Dwayne's messed up my 120 slides

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by tom_bloomer|1, Dec 10, 2012.

  1. Just got 4 rolls of 120 slides back from Dwayne's lab. I've sent a bunch of C41 120 to them for processing with relatively few problems. But they do tend to leave a lot of dirt in the sleeves with the film. They cut my 6x7 negs in strips of 2 and put them in plastic sleeves.
    This time I sent them slides and they returned the film un-cut in plastic sleeves inside of cardboard rolls. WHAT A MESS!!!
    Now the slide film is wrinkled from being rolled inside the plastic sleeves, and the sleeves are full of dirt and dust - which is embedded in some of the film. I called Dwayne's customer service and asked why they do not specify on their order form whether or not they cut 120 slide film or roll it . . . the response was "If you wanted it cut, then you should specify that on the form." OK, well you cut C41 120 negatives in strips and I didn't specify that on the form, why should I expect you to treat e6 different?
    There is no place on the form the indicates what the "default" is when they process 2-1/4" slides. But that issue aside, I did not give special written instructions to wrinkle my film and embed dirt in it either! Fortunately they do not charge extra for the dirt and scratching. The customer service rep did not seem even a little bit concerned with my situation. After some prodding, she offered that If I returned the film to them, they would cut it, clean it, and put it back in sleeves.
    At this point I really don't trust them with my film anymore. Time to find another lab.
     
  2. Odd, there wasn't dirt in my last roll of E-6...
    That said, I have a roll of E-6 and C-41 arriving today. I'll have to see if it's the same way. As for the cutting, other than being really curled, my film doesn't have any scratches or wrinkles. I'll take a look at what I got tonight and see if they did a worse job than last time. Could be someone was moving a little fast to get through too many orders. And I agree, that isn't a good thing.
     
  3. What turned me off the most was the altitude (yes I did spell it correctly) of the customer service rep when I called. The condescension almost made me feel it was my fault for not being clairvoyant - like I'm supposed to know that they don't cut 120 slides like every other lab I have ever used in the last 30 years. And UNLIKE every other lab I have ever used, if I had a complaint about how they mishandled my film, I was immediately offered a refund for the processing and the film was replaced.
    But, hey they aren't the only mail order lab in the US. I am more than happy to take my business elsewhere and pay a few $$ more per roll to have my film handled in a more professional manner.
     
  4. Devil's advocate: They educated you on what you did not understand, offered to make the situation right (fix so all is to your likeing)... so what else do you want from them? Sounds to me like they are accomodating your needs.
     
  5. Subject the film to more abuse - roll it up again in the same dirty sleeves, REALLY?
     
  6. Since the 80's ALL of the 120 slide film that I've had processed has been sleeved, rolled and put in the tube. It doesn't matter if its E6 Kodak, E6 Fuji, Kodachrome or Agfachrome it was always sleeved and rolled. The only time that my film was cut by the lab was in the 70's by a Kodak lab. I perfer my film not be cut....except by me.
     
  7. Since the 70's every lab I used for slides had an option on the form. The default was cut and sleeve. If you ordered it rolled, they did not put it in a sleeve, it was just rolled. Sleeves are great for storing film flat. But rolling film inside a plastic sleeve is going to distort the film, period . . . well actually the distortion is periodic in the form of ripples. If you like your film with ripples, I'm happy for you. I don't like mine that way. I like it even less when it has dirt embedded in the emulsion and/or scratches in the emulsion (last roll of C41 from Dwayne's had a scratch that went across 2 frames.)
     
  8. I've never received cut film, its always been rolled and sleeved.
     
  9. So what do you see as the benefit of having it that way?
     
  10. Well, inspected what I received last night. The E-6 was perfect, no dirt, no scratches, no wrinkles. Just really curled from being in that tube. Cut it into strips of three, and put it into a binder. Just need to smash the page between a heavy book to get out some of that curl...
    The C-41, however, was cut into strips of two, scratched down every negative, and had dirt in the sleeves. I would have much preferred the tube to the cut...
     
  11. Well if you send it back they will take the dirt out of the sleeves for free!
     
  12. "Well if you send it back they will take the dirt out of the sleeves for free!"
    Maybe you've chewed this bone enough here. Depending on your location, you should be asking for recommended labs rather than chapping Dwayne's remorselessly.
    BTW, Toronto Image Works(o/o Ed Burtynsky)sleeves all 120 and wraps it around 3'' cardboard cores--all the better to avoid damaging creases in uncut film strips. No damage, no complaints.
     
