If they screwed up your prints, they need to step up and make it right. I'll be interested to see how this turns out. I live in the Denver area but travel frequently to Chicago and bring some business to them. I'm always looking for certain cameras, lenses, filters, etc. If they mess with you it will make me look elsewhere. But if you screwed up, I hope they show you what you did wrong.
So, how do the negatives look?
If you have a strong loupe or magnifier of some type take a good look. If the problem was caused by the negative the defects you see in the print should also be visible in the negative. If you can't see the defects in the negative then the printing is definately in question.
With most good labs, if you take the bad prints in, they'll make new ones for free. It will also let them know you care about your pictures and they'll be more likely to get them looking as they should. One lab I used in MA would give most people standard prints (which were acceptable), but if you told them what you wanted, they did a better job because they knew you wanted their best effort. They cared about the output, just not quite enough to do it for everyone. Their best printer left for college and didn't come back, unfortunately.
Why don't you post the prints, maybe that will reveal the problem. Any comments made without some kind of evidence seems rather foolish no matter who make them. Getting good prints with a digital process has little to do with what could be the problem with analog. JMHO
fotch -I don't have a great scanner, but these do justice. Attachment 63013 Attachment 63013 Attachment 63014 Attachment 63015 Attachment 63016
I'm not sure how to get the pictures to show up on the post, but here are pdf's. Hopefully you can see what I'm seeing. I picked a handful of examples. Again, these were all snap shots I took for fun, but nonetheless, for the most part, the prints all have a muddy bland middle gray feeling that I don't like.
The first 2 photos: The first photo with the man and little girl sitting on sidewalk has acceptable tonal separations in my opinion. The one below this photo has the muddy feeling. No whites or blacks, ect.
The photos of the creek: If you look at the trees in the back, these are smeared or or blended together or something. Not sure how to articulate it.
And some others -
Let me know your feeling
First off, downloading files to other's computers is bad business. Post them on Flickr or somewhere else, if you don't care to upload them here.
I took a look. They all appear quite flat, as does the light you apparently took them in (GIGO). Was the film old, expired, exposed to heat? That said, they don't look that bad to me for machine prints. Why don't you post the negatives so we can get a good look at the raw material?
P.S. IMO, the only reason for most amateurs to use film these days is to print your own.
Thanks ROL - The film was not old, expired or opposed to heat. It was probably only a few weeks old. Sorry, because they are scans from a printer/scanner, that's the best I can do.
mporter012, thanks for the pics. If you can scan the negatives, that would be nice also. I cannot tell if these are B&W digital prints, other may be able to.
From my own experience, before printing my own, what you get back from just regular processing is very little adjustment in the print. Another words, garbage in, garbage out. However, a custom print, which either cost more, or you do it yourself, will almost always be better, because you can adjust so many things, exposure, contrast, in many different ways.
I would not be surprised to find out that digital printing of B&W negatives are mediocre unless custom printed. I guess the same could be said for color. Others with more experience in this may be able to advise you. Don't give up, you can get better pictures with film.
I do recall overcast skies on some of these days, but it's impossible that i had bad light for 120 exposures.