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  1. #1
    copake_ham's Avatar
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    Clark Color Labs - Have You Tried Them?

    I'm curious if anyone here has used Clark Color Labs for "consumer-type" film processing?

    My interest started because I've been looking for a place to make up some holiday cards with some of my pics. For that purpose I'll just send them a CD with some scanned shots.

    But I was also wondering if their processing results in "cleaner" negatives than what you get from the "drug store one-hour shops" that love to "enhance" negatives with dust spots, scratches etc.?

    Anyone have any experience with these guys?

  2. #2

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    Never tried Clark, but we've had incredibly good experience with Costco for Christmas cards. Quick and economical service, with none of the enhancements that you mention.

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    Years and years ago I use to send stuff to Clark. All I could remember was that they were not a pro lab but marketed to the masses. Nowadays I go to Dale Labs in Hollywood FL.
    W.A. Crider

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianShaw View Post
    Never tried Clark, but we've had incredibly good experience with Costco for Christmas cards. Quick and economical service, with none of the enhancements that you mention.
    Hey Brian,

    Thanks for the info on Costco.

    I don't go there (Costco) from here (NYC) but do go there (Costco) from there (Tucson) and will be out there (Tucson) next week.

    My pic scan files are in TIFF and HUGE (50+ mb) so I need to drop them on a CD or DVD. I'd rather deal with all this "in person", so the Costco thing may work out fine.

    Meanwhile, I'm still curious if Clark can process film in a "clean" manner for general usage.

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    hi george

    the only experience i have with clark is from when i was a kid 30+ years ago
    and my parents mail order film processed. they used to have inserts in
    the sunday paper and it was cheep as dirt.
    we have had holiday cards made locally,
    and through sam's club/wally's
    local was fine, and sammy's was a piece of cake
    and about the same price. we even got coffee mugs made (sam's),
    there was a wait/delay in delivery of the mugs, and they
    ended up being free. i can't believe fuji didn't charge for the mugs ( 10+ of them!)
    countless other people too, no charge ... we will go back this year.

  6. #6

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    I used Clark a lot about 30 years ago (when I was about 10); as jnanian says, they were (and still are) cheap, which is a big draw when you're 10. I've used them on rare occasion more recently, but not for at least two years, and probably 5 or more. I don't recall any serious problems with the negatives, but I can't really say that they're any better than the average drug store, either.

    FWIW, "Clark Color Labs" is just one name used by a huge photofinishing outfit called District Photo. They operate under other names, such as York Photo. IIRC, they bought up Mystic Color Lab a while back. For a while, they operated it under that name, but they seem to be folding into the York brand. The Mystic employees found themselves out of work but apparently managed to buy their old facilities and now operate it as ABC Photo Lab. I've used them for digital 4x6 prints recently and have no complaints. My memory from when I used mail-order photofinishing was that ABC (and the former Mystic) were much better, but also pricier, than Clark/York.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by copake_ham View Post
    I'm curious if anyone here has used Clark Color Labs for "consumer-type" film processing?

    My interest started because I've been looking for a place to make up some holiday cards with some of my pics. For that purpose I'll just send them a CD with some scanned shots.

    But I was also wondering if their processing results in "cleaner" negatives than what you get from the "drug store one-hour shops" that love to "enhance" negatives with dust spots, scratches etc.?

    Anyone have any experience with these guys?
    In my experience with Clark, which started about 5 years ago, negatives and 3x5 prints were better than most 1 hour labs. I sent literally hundreds of rolls to them and had no complaints. C-41 B&W film was even printed on real B&W paper.

    A few months ago I sent them 6 or 7 rolls or color print film. While the negs were fine, the prints sucked. They had switched from photographic paper to an HP inkjet system. The paper was so thin that I could see the brand markings (which are on the back) when viewing the front. I can't recommend them any more.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by copake_ham View Post
    Hey Brian,

    My pic scan files are in TIFF and HUGE (50+ mb) so I need to drop them on a CD or DVD. I'd rather deal with all this "in person", so the Costco thing may work out fine.
    Can Costco handle TIFFs? I use their (Canadian) online print service from time to time (locally at least they print on Fuji Crystal Archive paper, which I've heard good things about and, in my limited experience, like), and as I recall the online service only recognized JPGs. But, could be wrong on that...

  9. #9
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    I use Clark for all of my color snapshots, and my family's used them for years. I develop my other color stuff myself.

    They are [by no means] a pro lab, but I've had excellent results from them. The negatives are far cleaner and more consistent than anything from a 1 hour shop.

    They are, in my experience, a little slow in getting stuff back, but it's not too bad.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by mabman View Post
    Can Costco handle TIFFs? ... and as I recall the online service only recognized JPGs. But, could be wrong on that...
    I believe that you are correct.

    Using a 50mb TIFF for a christmas card picture might be pushing the envelope a bit.

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