Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
10-31-2008, 10:14 PM   #1
Forum Member




Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Dallas
Posts: 98
frustrated about film processing

Even though i live in the dallas/fw area and shoot color print film, i cannot find any local minilabs that process and scan my film satisfactorily. I have been using Target since they are close and very cheap but now even they are scanning my photos poorly (1.5Mpx with obvious frame misalignment).

I want to get my film developed to a good quality 2+Mpx digital file, is that so much to ask? I have heard that Costco is excellent; there are no costco's terribly close so I would really be interested in photo labs that I can ship film to for processing and scanning. I have heard of snapfish but AFAIK they don't provide proper scanning services.

10-31-2008, 10:40 PM   #2
Pentaxian
Clicker's Avatar

Join Date: May 2008
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 3,241
I feel your anxiety, it's really hard finding a good lab operator for both digital and film. I just lost mine at the local drug store; i guess it's time to go back to a pro lab.
10-31-2008, 10:49 PM   #3
Pentaxian
Wheatfield's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: The wheatfields of Canada
Posts: 10,189
When I started in the lab industry, it was a factory setting. Then the minilabs came along and put the factorys out of business.
So we all went to work at minilabs.
Then the Targets, the Wal-marts, the Costcos and the Supersores decided to get into the business.
Eventually, what used to be staffed by ex factory lab people and photograpers looking for a break on photofinishing started being staffed by shelf stockers who's backs were no longer strong enough to hump around boxes of detergent.
And the sun came up the next day, but the world had changed.
10-31-2008, 10:53 PM   #4
Forum Member




Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Dallas
Posts: 98
Original Poster
I tried a local Wolf, and was insulted both by the absurdly bad quality of the scan and the absurdly high price. I didn't even want to go back for a refund. I mean, we're talking really bad here. Like the film slipped in the rollers, and the lab tech didn't seem to notice the giant streak running through the single frame he was about to charge me $4 for scanning at a lousy 2 Mpx (supposedly for 8x12).

I suppose a film scanner is the solution, but I can't really afford one, and I don't know if they run on linux.

11-01-2008, 02:54 AM   #5
Veteran Member
Nesster's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: NJ USA
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 13,047
And this, my friends, is the problem with film... where in theory you can get awesome results, but in reality have to pay through the nose to get, and put up with huge hassles to boot.

I'm lucky in that I use a couple of places that are good & who know me, a chain MotoPhoto and a drugstore. But even these scans aren't ultra fantastic... not that I can do a whole lot better with my Epson 4490.

Film, like the LP and the American car, took a near-fatal consumer hit in the 70s and 80s... shlocky crap cynically foisted on the public with the lowest quality in design and manufacture and performance that only further lowered expectations... almost as though the industries were preparing us for digital... And this before the further commoditization Wheatfield mentions... although, believe it or not, the price and quality are better than at the nadir.
11-01-2008, 09:20 AM   #6
Pentaxian
Wheatfield's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: The wheatfields of Canada
Posts: 10,189
The late 70s saw a huge sea change in the way film was printed. The Gretag 3140 High Speed printer hit the market at that time, and the printing process for 35mm and other amateur films became automated. Prior to that, all film was printed by a printer operator who judged every negative before pushing the button. A good printer could run ~60 rolls per hour.
One of my first lab jobs was at Charles Abel Photo Service in Calgary, running two Gretag 3140 printers.
I was a machine operator who saw film as rolls, not as individual negatives.
I was a good machine operator, and was getting in the range of 7500 prints per hour off each machine. That works out to over 300 rolls of film per hour.

The production values went up, but quality went down, since the first stage QC was taken out of the production line.

I started in the minilab industry for Astral Photo in 1986. Interestingly, there was a return to manual printing in that era, with the printer operator once again having to judge each negative by eye prior to pushing the appropriate button.
And a good printer could, once again, print perhaps 60 rolls of film per hour.

And print quality went up for customers who had the good fortune to have a printer operator from the pre automation days running their lab.

