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Author Topic: Road photos getting ruined by photo developers  (Read 947 times)

bandit957

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Road photos getting ruined by photo developers
« on: August 09, 2018, 10:03:14 PM »

Remember back before the days of digital cameras when this used to happen? You used to have to take photos in to a store to be developed, and they often lost photos or ruined them beyond repair.

Kmart was by far the worst offender, since they tended to overexpose or underexpose your photos. There was no remedy for this once it happened. When I went to New Orleans in college, Kmart ruined my entire roll of film.

For a while, maybe in the late '80s, Kmart also gave each photo customer a small sheet of paper blaming the customer for everything that could possibly be wrong with their photos. Anyone else remember this? It had a drawing of a woman standing there with a stupid grin.

One time, my brother took a roll of film to a store to be developed. I don't remember if it was Kmart or some other store. After he went back to the store to try to pick up his photos, he matter-of-factly said they all got ruined because the store let the roof leak on them.
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MNHighwayMan

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Re: Road photos getting ruined by photo developers
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2018, 10:20:35 AM »

Remember back before the days of digital cameras when this used to happen?

Nope. I've never taken a road picture with anything other than a digital camera, whether embedded in a mobile phone or not (99.9% of them are, but I have a few that I used my dad's digital camera to take.)

What this means, though, is that it is mostly my responsibility to avoid losing anything. Losing my phone altogether would probably be the easiest way for that to happen, if there are pictures on there that I've taken but not added to my Dropbox account yet. Even if my phone dies (no longer runs/boots, not that the battery is just dead), I can still take the SD card out and access my pictures that way, unless it dies in some rare fashion that also corrupts/ruins that SD card. Most likely thing to happen outside my control is if I get mugged/robbed and they take my phone.
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jon daly

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Re: Road photos getting ruined by photo developers
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2018, 10:25:04 AM »

Stop giving Dusty Lenscap a bad name :).
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abefroman329

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Re: Road photos getting ruined by photo developers
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2018, 10:55:58 AM »

Stop giving Dusty Lenscap a bad name :).
Ha!
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jon daly

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Re: Road photos getting ruined by photo developers
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2018, 11:14:50 AM »

You two got me obsessed with Dusty for a little bit. I took a short vacation and detoxed so now I'm fine.
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abefroman329

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Re: Road photos getting ruined by photo developers
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2018, 11:25:28 AM »

You two got me obsessed with Dusty for a little bit. I took a short vacation and detoxed so now I'm fine.
Good, now you can begin your Will Start obsession.
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jeffandnicole

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Re: Road photos getting ruined by photo developers
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2018, 12:16:32 PM »

That's why I always took mine to Acme (Philadelphia area supermarket).  When the photos were developed, they simply put the envelopes out in self-serve drawers.  You found your envelope and took it.  Technically, you were welcome to go thru everyone's envelopes if you wanted.

Along with the occasional bad/blurry/improperly cut prints, the only thing that truly went bad along those lines was when my brother had received someone else's pictures.  I think he tried taking them back and hoped someone else would've done the same, but I don't think he ever received his pictures.
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formulanone

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Re: Road photos getting ruined by photo developers
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2018, 01:03:19 PM »

I used to either spend the extra buck or two at a real camera shop, so we all could see how shitty my photos were. And they'd print everything. If anything, some of the retailers who omitted bad photos saved me a few bucks (I had some rolls where 8-9 photos of 24-36 were in focus).

You're in luck...film's a defunct technology and K-Mart will be history soon.

« Last Edit: August 10, 2018, 01:06:25 PM by formulanone »
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abefroman329

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Re: Road photos getting ruined by photo developers
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2018, 01:27:01 PM »

We used to do some sort of mail-order film processing (my parents didn’t, and don’t, believe in the old adage “you get what you pay for”). They were no better or worse at processing than a drugstore or supermarket, but I guess my parents were willing to gamble on the pictures from our birthday parties being lost in the mail.

Did anyone else ever own an Advantix/APS camera? I don’t remember any advantages over 35MM other than the fact that you could choose the aspect ratio before taking the picture and the photo would automatically be developed with that ratio. I do remember that it cost a small fortune to have the film developed, though.
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briantroutman

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Re: Road photos getting ruined by photo developers
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2018, 02:14:17 PM »

Throughout the ’80s and ’90s, my family usually took film to K-mart for processing. In the earlier years, the film we packed into those Dusty Lenscap envelopes was an assortment of long-dead formats (110, 126, Disc)—all of which inherently captured poor quality images. The cheap cameras we used and our collective photographic incompetence didn’t help, either. By the mid ’90s, our cameras were generally 35mm (though still cheap), and I was always astonished by how much crisper and more vivid the photos were.

