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  1. #1

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    Optical Mail Order Color Lab?

    Hey, does any one know of an optical mail order color lab the can process and print 35mm and 120mm? Any info would be great.
    Thanks,
    Todd K.

  2. #2
    tiberiustibz's Avatar
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    I've seen them but cant recall at the moment. They're generally quite expensive because they hand print each negative. That takes time. Time is money.

    These days it's all digital so they scan the negs and print them digitally.

  3. #3
    Stephen Frizza's Avatar
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    Todd K where abouts are you based? I own and operate a mail order service with my lab here in Sydney australia.

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    Boy would be nice to live in Australia, but I am in Houston Texas, USA. I am not really looking for hand printed images, just a mail order place that uses an optical machine.

  5. #5

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    That all optical labs hand-print is summarily untrue. Many use optical high-speed machines or high-end optical minilabs.

    There are plenty of labs like this out there, amateur, prosumer, and professional, in a wide variety of price ranges.

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    tiberiustibz's Avatar
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    If you know of any, tell me. I would love to try one out. Still, expect increased prices. I don't think they would have gone to digital if it wasn't faster.

  7. #7

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    OK wiseguy, is 4800 prints in a day slow? Is $7.99 terribly expensive? That's what I pay, optical, 1 hour. 220 is more, but only because they have to hand-advance the film on their machine. Someone with a more professional-end printer wouldn't charge more.

  8. #8
    tiberiustibz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FilmIs4Ever View Post
    OK wiseguy, is 4800 prints in a day slow? Is $7.99 terribly expensive? That's what I pay, optical, 1 hour. 220 is more, but only because they have to hand-advance the film on their machine. Someone with a more professional-end printer wouldn't charge more.
    I'm not intending to be wise, I print optically at home all the time. It is far superior. However, I was merely saying that given the result that as capacities increased labs went to digital, that digital would be faster, and therefore cheaper. Relatively speaking, it probably is slow. I don't know for sure, but it would seem like the logical conclusion.

    Where do you get yours printed? Are you sure it's optical? 99.99% of one hour labs are digital, I haven't heard of optical. They scan them and print them digitally onto light sensitive paper and run it through the process. It's generally a little more intensive because the prints have to be exposed directly from the negative. There's also the problem of contrast correction, impossible with optical unless you get different grades of paper. You have to use properly exposed negatives when printing or else your contrast goes through the roof. For typical consumer use, digital is **better** because the crappy consumer cameras don't have EV compensation whatsoever.

  9. #9

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    Umm, I know how it works; I've devoted my life to keeping analog photography allive, commercially.

    Yes, I'm sure. I'm also sure that a fair number of the ubiquitous CVS pharmacies are analog optical. The ones that still have Gretags all are (new KIS machines are digital).

    Analog is superior? It can be terrible (CVS). It depends entirely on the skill of the operator. With a computer color-balancing, it will almost certainly be worse.

    Hand-printed and analog are not synonmous.

    The lab's name is C R Photo, in Rocky River, Ohio. Is that of any use to you whatsoever?

    99.9%? Maybe more like 75-85%. There's a Dodd Camera in Mentor OH that is still optical that I just used. There's a lab in Youngstown Ohio. There's a lab in Akron. There's a CVS minilab in Cleveland. I think Walgreens still may have a fair share of analog machines, so also Target, s also some CVS's. As long as they aren't KIS machines. Some Cord Cameras are optical still too I think.

    It is nowhere near 100%. A lot of these optical labs have digital LCD heads that can print digitally by something akin to the principle of how an LCD projector works; it is still by nature an analog, projected-light machine.

    I should know. I have my own minilab. . .

  10. #10
    tiberiustibz's Avatar
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    Would that work? Most consumer films come from ye disposable cameras/that type of camera shot in daylight grossly overexposing the film. Without digital contrast correction one is screwed trying to print optically. The contrast skyrockets.
    So if there's no real advantage why are 75% digital? To me optical sounds better because you lack the 300 dpi limitation of digital printers.

    Are the optical machines older or are there newer ones?

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