I have been dealing with finding good, reliable processing for a long time. I have yet to try home developing for a number of reasons (time, exposure to chemicals, and printing issues, among others). For the last year or so, I have had good success with a certain pro lab, but recently noticed a black spec on two prints. I know the spec was not anywhere in the frame when I took the shots. The spec is in a different location in each of the shots, and I believe that one appears in frame 8 and the other in frame 11. I called the lab, and was told that a black spec would not be something that resulted from processing (either developing or printing). The person indicated that it was likely a spec or piece of dust on my lens.

I do not buy this explanation, and I cite two reasons for this. First, I have been shooting for years, and I keep my equipment very clean. On almost all occasions, I even blow off the lens (with a Giottos Rocket Blaster) before shooting. Second, a spec would have to be farily large to show up on a negative or print. If internal dust will not cause a problem (again, unless it is significant), then how could a tiny spec--especially on the front surface of the front element--cause a problem? The farther it is from the film, the less chance of a problem arising.

This is the only thing that tempts me toward the dark side, d******. I am tired of having the best shot on the roll occasionally show up with a spec that I know was not there when I released the shutter.