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What the ...?!
Old 09-29-2010   #1
Darkhorse
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What the ...?!

Well, I was hoping this would be my "XA FIRST ROLL!" thread. Instead it's something completely different.

This afternoon I finally got a chance to use the XA. I drove down to Newport Beach and then to Crystal Cove to take some snaps. In my mind I had taken some nice shots, and I was looking forward to the results. It being 7pm, and having no idea what else to do with myself since my wife was in class, I took the roll of Ektar to CVS pharmacy to get processed.

An hour later I warmed up the scanner and as the previewed appeared something looked weird. Really weird. As I scanned the images, I noticed they looked like some bad photoshop filter had been applied to them. Things look mottled and splotchy. What was going on? I took a good look at the negs themselves and this problem was clearly evident on the negs themselves.

Take a look. This one is the worst by far.



Maybe it's my imagination, but the out of focus areas seem to be most affected. Could this be something the XA is doing? No, that can't be it. Can it?



This happens mostly in the skies. There was a variety of tones and colors in the clouds today, but not like this.



I would've been happy with many of these shots.



So did CVS ruin my photos? Is it the XA? Is there nothing I can do? I know there probably isn't but I'm a little bit devastated and frustrated by this.
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Old 09-29-2010   #2
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Nope, like I said, you can see the weirdness on the negs themself.
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Old 09-29-2010   #3
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Old 09-29-2010   #4
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wow could it have been a botched film development at CVS? Or did you get a special edition of Neo-impressionist Ektar?
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Old 09-29-2010   #5
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They've been posterised! That is so cool! I think the problem lies in the minilab processing, not the camera, though.
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Old 09-29-2010   #6
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I'm leaning towards it being a minilab problem... but they have such a simple job! With the big machine doing it all automatically too! I mean this should be pretty basic and foolproof for these guys, right?
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Old 09-29-2010   #7
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You should can some different C-41 negatives to see if it's the scanner or the negative itself.
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Old 09-29-2010   #8
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Looks like a minilab problem to me. Shoot another roll and take it somewhere else for processing.
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Old 09-29-2010   #9
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When I was doing photography studies a few years ago, and we were still shooting film by then, I remember that one of my classmates had this particular weird output effect straight out of the films scanned.

We eventually find out that the photo lab did a bad processing job or the chemicals involved were mixed up wrongly according to another classmate who used to work in a photo lab processing...
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Old 09-29-2010   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkhorse View Post
I'm leaning towards it being a minilab problem... but they have such a simple job! With the big machine doing it all automatically too! I mean this should be pretty basic and foolproof for these guys, right?
As with any machine, they can get out of wonk. Also, a lot of the operators thee days are not the best qualified for the job.
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Old 09-29-2010   #11
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Go back to the CVS store and ask if they happen to have other rolls developed on the same day with the same problem...they may not own up to it but it's a good place to start...
If you can see it in the neg it's not the scanning and I don't think a camera can do what I see here...(unless it's a magical camera)
Was the roll fresh, left in a hot car...magical film???
BTW I like the first shot...
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Old 09-29-2010   #12
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This looks like it might be retained silver, possibly caused by bad bleach or fixer, or both. The C-41 process is supposed to remove ALL silver from the film, leaving only a dye image.
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Old 09-29-2010   #13
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before checking the lab I'd do a fast check on the settings on your scanner and in your imaging software. Something may have defaulted to a posterize setting.

Zathros comment is also worth considering .

Finally ... I'm not too sure about Ektar and skies, just like some BW film has issues with skies I wonder if it's inherent in Ektar? I haven't shot Ektar so I'm just offering a possible based on my experience with BW.

Finally I would go back to the lab and check. The service from labs is getting critical. They put unqualified operators on these machines and you get results that are unacceptable. The stores are to blame for cost cutting here, not the untrained person that they put on the machine.
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Old 09-29-2010   #14
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OK I got a hold of a friend who used to work in a photo lab. She suggested there might've been a problem with the bleach, or specifically the fixer in the bleach.

