How good is Dwayne's Photo for developing 35mm and 120 color film?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by gatewaycityca, Mar 2, 2009.

  1. gatewaycityca

    gatewaycityca Member

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    I don't really want to go into all the sad details, but I've had it with 1-hour photo labs. I just took a roll of Ektar 100 to get developed at Walgreens, and they ruined it. There were huge spots on probably half my pictures, and I knew it wasn't the lens. I checked the negatives, and sure enough...there was some kind of chemical gunk and stains all over the negatives. I talked with the Assistant Manager, and he apologized and said that the machine probably wasn't cleaned, and he gave me a refund. But that still doesn't change the fact that they ruined my film and those pictures are useless now. :mad:

    I've had a few rolls developed at Walgreens, and usually they do a pretty good job. But I went to a different one this time, and they screwed it up. I can't afford to put all that work and time into taking my pictures, and just hoping for a 50\50 chance that they'll develop my film right. I'm just into photography as a hobby, but still I need a reliable photo lab. It's just too frustrating to put all that work into taking the picures, only for the lab to ruin the film. Also, I'm a student and I'm only working part-time and I just can't afford to have any of my film ruined.

    I'm thinking of trying Dwayne's Photo. I've used them to develop 8mm movie film, and they do a great job with it. But I haven't sent any 35mm film there yet. Has anyone sent any color print (C-41) 35mm or 120 film to them?

    I develop my own black and white film, but I need a good, reliable lab for color film.
     
  2. Aurum

    Aurum Member

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    Well if they can cope with K14 Kodachrome, they should be able to cope with anything, and the website does offer E6 and C41
     
  3. dwdmguy

    dwdmguy Member

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    Give A&I Labs a shot, I've used them for years and have always been 100 pct pleased. Mailers are available via them, aandi.com or B&H.
    Sorry, can't give you any help on Dwaynes.
     
  4. Alexander Ghaffari

    Alexander Ghaffari Member

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    Dwayne's does a great job with the films that I have sent them; however, most of my C-41 goes to a pro lab that charges something like $1.96 per roll of C-41 develop only. If I need E-6 processed in 3 hours Monday through Friday, I use a reasonably priced pro lab (that I also entrust my color printing too) nearby. The only thing that worries me about Dwayne's (and is not their fault) is sending large amounts of film through the mail (I once lost a very important roll in the mail sent to another lab for b&w reversal processing and it took several months of nagging to the post office to retrieve it).
     
  5. wrench

    wrench Member

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    I've sent a good amount of 120 to Dwaynes over the last year. I usually get it developed and scanned because it saves me a lot of time for only $2.99 a roll. The quality of the developing has been good, I actually can't think of any obvious flaws. The only thing that bothers me a little is that the pricing has been changed recently, and when I get a package back, nothing is itemized. It's probably my fault for not checking prices every time I send them film, but it just never ends up being what I expected. There was also an instance where I either shot a blank roll, or there was only 1 frame exposed, but I didn't get the roll back so I really don't know what happened, and I also never figured out if I was charged for it.
    These are really minor things given the amount of film I've sent to them, but I suppose it's something to consider. That said, I have never ever gotten a roll back damaged, and everything seemed to be properly developed.
    Best, Laura
     
  6. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    They are terrible when it comes to printing. The prints look like they were done at York Photo. Gross. Dwayne's does do great Kodachrome Processing.
     
  7. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    I have used them for slide film developing in 120 (and 35mm I guess because fuji sends it to them) and the results have been great. I wouldn't let anyone else do my C41 because I can do it cheaper and their minilab will probably botch the prints anyways.
     
  8. pauliej

    pauliej Member

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    Do Walgreen's, et al destroy films when processing as a business model, to "encourage" folks to migrate to the digital world? That sure seems like what they are doing...

    paulie
     
  9. OP
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    gatewaycityca

    gatewaycityca Member

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    Paulie, I'm beginning to wonder about that myself. It sure seems like they don't care about film customers at all. If you had asked me about this a couple of weeks ago, I would have had a totally different answer. There is a Walgreens right down the street from me, and they actually were doing a pretty decent job, and I was taking my color film there for a while. But now every time I go down there, the photo lab is closed, saying that it's only available for pick-up. I don't know if they're having trouble keeping the lab staffed or what. So I decided to go to another Walgreens across town. I assumed that if one Walgreens photo lab did a good job, they should be pretty much standardized and another one would do a good job too. That was a big mistake. They totally ruined my film and the negatives had some kind of chemical residue and spots all over them. I tried to clean it, but it wasn't coming off so it was something that actually happened during development.

