Film refused for processing !

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by david_m, Sep 17, 2003.

  1. I have this film called 'Special Moments'. I believe its made in
    China and I bought it at a One Dollar store in Dallas, Texas.
    I took it in to a pharmacy to be developed and they refused because
    it does not say 'C41' on the cassette.
    I have bought various brands of film in these stores before and had
    great results but I guess this was the first one that did not
    say 'C41' on the cassette. I know it is a C41 film.
    Does anyone have any idea how I can get this processed? These are
    model portfolio photos and I have to give copies to the model.
    I thought of removing the film and putting it in a Fuji cassette but
    I'm not sure how to open and reclose the cassette without damaging it.
  2. Er..take it somewhere else? Maybe an actual photo lab?

    Do the models know you're using the world's cheapest film for their portfolios?
  3. David,

    You shot model portfolio pix on "Special Moments" film from a dollar store? Gutsy! I don't think I'd want to risk that.

    I think your best bet might be to try another lab. But, since you asked about transferring the film to another cassette...

    Most pre-rolled film comes in crimped cassettes, so once you open a cassette, you're not going to be able to reclose it. If you want to try this, you'd need another cassette (eg, a Fuji one) with the film removed except for a little bit of the tail end of the roll sticking out the end. (Photofinishers have hundreds of these left over from developing film. Or you could buy a roll of film and pull it out yourself and cut it off.) Then you'd have to take your film and the empty roll into _absolute_dark, along with a church-key can opener, a pair of scissors and some scotch tape. You'd open your roll (remember, all must be in absolute darkness) using the church key and pull out your film. Use the scissors to cut the end of your film from the spindle it's attached to. Use the tape to attach the end of your film securely to the little bit of film sticking out of the intact Fuji cassette. Then, wind the film carefully all the way into the Fuji cassette. When you're sure this is done, then you can turn the light on. Throughout this process, try to handle the raw film as little as possible, avoiding fingerprints and such.

    Good luck!
  4. I'm as dumbstruck as Bob. You're shooting "model" portfolios with no name film and having it processed at a pharmacy?

    I'm not sure what kind of model portfolios you've seen but the ones I'm aware of desire top quality photos shot on quality professional film processed in a pro-lab with tight quality control requirements.

    Take the film to a professional photo lab. Tell them how you want it processed and developed. While you're there buy a roll of Fuji NPH or Kodak NC160 and try it for your next big model shoot and see if it isn't somewhat more acceptable in terms of flesh tones, reproducablity, lower contrast, and overall quality. It's well worth the few extra bucks if this model work is legitimate.
  5. No pro lab around? If not, you can send it to DigiGraphics for processing. We are in Colorado. Good Luck
  6. One voice on the side of the processors, when you use film like this, the reason most labs won't take it, is some times these companies buy old 35mm movie film stock or other stocks that when run through machines, they foul the chemicals, leaving residue in the chemicals, necesitating a change and possibly affecting the next rolls of film in the line. I would say if you really need to find inexpensive film, try looking for out of date good film, might get some color shift(I've never had this problem) but for pro applications pro film is definatly the best way to go.
  7. So, were you able to get the model naked? I'm just guessing here, but I'll bet you're the guy that the reputable modeling agencies warn young girls to stay away from.
    Dollar store film?!.......Pharmacy?!......Please tell us this is a joke.
  8. I'm the original poster. In my defence, these models don't pay me to take their portfolio pictures, so I economize where I can. Its a time-for-prints arrangement. I have gotten great results from off-brand film in the past (until this experience) and see no reason to enrich Kodak and Fuji any further. In any case, the quality of the film is irrelevant as far as my question goes.
  9. Yes... I have the special Agfa and Fuji 160 ASA portrait films and the results were no better than my $1 Agfa, Ferrania and Sakura 200 asa films. I buy inexpensive film and shoot a lot of it.
  10. the grocery in the local farmer's market sells brand x color print film for $1.00 with processing from clark film labs.( famous for losing film)
    send me an empty barrel, i will fill it for you!
    seriously I tried fresh Giant " finast" brand film from the supermarket really FERRANIA and walmart polaroid 35mm ( agfa)
    and it was interesting.
    shop smart, look for a store that had deals on
    fresh kodak or fuji film not repackaged etc.
    another local store here in pa has frsh kodacolor 200 4 rolls for under $6.00 .
    I agree if it is serious work buy the right film - look for a professinal dealer and be willing to pay.
    . but if you can't buy name brand film intended for that work, at least buy a good quality snapshot film
  11. Just use a permanent marker to write "C-41" on the cassette, or scratch it in with an awl. Tell 'em that's how it came from the film manufacturer. I've seen Chinese goods marked pretty much that way.
  12. Here Walgrens and the only lone pro lab are equal in quality; for 35mm C41 4x6 glossy prints. Use a pro lab; if they actually do better work. Here I have had about 700 rolls of C41 developed at the same Walgrens over the last 6 years; without a loss. They call me when a roll is muffed up; or there is an exposure problem. I have a commercial account there; and they are less than 1 mile away. The lone local "pro lab" develops C41 and E6 from 35mm to 4x5. I use them for the larger formats; and only when I have to. For 35mm 4x6 prints/proofs; their cost is about double; and about 6X if I factor in the two 3/4 hour round trips. Basically their attitude is poor; snobish; abit cocky and negative. For non rush jobs; I prefer to send my MF and LF away; and avoid the attitudes. Here Walgrens is alot better for me; the quality is excellent; they are close; and they alert me of potential equipment problems. This is what a pro lab does. A Pro labs is about turning out great work; without delays; without attitude problems; and not printing an entire roll if it is blank; and do notifying you of equipment problems; light leaks etc. Here the bank; realtors; appraisers; newspaper when still using film; and hospitals; attorneys; and military base use the Pharamacy I use for film processing. When the local "pro lab" doesnt make the cut in performance and quality; sometimes a Pharmacy can deliver alot more Professional work; at a cheaper price; quicker; and with a "more professonal attitude".
  13. How much do you save buying crap film you can't depend on? It just makes no sense, especially when you're shooting for someone else.

