Are all shop-developed films now a digital medium

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by jameswilgeroth, May 18, 2009.

  1. jameswilgeroth

    jameswilgeroth TPF Noob!

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    Hi all,

    I have been totally disappointed by some of the photos that i have received back from various developing companies and brands. Upon close inspection of some of my photographs, i have noticed that they have a digitized appreance i.e. no natural-looking/analogue depth to them and a pixelled look (despite using an ASA of 100). Also, colour quality is generally awful. My questions are as follows:

    i) Are all prints now made by digitally scanning a negative
    ii) If yes to above, does anyone agree with me that this is truly a sad state of affairs? If yes to above, surely the only way to get clear, seamless photos is to develop them yourself?

    Would love to hear your comments on all of this

    James
     
  2. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Not all but almost all. It's getting harder and harder to find places that do optical printing anymore but they do exist.
     
  3. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    As people become accustomed to pictures with less and less detail [witness the explosion of cellphone photography], commercial processing will not be under great pressure to maintain a high level of detail in the printing process. This is especially true when new technology can provide a significant reduction in the cost of converting an image to hard copy. Never forget that the vast majority of commercial photograph processing is done for folks who are not exactly [how shall I say it?] super-critical with respect to print quality. They're pleased when they see that they haven't cut off the top of someone's head.

    It's interesting to see this happening whilst high-end digital cameras are still extolling the virtues of higher and higher [and ultimately meaningless] pixel counts.
     
  4. jameswilgeroth

    jameswilgeroth TPF Noob!

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    Interesting to see the link drawn between the way that 'high-end' digital cameras are ultimately only as good, or shall i say only as poor, as the quality of the processing that takes place. Furthermore, for the average person, this processing will result in an awful image. I really cannot express enough the complete shock and distaste for some of the processing that i have received on what would otherwise be very nice photographs.

    I plan on processing some of the colour negatives of the pooly developed prints with black and white chemicals. Although not completely useful as a comparison between chemical and digital processing of film, it will be interesting to see what level of line clarity and tonal gradients i can achieve, and to further compare my results with the poor originals.
     
  5. blash

    blash TPF Noob!

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  6. christopher walrath

    christopher walrath No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    This is why my downstairs half bath gets hijacked every weekend for either a printing session or else a few hours of 'Agitate and Rap'.
     
  7. Henry Peach

    Henry Peach TPF Noob!

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    Any lab that has upgraded their printing equipment in the last 8 or 10 years is probably using machines that scan the negs, and then expose the paper with lasers.

    No. There is something wrong at the labs you are using. If you use a lab that knows what they are doing the prints from the new laser C-printers are indistinguishable from optical prints by the naked human eyeball. To suggest that pros and serious amateurs would accept lower quality is just silly. I have 20"x30" digital C-prints and silver gelatin prints hanging on my walls right next to old school machine printed C prints and hand printed silver gelatin prints. You can't tell the difference even with your nose pressed right up against them. Find a good lab.

    I don't know where you are located, but Douglas Photographic still offers a lot of film services as well as digital, and they know what they are doing. Even they use the digital process to make machine C-prints from film, but they do offer custom hand printing old school style for a price!
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2009
  8. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Henry, good posts. Welcome to the forum!!

    Mike
     
  9. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    james

    i don't understand this statement
    "I plan on processing some of the colour negatives of the pooly developed prints with black and white chemicals"

    do you mean you want to make some black and white prints from color negatives?

    there is a problem with having a lot of one hour labs make this type of print as they print on color paper using color chemicals and don't/won't color correct so the black and white print is neutral. They tend to take on a color cast, usually magenta, but it could be anything
     

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