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Drugstore Developing Experiment

Discussion in 'Film Camera Forum' started by KillRamsey, Oct 17, 2013.

  1. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey SC Hall of Famer

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Kyle
    My normal film process is to take my Ektar or whatever to a local camera shop for developing only, and then I scan on an Epson at home. The store sends it out to a lab outside town, the turnaround for C-41 film is about 4 business days, and it costs about $11. Quality has mostly been good, but sometimes there are chunks of black stuff on the negatives that I have to clean off. Mostly fine, though. No issues.

    A friend pointed out that right there also in Harvard Square is a CVS with a photo lab. They charge $2 to develop a roll, and another $4 for a set of ~200k sized scans on a cd.

    So I decided to try it out... I shot up a roll of Ektar, went in last night at 5 before I picked up my daughter from school, and dropped it off. "When would you like to pick it up?" I don't... I don't know... what is the normal range of time it takes you guys, like 2 or 3 days or something? "No, an hour." OH. So, like these could be done by 6?! "Yep. So you'll come get them at 6?" Yeah sure!

    <INTERJECTION: I used to work at one of these labs in maybe 1999, so you'd think I wouldn't be surprised by all this, but somehow I managed to be floored by 1990-era film processing technology.</INTERJECTION>

    I biked to her school, took my time getting her out, biked slowly back to the square, dawdled and such, but was still 20 minutes early. At 10 til I went up and asked how it was coming, and he said "oh yeah they're right here, let me cut the negatives for you." So in 50 minutes, and for $6, I got my negatives and a disc of scans.

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    Either there's nothing wrong with the developing, or I am not sophisticated enough to pick up on it. It looks just fine to me. The scans are better than I expected, though nowhere near as nice as the Epson set to 3 meg file size. Colors on their scans are too saturated. But as thumbnails, hells bells they are fantastic.

    Experiment: Successful. Next time I'm going to shoot cheapo film and see how good a picture set I can get for less than $10 all-in. Suck it, $2,000 full frame cameras... maximizing the cost-image-goodness over here.
     
    • Like Like x 5
  2. pdh

    pdh SC Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    i am applauding
     
  3. ajramirez

    ajramirez SC All-Pro

    Jul 9, 2010
    Caguas, Puerto Rico
    Antonio
    I used to do the same at my local Walgreens. The cost was higher, though, at $5 per roll just for negatives. They did a good job, but the negatives would come back fairly dusty.

    No longer available, as they got rid of the processing machine. Not enough business, I assume.
     
  4. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Jack
    Glad you had a good experience Kyle! I might have to try CVS from now on.

    I used to do it as well on the local Walgreens. I bought the CD option one time, and the photos looked over exposed and the colors were over saturated. So I started just getting the negatives and scanning them with the Epson.

    My experience is the same as yours Antonio, in which the negatives had a nice amount of dust and fingerprints on them. And they did a crappy job cutting the negatives.

    So to minimize all of that, I just ask Walgreens to return the negative to me in a roll. Pain in the butt to have to cut and make them flat before I scan them myself, but cleaning the dust and fingerprints (during PP) was very annoying.

    There's a real photo developing place not too far from my house. But paying $15 to develop a roll of C41 was getting too expensive.
     
  5. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey SC Hall of Famer

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Kyle
    ($15 a roll) Exactly... that adds up pretty quickly. But two bucks is NOTHING.
     
  6. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey SC Hall of Famer

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Kyle
    I just noticed the rainbow line running through the tombstone shot. The Epson just suddenly started doing that on one side of the film tray... putting that stripe through the scans. My buddy and I who split the cost of it are a little distraught. It was already a refurb, and worked great for the first few hundred scans.
     
  7. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    $2 = 0
     
  8. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey SC Hall of Famer

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Kyle
    ...I rounded down.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. ajramirez

    ajramirez SC All-Pro

    Jul 9, 2010
    Caguas, Puerto Rico
    Antonio
    Don't fret. This is typical of Epson flatbeds. To fix it, make sure the glass is spotlessly clean, especially the calibration area (toward the rear of the glass, under the small rectangle in the film holder). Try it and see.

    Regards,

    Antonio
     
  10. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey SC Hall of Famer

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    Kyle
    Oh thank you!!
     
  11. snkenai

    snkenai SC All-Pro

    Oct 5, 2010
    kenai, AK
    Stephen Noel
    I have a nice old Pentax that I'd really like to run a roll through, but can't see, firing off a 24 exposure roll for one or two photos ( my keeper rate). My Wet Web shot, posted for Day 18, took about 10 tries to get a usable picture. Without digital "chimping", my success would have been 0, because the settings were so far off "normal", as to be impossible to know. with film (for me). I shot film for over 40 years, and got some great pictures, but threw away 95% of those I actually shot. I may actually try a roll sometime in the future, but it will be for subject matter that is "easy". If I am going to digitize anyway, why would I go through all the extra steps and expense of film. Just my cheapskate thoughts on that. And I do like the "look", of prints from film, better that digital. But we don't do many prints.