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Arrgghh!!! Bloody Boots processing!!!


earleygallery
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Against my better judgement I dropped some films off in Boots this afternoon. I had a bad experience last time I used them, but this was a different branch so surely last time was just a one off unlucky experience.

 

One roll is completely ruined. The film is creased in several places, I mean properly creased like its been mashed up in the machine. When I took a quick look at the prints I immediately thought I had a shutter problem (the creases show on the prints as lines like a light leak).

 

The others are crease free but they've managed to cut the film so that a bit of each end frame has been chopped off, and most are at an angle.

 

I really wish I listened to myself, but I wanted to see the photos and wouldn't have been able to drop them off at the usual place I use for a few days.

 

I shall be calling them tomorrow morning to complain and hopefully get some compensation. They could have at least owned up to spoiling the creased film. That annoys me most, the fact they thought it acceptable to give a customer their film back in that state! Of course they were holiday/christening photos too.

 

It's enough to turn you to digital!

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What on earth are you doing entrusting your films to Boots, only for it to be dunked in stale chemicals by idiots who know little and care less? If I still shot film, I would at least go to specialist.

 

As you say, time to embrace the M8.... or a decent film processor.

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Mark, all I wanted was C41 machine processing - I get prints which are always pretty poor quality but do as proofs, and a CD which is handy for web use. I've used Snappy Snaps mostly over the last few years as they are convenient and always good quality.

 

I'm very annoyed by this, how they can manage to XXXX up two lots of processing is beyond me.

 

I process my own B&W and am starting to think about going back into C41 too.

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It is of course almost certainly untrained (or improperly trained) operators mishandling the film, loading/unloading, or storing before cutting into strips. I once saw half a dozen uncut negative strips simply thrown on top of each other and left to hang across a table/bench and over the edge - absolutely apalling really. Nver ever used them again. Fortunately I have a good independent local lab, whose prices are extremely reasonable.

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Had a similar thing happen to the wife at our local Boots a couple of years ago. Totally trashed the film and it never got to the prints stage! Unfortunately compensation can never match the real value of the lost images.

 

James you need to look out for a clean D2 ;)

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Charlie, I used to shoot Kodachrome exclusively for my colour work, never had a bad experience with the processing and no films lost in the post (my main concern).

 

Andy, I won't let a(nother) bad experience put me off film. B&W isn't an problem as I do my own. I used to do my own C41 too so maybe that's the answer. I do however need a digital solution for some of the jobs I pick up now and then, I just haven't decided what it is yet.

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It's tempting to think about buying some pro processing equipment and setting up a proper service for both C41 and E6, together with Imacon scanning for those that want it.

 

The equipment can't be expensive any longer, and one would only need a small industrial unit to set up a starter company.

 

Guarantee a same-day service for E6 (including personal callers) and an hour for C41.

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Sorry to hear of your experiences James. As you know my brief return to film was not successful but your experience reminded me of the last time I used Boots which would have been in about 1989.

 

In those days (I don't know if they still do it) you could choose 1hr, 4hr or next day processing at an obviously descending cost. I paid for the 4 hour at lunch time, returned five hours later and they still hadn't processed the film, so I explained I would be back for it the next day.

 

When I picked it up the next day I demanded a refund of the difference between 4hr and next day and they refused, even though they had failed their own service level and as everything was timestamped the evidence was there for all to see. I literally went ballistic but it still took nearly 30 minutes of wrangling with several layers in the store to get them to reverse the decision and refund me the difference.

 

Safe to say, I have never returned to Boots ever again and now I come to think of it probably lead to my decline of interest in photography until digital came of age at the turn of the century!

 

LouisB

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It's tempting to think about buying some pro processing equipment and setting up a proper service for both C41 and E6, together with Imacon scanning for those that want it.

 

The equipment can't be expensive any longer, and one would only need a small industrial unit to set up a starter company.

 

Guarantee a same-day service for E6 (including personal callers) and an hour for C41.

 

Let me know when you're up and running, Andy. I'll start sending you my film.

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I gave Metro a £250 job last year and even that didn't come back perfectly. And that was £250 dev only (not even contact sheets). A few stained frames, a few too many water marks and a bit too much dust. Mostly fixable in Photoshop but its been hundreds of man hours retouching and scanning that I can't afford to be spending. So, alas, I've gone digital.

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It's tempting to think about buying some pro processing equipment and setting up a proper service for both C41 and E6, together with Imacon scanning for those that want it.

 

The equipment can't be expensive any longer, and one would only need a small industrial unit to set up a starter company.

 

Guarantee a same-day service for E6 (including personal callers) and an hour for C41.

 

Andy:

 

That's exactly what I did when the pro lab I used to use for E6 went Tango Uniform. I bought a used Jobo automated processor off of eBay, complete with temperature controlled water board, and can do up to 4x5 (and maybe larger) of B&W, C41 and E6 when the mood strikes me. Though I have to be honest and say that the mood hasn't struck very often lately... :cool:

 

Bruce

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Well I went back to Boots today. The lad on the counter was very apologetic but said all he could offer was to refund me for all the processing and let me keep the prints/CD's, or I could come back when the senior manager was in.

 

I could have taken it further but couldn't be bothered. I'll try to scan and retouch some of the damaged negs, but I won't be using Boots ever again!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi - this is one of the first threads I have read today after a return to the forum after several months of absence. I too went digital (hence the departure) entirely as a result of bad colour processing, even with some pro-labs.

 

Speaking to several technicians and mini-lab owners, several told me they were having to run "blank" films through their machines several times daily just to keep them in order as demand was so low - while lack of use could explain poor quality developing, creases etc. is probably just inexperienced / careless staff.

 

It has taken several months for me to 'forget' and now I have an M3 on the way, BUT I have faced the fact that I will only be using it for Black & White and sticking with digital for colour.

 

Good to be back!

 

Dan

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Never trust labs. If you're fortunate enough to live in a large market with a good lab...bad things still happen....and those trips back and forth get tiresome (especially for clip tests)

 

I was lucky to work for a few busy commercial studio photographers in the 90s...and the hip thing to do back then was to take care of all processing in-house. We were mostly shooting E-6 (velvia and provia) I didn't realize it at the time...but doing film shoots on a daily basis and maintaining total control over the film processing was probably the best experience I've ever had in photography. It's amazing the kinds of things that a person can learn about photography by just having a consistently processed piece of film to look at after every shoot. F digital :-) I was an early adapter to digital...so I'm not resistant to technology...Maybe, I'm too open minded about technology...and that's probably why it's taken me almost 10 years to finally give up on digital and start seriously thinking about a return to film.

 

There's just nothing better than having a real processor setup in-house. Can't be beat

Edited by Gentleman Villain
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There is nothing new in your experience ! I have been using LAB35 for my slides [E6] for some years until recently and converted to PEAK Both are reasonable and the reason for converting is the rather poor cleanliness of the positives from LAB35 lately i.e. smudges and scratches sometimes. This is the reason for converting. However the total cost for one slide film and processing [E6] is approaching £10.00 unmounted or about £12.00 + mounted ! ! Therefore a few months ago I went back to Kodakchrome 64 and purchase 10 films, duly shot them in Cyprus and sent them to Switzerland plus an old 25ASA I had in the freezer ! The whole business came to £88-00 plus £4.00 postage = £92-00. It took 10 working days for the films to get back to me priority mail at their cost. A saving of £20 with brilliant long lasting colours etc. I have now bought and frozen a reasonable number ! However the Fuji Provia 400ASA is still my other film. B&W I do in my own darkroom.

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