Why were my prints from Provia so bad

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by grasshopper, Mar 29, 2006.

  1. grasshopper

    grasshopper Member

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    Hi everyone...new here. Really glad to have found this site.

    Had prints made from Provia 100f slide film developed at a "semi-pro" lab. The slides looked great and I was very happy with the quality. I returned with the "selects" and had 16 prints made. They do not do this in-house; thus, they were sent out...somewhere. I am quite disappointed in the prints I got back.

    The images were of moving water, rocks with green forest/moss around.

    The slides were all selected after viewing on a light box through a loupe. Viewed this way, everything looked good including exposure.

    I get these back and the greens look completely dead, and the exposure looks about a 1/2 to one stop under. Could this be the lab or more likely my inherent weakness as a photographer...or the fact that I used provia 100f instead of Velvia, or....

    Any suggestions or comments are appreciated. Thanks, Ed
     
  2. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Do you know what process they used to make the prints? There are several variables that come into mind that could cause what your describing, if you get a company that makes internegs to make the prints and the person doing the internegs don't have a good handle on what is going on, could cause the lackluster look to the prints, but again, it would go along ways to knowing what process they used to make the prints. If the slides looked good on the table, then I would doubt it was anything you did..

    Dave
     
  3. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    It's a lab issue. The prints were probably made digitally, and if you didn't pay very much for them, they were probably exposed by an automated process. Whether prints from slides are made digitally or conventionally, the key thing is to have a careful printer who adjusts each print by hand and has a good sense of what a good print looks like. If you aren't in a position to print your own work, then you need to find a better lab.
     
  4. grasshopper

    grasshopper Member

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    Thanks for the responses. I do not know what process they used but will ask and post back.

    I had not seen this poor a result from my slides in a while and just wondered if perhaps it was me...hate to blame equipment or someone else but I kind of suspected it might be the lab as the slides look good. I am going to send a few of these off to another lab and compare.

    Again, I sincerely appreciate the time and information.
     
  5. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Your problem really doesn't have to do with the film. I use exclusively Velvia for prints.

    It sounds like the prints were probably made digitally, in which case the transparencies were scanned. When you scan a transparency, the result looks very flat. You then have to open the scan in Photoshop and "fix" the scan before you print it. It sounds like your lab, either printed straight from the scan, or just used a generic curve to "fix" the flat scan.

    Depending on how important these images are to you, there are several printing options available. Let us know, and we can advise more on this.
     
  6. grasshopper

    grasshopper Member

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    Robert, Thanks. I called and they are done digitally. I did not ask anymore than that...just, okay thanks.

    From the slides I selected that I had printed, I was going to narrow that down to the 2-3 best and go to 8x10 with those for wall hanging.

    So, to me, they were kind of important. I am open to and would appreciate any suggestions on labs, papers, what to look for, etc. I was also considering sending one off for to be printed as an Ilfochrome. So any suggestions on labs there too would be great.

    I live in a relatively small Washington state town with one lab. I was really happy and surprised by the quality of their E6 service; so I thought I would try them on the prints...Oh well.
     
  7. roteague

    roteague Member

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    I would use the prints they gave you to narrow down your selection, as a starting point.

    Unfortunately, I am not able to give you any recommendations on labs that would be able to give you small size/cheap prints if you are only looking for one time or occasional prints, as all the labs I deal with are professional labs. Perhaps SatinSnow or David, have some suggestions.

    I use West Coast Imaging (http://www.westcoastimaging.com/) for all my prints, but they are a professional printing lab, used by some of the best in the business, and not cheap.

    Another good lab, one that I use for all my E6 processing is Calypso Imaging. They are located in Santa Clara, California. http://www.calypsoinc.com/. I haven't used their printing services, but I have always been happy with their services.

    Sadly, the state of photography has gotten to the point where it is no longer easy to obtain decent prints from a lot of local photo stores.

    I hope this helps,
     
  8. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Grasshopper,

    Where in WA do you live, I was born and raised in WA so I might be able to make some recommendations on the various labs in WA or in other areas, the two labs that Robert has recommended are both good labs and will produce high quality prints from slides.

    Dave
     
  9. grasshopper

    grasshopper Member

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    Robert / Dave

    Thanks for your help, all the information certainly does help.

    I am up by Bellingham. I had an offer from two local business owners to display some work. I would like for this kind offer to remain open for me; so, I don't want to display junky looking prints as, I am sure, they don't want junk displayed.

    I don't mind paying for quality; even though I'm no pro, if I need a pro lab, so be it.

    Thanks again, Ed
     
  10. NikoSperi

    NikoSperi Member

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    No, don't shrug your shoulders and say "Oh well." and walk out the door to WCI. If they do a good job with your E6 they're worth nurturing. Go back and explain over the light table why you are disappointed, show them what you expected, and ask if they can do the job more carefully. They may have been numbed into "Zen and the Art of not Giving a Crap" by clients that couldn't tell the difference.