What happened to the consumer lab industry is very unfortunate, but I put pretty much all the blame on the consumer, and very little on the lab industry itself.
Consumers chose to support grocery store labs rather than stand alone or camera store labs becuase the grocery stores were subsidizing photofinishing pricing, and photofinishing prices were often half of what I was charging at a camera store.
Interestingly, this trend has continued into hardware sales, to the point that brick and mortar camera stores are almost a thing of the past.
Now if you want a hands on look at a camera, you have to go to Best Buy, where you can buy a cheap low end camera from a droid that knows absolutely nothing about photography, but can spout off a feature/benefit list like someone poured ice down his pants.
Doesn't have any more understanding of what he is saying than ABBA knew what they were singing, and is as likely to pass on misinformation as fact as anything else, but that's your choice now.

It was at a Best Buy that I was told by a sales donk that Pentax in camera shake reduction wasn't as good as in lens shake reduction, since in camera SR was "software shake reduction", while in lens VR was "hardware shake reduction".
Apparently also, just about every lens Nikon makes has VR built in.
This is what Best Buy is telling people. It is an outright lie, but who else are customers going to believe?

Now if you want to actually pick up a good camera and try it before you buy it, you might be in for a long drive to find a camera store at all in many places, and cities that might have had a half dozen retail stores are lucky to have one or two.

When I was working for the camera store, people would go to a big box store (Real Canadian Superstore, which is an overgrown grocery chain) to save a few dollars on the retail price, and then come to us, sometimes with the equipment still boxed up in those vomit yellow bags and ask us to show them how to work the stuff, since the person who sold them the equipment had to get back to putting vegetables into bins.
This consumer attitude is what closed the retail camera store, with the advent of online shopping only hurrying the process.

Well folks, you got what you wanted.
Now there are almost no camera stores, and few good photolabs, but the equipment is sure cheap to buy, and you can get printing done for about half of what I was charging 20 years ago.

Congratulations.
11-01-2008, 09:23 AM   #7
Forum Member




Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Dallas
Posts: 98
Original Poster
It doesn't make sense to me that scanning 35mm film is so difficult/hardtofind/expensive. I mean, given digital cameras, we have digital camera sensors. Why can't we just 'contact print' with a reasonable resolution digital sensor at extremely high throughput? I mean if a DSLR that shoots 5fps costs less than a grand, why can't we have a film scanner, which is the camera minus the lens and mirror box and a lot of subsystems?

It seems like film scanners use a linear CCD and multiple passes, which takes forever, which is probably why local minilabs don't scan at high resolutions, for throughput reasons.
11-01-2008, 09:41 AM   #8
Banned




Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Savannah, U.S./Baguio City, P.H.
Posts: 5,979
this is why I only have my film developed and then scanned myself. only sending out those 'really good' captures to a specialty printer.

and wheatfield, although I am too young to have lived through this process of change the way you did, I 100% agree with you, and its a damn shame for sure.

people don't want to pay for quality, but then complain that they're cheap goods and services are of poor quality, it makes no sense at all and is destructive to all industries.

11-01-2008, 09:57 AM   #9
Pentaxian
Wheatfield's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: The wheatfields of Canada
Posts: 10,189
QuoteOriginally posted by BetterSense Quote
It doesn't make sense to me that scanning 35mm film is so difficult/hardtofind/expensive. I mean, given digital cameras, we have digital camera sensors. Why can't we just 'contact print' with a reasonable resolution digital sensor at extremely high throughput? I mean if a DSLR that shoots 5fps costs less than a grand, why can't we have a film scanner, which is the camera minus the lens and mirror box and a lot of subsystems?

It seems like film scanners use a linear CCD and multiple passes, which takes forever, which is probably why local minilabs don't scan at high resolutions, for throughput reasons.
It doesn't make sense to you because you aren't educated to the realities of the lab industry as it now sits. I attempted to enlighten you with my last post, I will take one more kick at it.
Department/Grocery store labs are not interested in producing quality at the corporate level. They never have been, they never will be.
They are interested in keeping you in the store for long enough that you will buy unrelated merchandise out of sheer boredom and they are interested in getting you in their door with your film rather than someone else's door so you will be bored and buy their unrelated junk rather than someone else's unrelated junk.

The photo lab is a marketing tool, nothing else.
If you walk into a Wal-Mart, do you ever see any really high end stuff for sale?
Let me answer that question.
No, you don't.
Why?
Because the company is interested in selling lots of low priced, and low quality merchandise, not fewer pieces of high end merchandise.
The Pentax apologists have a term for it that keeps rearing it's ugly head.
They call it good value for the dollar.
Is it really good value when it falls apart just on the wrong side of warranty and can't be repaired?
I don't think so, but no one seems to care what I think.

