The minilab that has gone way downhill is the one at Walgreens. After recent changes, the hapless "technician" who runs that department is responsible for stocking the nearby cereal aisle and provide customer service anywhere in that end of the store while the lab is working. Last time I was there (which will be the last time I am there), I saw a roll of someone's negatives curled up on the floor behind the cash register. My rolls had water spots and curled as if they had been given a perm. To top it all off, at $4.50 per 36 exp roll of uncut C41 negatives, they recently increased prices to more than twice that of Costco.
05-10-2010, 07:17 AM   #4
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Costco still process films?

I was at our local Costco yesterday, and asked them about film processing, and they said, they stopped processing films in January of this year. Does it vary by location? Where would be a good place to process c41 films? Wolf Camera?

05-10-2010, 07:34 AM   #5
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Thanks for the info. I figured that they all used the same process.

My Costco processes negatives for about $2 per roll.

I had some processed by Walgreens for about $3 per roll. And I had some processed at Ritz Camera for about $4 (Ritz = Wolf, right?).
05-10-2010, 07:44 AM   #6
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C-41

Costco

done
05-10-2010, 07:54 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by ragamuffin1171 Quote
I was at our local Costco yesterday, and asked them about film processing, and they said, they stopped processing films in January of this year. Does it vary by location? Where would be a good place to process c41 films? Wolf Camera?
Apparently, it does vary by location, because my last roll was processed there two weeks ago. I hope that is not a trend.

If they do stop, then my local camera store is the alternative for me. They do a good job and charge what Walgreens does now, but they take several days.
05-10-2010, 07:57 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aegon Quote
Thanks for the info. I figured that they all used the same process.

My Costco processes negatives for about $2 per roll.

I had some processed by Walgreens for about $3 per roll. And I had some processed at Ritz Camera for about $4 (Ritz = Wolf, right?).
Walgreens price went up two weeks ago, according to the local manager. I don't know if that was across the entire chain or not.

Yes, they are all using basically the same machines.

05-10-2010, 08:10 AM   #9
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Well, 1-hour minilabs aren't inherently inferior to the kind of drop-off mills places that send film away might use. The problem is that the minilabs are often run badly, and by underpaid kids with no real training or care about what they're doing.

My last experience was sending off a test roll (via a Costco-like chain) when I got a used film camera: I was initially dismayed by the prints, till I looked at the negs, which were bang-on sharp.

They hadn't bothered to check focus on the machines.

1-hour service can actually be preferable, if you know a place that has a good labtech: just drop off when they're working. That's easier said than done, though, these days.

(I've also had a few experiences where people came to me for advice of why their film images weren't sharp, ...I say 'Bring negs.' Seems to happen a lot.)
05-10-2010, 08:25 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ratmagiclady Quote

1-hour service can actually be preferable, if you know a place that has a good labtech: just drop off when they're working. That's easier said than done, though, these days.
That's the way Walgreens was until a few weeks ago. They had a kid who knew what he was doing, and we knew each other.
05-10-2010, 09:14 AM   #11
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As noted above, it depends on who is running the mini-lab. I was using Costco until they botched two rolls of film (undereveloped Ektar 100). The local pro lab (Blue Moon in Portland) does a consistently excellent job and charges about the same as Costco. Convenience is about the same for both labs so the choice was a no-brainer.

Bottom line...find a lab that works for you and give them your business. Let them know that you appreciate their quality work.


Steve
05-10-2010, 09:46 AM   #12
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You'll get good C-41 negatives from just about any place if they follow the process correctly and don't use exhausted chemicals even at home doing it yourself. Prints and scans on the other hand will most likely be better from some place that takes some pride in their work and maintains calibrated machines.
05-10-2010, 11:09 AM   #13
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local Walgreen's

I just checked the price on local Walgreen's for 1 set of roll(36 exp) for a whopping price of $11.99!! As I mentioned earlier, Costco doesn't process film anymore from where I am. Arggh, I'm just now getting into film photography and the world is against me.
05-10-2010, 12:30 PM   #14
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online film processing

Any of you have a good recommendation on where to mail your films for processing/scanning? I checked snapfish, but seems like a shipping charge is stiff.
05-10-2010, 01:47 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by ragamuffin1171 Quote
Any of you have a good recommendation on where to mail your films for processing/scanning? I checked snapfish, but seems like a shipping charge is stiff.
For mailing, I've had good luck with Dwayne's for 120 color. It just takes a while to get them there and back, because we're not in Kansas any more..
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