  13. Are you presuming that I feel no remorse when chapping Dwayne's or inferring that I should feel remorse when chapping Dwayne's? :- p
     
  14. You really owe it to them to let them rectify the situation. You complained and they offered to fix it. If you want to turn down their offer to make the situation right then it is your option. Their obligation as a merchant is "to make you whole" if you didn't get the quality of service you expected. To expect additional compensation is, perhaps, expecting too much. Complaining without given them the opportunity to make the situation right is, perhaps, unethical. Sure, there is a risk that their attempt to right the wrong will not be successful... but there is also a chance that it will be. You really need to give them a chance or walk away quietly and "eat it"... IMHO, of course. I understand how disappointed you are, but...
     
  15. I am not a turn the other cheek kind of guy nor do I suffer fools. The thought that I "owe" then anything is ludicrous. The service representative destroyed whatever good will that may have been leveraged in their favor with condescension, denials, and excuses. The "resolution" was offered only after my prodding, and then grudgingly. Not a very convincing argument that I should trust them to make it right. If anything they left me suspicious and jaded.
    If they had taken ownership of the problem from the very beginning - actually asked me immediately, "What can we do to make it right," perhaps demonstrated their "sense of obligation and concern" then I wouldn't be here sharing my bad experience.
    In regards to ethics. Be true to yourself first, else you cannot be true to others. I feel obligated to share my experience. If it saves somebody else grief, then I've met my ethical obligation to my fellow photographers.
     
  16. Tom, I respectfully disagree with your handling of the situation. I agree with your stance, having been put in a similar situation with a different lab about a year ago, but I don't think you're handling it the right way.
    For starters, I've never received 120 film cut, unless I had specified that it be done. However, dirt is unacceptable. But once you get work back, your impression that the lab has an obligation to 'make it right' is incorrect. The lab has an obligation to do the work that they were paid to do, and they did. They did a terrible job, but they did technically fulfill their obligations to you. After that, it's just a question of customer service. While a single incident does not speak for an entire lab, at least one guy there has no interest in keeping your business. It's up to you to decide whether or not that reflects on the rest of the lab.
    My incident involved a lab in Albany, NY. I sent them some colour 4x5 - my first, in fact. What I got back was a half-dozen of my negatives, with someone else's images ghosted over the top on them. In fact, if you stacked my negatives just so, you could see a very distinct image in the corner, trailing off to no double exposure on the bottom image. I called, and they told me that I must have had pinholes in my bellows. Which would have made sense, except that 4 of the images were shot in-studio with the room lights off, and all 4 showed lessening double exposures, even though the negative exposure was the same. I sent a few other negs to another lab, and I didn't get any exposure issues.
    To this day, I still have NO idea how they hell they did that. The only thing that I can think of is that they mixed up my negs with some that had already been developed, and didn't realize what they had done until the stack had been exposed to light.
    When I talked to the guy on the phone, I didn't argue or raise my voice. I told him I was upset, suggested that the problem was on his end, and listened to him when he told me that he wasn't going to investigate, because he was positive that none of his employees were capable of ruining 4x5 negs. And when the conversation was over, I deleted his store's number and mailing address from my phone. There's no sense in yelling at the guy or posting vitriol about the lab online, since those things only have an effect on people that take customer service seriously - and the guy you spoke to obviously does not.
    Now I use Edgar Praus in Rochester, www.4photolab.com. Any time I've called, I've been able to speak to Edgar directly. If I include negative pages with my film, he cuts the film and puts them in the pages. If I don't include pages, he leaves the film uncut and rolls it. It's as simple as could be. He is also the only person that has developed my black and white negatives as well or better than I do. He offers several different black and white developers, and it willing to make suggestions based on film stock, how you shot it, and what look you want. He also did a fantastic job of recovering some Portra 400 negatives that I had accidentally shot at 50 ISO. Whoops. And when Magnum was in town, he was the dedicated lab for all their work.
    But here's the best part: not only does he offer great service and excellent work, but his prices are extremely reasonable, and the turnaround time is literally the fastest that you can expect from a mail-order lab. Granted I'm in the same state, but there have been times when I'm sent something to him via priority mail or UPS on a Monday, and had it back on Wednesday. Usually I get it Thursday.
    I'd give Edgar a go. Finding a good lab is awful hard these days, as an awful lot of the employees didn't grow up with film, and they treat it like it's, "Some old *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#*," and not with the reverence that you or I might. On top of that, I can tell you that as a 29 year-old, my generation has an absolutely mind-boggling aversion to personal and professional responsibility.
     
