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developing at Costco

Kai Y , Oct 24, 2003; 03:37 a.m.

Is costco 1 hour photo is good from printing film? a professionallab is much better or make no difference? the cost print cost at Costco is .14 per 4x6, but at lab is .49 if print 36 a roll is $7.2 different, its a lot for me. is any one go both and compare any difference between those 2? thanks for help me out peace


Mark Weber , Oct 24, 2003; 08:09 a.m.

Kai, I have tried many labs except professional as my work doesn't warrant it. As far as I am concerned, they are all the same and it's a hit or miss situation. The equipment is pretty much the same and it's the human factor that makes the difference. Try different ones and see. As far as Costco, I had some enlargments done from digital files and was satisfied with the work, pricing and turnaround.

Art Haykin , Oct 24, 2003; 03:12 p.m.

The Costco in my town maintains an exceptionally well managed 1-hour set-up, and they do a land office business. They are competent, friendly, knowledgeable, courteous, and fair. They operate an 'island' booth in plain view of the customers.

Jim Evans , Oct 24, 2003; 03:35 p.m.

It really depends on the employees. The Costco near me is horrible. I tried them once and will never go back. However, I am sure as Art mentioned there are some really good ones. The one by me had an older man who seemed put out that he had to work the Film counter that day. I should have just walked away right then, but I regretfully did not. My negative were all scratched up and the color was horrible. I was able to salvage some negative and get some good prints at another lab, but what a headache. Obviously this was/is location specific. I have heard some good things about Costco. Try your's out and see. For about $5, it's worth checking out.

If you see an old guy about 65 to 70 yrs with long gray hair and a grimace on his face behind the counter at your Costco, turn and run! I think his name was Henry?

Good Luck.

Bill Pearce , Oct 24, 2003; 05:40 p.m.

One thing. Although the equipment at one hour labs is all pretty much the same, the same isn't true with the best prolabs. At a minilab, your film is processed in a roller transport machine, with stuff besides chemistry in contact with your film. At a pro lab, in a dip and dunk or cine machine, nothing touches your film ut chemistry.

Yeah, I know, a poorly operated d'n'd is worse than a well run roller transport machine, but if your film is important, it's better to not take the chance.

Bill Pearce

Eric ~ , Oct 25, 2003; 12:44 a.m.

when dealing with mini labs and costcos, check the back of the prints and see if the all those little numbers are the same (save frame number), if they are the same, then no one hasn't taken the time on your prints to adjust density, cyan, yellow, or magenta. That's the first thing you check, then a paper preference. More expensive places seem to run fuji crytal archive paper, and i like the results of the fuji paper.

Navi Thach , Oct 26, 2003; 12:07 a.m.

I had a roll of Fuji done at Costco as well as digital prints. They do a good job, a definite plus is the Fuji Frontier machine the Costco by my house uses.

Dylan Pletcher , Nov 07, 2003; 01:48 p.m.

I've used Costco digital developing extensively. My first batch was 323 4x6 prints for a group of people. They had the prints complte within 2 hours. I have also done a group photo (121 people) and printed it out 12x18, and it came out beautifully. It is now on display at the Sacramento Harley-Davidson shop. I use a Canon 10D, so I did have a large file, which I corrected in Photoshop and saved as an 18 MB tiff before burning to CD. Their counter kiosk works well unless your photos are in folders on the CD -- I had problems with one of my CDs. Once I burned the files to the root of the CD there was no problem. Incidentally, the Costco I visited does use Fuji Crystal Archive paper.

Adrian Byng-Clarke , May 26, 2004; 12:53 p.m.

I dropped off a few rolls of film to try out the developping and scanning servers. The processing appears to have been well done although there are a few minor surface scratches thought on the negative. The most annoying issue has to be dust. Film is allowed to hang for drying in plain view with no measures for dust control. The prints and scans have obvious dust on them.

I would say that the Costco processing seems better than most mini-labs (Walmart, Targets...) where I have noticed spots and bubbles from film not being properly rinsed out. I was impressed with how they handled the my rolls of Ilford XP2 400 which ere exposed at 200. The prints were perfectly neutral gray. I've seen this cause problems at many of the consumer shops.

I think that costco has a place for photographers who just want to experiment cheaply but aren't to picky about dust and scratches. For anything important, I think that you should stick with a pro lab for developping and probably scanning as well.

I have been hapily using costco's printing services for some time, they have a Nortitsu 2901 at my local branch and they use it very skillfully on Fuji Crystal Archive. I would put this up against many pro shops.

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