Why would you think their photolabs should have a different corporate mindset from the rest of the business?
I kind of hit on one company, but the corporate philosophy is the same at any big box retailer.

Photolabs are able to scan to multiple resolutions. What you are able to buy at the Quickie-Marts is the lowest quality setting.
They don't train their people to use the better quality settings because the training takes time, and running the larger amount of data takes time.
Time is money, and they aren't going to waste it on you, my idealistic friend.
They are going to take that money and drop it right into their shareholders pockets instead, since the shareholder is the important person in any company now, not the customer.
The customer is someone to be dealt with efficiently, fleeced for their money with cheap junk and gotten rid of as quickly as possible before they catch on to what is being done.
After all, there are more customers to "serve".
11-01-2008, 10:10 AM   #10
Veteran Member




Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Westchester Co., NY
Posts: 538
When I got to the point where I was getting decent prints digitally, I dismantled my darkroom. At that point in time I hadn't used it in several years and given some back problems and a growing dislike for discomfort and nasty odors, haven't missed it. I am now in the process of trying to find a lab within a reasonable distance that can do acceptable processing and scanning (the couple of rolls that I've shot in the last year or so got done pretty badly). I haven't shot 35mm film in a while because of the processing issue (I have a 35mm film scanner) and now want to shoot some MF film. If I can't find a decent "local" lab, I'll give it shot by mail. If that doesn't work out, I'll either not shoot film anymore or (ugh) buy a couple of tanks and develop it myself.
11-01-2008, 10:17 AM   #11
Banned




Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Savannah, U.S./Baguio City, P.H.
Posts: 5,979
why look at developing as a 'chore' instead of an accepted part of film based photography? I don't have the space to setup a dark room for developing, otherwise I likely would.
11-01-2008, 12:10 PM   #12
Forum Member




Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Dallas
Posts: 98
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
It doesn't make sense to you because you aren't educated to the realities of the lab industry as it now sits....
The photo lab is a marketing tool, nothing else....
Time is money, and they aren't going to waste it on you, my idealistic friend.
I was actually more wondering about personal film scanners. I would seem to me you could use (doubtlessly cheap) digital camera image sensors to very quickly 'scan' film. I wonder why no film scanners work like this. But then, maybe those cheapo 'archive your old photos' units actually do work that way.
11-01-2008, 01:39 PM   #13
Inactive Account




Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Baltimore, Maryland USA
Posts: 162
QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
The late 70s saw a huge sea change in the way film was printed. The Gretag 3140 High Speed printer hit the market at that time, and the printing process for 35mm and other amateur films became automated. Prior to that, all film was printed by a printer operator who judged every negative before pushing the button. A good printer could run ~60 rolls per hour.
One of my first lab jobs was at Charles Abel Photo Service in Calgary, running two Gretag 3140 printers.
I was a machine operator who saw film as rolls, not as individual negatives.
I was a good machine operator, and was getting in the range of 7500 prints per hour off each machine. That works out to over 300 rolls of film per hour.

The production values went up, but quality went down, since the first stage QC was taken out of the production line.

I started in the minilab industry for Astral Photo in 1986. Interestingly, there was a return to manual printing in that era, with the printer operator once again having to judge each negative by eye prior to pushing the appropriate button.
And a good printer could, once again, print perhaps 60 rolls of film per hour.

And print quality went up for customers who had the good fortune to have a printer operator from the pre automation days running their lab.

What happened to the consumer lab industry is very unfortunate, but I put pretty much all the blame on the consumer, and very little on the lab industry itself.
Consumers chose to support grocery store labs rather than stand alone or camera store labs becuase the grocery stores were subsidizing photofinishing pricing, and photofinishing prices were often half of what I was charging at a camera store.
Interestingly, this trend has continued into hardware sales, to the point that brick and mortar camera stores are almost a thing of the past.
Now if you want a hands on look at a camera, you have to go to Best Buy, where you can buy a cheap low end camera from a droid that knows absolutely nothing about photography, but can spout off a feature/benefit list like someone poured ice down his pants.
Doesn't have any more understanding of what he is saying than ABBA knew what they were singing, and is as likely to pass on misinformation as fact as anything else, but that's your choice now.

