'Organic' Prints from Digital Photos?

Started Aug 19, 2014 | Discussions thread
Henry Falkner
OP Henry Falkner Forum Pro • Posts: 14,290
Thanks for your RECENT update

fmian wrote:

Henry Falkner wrote:

I just found one lab in Auckland that still offers 35mm processing and printing. But the advert stresses that most wet process labs have either switched over or disappeared. How old is your mini lab observation?

I have seen the opposite stressed here in Australia. I was working in a minilab for a few years up until several months ago. We used a wet lab (kodak) and so did our competition (fuji). All clients were happy. Then our nearest competition changes to a dry lab and we start getting more business because clients are not happy with the quality of the dry lab output. Some of our sites had a small dry lab setup for photobooks and the results I saw from that were rubbish. Keep in mind our wet process was not a professional one, nor was it properly calibrated, but it still beat the pants off the dry lab results.

Most of the output from proffesional labs in Sydney appears to be high resolution wet process, apart from work that requires special papers and therefore an inkjet printer. But in my eyes nothing modern beats Kodak Metallic and Fujiflex for colour prints.

In my estimation, no wet process can match such turnaround times.

I thought you said you worked in a lab for a number of years? I was not a trained lab operator but even I could turn around 100+ 12x18 prints in under an hour. As long as I don't run out of paper Not that many people asked for that quantity. If the printer operator was in a good mood and had no jobs then a single 12x18 could be output in under 10 minutes. They just tend to tell clients it will take longer because they are either lazy or have to give time for other jobs in the queue.
Since leaving that job I went back to see a colleague and handed him 5 rolls of c-41 film. I then went out and finished another 2 rolls on the street and gave him those as well. He processed them all in about an hour. Another time I needed about 25 metallic 8x10-8x12 prints done and he ended up giving me doubles due to variation in about 90 minutes. Keep in mind, for him to change from normal Kodak paper to metallic required re-calibration of the printer within that time as well.
Sometimes it helps to know people who won't treat you like a regular customer

My wet process experience goes back to the late 60s and early 70s last century, and it shows. Paper insertion on our enlargers was manual, and loading and unloading of the processing machines was manual. Normal delivery was 3 days, a rush job was 24 hours. I only did one-offs inside an hour.

I stopped using mini labs about 2002. Having to wait until Monday morning to get Sunday's takes processed meant I could only just meet the Tuesday deadline for printing the radio club newsletter. Now I receive the Sunday club activities (my photos or someone else's) in the late afternoon, then complete the newsletter, get it printed Monday morning and deliver it to the club before lunch, for posting that evening.

I will have to do some investigation as to what is happening outside my own modest requirements.


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