Rite Aid Processing Disaster

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by brofkand, Jun 20, 2012.

  1. brofkand

    brofkand Member

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    I just got my Pentax LX back from repair, and ran a roll of Rite Aid brand Superia 400 through it to test all is well. I also shot the first few frames of the roll through a known good camera (my P30T) so I would have a frame of reference on the roll for problems. They were just shots of my cat and dog, nothing amazing, nothing I couldn't stand to lose.

    I dropped it off at Rite Aid and came back in an hour to get my pictures. I paid and left; when I got home I looked them over. The photos are incredibly grainy, all the colors are off on the prints. The worst part is the negatives are very, very thin. Even the edge codes are thin. They look as if I underexposed by 5 stops. I metered some shots with my Polaris incident meter and some with the LX, so I could compare in-camera meter with the known good Polaris.

    I feel like I did everything right, but they still managed to ruin the film. The film has fingerprints and oil marks all over it, the prints look totally washed out, grainy, and all the colors are incorrect. I'm colorblind and if I say the colors are wrong, buddy they are wrong.

    One thing for sure: after I get my money back for this roll (and hopefully a replacement roll of film), I will never go to Rite Aid again for film processing. All of my film from now on will go to The Darkroom or some other send-off lab. They still have a good deal for their film; BOGO 4 roll packs of Superia rebrand $10. 8 rolls for $10, and if you have store register rewards you can save more. I've paid as little as $4 for 10 rolls before.

    A question; what are thin C-41 negatives indicative of? Expired developer and/or blix? The mask is more of a red-orange than an orange that I'm used to as well.
     
  2. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    It sounds like 1) the operator does not know proper techniques for handling film, 2) the chemistry is not properly replenished, and 3) temperature control is lacking.

    Thin C-41 negatives are indicative of under-exposure and/or chemicals needing replenishment or chemicals at too low a temperature.
     
  3. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    consider yourself lucky that drugstores in your area still process film. that said, I'd never take anything too important to one any longer as the operators just don't get proper training (or care) any longer.
     
  4. brofkand

    brofkand Member

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    I'm running a roll of Delta 400 through my LX now. I'll develop it myself so I can eliminate the variable of poor development and handling.

    Wildbill: I can appreciate having the ability to go to Rite Aid, but seeing as this roll was ruined I can't feel too lucky. Maybe I'll try Walgreens next. Everyone else in town sends off film and takes a week. I would like to be able to use a local place just for non-important images, but if Walgreens is a bust I may be investing in a Tetenal press kit sooner than I anticipated.
     
  5. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Brofkand- don't you have a Costco or WallyWorld near you? Many of them still have C-41 minilabs in-house (at least the Costcos do - I don't know about Wal-Mart anymore).
     
  6. brofkand

    brofkand Member

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    Costco stopped film development in my state earlier this year. I was told it was done nationwide as soon as the inkjet cartridge refill service began. I used to live 1.5 miles away from one, now I live about 65 miles away from the closest Costco. I loved getting my film done there; it was always done right and the price was $1.70 after tax for process only.

    Walmart does send-off film processing, takes a week for $10. This is what I was told over the phone by their technician. Some stores may still do in-house film processing, but I believe as the older stores are remodeled to the new logo and design, the machines are removed. They now just do the instant inkjet prints from an SD card.

    Walgreens and Rite Aid are pretty much the only chain stores left that still do it; even Wolf/Ritz Camera have stopped processing film.
     
  7. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    I can still get Costco processing. I think they do it in-house because it is quick. Not quite 1-hour anymore, but "several hours".
     
  8. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    p.s. Too bad about the bad quality at Rite Aid. I don't think any Walgreens in my area still process film but Rite Aid does... and advertizes it prominantly on their LED billboard.

    [for some reason I can't seem to upload images. Oh well. Sorry.]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 20, 2012
  9. F/1.4

    F/1.4 Member

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    LOL dude you dropped it off at Rite aid, what do you expect. I used to fix their Photo equipment for a living. They NEVER do maintenance, they NEVER run test strips, they NEVER color correct. Their associates are not really even trained about the equipment, and they never know if anything is wrong until customer film comes out blank.


    Their chemistry is stale, just like every other Rite Aid because they never change out their filters, so the replenishment chemistry isn't getting to the working tanks.


    This is why, regardless of how "meaningless" the pictures are, I suggest people go to a real lab like RPL. Because they actually give a sh*t about their equipment and the customer.
     
  10. brofkand

    brofkand Member

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    It makes sense then why the clerk didn't tell me the pictures didn't look good. He just assumed that's how they are supposed to look, since it's the norm for them. Sickening. I am going to go get my money back and make sure they know that's not how it's supposed to look.

