Photo Lab? (pretty specific question)


TPF Noob!
Mar 25, 2006
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Sydney, Australia
Hi again everyone.

Im in Sydney Australia. I was wondering if anyone knows a good place to take my film. im only a very noob so am looking for somewhere cheap, but i've heard it'll be better to go to somewhere decent. im in The Sutherland Shire for anyone who may be able to help me.

And for those not from Sydney, can u explain what they would/could/will do differently in a better lab compared to the local chemist or supermarket.

Thanks in advance :)
Joel said:
...can u explain what they would/could/will do differently in a better lab compared to the local chemist or supermarket.

For 35mm C-41 (color process neg film) the machines in the pro labs are often the same, or very similar as the equipment in your local grocer or chemist. Sometimes the econo-labs use cheaper paper, but you can find plenty that use the good stuff. The key is the people running the equipment.

Hopefully, the folks working in a photo lab will keep their equipment maintained, the chemistry fresh, pay attention to detail, know how to solve problems, how to work outside the automatic functions of the equipment, and most important, they have an interest in photography.

The people working in the photo dept. at a grocery or department store were probably hired to work in the store in general, and ended up in the photo dept. With proper training there's no reason they can't do a decent job, but mainly the machines are going to run on auto with no human corrections.

On the other hand, you can run into jerkies at the pro labs who won't pay attention to your instructions, or ruin your film because they don't know what they are doing. Occasionally you'll find an impassioned photographer working at the econo-lab, and you'll get top quality service at Walmart prices. Talk to your lab people. Try to find someone you trust is doing their best within reason (and cost) to make your photographs look their best. It wouldn't surprise me if in 10 or 20 years the machines could do a better job than most people, but for now I want a lab where there is someone willing to rerun my photograph with manual color correction if the auto-print doesn't get it.
Hi Joel - I am in QLD and working in the lab at kmart.

Right now is not a good time to ask of my opinion of it... lol...

Basically - our lab can go to beautiful prints to crap that should be thrown in the bin straight away. (And basically - the machine can stay stuffed for weeks, because the store is understaffed and therefore no one has time to fix it - that said - it's not my fault - because I haven't been trained to fix those problems - and kodak doesn't open when I am there)

I try to do the best job I can... But we offer a colour correction service and a no-colour correction service...

On various occasions I have caught other staff members not even looking at the photos when the customer is paying for that extra service (a couple of dollars extra)

So as ksmattfish said (and he is one of the best people to tell you) it really depends on the person who prints them, and it is just luck on how the machine is....

But here's a general rule (With kmart at least) - if you aren't happy - go back and demand it be redone - a good idea is to have a print made somewhere else, and take it in for proof there is something wrong...
ok cool :)

someone said in another thread, that once you have the film you can always go to a different place to get a great print done.

Will the film its self come back to me differently depending on where i take it? Or will the film come back to me the same and just the prints will differ from place to place?
Joel - it all depends...

I know our chemicals often go "out of control" but we still use them...

The machines are probably all pretty much the same, it just depends what they are like on that particular day. You are probably better off getting it done at a professional place - because you would hope they would take more care to keep them "in control"
wouldn't have a clue of the geography of Sydney, but there's a shop called Vanbar in Camperdown that I reckon would do a good job. We have a Vanbar here in Melbourne and they're fantastic. I assume they'd have the same professional service at a decent rate in Sydnay.

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