Has anyone worked in a one hour photo lab?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by nikon90s, Mar 2, 2004.

  1. nikon90s

    nikon90s TPF Noob!

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    Has anyone worked in a one hour photo lab? I have not but have the opertunity to buy one at well below cost, seller has a new biz and needs out. I just want to know how much work it would take to get up to speed on how to use the equipment. I have been wanting to change jobs, I hate working in the Co. world, and would love to spend more time learning the art.
     
  2. Jeff Canes

    Jeff Canes No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    What type of machine does the lab have for making printing? Mini-labs are going digital now days to service the growing digital camera market.
     
  3. nikon90s

    nikon90s TPF Noob!

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    Copal Model 6130 Printer Processor - with two paper magazines, capable of 4X6, 3X5,
    5X7 and wallet size, and 1-10 lens mask set up

    Copal Model 6130 Film Processor - for 35mm, 22,502 count, for 110 film, 2,445 count and
    for 120 film, 129.

    They are older ones but just to get me in the door. I want to go digital at some point and if I do get this place would get a digital SLR to go along with my other cameras.
     
  4. soulfly

    soulfly TPF Noob!

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    most one hour labs, such as those installed in larger department stores, train their operators in less than 3 days. the machines are fairly basic and come with many self diagnostic systems..troubleshooting is usually fairly easy, the hardest part is learning how to handle film properly and how to handle paper properly. At Fuji we probably have 20 machines and ours are HUGE...we do all the work for wal-mart, sam's club and some minor independant accounts....good luck!
     
  5. Jeff Canes

    Jeff Canes No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Buying a small business is a big risk. Does the deal come with a store front; if so are you getting a lease on the location or buying the building? What the customer base in the area? Are you prepared to work along hours for little money? Do you have a felling why the lab is for sale?
     
  6. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    I worked at a pro lab for 3.5 years that did one hour dev also. I don't imagine that there is a whole lot of profit or future in consumer one hour film labs these days.

    As an employee, dealing with other peoples' photography put a serious damper on the energy I had left to deal with my own. The owners had it worse; they ended up pretty burned out on photography after about 8 years in the lab biz.

    If you really want to learn "the art" invest your money in a home darkroom and do your own work for yourself.
     
  7. photogoddess

    photogoddess TPF Noob!

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    The actual lab work is pretty simple. When I was 16 I talked a camera store manager into letting me work in his brand new lab. Brand new Noritsu machines. Never saw anything like them before. :) I knew nothing but figured it all out by myself in a weekend. Although the first time that I had to change the paper in the machine was pretty funny. I worked in several different labs for years learning anything that I could from anyone that would teach me. In my early 20s, I had the opportunity to buy a running lab - cheap. I didn't because I finally realized something important. I was never going to do well financially in the lab business. As an employee that was really well trained (especially for my age), I worked for peanuts. Owning my own lab only meant that I was going to have to work twice as hard for peanuts. That doesn't mean that it isn't possible. We have a really successful lab here in Long Beach. The owner is successful because he has changed his business as times have changed. Check out their web site www.fromex.com. This guy expanded his little 1 hour lab into a full pro service and digital service center. Very expensive but it must be working for him. They just started giving digital classes. Very basic but really informative for beginners. Just my 2 cents.
     

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