But regardless, I can’t recall a single instance where I could reasonably conclude that K-mart’s lab made an error. They never lost our prints, mangled the negatives, etc. I’m willing to accept that the general crappiness of our photos (mostly the earlier ones) was the combined product of the pinky-nail-sized negatives, our cheap junk cameras, and our ignorance.

Did anyone else ever own an Advantix/APS camera? I don’t remember any advantages over 35MM other than the fact that you could choose the aspect ratio before taking the picture and the photo would automatically be developed with that ratio.

I didn’t have one either, but I recall that APS had a number of advantages from the consumer’s perspective. Most notably was that the film was drop-and-load, so the inconvenience of handling bare film and spooling it onto the take-up reel was eliminated.

The film had some mechanism for storing metadata, which is where the aspect ratio selection came in, but it could also store information like the date/time and I believe the exposure settings as well. The metadata also established a positive channel of communication between the film and the camera, so the camera could be absolutely certain that the film had advanced to the next frame, that the frame had not already been exposed, etc. I understand that there were some cameras that allowed you to partially expose a reel of film, rewind and eject the cassette, then later re-insert that partially used cassette, and the camera would automatically seek to the first unexposed frame.

Then on processing, the metadata could be used by the developer to automatically compensate for exposure issues, adjust print side for aspect ratio, and facilitate easier scanning and transfer to a photo CD. I seem to recall the developing process would also auto-generate a contact sheet for reordering prints, enlargements, etc.
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abefroman329

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Re: Road photos getting ruined by photo developers
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2018, 02:42:30 PM »

Most notably was that the film was drop-and-load, so the inconvenience of handling bare film and spooling it onto the take-up reel was eliminated.
I think that this is what I was thinking of. I was also thinking that there was some feature that was common among digital cameras, and I think it was the date/time feature (though I could’ve sworn that was also available on 35MM cameras made around that time).
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hbelkins

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Re: Road photos getting ruined by photo developers
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2018, 03:56:58 PM »

When I was taking film photos, I used Kmart, Walmart and Kroger for processing, and never had any ruined. Some labs did a better job of printing than others, which was problematic at the time because I didn't have a film scanner and had to scan the prints. No one ever ruined the film, to the best of my recollection.

Now if I could only remember what I did with all those negatives.
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formulanone

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Re: Road photos getting ruined by photo developers
« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2018, 05:39:22 PM »

Most notably was that the film was drop-and-load, so the inconvenience of handling bare film and spooling it onto the take-up reel was eliminated.
I think that this is what I was thinking of. I was also thinking that there was some feature that was common among digital cameras, and I think it was the date/time feature (though I could’ve sworn that was also available on 35MM cameras made around that time).

I recall the time/date stamps started to appear on some 35mm cameras in the mid-1980s. The idea was that you stamped the first one and then shut the feature off, which almost nobody did.

My uncle had an Advantix camera, but finding places to develop it was harder to find as the transition to digital progressed. I noticed more film labs offered the contact sheet around the late-1990s, which was nice for finding the negatives or just re-sorting photos back into order.

I haven't really shot much film in about 15 years, although we have a few disposables lying around which probably have expired film (which yields varying results). There's a few rolls of film lying around in some desk of mine that I've been putting off developing for 15-20 years...I'm probably throwing out money by just attempting to develop it.

Truvelo

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Re: Road photos getting ruined by photo developers
« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2018, 05:52:25 PM »

When I had a film camera between 20-30 years ago I used to send the film by mail to a processing company. The prices were very competitive and they supplied pre-paid envelopes. I never had any go missing but if any photos were blurry or poorly lit they would attach a sticker to them giving advice on how to take decent photos.
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bandit957

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Re: Road photos getting ruined by photo developers
« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2018, 06:36:40 PM »

Maybe it was just the Kmart in Highland Heights that had this problem then.

Once around 2000 (which I think was after that Kmart had closed), I had a family member pick up my photos to take them in to be processed, because I couldn't get to a photo processing place. I think they took the photos to Walmart, even though I asked them to take them somewhere else. The store completely lost my best photo in the whole batch, and no negative could be found for it either.
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abefroman329

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Re: Road photos getting ruined by photo developers
« Reply #15 on: August 10, 2018, 07:00:21 PM »

Most notably was that the film was drop-and-load, so the inconvenience of handling bare film and spooling it onto the take-up reel was eliminated.
I think that this is what I was thinking of. I was also thinking that there was some feature that was common among digital cameras, and I think it was the date/time feature (though I could’ve sworn that was also available on 35MM cameras made around that time).

I recall the time/date stamps started to appear on some 35mm cameras in the mid-1980s. The idea was that you stamped the first one and then shut the feature off, which almost nobody did.

