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  1. #1

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    Rite Aid Processing Disaster

    I just got my Pentax LX back from repair, and ran a roll of Rite Aid brand Superia 400 through it to test all is well. I also shot the first few frames of the roll through a known good camera (my P30T) so I would have a frame of reference on the roll for problems. They were just shots of my cat and dog, nothing amazing, nothing I couldn't stand to lose.

    I dropped it off at Rite Aid and came back in an hour to get my pictures. I paid and left; when I got home I looked them over. The photos are incredibly grainy, all the colors are off on the prints. The worst part is the negatives are very, very thin. Even the edge codes are thin. They look as if I underexposed by 5 stops. I metered some shots with my Polaris incident meter and some with the LX, so I could compare in-camera meter with the known good Polaris.

    I feel like I did everything right, but they still managed to ruin the film. The film has fingerprints and oil marks all over it, the prints look totally washed out, grainy, and all the colors are incorrect. I'm colorblind and if I say the colors are wrong, buddy they are wrong.

    One thing for sure: after I get my money back for this roll (and hopefully a replacement roll of film), I will never go to Rite Aid again for film processing. All of my film from now on will go to The Darkroom or some other send-off lab. They still have a good deal for their film; BOGO 4 roll packs of Superia rebrand $10. 8 rolls for $10, and if you have store register rewards you can save more. I've paid as little as $4 for 10 rolls before.

    A question; what are thin C-41 negatives indicative of? Expired developer and/or blix? The mask is more of a red-orange than an orange that I'm used to as well.

  2. #2
    Jim Noel's Avatar
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    It sounds like 1) the operator does not know proper techniques for handling film, 2) the chemistry is not properly replenished, and 3) temperature control is lacking.

    Thin C-41 negatives are indicative of under-exposure and/or chemicals needing replenishment or chemicals at too low a temperature.
    [FONT=Comic Sans MS]Films NOT Dead - Just getting fixed![/FONT]

  3. #3
    wildbill's Avatar
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    consider yourself lucky that drugstores in your area still process film. that said, I'd never take anything too important to one any longer as the operators just don't get proper training (or care) any longer.
    www.vinnywalsh.com

    I know what I want but I just don't know how to go about gettin' it.-Hendrix

  4. #4

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    I'm running a roll of Delta 400 through my LX now. I'll develop it myself so I can eliminate the variable of poor development and handling.

    Wildbill: I can appreciate having the ability to go to Rite Aid, but seeing as this roll was ruined I can't feel too lucky. Maybe I'll try Walgreens next. Everyone else in town sends off film and takes a week. I would like to be able to use a local place just for non-important images, but if Walgreens is a bust I may be investing in a Tetenal press kit sooner than I anticipated.

  5. #5
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    Brofkand- don't you have a Costco or WallyWorld near you? Many of them still have C-41 minilabs in-house (at least the Costcos do - I don't know about Wal-Mart anymore).

  6. #6

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    Costco stopped film development in my state earlier this year. I was told it was done nationwide as soon as the inkjet cartridge refill service began. I used to live 1.5 miles away from one, now I live about 65 miles away from the closest Costco. I loved getting my film done there; it was always done right and the price was $1.70 after tax for process only.

    Walmart does send-off film processing, takes a week for $10. This is what I was told over the phone by their technician. Some stores may still do in-house film processing, but I believe as the older stores are remodeled to the new logo and design, the machines are removed. They now just do the instant inkjet prints from an SD card.

    Walgreens and Rite Aid are pretty much the only chain stores left that still do it; even Wolf/Ritz Camera have stopped processing film.

  7. #7

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    I can still get Costco processing. I think they do it in-house because it is quick. Not quite 1-hour anymore, but "several hours".

  8. #8

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    p.s. Too bad about the bad quality at Rite Aid. I don't think any Walgreens in my area still process film but Rite Aid does... and advertizes it prominantly on their LED billboard.

    [for some reason I can't seem to upload images. Oh well. Sorry.]
    Last edited by BrianShaw; 06-20-2012 at 10:17 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  9. #9

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    LOL dude you dropped it off at Rite aid, what do you expect. I used to fix their Photo equipment for a living. They NEVER do maintenance, they NEVER run test strips, they NEVER color correct. Their associates are not really even trained about the equipment, and they never know if anything is wrong until customer film comes out blank.


    Their chemistry is stale, just like every other Rite Aid because they never change out their filters, so the replenishment chemistry isn't getting to the working tanks.


    This is why, regardless of how "meaningless" the pictures are, I suggest people go to a real lab like RPL. Because they actually give a sh*t about their equipment and the customer.

  10. #10

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    It makes sense then why the clerk didn't tell me the pictures didn't look good. He just assumed that's how they are supposed to look, since it's the norm for them. Sickening. I am going to go get my money back and make sure they know that's not how it's supposed to look.

    RPL may be an excellent lab, but I will never pay $18 to get a test roll processed unless I have no choice. The Darkroom charges $10 for the same service.

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