Cheap RA4 Prints
I just came back from a local pro lab to get some 35mm Fuji 160s developed. I'm working on a collection of fish-eye skateboarding pictures for a friend, and I promised that I would print ALL the pictures on RA4 Paper (Either Endura or CA).
The problem is, my friend only wants prints that are 11x14 or bigger and the pro lab charges nearly 10$ (Edit: I was wrong...they charge dang near 20$ for 1 print!!) on one 11x14 print on Kodak Endura. He's on a bit of a budget and my color enlarging filters have faded so I can't really print the pictures myself without spending even more money to make a couple of prints. So the last time I did a portrait session with my friends parents, I used Sam's clubs 11x14 cheap printing deal. The problem was that the prints were NOT done on a minilab, but instead a inkjet printer. The quality was terrible. The print had a strange green cast and the paper had streaks in it.
Is there any way I can get cheap minilab 11x14 prints? Can the frontiers even handle 11x14?
Any recommendations for cheap labs?...I dont mind sending files out.
Last edited by AlexG; 06-13-2009 at 08:52 PM. Click to view previous post history.
The cheapest way would be scan them yourself (if you have a film scanner) and send the digital files to an oline photo finisher, such MPix. If you do not have your own scanner, MPix can process and scan films for you.
the newer frontiers 7xx series for sure and I THINK, but don't quote me some of the 5xx series can. Costco's noritsus do up to 12x18....
Originally Posted by AlexG
Or you could use a Pro Lab, that runs Kodak Endura, instead of crap like MPix and Costco.
No offense, they do good work, but they are definitely amateur labs.
A Kodak Endura lab I can think of that does excellent work is Academy Productions in Charlotte, NC. They use Kodak HR 500 Scanners, arguably the best made. I think they are under $4 for an 11x14" print, and that is with color correction and calibration
Also, North American Photo in Detroit does good work, optically, again on Kodak Endura.
If you are not specifically looking for Kodak paper, I know other good labs that do great work. PM me if interested.
If you are trying to get anything printed optically, good luck finding anything after this year. All of the optical labs in the entire country that I know of are tearing out their equipment at the end of the year or sooner. . . :-(
Sorry, didn't realize you were referring to Crystal Archive as CA.
I don't know if they run CA anymore (or why you only want high-con Fuji or med-con. Kodak), but United Promotions in Charlotte also runs Fuji and Kodak paper I think, as well as some other interesting stuff, metallic.
You can't go wrong with a real, brick-and-mortar, pro lab!
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unfortunately, RA4 prints above 4x6 from a minilab are almost pure profit for the photo finisher. This is a universal practice. It's a 75 cent sheet of paper with no more than a few cents of chemistry. Good inkjet prints are through the roof anyways because the ink costs exponentially more than perfume. I got my dichroic enlarger with lens off of ebay for $80 shipped to my door, this is your cheapest way to print them, but only if they were shot with a legitimate camera that includes exposure compensation. Your next best option is to scan and send to something like Adorama's photo website. They'll do a nice job, but it costs.
Why does it matter if the camera had exposure compensation?
Sorry bad wording. There are types of 35mm fisheye cameras (one like I used, i think lomo brand) which don't adjust the exposure depending on the brightness and just use the latitude of the film as exposure compensation. Overexposure pushes the information towards the upper range of the curve, reducing contrast. It's fine if you scan it because you can adjust the contrast, but if you're printing in a darkroom you have very limited means of contrast control.
How faded are your color printing filters? Are they such that you could use a 10 cc in lieu of a 5 cc? Certainly printing yourself would be the cheapest solution. I doubt you could find a new set of filters now, but you might consider keeping a watch on Craigslist for any "Giveaways" of dichroic enlargers.
Yeah...The camera had exposure compensation. All the pictures were done on either a Nikon F4 or a Nikon N6006.
About the filters....I don't use an enlarger with a dial-in filter head. I use the old fashion method with my Fujimoto Lucky B&W enlarger with the filter packs in the drawer. I've been able to get some damn nice prints with this method and I don't mind dealing with buying new color filters once in a while.
But it looks like the best thing to do is to save up this summer to get myself a (nice) color enlarger .
Hey, Adorama has a sale going on for 11x14 prints. 2.49 each...and it's printed on Endura!
Last edited by AlexG; 06-14-2009 at 08:50 PM. Click to view previous post history.