Mini lab seeing increased volume

Discussion in 'Industry News' started by Paul Howell, Aug 10, 2018.

  1. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Subscriber

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    I dropped off a roll of Fujicolor 100 at Wilson's Camera here in Scottsdale AZ, The tech told they are up to 50 + rolls a week, mostly from 20 to 30 shooters using vintage all mechanical cameras. They still carry used gear, biggest sellers are Minolta 100 and 200s along with assortment of Canon FTBs. Don't know if Tempe Camera has seen the increase.
     
  2. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    Positive vibes!!
     
  3. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    More like good vibrations
     
  4. Cholentpot

    Cholentpot Member

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    Dodd Camera here locally has stated the same to me. Mostly B&W but things have picked up.
     
  5. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Very good to hear.
     
  6. Trail Images

    Trail Images Subscriber

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    Very good news all around. My old friend at NCP here in So Cal just turned around 12 sheets of 4x5 E-6 in one day and they're headed back already. Help keep the good folks on the grid.......:D
     
  7. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Member

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    Yes but, a lot of wishful thinking as well.
     
  8. chriscrawfordphoto

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    Sad that 50 rolls a week is cause for excitement. When I was in college 20 yrs ago, I worked at a one hour lab, and we considered it a bad day if we got fewer than 100 rolls A DAY!
     
  9. Sirius Glass

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    Samys in Culver City regularly tells me that film processing and sales has been increases over a number of years and that they have been adding darkroom staff.
     
  10. Berkeley Mike

    Berkeley Mike Member

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    Yup; last man standing.
     
  11. Ai Print

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    Great news, our labs in Denver are also seeing steady if not increasing work come in.

    Always good to see positive news and positive responses from people on topics like this. That is how you keep things alive, you feed them and be positive.
     
  12. jtk

    jtk Subscriber

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    In the 80s/90s in San Francisco I shot more than a dozen sheets of E6 out of my studio several times a week, sent the holders to labs by bicycle messenger. ALWAYS got same day or next day service from one of several superb E6 dip/dunk labs. I shot E3 on one project (was using E3 for a duplication-like project) and got next day processing from a fine hand-line. And I was only a middle studio guy (solo, not a team). Shot a lot of 35m E4 and E6 as well for audio visual jobs.

    Abandon hope.
     
  13. Berkeley Mike

    Berkeley Mike Member

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    I don't say this gladly at all. I know most of these folks. I am simply challenging the blythe claim that "film is coming back" based upon reports that lab business is increasing. Here is a list of Labs that I used to do business with in SF that are now out of business:

    The New Lab
    Robyn Color
    Faulkner
    Color Pro
    South Park Photo
    Co-Lab
    Red Shoes
    Light Waves
    Advanced Imaging Services
    L’Image
    Custom Process
    Photo Works
    Photo Lab
    Monaco (switched to Digital)

    Many of these were huge mainstays of the business with long histories and pedigree.

    Gamma (my old savior Peter) has closed its old Russ St. location, then it's Clementina location, in SOMA and is now sharing a space in the Bayview district. It is only open from 12:30-6PM 3 days a week.
    Rayko's location on 3rd in SOMA is closed, it reduced its services and classes. It is reported to have closed in August of 2017.

    6 of these were BW labs. Oscar's seems to be doing well enough to maintain an expensive location in SOMA. Has a nice following. E-6? My friends at Photolab in Berkeley say that their E-6 is increasing...last man standing. Shooters are running out of places to go.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2018
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  15. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Spoiler Alert for Canadian Photographers using BW film.

    A brand new Hostert Dip and Dunk process machine is going to start up in Toronto to process BW Film
    I will post more details as they come but all indications that this will be a great process line to Mail in your film.
     
  16. AgX

    AgX Member

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    They got an "assortment of Canon FTBs" ? Amazing!
     
  17. dscottjorgenson

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  18. BrianShaw

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    The trend needs to keep continuing at that or a higher rate per week... for many more weeks before there is a viable and profitable business.
     
  19. Kino

    Kino Subscriber

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    Film camera prices are increasing, there's a lot of podcasting on film and film cameras on the web, some film makers are improving their production lines and re-introducing classic film stocks and small labs are appearing at a slow, steady pace.

    Sounds good to me.

    Not everything has to be a multi-billion dollar business to be successful.
     
  20. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Yes, there had been a lot of carnage, but it looks like things are turning around. But it will never be the way it was.
     
  21. TomNY

    TomNY Subscriber

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    My county, which is a suburb of NYC has had exactly ZERO Labs for many years now. Closest is a about half hour away in NJ, I don't know if they send out. I'm patient, I mail mine to The Darkroom with decent results.
     
  22. Trail Images

    Trail Images Subscriber

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    I totally agree with SG's comment. No doubt the good old days are behind us, but what is left seems to have stabilized somewhat and in some cases a bit of a renaissance.
     
  23. Adrian Bacon

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    Photoworks and oscars are still in business. The days of large labs geared to processing thousands of rolls a week is long gone and the labs that never downsized their equipment/processes to handle lower volume are on their way out if not already gone.

    Smaller labs geared towards personalized customer service and innovative processes are on the way up though, which is why I opened a mini lab. Business isn’t exactly what I would call booming, but it is steady and increasing month over month.

    So things wil never be the way they were, however, they can be enough to make a living off of if you run a tight ship.
     
  24. OP
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    Paul Howell

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    Yep, not that many years ago, CVS, Walgreens, Target, her in Phoenix metro area a bunch of Motophotos, Kits, all had min labs, and now down to just 2.
     
  25. Adrian Bacon

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    I’m a phx native, though I relocated to the SF Bay Area almost 7 years ago. I’m the only lab in the North Bay Area that processes film in house. There are a number of places in Sonoma/Marin counties that advertise that they process film, but when you push them for details, they end up admitting that they send it out, usually to oscars or Photoworks, which explains why those two labs are still around, they get a bunch of business from local places that sub it out. As much as I’d love to get a piece of that pie, I’ve been careful to not be too agressive about going after their business as I don’t really want to hurt them. I’ve tested their processing and it’s quite good, though their scans leave a lot to be desired. They both substantially boost their bottom line by also doing prints, framing, etc, so it’s not all from processing film.
     
  26. Agulliver

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    As far as I can tell, here in the area in and around London (UK) labs ceased closing a few years ago and the remaining high street minilabs are reporting significant increases in film processing. Definitely not up to the numbers of 15 years ago but one in particular has gone from handling perhaps a dozen rolls a week to 50-70. This doesn't seem to be due to other labs in the area closing, as they've been "last lab standing" for three or four years in the area. Another shop across London reports similar, in this case from 1-2 rolls a day to around 10. It's not huge, but it's tangible. It's enough to keep the C41 chemistry fresh.
     
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