Where to get C-41 negs processed?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by reub2000, May 28, 2006.

  1. reub2000

    reub2000 Member

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    Where is a good place to get color negatives processed around Evanston, IL, USA?

    I just picked up a roll from Osco, and many of the pictures have a purple/red color cast even if they where exposed by a pop-up flash or sunlight. Plus contrast is too high for my tastes.
     
  2. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Sounds like the chemistry in the processors machine was oxidizing, I would try another lab, most 1 hours labs can do better work than this, one other thing that could cause what your describing is old film, or film that has been exposed to heat...how long was the film in the camera? or do you know if it has been exposed to heat or humidity, what brand of film? the processing of C41 is a pretty straight forward process and for something to go wrong is very odd..is it just the pictures that have a cast, or have you inspected the negatives, if the negatives look okay take them to another lab and have them do some prints to compare what Osco did for you.

    R.
     
  3. reub2000

    reub2000 Member

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    The film was bought sometime April I think. It's Fuji Supria 400. The film was put in the camera on Monday when I got it. I don't think the film has been exposed to excessive heat or humidity.
     
  4. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Okay, forget the prints, what do the negatives look like? Like I said, C41 is a pretty straight forward process, you need to acertain whether something happened in the C41 process or something in the print RA4 process went wrong, if the negs look okay, then I would suggest taking them to another lab and have them make a set of prints for you, there is a ton of latitude in print negs, so I would imagine it is not the processing of the film that is the problem, but the person running the printer that had a problem

    R.
     
  5. reub2000

    reub2000 Member

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    I can't really tell how the negatives look, they all have a brownish-orange tint.
     
  6. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    If they have a brownish-orange tint then the negs sound okay, take them to another shop and have them make a set of prints from them, C41 negs should have a brownish-orange tint to them, it does not sound like the negative processing was the problem, but someone running the print machine did not know what they were doing...
     
  7. reub2000

    reub2000 Member

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    I think I may have jumped to a wrong conclusion based on quickly looking through the photographs. Many of the photographs where flowers which may have had a slight purplish hue.

    Only 2 of them have the purple cast. They are snapshots that I took of the neighbors kids. Both of them where illuminated by a pop-up flash. The flesh looks a little purplish. The background however is illuminated by tungsten. I'm wondering if the background confused the developer. Maybe the pictures got developed with a 3000K white balance?

    Edit: Scanned the image into the gimp and I was quickly able to set the correct the white balance on the face. Which confirms to me that the place got the white balance incorrect. Will try to get it reprinted tomarrow by osco.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 28, 2006
  8. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    Getting good color and contrast from color negatives has always been tricky, and 99% of the time, the reason is the printing stage, not the negative development stage. With machine-made prints (which is almost certainly what you got from Osco), the problem is usually that the machine doesn't have a clue what it's printing; it just tries to balance the colors according to some algorithm that might or might not be appropriate for the scene. Sometimes there's a bias in the print-making chemistry (because it's gone bad) or other print-making technology, too.

    My experience is that machines are generally better at getting the color balance right today than they were ten or twenty years ago; however, many photofinishers today favor ultra-high-contrast settings, which results in massive loss of detail in the shadows and/or the highlights. This is one reason I've switched to doing my own C-41 processing; I get better results doing that, scanning the negatives, and having prints made from my scans than I do letting the photofinishers do it all.
     
  9. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    Oh, one more thing: I don't know about the Evanston, IL area, but if you're willing to do mail-order photofinishing, try ABC Photo Lab in Connecticut or PhotoWorks in Seattle, Washington. Neither is a pro lab, but in my experience they're both high-quality consumer labs. Pro labs are likely to do still better work, but will charge more.
     
  10. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

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    tell them not to use cc filters(
     
  11. reub2000

    reub2000 Member

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    Both of them charge $9 for 4x6 prints from a 24exp roll. I think that's too much.
     
  12. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Boy all of the shops around here charge at least $9.99 for a 24 exposure roll and about $12.00 for a 36, how much do you think it should cost? Better quality costs more money, you have already stated you were not happy with the quality you got at Osco?

    Just curious.

    R.
     
  13. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    I concur with Roxi331; the saying "you get what you pay for" definitely applies to commercial photofinishing. Near me, drug store 1-hour labs charge about $8.00 for 4x6-inch prints from a 24-exposure roll. These outfits produce inferior results to ABC or PhotoWorks, in my experience. I'm sure I could find someplace that'd do it for less than $8.00, but I'd be skeptical of the quality. You can go up in quality from ABC or PhotoWorks, but as I mentioned, the price will go still higher.

    If you want quality and low price, my only suggestion is to do it yourself. Freestyle (to pick a vendor at random) sells a C-41 kit for $25.99 that's supposed to do 6-8 36-exposure rolls. That works out to $3.25-$4.33 per roll. If you then scan your prints and get digital prints made for $0.19 each for half the shots on each roll (I'd seldom want to keep more than 50% of my shots, hence my "half the shots" assumption), that works out to about $6.67-$7.75 per 36-exposure roll, or a buck or two less for a 24-exposure roll. The downside is that you'll put a lot of labor into saving a fairly small amount of money. The upside is that you'll have more control over the process, the results will be better, and you'll be less likely to get scratched or otherwise damaged negatives (assuming you're competent in the darkroom). If you've got a full darkroom with an enlarger, you can make your own prints, too. The cost will be comparable to that of getting digital prints made at a minilab, but the effort involved in making them will be much greater. Personally, I don't think it's worth the bother for 4x6-inch color prints, but I might think differently if I were more proficient at color printing.
     
  14. reub2000

    reub2000 Member

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    Interesting idea. However I don't have a dark room nor have I ever worked with one. I'm guessing that would require a good amount of knowledge to use properly and get good results? I think I could probably seal off the laundry room or a bathroom and make it into a dark room. I think I could also save a little money by making my own film canisters. However scanning them wouldn't really work as my current scanner seems to have a lot of noise and hotspots that show up on scanned images. Besides, my reason for buying this ELAN was not for digital images.
     
  15. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear reup2000,

    The problem with taking film to the local Osco/Target/Walgreens is that the quality varies so much. The good news is that the Qualex processing that film from the Chicago area goes to is quite good. If you can wait two days, drop you film off at Dominick's (Kodak service, not generic). For quicker turn around you might want to hunt around a bit. My local Target in the western suburbs made a big upgrade in equipment last year, including the Kodak software for "Perfect Touch" service. I use them for anything I don't want to wait for.

    Neal Wydra
     
  16. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    Processing film to negatives doesn't require a complete darkroom, just a room that can be made completely dark for transferring the film to a developing tank (or even just a changing bag, which is a light-tight bag with built-in gloves so you can manipulate what's inside), a developing tank, a thermometer, scissors, a few bottles, chemistry for whatever process you're running, and probably a few odds and ends that I'm forgetting. Only the developing tank, chemistry, and (if you use one) changing bag are specialized items that need to be bought from a photo supplier like Freestyle, B&H, or Adorama.

    Check this site for a basic introduction to B&W processing. The basic principles are the same for color; it's just the specific steps that are different. (Developer, bleach, fix, and stabilizer for color, vs. developer, stop bath, fix, and rinsing agent for B&W. Both processes also involve water rinses.) The trickiest part about color is that it's got to be done at a higher temperature -- 100F vs. (typically) 68F or 75F for B&W. The cheapest way to manage this is to use a water bath to bring the chemistry to the right temperature.

    If you decide to pursue this course, I'm sure the people here can help you with any questions you might have. If not, good luck in finding a commercial photofinisher that'll do a good job at a price you can stomach.