    RPL may be an excellent lab, but I will never pay $18 to get a test roll processed unless I have no choice. The Darkroom charges $10 for the same service.
     
  11. F/1.4

    F/1.4 Member

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    I'm sure you can get your money back, but even if you tell them they need to get fuji over to remix their chemistry, it wont change anything. Rite Aid is little more than a glorified 7-Eleven. Nobody who works there cares about the lab equipment...and in my experience, I can't blame them.
     
  12. Katie

    Katie Subscriber

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    I FedEx my color sometimes to Millers, two states away, they process/scan/print for under $15 a roll and FedEx them back. It's a two day turn around - don't waste time with shitty processors.
     
  13. edibot42

    edibot42 Member

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    My Costco still develops in 1 hour, and does a good job too. My only complaint is the negs come back in strips of 4, although i still take anything really important to a real lab.
     
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  15. rthomas

    rthomas Member

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    I just want to say that I was once - briefly - a manager trainee at a now-extinct drug store photo lab. The reason I left? It became clear, very quickly, that quality photographs were the furthest thing from the minds of either the employees I was being trained to "manage" or the management team itself. Not to mention that the training I was getting in the office was thrown out the window in the actual stores. And this was more than 15 years ago... I ran from this one very fast.
     
  16. bvy

    bvy Subscriber

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    What about Target? I'm surprised no one's mentioned it yet. Most of them seem to offer film processing. I've had about 100 rolls developed at my neighborhood Target over the past two-plus years. There've only been a few mishaps, minor, mostly related to scanning. The negatives always look good. That said, the lady that took my film last night is the same lady I met on day one. There's been little turnover among the staff, and I know in talking with them, that the machines are maintained on a schedule. Ninety-nine cents to develop and about $2.50 for a CD of scans with index print. Best deal in town as far as I'm concerned. But maybe I'm pushing my luck...
     
  17. wogster

    wogster Member

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    This is providing you can find a real lab, they are getting fewer and fewer all the time. The other issue of course, you need a lab that has enough film run through to be worth keeping the chemistry from getting stale. It's easy for a lab to keep a C41 line, but if they are only getting a couple of rolls a week, then that chemistry is not going to get enough replenishment to stay fresh, and it's going to be hard to justify replacing it often enough to keep it fresh.

    I knew one lab that did B&W, by hand, once a week, because they had customers wanting it, but it wasn't worth maintaining a line for it. Some may do this or start doing this with colour as well, have a guy who comes in, loads a bunch of reels, mixes up the chemistry, runs all the rolls dip and dunk, then when they are all done, toss the chemistry. Charge the customers $10/roll for processing, run the negatives through a print machine with a scanner, done. Add the cost of each print to the order.
     
  18. bvy

    bvy Subscriber

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    Special Instructions:
    "Do Not Cut Negative."
     
  19. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    get mailers and send your film out to a trusted lab.
    not sure if blue moon processes color, but they are an apug sponsor ...
    and from ALL reports they do stellar work.
     
  20. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    this is happening more and more -- find a local photo store that still has someone running the machine who know what he/she is doing and take your business there -- tell ur friends too ...
     
  21. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    yes blue moon does color.
    :smile:
     
  22. RBobel

    RBobel Member

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    I have my mf film developed at Rite Aid. I think the send it to Dwayne's. Never had an issue, but then it's not being done in house so the idiot factor is removed.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  23. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    Sad!

    Though you could try overexposing several stops and treating them as a pull process :wink:

    But then you have no idea if it'll be consistently at that level next time.
     
  24. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    If you want good results send your work to a professional lab who is set up to handle the output of pros. and serious workers not happy snappers, to quote an Americanism "if you pay peanuts you get monkeys".
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 23, 2012
  25. madgardener

    madgardener Member

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    The Rite Aids around here are all send off. Walgreens does 1 hour film developing, and so far I have had good luck with them. I was mailing film to York Photo, but in the past year, their quality has really taken a nose dive, to the point of negatives being cut wrong and them trying to print 2 frames on one sheet. I have been buying the Tetenal/unicolor kit from Freestyle, but its a bit of a pain to save up my rolls for batch processing.

    Does anyone know if Target still does film developing?
     
  26. ME Super

    ME Super Member

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    I've not seen any targets in Central IL that do film developing. Meijer (a great lakes regional chain) and Wal-Mart contract with Fuji to do their film developing. If I'm not mistaken, at least in the Midwest, Fuji sends their non-35mm and non-C41 process film to Dwayne's.

    I've had E6 sent through Wal-Mart's send out (to Fuji) service recently with no complaints. Turnaround time for C-41 is 3-7 days, E6 is 10-14 days.