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  1. #61
    mweintraub's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ParkerSmithPhoto View Post
    BWC does great work. Creating an account probably makes it all sound like more of a hassle than it is. Name, contact info, credit card on file, let's make some photos.
    My point was that I didn't need to make an account to view prices or even get film processed there at first.

  2. #62
    RPC
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Carnie View Post
    The pro labs of the day were full of incompetent technicians with not a grain of colour theory and as well lousy eyes. The breakthrough of the mini labs was helped by this.
    And the minilab operators were better? The minilabs I used in the 80s and 90s for proof prints often had prints that were too dark, too light, off color and sometimes out of focus, with well shot negatives. Sometimes it was good but they were not dependable. I lived in four different cities during during that time and it was the same everywhere. The workers were often young with little experience. I never used a custom lab, but it is difficult to believe pro photographers would have ever put up with anything inferior to the minilabs. There must be more to the story, or the test results were biased.

  3. #63

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    I think what Bob was referring to was the transition from manual printers, like the Kodak Model 5 printer, that required skilled operators and the automated printers, like the Kodak Model 2620 printer, that relied on automated printer algorithms to make the printing decisions with no operator intervention.

    When I started at Photographic Technology at Kodak in 1971 all our employee Pilot Lab prints were made on Model 5 printers with VERY experienced operators and the quality was superb! When we switched over to the automated printers my print quality dropped noticeably. However, in the trade, customers saw a print quality improvement because the previous Model 5 printers were not operated by skilled operators.

  4. #64
    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    So I'm making this stuff up??
    Quote Originally Posted by RPC View Post
    And the minilab operators were better? The minilabs I used in the 80s and 90s for proof prints often had prints that were too dark, too light, off color and sometimes out of focus, with well shot negatives. Sometimes it was good but they were not dependable. I lived in four different cities during during that time and it was the same everywhere. The workers were often young with little experience. I never used a custom lab, but it is difficult to believe pro photographers would have ever put up with anything inferior to the minilabs. There must be more to the story, or the test results were biased.

  5. #65

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    Optical printing went out with twirl sticks in processing tanks.
    What about a fuji frontier (or D-labs, nuritsu's etc...)?
    A frontier in a Pro lab and a frontier hole in the wall kiosk, is the same exact thing.
    True Joe might be using fuji supreme paper and shmoe is using lucky paper.
    The quality potential of the machine is identical. Bad printer operators can be anywhere. In most cases even a truly awful printer on a good machine will make better prints then a "pro" printer, on "pro" gear which needs to be done my hand/optically or any other way.

    I think thats what bob was talking about as the consequence of minilabs proliferating.
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  6. #66

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Carnie View Post
    All the labs I worked during this period were PMA members, No I am not mis-remembering, the size may have been 8x10 or it could have been 5x7, the test was to prove that the mini labs were not providing good colour density, and this was clearly not the case.

    The pro labs of the day were full of incompetent technicians with not a grain of colour theory and as well lousy eyes. The breakthrough of the mini labs was helped by this.

    Dig deeper and you may find someone from the day in your area who remembers this as well.
    Well, my memory is not my strong point, but my experience is quite a bit deeper than I generally say. My company started early with the mini-lab business, when 6-hour labs first came out, and eventually got up to about 600 mini-labs. I spent a short time, a year or so, as manager of an equipment refurbishing group with about 25 or 30 techs. It would have been news to them that a mini-lab unit could print 5x7 or 8x10 inch prints. As I said, there WERE some special machines known as "enlargers" that could do this, but they were not mainstream in the business.

    Prior to the Agfa MSC family of labs, with their advanced (for the time) scanning of individual negatives, mini-labs mostly used a variation of "integrate to grey" to automate printing. An experienced operator could override this with plus or minus "button" corrections for non-average negatives, but it was mostly guesswork. A skillful operator could do 2 or 3 iterations, and get pretty fair results, but nothing like a professional color corrector (I've worked with dozens and dozens over the years).

    To tell me that one of these earlier mini-labs could outperform a pro lab is like telling me that you saw a flying pig that was more graceful than the birds.

  7. #67
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    Well Mr Bill

    I think you are totally missing my point.. Pigs do fly.. PMA did this blind testing, the Mini Labs won,
    sorry you disagree,but on the theme of animals, I can take a horse to the water but I cannot make it drink.

    so that I understand, you started a family of 600 minilabs?, now that is a real accomplishment and I tip my hat off to you.

    I think that this PMA test was after the earlier mini labs, I also used them in the 70's, I do know I left BGM colour lab around 1986/7 and that is the period of mini lab machines that were tested against what Professor Pixel describes.

    This is a little like the Paul Bunyon Disney production, I have always sided with Paul, but that little bugger did cut down more trees than him and won the competition. I remember going to bed crying my eyes out.

  8. #68

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Carnie View Post
    Well Mr Bill
    ...
    so that I understand, you started a family of 600 minilabs?, now that is a real accomplishment and I tip my hat off to you.
    I should have been more clear that it was my EMPLOYER. (I often use the term "my company," not meaning that is is "mine," but that it is the place where I worked.)

    I was part of a division that did what I sometimes refer to as industrial-level photo processing, and I sometimes worked with the 1-hour lab division on various problems. They were the smaller part, and didn't have the expertise that we did. I should really say that their expertise was in different areas.

  9. #69

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    i work with a lady ( locally ) who runs a mini lab.
    the prints are every bit as good as the same prints
    i get from white house custom color who i have used
    for the best part of 10-13 years ..
    and she costs about the same ...

    in the end i think if you get a lab operator who has an eye
    has a clue about color theory and how the machines ( and computer interface ) works
    you can get some beautiful work.
    i have a show with a few other people up through february and i couldn't be happier with the way
    it was printed by a local lab / mini lab /// a pro lab would have charged me 3x what i paid ..

    and i just walked in .. and of course paid afterwards.
    Last edited by jnanian; 01-27-2014 at 10:05 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  10. #70
    RPC
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Carnie View Post
    So I'm making this stuff up??
    So you think I am?

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