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High street developing: not as good as it was?

Discussion in 'Everything Film' started by Oly_Man, Jan 10, 2012.

  1. Oly_Man

    Oly_Man Well-Known Member

    I've not been on here for ages...sorry that my first post in a while is to have a kind-of moan.
    It's about high-street developing.

    On occasion where I use print-film I tend to get it developed at my local branch of a certain well-known national D&P store. Recently, let's say over the last two years, more and more I am getting prints back where the first few frames of the negs are ruined by random light leaks. It's getting as frequent as once every other film. It's not my cameras: mostly I run process-paid slide-films through them and I have no issues. So it's obviously happening as the film is loaded into the developing machine, either by hand or by the machine itself (I really don't know how the process works).

    Now I must say the shop-floor staff are exemplary: in all instances they have either refunded the D&P price or given me a free film. I have no complaints with them whatsoever.

    But what's happening behind the scenes? Is it just that because it's film - these days very much a minority interest - and so someone just CBA to do it properly? Either someone's not taking care unloading the film or, more likely in these automated times, the machine which does the job is insufficiently or improperly maintained. Either way, it's sloppiness on someone's part.

    Anyone else noticed a decrease in standards?
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2012
  2. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    There is a decrease in standards in my opinion, which I have voiced before on this matter. Films are carelessly handled at all stages of the process, resultimg in light leaks, fogging and surface damage of various kinds. Then there is the printing, where the negatives are scanned to low resolution and these printed. The last roll of colour negative film I shot was just that, never again. A roll of XP2 processed by a local pro lab suffered in the same way, but I don't really want to start C41 processing at home again for the occasional roll used.
  3. spinno

    spinno Well-Known Member

    I know I keep harping on about ASDA near me but they do the job properly, and it's cheap.
    On holiday in Cornwall in the summer I had a roll of film developed because I was using a new (to me) camera and wanted to see the results before I carried on using the camera.
    At a Kodak accredited lab in Newquay they developed and scanned the film to CD for £7 for the hour service(ASDA £2/film + 97p). The film was scanned correctly...however it wasn't cut correctly.....
    Difficult I know but find somewhere and stick to it.
    As for some of the bigger names I wouldn't trust them.
    However if ASDA do cock up they'll get one chance and then I'll find someone else to do it...maybe the other fairly local branch.
  4. Oly_Man

    Oly_Man Well-Known Member

    Not just me then.
    Must say I rarely use print film anyway, always been more of an 'E6 man', but that doesn't excuse poor results on the rare occasions I do choose to use it. Naff prints I can almost live with but when they've damaged the negative, well that's a bit unforgivable i.m.o. and heads should roll, especially when it's happening nearly half the time.
    One wonders where the quality-checking is in their input-output process.
  5. Fen

    Fen Well-Known Member

    If this is a certain store with a bright yellow paint on their walls and the store in Hampstead seems to have an appeal to a certain Wham member... you'll have to remember that these are independent franchises and not a 'national' chain.
  6. Oly_Man

    Oly_Man Well-Known Member

    It's not :) And I'm deliberately not picking on one particular store or even one particular photographic chain, as I have a funny feeling many of them now will be tarred with the same brush, unfortunately. It's as though with film photography, someone somewhere in their input-output chain doesn't give a damn to care. But I stress it's never the shop-floor staff, they've always been excellent with me and most understanding.
  7. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    I've tended in more distant past to use postal services for colour neg unless it needed urgent processing or was client work and it went to one of several labs. Some (many? :eek::() of them have closed, so I would still tend to use post.

    All labs, in my experience, tend to mess up at some time, in some way, or other {just like phogs! :rolleyes:} and I've experienced a problem at some time at most, even top pro labs.

    In my recent experience, Bonusprint (and other companies in the group at Borehamwood) appear not to be willing to honour the prices quoted on their envelopes, so I will not use them.

    Truprint have been good for me - fast, efficient and no real problems - and have done so up until to 2 years ago. Have not used them in 2010 or 2011 though. I would recommend them. The old Colab is now called One Vision Imaging (not to be confused with pro lab Visions) and had a great reputation in the past. I have recently used Genie for quite a bit of work and recommend them. :)

    All may be worth a try as an alternative to High Street labs. Another of my local ones - part of a national chain - has closed recently, so mail-order is likely to be the way to go.
  8. Roy5051

    Roy5051 Well-Known Member

    I must admit to not having any light leak problems with the occasional film I have processed, but the method of printing does worry me. By printing from a low-resolution scan, we are not getting the quality that we used to get when they were printing through the negative. Asking for a CD of the scans, which costs about £2.50 in Boots, shows up the poor quality of the scans that they are printing from. It's back to slide films or monochrome for me, then, when I want to use film.
  9. spinno

    spinno Well-Known Member

    This is why I never ask for prints...only after I've scanned the negs with my trusty Epson 4490 will I put forward images for printing. However occasionally I've run a quick copy of from the "Hi Res" scans provided and they seem to be ok.
    I must admit I've never heard any horror stories regarding the development and scanning at supermarkets and the like, just the prints that seem to cause the problem (apart from my earlier post ^)
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2012
  10. Rushfan

    Rushfan Well-Known Member

    High Street processing was always patchy at best. I used to shoot weddings in the early 80's and if I wanted good quality processing and prints, a professional colour lab was worth the extra 25% or so that they charged.

    It's still true to day as well. I have a "Snappy Snaps" franchisee near to where I work and he does a pretty good job on 35mm but not so good with 120. I ask for process only as I scan on my own Epson V750. However, I'm seriously thinking of going the whole hog and using someone like Peak Imaging in Sheffield or a local lab in London for all my processing as the cost difference isn't that great for the volume of film I use.

    Ultimately, it seems false economy to spend all that money on top quality cameras, lenses and the best film you can buy to have the output ruined by using the cheapest option available. After all, the best negs / prints we can produce is what we're after, other than for those who see cameras as status symbols, "cool" or fashion accessories....
  11. beejaybee

    beejaybee Marvin

    I agree. I've found Peak Imaging reliable.

    High street dev/print is even less worthwhile these days, few places now offer a "one hour" service, if they're going to post the stuff off to a big lab you might as well send it yourself.
  12. MPB

    MPB Well-Known Member

    Not used high street in a while, but found a certain big name film manufacture since they moved there postage paid lab to leeds have lost 2 out of the three films I have sent them. Anyone know any good pro labs in leeds area?? black and white I develop my self love watching image appear on silver paper.
  13. photostephen

    photostephen Member

    The last few times I had colour film processed at the local high Street D&P the first few neg's were ruined by light leaks and thought it was just that place, I see from this discussion that it is common place, it horrifies me because if people cannot get there negs developed properly they will just go to digital colour which in my limited experience is not the same. I now use only black and white film and develop it myself which is easy to do, colour will have to wait until I can afford a decent digital camera.

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