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  1. #1

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    Optical Printing at Walmart?

    Over the weekend I dropped a roll of color film off at Walmart. I had no desire to kill time for an hour for regular 1-hour service so I dropped it off in the bin that gets sent out. There was an option of cheaper 3 inch prints instead of the standard 4 inch prints. I noticed that photo CDs are not available with the 3 inch prints. My logic is that if the 3 inch prints were scanned and printed digitally, then the data would already be in the system for a photo CD, so it's most likely optical. Upon getting my 3 inch prints back and examining them with a magnifying glass, I'm convinced that they are the real thing. I haven't seen as much fine detail in a while.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3Dfan View Post
    Over the weekend I dropped a roll of color film off at Walmart. I had no desire to kill time for an hour for regular 1-hour service so I dropped it off in the bin that gets sent out. There was an option of cheaper 3 inch prints instead of the standard 4 inch prints. I noticed that photo CDs are not available with the 3 inch prints. My logic is that if the 3 inch prints were scanned and printed digitally, then the data would already be in the system for a photo CD, so it's most likely optical. Upon getting my 3 inch prints back and examining them with a magnifying glass, I'm convinced that they are the real thing. I haven't seen as much fine detail in a while.
    Highly doubtful. Examining a print with a magnifier won't tell you much; a good scanner will out resolve any film.
    Robert M. Teague
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    "A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist" -- Louis Nizer

  3. #3

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    probably not, walmart sends to fuji outlab, which is about to wrap up its conversion to frontiers and other laser exposning machines for anything 8x12 and smaller, they probaby don't do scans with 3 inch prints b/c its not the whole frame. Anything bigger than 8x12 however will continue to be optically printed.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by roteague View Post
    Highly doubtful. Examining a print with a magnifier won't tell you much; a good scanner will out resolve any film.
    Scanning may out resolve the film I was using, but the 300dpi prints that a Frontier makes won't give all that resolution on small prints.

  5. #5

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    I used to work at a Costco photolab and they used an old optical printer (that was bigger than a truck) as well as a new Noritsu digital machine. The optical printer was extremely fast and simple to use - before I quit, I was told they were replacing it with another new Noritsu digital machine. I hated using the new machines because they took so long to scan and correct compared to the quick film feeding and keystrokes of the optical printer. It was only set up for 4x6's though, so I never saw a larger print from it. This was all a few months ago, so I'm not talking about the stone age or anything.

  6. #6
    dmr
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    Years ago, when Wally World had their photos on line service, and they allowed you to download one whole zip file, they told me that photos on line were intended as an upsell to prints, and prints, 4" or larger, were mandatory in order to get photos on line.

    When they started doing CDs, for a while Wally World refused to do a CD without 4" or larger prints, but later allowed it when their competitors did.

    That's the way I understand it anyway.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3Dfan View Post
    Scanning may out resolve the film I was using, but the 300dpi prints that a Frontier makes won't give all that resolution on small prints.
    The Frontier is a laser device, not an ink jet printer. You won't see a bunch of dots on the page. I've made 30x40 inch prints from a digital printer, and I can guarantee you can't see any difference in sharpness or color.

    I'm not even sure that you can get optical prints bigger than 8x12 either. It depends upon who the prints are outsourced to. It is more efficient and cheaper, for mass printers, to use digital laser (or LED) printers. The company I use can print up to 40x50 inch prints on one.
    Robert M. Teague
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    www.apug.org/forums/portfolios.php?u=2235

    "A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist" -- Louis Nizer

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by roteague View Post
    The Frontier is a laser device, not an ink jet printer. You won't see a bunch of dots on the page. I've made 30x40 inch prints from a digital printer, and I can guarantee you can't see any difference in sharpness or color.
    At a maximum of 300 dpi, you could potentially print over 100 megapixels, which is well beyond the resolving power of 35mm film. For very small prints, like 3x5, you only can fit 3X5X300X300=1.35 million pixels of information. Since 35mm film has a lot more than 1.35 megapixels, I think it's fair to want optical prints. I know that the lasers of a frontier don't give a bunch of dots, but they still throw out detail that optical prints properly done could have.

  9. #9

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    I fully agree with 3Dfan. The reason I got back into the darkroom because the digital printer can't print the small size print with the kind of resolution an optical printer can. Larger than 8x10 the digital system actually got better than optical. The limitation is not the neg or the scanner but the printer resolution at around 300dpi.

  10. #10

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    Future Shop in Canada (owned by best buy) must use a DLP projector for printing. You can actually see the pixels on colour prints. You also get the data file free over the Internet.

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