Why strips of four? Rant!

CSR Studio

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And it is made to do that because the strips of 4 fit perfectly in the envelope with the prints. In the age of automation, everything is related :lol:

Exactly. That is why they call them minilabs.

The common "standard" photofinishing envelope size, roughly 5x7", has a long history. There is absolutely nothing to do with "minilabs" that has had any influence. The finishing envelopes used in the '30s were very much the same size as those common today. The 4-frame convention is what it is because that's what has fit the finishing bag since the birth of the standardized 135 cassette.

The common archival filing pages evolved many decades later from completely different roots. They evolved to mimic the cut pattern used by hand darkroom workers to fit a roll of film onto a standard 8x10 print for contact printing. There are several variations with 5, 6, and 7 frame strips to deal with the various compromises involved with fitting binders, holding a whole 36 exposure roll with the inevitable extra frame or two, and fitting the images on an 8x10 sheet of paper.

Actually it does have something to do with it. The minilab is where the automation came into play.
 

c.cloudwalker

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Exactly. That is why they call them minilabs.

The common "standard" photofinishing envelope size, roughly 5x7", has a long history. There is absolutely nothing to do with "minilabs" that has had any influence. The finishing envelopes used in the '30s were very much the same size as those common today. The 4-frame convention is what it is because that's what has fit the finishing bag since the birth of the standardized 135 cassette.

The common archival filing pages evolved many decades later from completely different roots. They evolved to mimic the cut pattern used by hand darkroom workers to fit a roll of film onto a standard 8x10 print for contact printing. There are several variations with 5, 6, and 7 frame strips to deal with the various compromises involved with fitting binders, holding a whole 36 exposure roll with the inevitable extra frame or two, and fitting the images on an 8x10 sheet of paper.

Actually it does have something to do with it. The minilab is where the automation came into play.

I didn't think it worth to correct you the first time but if you insist on being wrong: minilabs were the result of decentralization of the processing and printing so as to make photos available to the customers faster. Automation of this processing started in the factory-labs such as Kodak in Rochester which used the common photo-finishing envelope before the advent of minilabs.
 

CSR Studio

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The common "standard" photofinishing envelope size, roughly 5x7", has a long history. There is absolutely nothing to do with "minilabs" that has had any influence. The finishing envelopes used in the '30s were very much the same size as those common today. The 4-frame convention is what it is because that's what has fit the finishing bag since the birth of the standardized 135 cassette.

The common archival filing pages evolved many decades later from completely different roots. They evolved to mimic the cut pattern used by hand darkroom workers to fit a roll of film onto a standard 8x10 print for contact printing. There are several variations with 5, 6, and 7 frame strips to deal with the various compromises involved with fitting binders, holding a whole 36 exposure roll with the inevitable extra frame or two, and fitting the images on an 8x10 sheet of paper.

Actually it does have something to do with it. The minilab is where the automation came into play.

I didn't think it worth to correct you the first time but if you insist on being wrong: minilabs were the result of decentralization of the processing and printing so as to make photos available to the customers faster. Automation of this processing started in the factory-labs such as Kodak in Rochester which used the common photo-finishing envelope before the advent of minilabs.

Unfoirtunately you are the one that needs correcting.

The reason that is was the automation is because of the amount of people and machines it took before the minilab to get the same job done.

I will break it down for you.

1 printer for 5" paper and 1 person to print.
1 printer for 6" paper and 1 person to print.
1 printer for 8" paper and 1 person to print.
Paper processor and 1 person to process the paper.
Print cutter and 1 person to cut the prints.
Sort the orders and 1 person to sort them.

Then you have the minilab that can print 4", 5", 6", 8" and 10" paper, then process it, cut and sort the prints into orders.

That is the very definition of automation. 1 person can run the entire machine. And the large wholesale labs like Kodak and Qualex have gone to more and more minilabs instead of the 6 or so different machines that it takes for a minilab to do the same job.
 

Dwig

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Actually it does have something to do with it. The minilab is where the automation came into play.

I didn't think it worth to correct you the first time but if you insist on being wrong: minilabs were the result of decentralization of the processing and printing so as to make photos available to the customers faster. Automation of this processing started in the factory-labs such as Kodak in Rochester which used the common photo-finishing envelope before the advent of minilabs.

Unfoirtunately you are the one that needs correcting.

The reason that is was the automation is because of the amount of people and machines it took before the minilab to get the same job done.

I will break it down for you.

1 printer for 5" paper and 1 person to print.
1 printer for 6" paper and 1 person to print.
1 printer for 8" paper and 1 person to print.
Paper processor and 1 person to process the paper.
Print cutter and 1 person to cut the prints.
Sort the orders and 1 person to sort them.

Then you have the minilab that can print 4", 5", 6", 8" and 10" paper, then process it, cut and sort the prints into orders.

That is the very definition of automation. 1 person can run the entire machine. And the large wholesale labs like Kodak and Qualex have gone to more and more minilabs instead of the 6 or so different machines that it takes for a minilab to do the same job.

Regardless of how you define "automation" and what you consider the increase in automation brought on by mini-labs the following is still true:

1. Mini-labs didn't introduce automation to photofinishing labs
2. Mini-labs and any automation that they may have introduced have absolutely nothing to do with the topic of this conversation.

Mini-labs did not introduce the 4-frame strip cutting pattern. It was the convention in photofinishing labs decades before the introduction of the first mini-lab equipment. The longer 5 to 6-frame strips have been solely the habit of manual darkrooms where making contact sheets is/was common practice.