  17. - My generation has an absolutely mind-boggling aversion to personal and professional responsibility.

    I've noticed. There is a sense of entitlement and an expectation of instant gratification. Perhaps it has to do with growing up in a world where technology (or the government) does everything for you and you don't have to think for yourself nor meet any significant performance expectations.
    But I see just as much of it in my own generation - I was born in 1960.
     
  18. Perhaps you should also consider trying TheDarkroom.com
    They have done decent work for me. the scans aren't the best but the film processing and handling is EXCELLENT.
     
  19. When it comes to any of this stuff, especially involving service, there are really only two types of businesses that you can rely on: family-operated business that NEED to perform above and beyond to eat and pay the bills, and businesses that have older employees that remember the days when customer service was a given, and not a selling point.
    Unfortunately, those two things are almost impossible in our line of work. For instance, our store dropped Apple products a few years ago (as did all the little guys) when Apple started a new policy that required some $500,000 in sales every year to maintain dealership status. When our film processor finally bites the big one we probably won't replace it, as it's not worth the cost of a $30,000-$50,000 replacement so we can run ten rolls a week, not to mention opening us up to the possibility of failure by young employees that don't understand/don't care how to treat film. I hate to say it, but that's already starting to become a problem.
    We've been a family-owned business for 75 years, most all of our photo lab employees have degrees in photography/design/art/etc., and we STILL have the occasional employee that thinks film only exists as some neat little retro thing to play with. Eventually, that might be all the help that we can get.
    I'd try Edgar, and maybe Brian's guy is worth a shot too. Failing that ... have you ever thought about getting a Jobo and doing it at home? I picked one up a while ago, but I just don't have the time to use it. If you can't find a lab you like, drop me a line and I can offer you a stupid cheap price on it.
    I can't find the time to shop it around for what it's worth either :p But seriously, try the labs first. I did a little research on chemicals, and it looks like you need to be developing a half-dozen rolls of C41 each week to be worth the effort of doing it yourself, price-wise.
     
  20. So what do you see as the benefit of having it that way?​
    Receiving your negs/slides uncut gives you the option of cutting to your requirements. For example, my scanner can handle strips of 6 frames at a time. If my slides are returned cut into strips of 4 it creates much more work for me. Also, people use different styles of filing pages. There's nothing worse than getting your negatives back in strips of 4 or 8 if your filing pages are designed for strips of 6.
     
  21. Print File sells Fold Flap negative/slide strip holders. They allow you to open and close without pulling the film out of a sleeve and then pushing it back again. The price is reasonable and the aggravation you save is considerable.
     
  22. I think I am going to try a small pro lab in Wilmington, DE about an hour north of me.
    www.colourworks.com
     
  23. Colourworks is great. I've been using them for the past 2 years now, and everything I've sent them has come back clean, without any dust or scratches.
     
  24. Here is where I send my E-6 to be processed:
    http://www.agximaging.com/
    Always top-notch.
     
  25. Here is where I send my E-6 to be processed:
    http://www.agximaging.com/
    Always top-notch.​

    Wait a minute, they're two hours north of me.... Why am I just now hearing of them...
     
  26. I get 220 rolls of E-6 done at Dwayne's through the Walmart send out service. They have always done a decent job and I get a uncut sleeved roll of film back inside a cardboard tube. Once the roll was wrapped outside the tube but it was not damaged. I can't complain for the price.
    If someone wants to pay A LOT more for white glove service that is there choice. But Dwayne's through Walmart works for me.
     
  27. Maybe you should buy one of the new Jobo CPP3 's and process them yourself.
     
  28. I use AgX for all of my E6 work. I see that someone else has already posted the link to it above.
    Mike Lussier of AgX works ONLY on E6.
    I did ask Mike who I should use for C-41 and B&W. He replied: Praus.
    I used to use the Walmart - Fuji route. Yes, it's really cheap (under $1 for 120 film), and really slow. They sometimes leave scratches and fingerprints on the film.
    I used Dwayne's a lot, but the last batch of E6 that I sent them was covered with black dirt. The C-41 that I sent at the same time turned out a lot cleaner. This was film that I sent them a week or two before Christmas. I was trying to be efficient and not separate the E6 (which usually goes to AgX), from the C41, but send them all to Dwayne's. I'm not doing that again.
     
  29. Another vote for Mike at AgX. I ship all my stuff to him in large batches from Ontario, his quality control and results are by far superior to what I've dealt with in Canada and the GTA.
     

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