My uncle had an Advantix camera, but finding places to develop it was harder to find as the transition to digital progressed. I noticed more film labs offered the contact sheet around the late-1990s, which was nice for finding the negatives or just re-sorting photos back into order.

I haven't really shot much film in about 15 years, although we have a few disposables lying around which probably have expired film (which yields varying results). There's a few rolls of film lying around in some desk of mine that I've been putting off developing for 15-20 years...I'm probably throwing out money by just attempting to develop it.
Now I'm thinking the contact sheet was what was significant about Advantix that I couldn't remember - I think maybe the negatives had a control number that corresponded to the contact sheet, which meant that you could order reprints without having to hold the negatives up to the light and guess which was the picture you wanted a reprint of.

I had no trouble finding somewhere to develop Advantix film in the US, had some difficulty in England in 2000.
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briantroutman

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Re: Road photos getting ruined by photo developers
« Reply #16 on: August 10, 2018, 10:01:45 PM »

I recall the time/date stamps started to appear on some 35mm cameras in the mid-1980s. The idea was that you stamped the first one and then shut the feature off, which almost nobody did.

Many 35mm cameras had an array of LEDs that would “burn” the date into the negative, but APS was a bit more advanced in that the date (and any other metadata) was actually stored separately as a band of encoded information on a magnetic strip on the edge of the film—outside of the image area.

APS was actually a pretty interesting hybrid film/electronic technology designed to bridge the gap between fairly rudimentary point-and-shoot film cameras and some of the more advanced capabilities consumers wanted by the late ’90s, like the ability to start, stop, and swap film rolls as easily as video cassettes in a camcorder and easily transfer film photos to digital formats. I think it was just not advanced enough (or high-resolution enough) for serious photographers, too expensive for low-end consumers, and too little too late for upper middle class customers who would soon leapfrog straight to digital photography.
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abefroman329

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Re: Road photos getting ruined by photo developers
« Reply #17 on: August 10, 2018, 10:06:15 PM »

It was also too expensive for me, a thrifty college student/recent college grad, but you are right that the timing of its release (right before digital photography would start to become popular) was bad. Though I personally wouldn’t buy my first digital camera until 2005.
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Duke87

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Re: Road photos getting ruined by photo developers
« Reply #18 on: August 12, 2018, 01:32:16 AM »

The only recollection I have of any film-based photos being ruined was the time that I opened the door on the back of my parents' camera before the film was rewound. This, of course, was entirely my fault and my mother made sure she showed me the photos that were ruined after the roll was developed.

I don't remember my parents ever taking film to a drugstore or Kmart or anything along those lines to get it developed - there was a particular place they usually went to that was a dedicated photo lab.

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vdeane

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Re: Road photos getting ruined by photo developers
« Reply #19 on: August 12, 2018, 09:03:31 PM »

Yeah, I don't think I've had film photos ruined in development either.  My parents and I always went to a dedicated place called 1 Hour Photo to have pictures developed.  The idea of having them developed at Kmart or something just seems sketchy to me.
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hbelkins

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Re: Road photos getting ruined by photo developers
« Reply #20 on: August 13, 2018, 02:09:03 PM »

My dad always used a mail-in service for his pictures, and I don't ever remember any issues. Me, I was always too impatient, and wanted the pictures back ASAP. Only occasionally did I use Walmart's one-hour service, because it was pricey and I wasn't in THAT big of a hurry.
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abefroman329

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Re: Road photos getting ruined by photo developers
« Reply #21 on: August 13, 2018, 03:20:14 PM »

Putting film in the mail seems unnecessarily risky. At least if I drop off film at a store and it gets lost, there’s something resembling a chain of custody in the form of a claim check and there’s an obligation on the store to do something.
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Rothman

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Re: Road photos getting ruined by photo developers
« Reply #22 on: August 13, 2018, 03:27:52 PM »

Mail-in developers were quite common.  No biggie.
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US71

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Re: Road photos getting ruined by photo developers
« Reply #23 on: August 13, 2018, 03:30:04 PM »

Wal-Mart ruined 2 rolls of old film a couple years ago. The photos had been take by my aunt, so they were likely 20+ years old. I don't know if the film had gone bad or if Wal-Mart ruined things while developing, but they were happy to charge me, anyway.

In the past I have used Snapfish who will convert your photos into digital and burn them to a CD. I didn't this time because I had intended to share the photos with my sister
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abefroman329

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Re: Road photos getting ruined by photo developers
« Reply #24 on: August 13, 2018, 04:00:14 PM »

We bought my parents a package from ScanMyPhotos.com for Christmas 2017 where all they have to do is fill a pre-addressed, pre-paid shipping box with photos and bring it to the post office, and the service will scan their photos and mail them back to my parents with the images on physical media. They have yet to do this.
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