    I think they really just don't care. They gave me a refund, but I know they won't do anything to fix the machine. I know exactly what will happen. Probably most of the film that was developed there was from disposable cameras (I saw a lady drop off a disposable camera while I was waiting in line). So I'm sure a lot of their pictures will have the same problem...spots and streaks all over, but they really won't care because probably most people who take snapshots with a disposable camera really don't care that much about quality (that goes for digital P&S users too). But they'll just think "oh well, that must be because it's film."

    So yeah, indirectly, they are trying to "encourage" people to go digital....even if they have to force and blackmail them by ruining their film.

    The thing that makes me really mad too is that it's not as if it's super cheap either. Walgreens charges almost $10 to develop a 36-exposure roll. $10 is still a lot of money, especially in these hard times. I don't mind paying more to have film developed...but it better be worth it, and I expect them to do a decent job. I've been looking online, and for another $5 or $6 more, I could just send my film to a professional lab.

    Here's what I think is going on...my "theory." The 1-hour photo labs at Walgreens, Walmart, etc would really love to get rid of film processing entirely and just go entirely digital. But there is still enough business from film, especially from disposable cameras, that the corporate offices decided to keep it. But they're just doing it reluctantly. They don't care about quality, and for them it's just another small bit of profit on the side. Most of the "clerks" I've been seeing at 1-hour photo labs lately are totally cluess, usually kids right out of high school or just barely starting college. They're looking for an easy, part-time job. They probably thought that working in a "photo lab" means that they would get to work at a computer and "photoshop" pictures all day...like they do with their "kewl pics" that they take with their cheap little digital P&S camera at home and post on MySpace. But when they find out that they actually have to work with FILM, they hate it. "eeew...I have to work with FILM and chemicals?!" But they need a part-time job for spending money, and there is nothing else for them (unless they want to flip hamburgers). So they decide to stay there. But they do the job grudgingly. They do just barely enough to not get fired. They don't check the machine or the chemicals. They don't follow procedures, and the managers don't care enough to actually enforce them.

    And here is the other problem. The store manager or corporate office probably leans on the photo lab, making them squeeze every extra penny of profit they can from them. So the photo lab will pretty much use anyone they can, just to keep the lab staffed. So you wind up with a bunch of idiot clerks who don't want to be there in the first place (because they thought a "photo lab" was going to be all digital, editing "pics" on a computer) and the managers won't fire them because they need anyone they can get.

    The 1-hour photo labs just can't understand the fact that some people are actually into photography as a hobby, and some people just prefer to use film.

    Anyway, I'm ranting and this post is getting way too long now. Sorry.

    I decided to call Freestyle Photo Supplies and ask if they could recommend a good lab for developing color film. The guy I talked to suggested a place called Swan Photo Labs. He said they do a good job and that's where they send customers' film. They develop all kinds of film, including 120, which is nice to know, since Kodak is going to make Ektar 100 available in 120 size.

    http://www.swanphotolabs.com/swan08/mailers.php

    So I'm going to send my next roll to them and hope for the best. I would like to try Dwayne's Photo. I send my 8mm movie film to them, and they do a great job with that. But I'm hearing mixed things about them when it comes to developing 35mm film and prints.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 2, 2009
  10. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i have had dwaynes ( through fuji labs ) process my 35mm+120 c41 / e6
    for the past 4 or 5 years when when i don' t have a client pay for a pro lab
    (read - personal work ). i have never had a problem with prints or slides.

    ektagraphic - i would hope they do a good job with kodachrome, they are the only lab
    that processes it ...
     
  11. I stopped using Dwayne's for a lot of reasons and screw ups. I got tired of taking trips to the post office to mail my negatives and prints back to be reprinted because they insisted on printing the red rock of Arizona and Utah with a strong green tint. They thought the rocks were grass! This was a repeatable experiment.

    135 C-41 film goes to Costco and the 120 C-41 film goes to Samys.

    Steve
     
  12. Michael W

    Michael W Member

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    When you send your film to Swan, or whatever good lab you are going to use, you might consider sending that Ektar & ask if they can rewash it. I have seen some ugly stains wash off easily in C-41.
     
  13. pstake

    pstake Member

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    Ressurecting this thread. I just discovered Dwayne's ... someone told me there was a full-service lab in, of all places, Parsons, Kan., which is more of a shadow of a city than an actual city ... but it's closer to my home in Nebraska.

    When I have E-6 and C-41 processing, I usually send it to North Coast Photo in Carlsbad, Calif. and they do a consistent good job processing and scanning to CD at medium and high-res. Dwayne's is cheaper and a bit closer, so postage and time would be reduced (hopefully).

    Wondering if anyone has RECENT experience with them?

    I will be honest, I stopped by the shop today because i was passing through Parsons, and the woman all but shooed me out the door. I've been to North Coast's shop before, too, and they were very busy and in a hurry but much more polite.
     
