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  1. #1

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    Why were my prints from Provia so bad

    Hi everyone...new here. Really glad to have found this site.

    Had prints made from Provia 100f slide film developed at a "semi-pro" lab. The slides looked great and I was very happy with the quality. I returned with the "selects" and had 16 prints made. They do not do this in-house; thus, they were sent out...somewhere. I am quite disappointed in the prints I got back.

    The images were of moving water, rocks with green forest/moss around.

    The slides were all selected after viewing on a light box through a loupe. Viewed this way, everything looked good including exposure.

    I get these back and the greens look completely dead, and the exposure looks about a 1/2 to one stop under. Could this be the lab or more likely my inherent weakness as a photographer...or the fact that I used provia 100f instead of Velvia, or....

    Any suggestions or comments are appreciated. Thanks, Ed

  2. #2
    Dave Parker's Avatar
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    Do you know what process they used to make the prints? There are several variables that come into mind that could cause what your describing, if you get a company that makes internegs to make the prints and the person doing the internegs don't have a good handle on what is going on, could cause the lackluster look to the prints, but again, it would go along ways to knowing what process they used to make the prints. If the slides looked good on the table, then I would doubt it was anything you did..

    Dave

  3. #3
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    It's a lab issue. The prints were probably made digitally, and if you didn't pay very much for them, they were probably exposed by an automated process. Whether prints from slides are made digitally or conventionally, the key thing is to have a careful printer who adjusts each print by hand and has a good sense of what a good print looks like. If you aren't in a position to print your own work, then you need to find a better lab.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  4. #4

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    Thanks for the responses. I do not know what process they used but will ask and post back.

    I had not seen this poor a result from my slides in a while and just wondered if perhaps it was me...hate to blame equipment or someone else but I kind of suspected it might be the lab as the slides look good. I am going to send a few of these off to another lab and compare.

    Again, I sincerely appreciate the time and information.

  5. #5
    roteague's Avatar
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    Your problem really doesn't have to do with the film. I use exclusively Velvia for prints.

    It sounds like the prints were probably made digitally, in which case the transparencies were scanned. When you scan a transparency, the result looks very flat. You then have to open the scan in Photoshop and "fix" the scan before you print it. It sounds like your lab, either printed straight from the scan, or just used a generic curve to "fix" the flat scan.

    Depending on how important these images are to you, there are several printing options available. Let us know, and we can advise more on this.
    Robert M. Teague
    www.visionlandscapes.com
    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

  6. #6

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    Robert, Thanks. I called and they are done digitally. I did not ask anymore than that...just, okay thanks.

    From the slides I selected that I had printed, I was going to narrow that down to the 2-3 best and go to 8x10 with those for wall hanging.

    So, to me, they were kind of important. I am open to and would appreciate any suggestions on labs, papers, what to look for, etc. I was also considering sending one off for to be printed as an Ilfochrome. So any suggestions on labs there too would be great.

    I live in a relatively small Washington state town with one lab. I was really happy and surprised by the quality of their E6 service; so I thought I would try them on the prints...Oh well.

  7. #7
    roteague's Avatar
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    I would use the prints they gave you to narrow down your selection, as a starting point.

    Unfortunately, I am not able to give you any recommendations on labs that would be able to give you small size/cheap prints if you are only looking for one time or occasional prints, as all the labs I deal with are professional labs. Perhaps SatinSnow or David, have some suggestions.

    I use West Coast Imaging (http://www.westcoastimaging.com/) for all my prints, but they are a professional printing lab, used by some of the best in the business, and not cheap.

    Another good lab, one that I use for all my E6 processing is Calypso Imaging. They are located in Santa Clara, California. http://www.calypsoinc.com/. I haven't used their printing services, but I have always been happy with their services.

    Sadly, the state of photography has gotten to the point where it is no longer easy to obtain decent prints from a lot of local photo stores.

    I hope this helps,
    Robert M. Teague
    www.visionlandscapes.com
    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
    Dave Parker's Avatar
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    Grasshopper,

    Where in WA do you live, I was born and raised in WA so I might be able to make some recommendations on the various labs in WA or in other areas, the two labs that Robert has recommended are both good labs and will produce high quality prints from slides.

    Dave

  9. #9

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    Robert / Dave

    Thanks for your help, all the information certainly does help.

    I am up by Bellingham. I had an offer from two local business owners to display some work. I would like for this kind offer to remain open for me; so, I don't want to display junky looking prints as, I am sure, they don't want junk displayed.

    I don't mind paying for quality; even though I'm no pro, if I need a pro lab, so be it.

    Thanks again, Ed

  10. #10
    NikoSperi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grasshopper
    I live in a relatively small Washington state town with one lab. I was really happy and surprised by the quality of their E6 service; so I thought I would try them on the prints...Oh well.
    No, don't shrug your shoulders and say "Oh well." and walk out the door to WCI. If they do a good job with your E6 they're worth nurturing. Go back and explain over the light table why you are disappointed, show them what you expected, and ask if they can do the job more carefully. They may have been numbed into "Zen and the Art of not Giving a Crap" by clients that couldn't tell the difference.

    You might find that they've never gotten the feedback (other than people voting with their shoes, which they too easily write off as people moving to digital) and if you point out that you are a demanding reputable and displayed photographer, they will go the extra mile for you. You will have struck the motherload by being an important client working together with a local lab that has the time and desire to offer a great print.

    Good luck being the important client over at WCI... unless you burn through Velvia like Robert Teague of course!
    If you tone it down alot, it almost becomes bearable.

    - Walker Evans on using color

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