Even in manual darkrooms, when they existed as primarily mass-market photofinishing labs as was common in the 1930's when 135 cassettes were introduced, the convention was 4-frame strips so that the film fit the same envelopes that were used for the larger roll film finishing.
 

apertureman

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I don't mind if they cut it however they want, because generally, I don't archive all frames taken, per se. I pick and choose the ones I like the most, cut them out myself and archive.
Besides, I have all of them scanned, too, at a high resolution so I archive most of them digitally.
 

aerialphoto

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You cut out single frames off of negative strips??
 

Josh66

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I don't mind if they cut it however they want, because generally, I don't archive all frames taken, per se. I pick and choose the ones I like the most, cut them out myself and archive.
Besides, I have all of them scanned, too, at a high resolution so I archive most of them digitally.

Why?

What do you put them in? Sleeves are made to hold strips, not single frames... Plus, what's the point? What is the benefit of throwing frames away?
 

apertureman

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You cut out single frames off of negative strips??

Yes, I used to with a knife I use for cutting paper.

Why?

What do you put them in? Sleeves are made to hold strips, not single frames... Plus, what's the point? What is the benefit of throwing frames away?

Oh.. I don't use archival books, I just keep them in a plastic file in a binder. But recently I stopped doing that, because I just have them all scanned at hi-res and saved on my portable HDD.

There is no benefit of throwing frames away, it just helps not to waste storage space, I guess. I don't really want to save the whole strip if there is only 1 good frame on it.... I don't know, it's just me, I guess. You don't have to go that route. I'm a nerd.
 

aerialphoto

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Wow. I used to have people come into my lab now and then with negs cut like that. They'd drop dozens of single frames on the counter and say "print these". I'd smile and politely say "no".

That's really not a very smart way to store negatives. I'll give you credit for having scanned them but if you're going to bother saving them at least do it right.
 

apertureman

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Wow. I used to have people come into my lab now and then with negs cut like that. They'd drop dozens of single frames on the counter and say "print these". I'd smile and politely say "no".

Why? Is it because of the way processor works? If that's the case, I might as well just go ahead and toss my negs (accept for my slides). :(

That's really not a very smart way to store negatives. I'll give you credit for having scanned them but if you're going to bother saving them at least do it right.

Now that you're saying that, I'm in trouble... well, sort of. I actually haven't had a need to make any reprints of the negs I saved so far, I only have one plastic file almost full.

I guess I will not cut them up from now on. Thanks for the pro tip to a non-pro
 

aerialphoto

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Why? Is it because of the way processor works? If that's the case, I might as well just go ahead and toss my negs (accept for my slides). :(

It depends where you take them and who does the printing. Labs that use larger production machines can't put a single neg into the negative carrier without splicing it to something else. Other labs might be able to get the single neg in the carrier, but depending on the design of the machine and the carrier the sides of the negative may not have any support. Without support on the sides the negative might curl a little and will throw the center of the neg out of focus (which also depends on how the lens is set up, etc).

On top of the actual difficulties in getting a print single frames can sometimes be extremely difficult to clean and carry. Since there's no film on the either side to grip (even by the edges) then carrying, centering, and cleaning all have to be done while touching the negative with the image on it - what's worse is that might require actually touching the image to get the negative to move around in the carrier. Presumably a good printer will be wearing gloves, but that still means the glove can leave marks on the negative (it shouldn't, but it's a risk).

Finally - if negatives are worth keeping they're worth keeping in decent negative pages and kept flat to prevent curling. Not only does the archival characteristic of the page keep the negative from breaking down chemically and physically, it also keeps the negative free of dust, dirt, and scratches. Even the edges of another negative can cause scratches.

Scanner and software technology is always getting better. Even a negative with a slight scratch can produce a quality image later so I wouldn't toss the negatives, but treating negatives right from the get-go is the right approach.
 

Derrel

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If strips of four were a problem for Actor, imagine what he'd have to say if his 36-exposure roll came back chopped into 36 separate, discrete frames of film! Man, when I think of all the notebooks I filled with archival quality negative filing pages containing entire,complete rolls of film! And to think, all those years, I could have been cutting out and saving my best images as single frames, and I could have simply thrown away all the other images. Man...that would have save me a TON of materials...I could have archived my entire library of film images in one,single notebook. That way I wouldn't have had to look back on all those old family gatherings, with long-departed relatives,and I would never have had to sort through multiple pictures of Christmas Morning 1977 to get to the single good picture I had saved. I am soooo peeved that I kept entire rolls of negatives! How stupidly I behaved!
 

apertureman

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...I am soooo peeved that I kept entire rolls of negatives! How stupidly I behaved!

Not everything's lost, pal, you can always start over :p

But... seriously... dude, it's entirely up to you if you choose to save all your rolls, I don't see anything wrong with that. Obviously I don't have such a long standing in successful photography as you do, so at this point many of my shots are simply not worth keeping, 'cause they didn't turn out :/
But no worries, I'll get there someday! :D
 

apertureman

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Scanner and software technology is always getting better. Even a negative with a slight scratch can produce a quality image later so I wouldn't toss the negatives, but treating negatives right from the get-go is the right approach.

Thanks for the info and valuable tips, aerialphoto! I'll store them right from now on.

I guess, back to Actor's original discussion! I'll let you guys with tons of experience to elaborate on that... :D
 

RancerDS

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Am going to do a lot of extrapolated guesswork here.

4 negs per cut strip (possibly because most rolls have 12, 24 or 36 exposures) with the lowest common denominator as being... uhm, 4? And the reason they cut them is because handling small strips versus an entire roll of negatives... in which case are they more likely to touch the exposed negative itself? Yes, it would be nice if you could get the processing lab (or mini-lab) to roll your negative strips back into the original canisters; assuming someone doesn't mind rolling them in and out completely to reprint one frame. If you aren't using them for archiving, then you must be either not saving them or having scans done. The scans make it a moot point entirely.
 

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