The scratches are similar to scratches I got on roll I had processed by a local lab this summer. The scratch wasn't real straight and wandered across multiple frames so I don't think it was a problem with the camera. To make matters worse, I could see what looked like water marks in the sky in a number of my images. Then to top it off, I asked the lab to make a CD scan of the slides and that turned out to be one of the worst scan jobs I've seen.
I mentioned the problems to the lab, but not sure if it did any good.
So on my last roll I decided to mail it off to Dwayne's and I was pleased with what I got back, but I would prefer to patronize my local lab.
You would think there would be a local processor in the Chicago area!
Froboz: have you tried CSW in Chicago? (Lake and Damen)
The owner of the lab got back to me and very much wants to get to the bottom of it - I'll be sending him some of the slides back for inspection (and he's already given me a credit for future work greater than the amount I paid for this processing!) Impressive response.
I'll report back once there are any updates.
Hopefully with that kind of customer service that they figure out what the problem is and fix it going forward.
BTW, when it comes to fixing badly handled film, results from the Nikonscan+Coolscan 9000 is nothing short of amazing . . .
Link to larger version -> Kodak 160VC-06-36 5K vs 9K ICE
That's what freaked me out about this - my Coolscan 5000 and ICE usually take damaged film in stride, but this was too much even for it!
Aha! Upon investigation of some slides I sent back, the lab discovered that they were actually some sort of drying marks on the film, not scratches. They wiped off when rubbed with a cotton glove. They suspect it may have occurred on the occasion of dumping and renewing their chemistry, since they don't just keep replenishing forever.
I'm going to take them up on their offer of free replacement processing of my next rolls, and fully expect to be happier with the results!