With that in mind, and thinking the negs might be ruined anyway, I tossed a strip of film into some fixer I have for my black and white photos. After rinsing with some distilled water I took a look at the neg of the first image, and the weird splotchiness seems to be gone. Will it turn out? We'll see once it dries.
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Old 09-29-2010   #15
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Looks like pseudo-solarisation to me - that is, the film was exposed to light during processing, before fixing was completed. The most common reason in colour processing is developer carried over into the fix or blix (which is supposed to need no darkness, provided that there are no colour developing agents in there).

Last edited by sevo : 09-30-2010 at 00:03.
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Old 09-30-2010   #16
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So the strip I dunked into some fixer was dry this morning so I gave it a scan:



Much better. There were a lot of specks to photoshop out (not to mention newton rings), so I may need to keep it in the fixer a bit longer or rinse them better.

Last edited by Darkhorse : 09-30-2010 at 05:44.
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Old 09-30-2010   #17
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Good for you!
Exhausted fixer will do funny stuff to your negatives.

Once I saw bars from top sprocket hole to the bottom in almost every frame of the roll. I almost panicked thinking I got a severe light leak, but a couple of minutes dunk in the fixer fixes this.

Btw, the thread is more interesting because of the "effect" and how you solved it. Nice pictures, very XA-ish
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Old 09-30-2010   #18
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The irksome part now is that I cut up all the negs for the purposes of scanning. So It'll take some doing to repair all of them, dry them, and then press them in a book for a while to flatten them. When looking closely at the affected negs, you can see thicker segments that look sort of purple/magenta. I'm not so much worried about the Balboa Pier photos, so much as the ones from Crystal Cove, there was a sort of building marine fog that gave a nice atmospheric perspective to the images.

PS I wanted an XA for my film kit for when I go to Paris next (my company started an office there). I wanted to use my OM1 w/50mm for Tri-X, and a compact with a wider focal length for color pics. Since other compact RFs are typically 40mm, the XA seemed like a good choice.
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Old 09-30-2010   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkhorse
... I took the roll of Ektar to CVS pharmacy to get processed.
Congratulations. You've discovered (yet another) crappy mini lab that shouldn't be used by anyone- at least not by anyone who cares about their photos.

Seriously- sorry about the problem you've had, but I'm glad it seems to be reversable, as you've discovered by refixing. I hope you can find a better lab near you. Please don't take more film to that CVS. Enjoy your XA- they are wonderful little cameras.
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Old 09-30-2010   #20
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Like I said, I've taken film to this CVS before and had no problem. There is indeed a pro lab I can go to that gives me good results (their prints are terrible, but that's what MPIX is for) but they close early, and aren't speedy with processing. I wouldn't have gotten my film back until Friday afternoon... and when you get a new camera and you've just finished a roll that's like an eternity. You're like a kid on Christmas eve.
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Old 09-30-2010   #21
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Good to see you managed to identify the problem. Just be sure to let your lab know - I am sure they will appreciate that.
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Old 10-01-2010   #22
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Which CVS did you go to? I need to stay away from it (Since I'm around your area)

I was thinking of going to costco (do they even still process film? Embarrassing I know... It's been a while for me. Just picked up 2 XA's though)
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Old 10-02-2010   #23
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In Irvine at Alton and Jeffery.

I think I managed to salvage the shots I like. I'm testing out a roll of FP4 in the XA today the Irvine Global Village festival, there should be some really good street/people photography there along with the food.
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Old 11-03-2012   #24
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Hi, there. I'm a new member and I was wondering why I can't see the images in many posts like this one. Are they no longer retained by the board, or do I not have the right settings or permissions?
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Old 11-03-2012   #25
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Mark, the photos in the original posting were linked to on another server. The photographer has since removed them from the server, that's why they show up missing here and on other threads. They are missing for me as well.

I suspect your browser is just fine.
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