It was at a Best Buy that I was told by a sales donk that Pentax in camera shake reduction wasn't as good as in lens shake reduction, since in camera SR was "software shake reduction", while in lens VR was "hardware shake reduction".
Apparently also, just about every lens Nikon makes has VR built in.
This is what Best Buy is telling people. It is an outright lie, but who else are customers going to believe?

Now if you want to actually pick up a good camera and try it before you buy it, you might be in for a long drive to find a camera store at all in many places, and cities that might have had a half dozen retail stores are lucky to have one or two.

When I was working for the camera store, people would go to a big box store (Real Canadian Superstore, which is an overgrown grocery chain) to save a few dollars on the retail price, and then come to us, sometimes with the equipment still boxed up in those vomit yellow bags and ask us to show them how to work the stuff, since the person who sold them the equipment had to get back to putting vegetables into bins.
This consumer attitude is what closed the retail camera store, with the advent of online shopping only hurrying the process.

Well folks, you got what you wanted.
Now there are almost no camera stores, and few good photolabs, but the equipment is sure cheap to buy, and you can get printing done for about half of what I was charging 20 years ago.

Congratulations.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Brother!!

You have hit the nail smack dab on the head!!..

You are absolutely right in that it is the cheapskate consumers that have chosen to save a couple of dollars here & there that have put the hands-on photography stores & labs right out of business..

If people choose to shop where the least common denominator prevails (Wal-Mart, Costco, Wolf's, Best Buy, etc.), then they have no one but themselves to blame when the businesses with the knowledgeable staff & friendly service go bankrupt..

When anyone that is even remotely familiar with how film is processed CHOOSES to allow a low-budget chain superstore that does not pay it's people very well to develop their film I say that they deserve everything that happens, both the good (the exception) & the bad (the rule)..Sending your film to these places is nothing more than a crap shoot..It is gambling, pure & simple..

If you are going to take the time & effort to shoot film, then be at least willing to send your film to someone that cares enough to try & do a proper job of developing & scanning it..And, yes it might cost from 2-3 times what Target, Wal-Mart, or some other chain photo mini-lab is going to charge you..

Accept the fact that film is more expensive because WE the photographic community have allowed film to become marginalized over the past decade & a half..We the consumer have created the situation that now exists as regards to quality film developing..The ONLY way to rectify the situation & bring film costs down (if possible?) is to purchase more film, & patronize the labs that provide quality film developing..

Otherwise, I say bend over, take your medicine, & stop complaining when the low-budget film lab screws up your developing, your prints, or your scans..As Wheatfield said, they are not in business to provide quality, so why do so many people bitch when they get crap back??..

Bruce

Last edited by baltochef920; 11-01-2008 at 01:47 PM.
11-01-2008, 02:50 PM   #14
Forum Member




Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Dallas
Posts: 98
Original Poster
QuoteQuote:
If you are going to take the time & effort to shoot film, then be at least willing to send your film to someone that cares enough to try & do a proper job of developing & scanning it
This thread is primarily about finding 'someone that cares enough to try & do a proper job of developing & scanning it'. I'm not seeing anything resembling that description either in brick and mortar or online. Do you have useful suggestions?
11-01-2008, 08:33 PM   #15
Inactive Account




Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Minneapolis
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 220
I guess I'm lucky. In Minneapolis we have a great lab that still does film, but it's a little spendy. They also do mail order. LINHOFF.COM (HOME PAGE) I have my slides developed and scanned at their medium res. It then goes in my digital workflow using lightzone. I send via the web to another company for prints, they're digital only, and prices include shipping. White House Custom Colour - Professional Photographic Lab and Press Printer
I just got a 9"x12" framed from my trip to zion, and it looks great. Digital is cheaper for sure, but I always have more fun shoting film.
Ryan
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
film
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Film guys, who do you use for processing??? CaymanImaging Pentax Film SLR Discussion 15 07-06-2010 08:22 AM
Online Film Processing? lawsonstone Pentax Film SLR Discussion 7 07-16-2009 05:36 PM
Talk to me about Infrared film and processing it SuperAkuma Pentax Film SLR Discussion 12 03-20-2009 12:34 PM
Kodak B/W Film Processing smidsy Photographic Technique 4 03-29-2008 09:22 PM
Processing film to digital Sluggo Pentax Film SLR Discussion 25 05-21-2007 06:25 AM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 11:29 PM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top