    You might find that they've never gotten the feedback (other than people voting with their shoes, which they too easily write off as people moving to digital) and if you point out that you are a demanding reputable and displayed photographer, they will go the extra mile for you. You will have struck the motherload by being an important client working together with a local lab that has the time and desire to offer a great print.

    Good luck being the important client over at WCI... unless you burn through Velvia like Robert Teague of course! :wink:
     
  11. grasshopper

    grasshopper Member

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    NikoSperi,

    Thanks for the comments and the insight. I will go in and have a chat. They're good people...see what they say. Regardless of what happens on the print, I will continue to use them for E6. Not displayed just yet, and find it a little funny, me going in and saying, "Hey, this looks like crap, this is what I want and expect".

    I guess I need to get over it...I know what I like. Perhaps, it is I who have been numbed into "Zen and the Art of Being a Crappy Consumer". Point well taken. Thanks, Ed
     
  12. JosBurke

    JosBurke Member

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    I regularly shoot Provia 100 in 6x6 and some of my very best (my favorites at least) were scanned on a Nikon 8000 and printed on a lightJet at my local lab. I was in awe when I got my prints back--very very impressed and thats saying a lot as I'm very anal about print quality. Blame your lab and request a reprint!!!
     
  13. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Yeah right ... with clients like Jack Dykinga, Michael Forsberg and Robert Glenn Ketchum ... I'm just a minor client.
     
  14. roteague

    roteague Member

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    You bring up a good point. The quality of the scanner matters TREMENDOUSLY.
     
  15. grasshopper

    grasshopper Member

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    >>>I'm just a minor client<<<

    I would then be a tremendous pipsqueak there but I appreciate the recommendation.

    I guess I'm off to do some talking; I may end up having to send this off if they're just going to send it back to some crappy "auto-pilot" machine. We'll see.

    I certainly appreciate the direction.
     
  16. Petzi

    Petzi Member

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    There is just no alternative to digital printing today, except Ilfochrome which is somewhat special.

    The digital process gives results which are so far superior to reversal paper that all reversal papers were discontinued. The digital prints should turn out fine. The fact that they are machine made does not mean they have to be crappy. Just try a different lab.
     
  17. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Where do you come up with your information Petzi???????

    I have to say I don't agree with you one bit and I have been in this business for a great number of years! Are you sure your on the right website?

    B&H still has resin coated and polyester based papers listed on their website as being in stock and available for delivery...And Adorama is still listing Kodak reversal paper in stock as well and available for delivery...

    Dave
     
  18. Petzi

    Petzi Member

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    I haven't seen any reversal paper for sale anywhere for years. It is possible that B&H and others have some old stock. Maybe someone can check out the Kodak wholesale price list. B&H also has films that are no longer supplied by Kodak.
     
  19. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Fuji is still listing Color Reversal papers on their website as well, and if what B&H and Adorama are listing is old stock, it ain't that old, cause I ordered from our local store he about 14 months ago locally, and we ordered directly from Kodak, I know, I looked it up in the Kodak Wholesale book and provided the order numbers for the store as I used to work for them..I still have two 25 sheet boxes of the paper and it is dated for 8/2006 as the expiration date, I can't help what you have seen in Europe..the paper that B&H is listing is actually Ilford, so it could be older stock, but the paper adorama is listing is Kodak paper..

    Dave
     
  20. sanderx1

    sanderx1 Member

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    Fujifilm.co.uk doesn't list anything like that... Neither does fujifilm.de ... What appears to be available is:
    * fujicolor crystal archive (+ MP, DP, professional variants)
    * fujiclear ca professional
    * fujiflex ca supergloss
    * fujicolor ca professional peel apart

    None of the descriptions look like these might be reversal materials.
     
  21. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Fuji is listing type 35 paper on their website located at the following URL:

    http://www.fujifilm.com/JSP/fuji/epartners/proPhotoProductType_35.jsp

    So apparently they have not discontinued it..

    Dave
     
  22. sanderx1

    sanderx1 Member

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    http://www.fujifilm.co.uk/professional/cameras/camera_01_gx617.html

    but fine, lets assume it exists and is not discontinued... but the one place I knew that used to do reversal prints in London no longer seems to be around and I can't find anybody else doing it - never mind I'd rather prefer something closer but UK would be OK. So it appears to be very nearly extict on any material :sad:
     
  23. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Why should be assume?? Fuji has it listed as an available product on their website, yes albeit on limited availability, which is normal for some of their professional series products, but it is there on the website in flying colors.....sorry not available in your area of the world, but it is still being produced.

    Dave
     
  24. grasshopper

    grasshopper Member

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