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  15. ME Super

    ME Super Member

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    I've used Wal-Mart for my E-6 processing. Here in the midwest the film is picked up twice a week (Tues & Thurs) by Fuji. All the 35mm C-41 is processed by Fuji, but the other stuff goes to Dwayne's. It takes 3-6 days to get 35mm C-41 back from Fuji. Add 1 week onto those times for everything else.

    Processing has been good quality for the E-6 that I've sent to Dwayne's via Wal-Mart/Fuji. Will be sending some B&W their way soon.
     
  16. megalime

    megalime Member

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    I send all my color to dwaynes: 35 and 120, c41 and e6. I dont get prints. Always excelkent.
     
  17. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I've no idea how good Dwayne's are, but with reference to one hour labs, nothing worthwhile happens in one hour except making babys, and as a general principal with processing " if you pay peanuts you get monkeys ", and it makes no sense to me when people agonize about the quality and functionality of their equipment and film not to mention the time,trouble,and effort they have expended to take the pictures, to use one hour labs seems to me to be false economy.
     
  18. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Which came first: crappy minilab service or widespread digital p&s use 5-8 years ago? Acceptable quality, high-volume minilabs, like Costco's in N. America, are gone. No one casually shooting 35mm C-41 will bother paying pro lab prices for processing and prints. They dropped film altogether years ago.
     
  19. drkhalsa

    drkhalsa Member

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    I've used Dwayne's with Fuji mailers for E-6 processing and C-41 processing and prints with no complaints.

    Since I am fortunate to have a full service photo lab 10 minutes away, I use them and get my work back in a day or two.
     
  20. LJSLATER

    LJSLATER Member

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    I mailed around 10 to 15 rolls of 35mm E6 films to Dwayne's late last year and early this year. Films ranged from Fuji T64, Velvia 50, and Ektachromes 100G & 100VS.

    I found Dwayne's turn around time and service to be quite good, however my chromes developed by them were markedly (but consistently) different in appearence compared to the lab I used previously (A&I). The colors were less saturated and there was less contrast. I gave up trying to find out why and switched to a different lab in California, Data-Chrome. I'm much happier now.

    I don't know if the look of my slides from Dwayne's is necessarily "wrong", but it's not what I prefer.
     
  21. Aristotle80

    Aristotle80 Subscriber

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    I very recently had a few rolls of Portra 160 in 120 format developed at Dwayne's. I got processing, 4x4 prints, and scans to CD. For the low price it would be tough to beat. My negatives were properly processed and immaculate, which is the most important thing. The scans were relatively low res JPEGs, so I'm going to rescan them myself. For sharing on the internet the resolution is fine but if you really want to tweak the images in photoshop you'll need TIFFs from another source.

    The prints were decent, but they were all cropped a bit from the full frame, as is common when one gets a standard set of prints with processing. Since proof sheets are so expensive I originally planned to use the standard prints as a sort of supersized proof sheet and get enlargements of the most worthy frames. Because of my intended use the cropping doesn't bother me. If I ordered specific enlargments/reprints I would expect more of the frame to be printed.

    All in all I'm pleased with Dwayne's service and I plan to use them again very soon for more 120 color processing. They did a great job with my Kodachromes and Ektachromes a few years ago, before slide film costs shot through the roof and I had to give it up.
     
  22. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    I use them for my C-41 and E-6, no issues, great service..
     
  23. Marvin

    Marvin Member

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    I have used them with no problems with Fuji mailers for E6. I send 5 rolls at a time to keep postage cost down, also return postage is only .50 per roll after $4.00 initial shipping charge.
     
  24. John Meyer

    John Meyer Member

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    I just used them for the first time for 35mm c41. No prints ,just dev and the negatives came back clean ,with
    cut and sleeve..first time for c41 ,i usually go to costco but the Norritso machine went down and the other
    Costco i went to had a Fuji machine that scratched the negs bad.
    John
     
  25. BradleyK

    BradleyK Member

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    I have used Dwayne's exclusively for my E6 (35mm and 120) processing for several years. Service has always been first rate; the quality of the work is top-notch; I can recommend the lab without qualification.
     
  26. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Subscriber

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    I have used them ever since 2010 when I went on my "shoot as much Kodachrome this year as possible" binge. For the most part they're good. I don't even have an issue with their prints -they're are good as machine prints I've received anywhere else. Most of them are fine.

    I did recently get back a Photo CD with some really bad scans. I sent four rolls of E6 for developing and scanning, and three were fine. On the fourth roll the slides were fine but the scans were awful, uniformly, low saturation and very cool balance. I wrote them and they immediately asked that I send back the slides and CD so they could see what happened and re-scan them. I did so, but haven't heard back from them yet. I need to drop them a line.

    Generally quite pleased. Getting scans seems to really delay getting my film back, but I can live with that.