Why does my most recently developed roll look so bad?

meg_marie

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So I'm somewhat new to film here. Only developed around 10 or so rolls of film. They've always turned out really great and I've gotten consistently crisp photos. Lately I've been shooting on a Minolta x-370 that I picked up at a Goodwill auction. I use fujifilm 200 ISO film. Recently I tried out a new lab for developing my photos as I've been mailing my rolls of film to my brother to develop in our hometown. Deciding to try to find a place a little closer to where I live so I researched and found a professional lab in my area that still develops film and dropped off my film. They were able to develop it and scan it onto a CD for me in about 3 hours! I was so excited because usually I have to wait at least a week to get my scans from my brother. Anyway, I was completely disappointed when I got the scans back. All the photos look extremely grainy and washed out, almost white in appearance. Some of the photos that I shot just before dark appear as if it's midday and some of the photos have a blue-green color to them. For reference, here are some photos from the roll:
PICT0016.JPG

PICT0005.JPG
PICT0007.JPG


Now here are some photos taken on the same camera, same film, also by me, but developed at my usual place:
002_2 (2).jpg
016_16 (1).jpg


What's the deal? Is it something I did wrong? Is it just a bad roll of film? Did the lab develop them badly?

Thanks
 

jcdeboever

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@webstang could probably answer better. It looks to me like the lab under exposed the roll. It could be a crap scan too. Send the negatives to your brother for scanning to verify.

I assume you were using good film, and well kept. It is pretty even in terms of fog which leads me to believe it's either developing issue or scan issue.
 
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JonA_CT

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I agree with the others.

I understand the desire to use a local establishment, but I had very similar issues with my local lab. I don't think they develop enough film to have a really good sense for it, and the service I received I think reflected what portion of their business it was.

I've been much, much happier sending my film out via mail. I use oldschoolphotolab.com which is out of New Hampshire. They specialize in film, and people send it in from all over the world. Their work has been significantly better than the work I got from my local lab. There are other mail-order labs that are very good too.
 

Dikkie

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I've got it too with my last 3 rolls, weird.

However, one roll was +10 years expired, 2 others were still good but the camera's light meter isn't working as it should. So it could be that too... Hmm, next film I'm trying another lab too, to see the difference.
 

webestang64

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Without seeing the actual negatives here is my guess. The bad roll might have been developed properly but with bad scans. Most labs just run it through a scanner with no input. The 2 shots of the people are underexposed (your negatives must be a little thin).

What kind of processor do they use? (Noritsu V50 is a great C-41 processor) and do they run control stripes (VERY important!!!)?

What scanner do they use? Do they QC as the film is scanned making adjustments? For me the Noritsu 1800 series is the best film scanner ever made next to a drum scanner.
 

terri

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Puzzling - the center shot looks okay from all sides of the frame, but the first and third are definitely washed out. Those are the ones that look like the chemistry is bad or at best, underdeveloped. No deep blacks or highlights. Without a check of the negs it's hard to say.

I wouldn't give them anything important without getting answers. Another test roll of casual shots from around the back yard/house, if you want to given them another try. It's astonishing that they'd give these to you and not expect some questions!
 

vintagesnaps

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It could be that roll's exposure was off somehow (which may be some of the problem), or the ISO was set differently on the camera than the film speed (being a longtime photographer who's done that!), or the camera is developing a light leak from worn seals (and if it was that it wouldn't happen with a later roll) - then it probably was something with the lab's developing and/or scanning.

Discount stores and drug stores in my area have always been the worst places to get film developed. I send out since the last camera store in my area went out of business. I've used The Darkroom in San Clemente, and like Dwayne's in Kansas to get 'wet' prints done in chemistry on photo sensitive paper. Or Richard in LA is reportedly good.

If film is old enough it can get 'fogged', and color can 'shift'. Fresh film won't do that. B&W film and photos seem to be able to last indefinitely, but color film and prints can get funky over time.

I agree, I'd see what the negatives look like, and then think about going back and showing these to the place that developed and scanned them. Or try a test roll as Terry said (and said it twice unless my computer or my eyes have gone wonky today!! lol).

If you haven't you might want to take a look at Home - The Film Photography Project.
 

compur

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Go back to mailing your film to your brother. :)
 

Dave Colangelo

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Im with everyone else here, looks like the labs chemicals may be bad, they may have pushed it. It could be that the ISO setting on your camera was unintentionally set to a lower speed and your photos were all over exposed I would double check it. Its also marginally possible the battery is dying in the camera which affects the meter, this is the case on some cameras that lack voltage regulators to compensate for dying batteries.
 

dxqcanada

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A chemical issue with developing would be visible across all the frames ... this does not appear to be the case, based on the second image.
The first and last look like underexposure, and compensated during the scan.
Showing the negatives would reveal much to us.
 
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meg_marie

meg_marie

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Thank you to everyone who replied! Interestingly enough the place that has always given me consistently good photos is a small drug store in my hometown whereas the place that gave me funky looking photos is a professional photography lab near a big city (Cincinnati). Also, the middle photo of the badly processed photos is very off I think. It's hard to describe because I don't have a digital photo of what that scene actually looked like but the colors on the film are way way off from real life. It almost has a blue-green tint to it, as if someone upped the saturation on it or something. Here are a few more photos from the roll, they are either foggy or have that weird blue-green tint to them
PICT0024.JPG
PICT0021.JPG
PICT0013.JPG


It's confusing to me that the photos are all over the place and not all consistent. I did shoot the roll over a few days, but some photos from the first day turned out foggy and some photos taken a couple days later at a completely different time of day also turned out foggy. It just doesn't make sense to me. Also, my film wasn't expired and the ISO speed was set correctly for the film type.

Some of you asked to see the negatives, I'm not really sure how to do that so I just held them up to a light and took a picture. Might not be useful but here is what some of them look like:
IMG_8636.jpg
 

dxqcanada

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If you have an iPad you can use an App called Lightbox to place your negs on.
Looking at your negatives, it does not look like a chemistry issue ... more towards camera metering exposure incorrectly ??
 

Derrel

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I tend to agree with this: looks to me like some of the exposures are significantly "off".
 

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