    If it's a buck a roll, it's a buck a roll because it's using some antiquated film technology and probably doesn't get subjected to much in the way of quality control.

    Do yourself and your models a favor and buy some sort of reputable brand of film.
  14. OT; I would be scared placing an unknown roll of film in a processor; if there was a slight change of damaging the machine; or others work. Without the C41 marking; it maybe non C41 movie film; or whatever. <BR><BR>With our color copiers; sometimes customers want us to run copies with their unknown funky papers. Now we dont do this any more. We had one guys wierd paper get all caught in the machine; it took 2 days; many parts; and about 600 bucks to fix; plus we turned work away.
  15. I've had stores deny processing of Chromogenic B&W C-41 films before. Clearly
    marked C41. I just stopped go there, forever.

    Go somewhere else. Pharmacy & grocery store processing is low margin high volume
    processing, and they just don't want to deal with an unknown.
  16. I've shot about 40 rolls (asa 400) of walmart's house brand, "Rave" in the last
    couple of months. It costs about Can.$2 roll in ten-packs, which works out to
    ~U.S.$1.30. I wish they sold 'pro'-packs, without all the extra cellophane and
    cardboard, but the irony would have certain p-netters grinding their teeth all

    The film is a bit grainy and contrasty, but can pass for Fuji superia on a good
    day, and seems to be reasonably consistent for a cheap consumer film.
    Amateur film for amateur models: makes sense to me.
  17. as the saying goes: you get what you pay for...

    TFP only works if the resulting work is *good enough to get either of you a gig*, otherwise it's just fun and frolic.
  18. David, do yourself and your models a favor - stock up on stock plain ole ornery Kodak Gold 100. It's frequently discounted in the packs of five rolls so you'll be spending $2 a roll for good film instead of $1 a roll for whoknowswhut.

    A few years ago I sampled just about every available cheap film, from the worst of the worst (Ferrania and 3M) to the pretty good (Konica, Agfa and Fuji). The worst were good for nothing, a waste of resources, a waste of money spent on film, processing, time, gas driving to and from the store and worst of all a waste of treasured family and vacation snapshots.

    The worst I can say about the better snapshot films is they're too saturated and too contrasty for good skin tones. That includes Walgren's house brand (Agfa) and the various types of Fuji Superwhatever (not Superia, which is slightly better) masquerading as Polaroid, Dollar General and whatever else.

    Of all the consumer grade films I've tried only Kodak Gold 100 delivers consistently good skins tones with flash or available light. And almost any minilab not run by single cell organisms can do a good job with the prints. The grain is fine enough for decent 8x10s but nobody will be fooled into thinking the photos came from a pro.

    Forget Kodak Gold 400 - not even close. The only fast snapshot film I've tried that did a decent job with skin tones was Fuji Superia X-tra 800. I wouldn't match NPH or NPZ but it often delivered better skin tones under mixed lighting than Portra 400NC, which is why I've used Superia X-tra 800 for candids at social affairs when I couldn't predict what lighting would be available. Not so good with flash tho' - best reserved for available light shots.
  19. As the original poster of this thread I have to laugh at the way this has transformed into a criticism of my film choices instead of how to get a film processed when the cassette does not state C41.
    Obviously I care about my results and would not continue using any film I found inferior. The fact is this film has not even been developed yet and you are criticizing it!
    Most of the 'crap' films, as you describe them, are what professionals were using just 5-10 years ago.

    I make 4x6 prints and scan the negatives and I am satisfied with the results. As I said before I have used the special 160 ASA Agfa and Fuji portrait films and honestly they are no better, in fact I did not like the muted colors.

    Incidentally, it was Walgreens who refused to process this film.
  20. 10 or 15 years ago "professionals" weren't using unknown crap film made in China. Even if they were, guess what, they don't anymore.

    I wonder why....?
  21. So is the "Special moments" Chinese film C41 or not?<BR><BR>Omitting the "C41" marking sounds like a real screwup.
  22. "Yes... I have the special Agfa and Fuji 160 ASA portrait films and the results were no better than my $1 Agfa, Ferrania and Sakura 200 asa films. I buy inexpensive film and shoot a lot of it."

    Lol, perhaps it's your eyes that need the checking, not the film canisters. Every single person I have introduced to Reala or NPH or any of the other portrait steadfasts for a special occasion has not gone back, it's that simple.
  23. Just locate a "Special Moments" data sheet and take it to the pharmacy with the film.
  24. Just try another Pharmacy. I work in one and I have processed film before that was not labeled. Just explain to them that the film is C41 and that you will not be upset if the film is ruined. The reason they won't do it is because they don't want to be yelled at when the film is destroyed if it's not C41.
  25. As the original poster of this thread I have to laugh at the way this has transformed into a criticism of my film choices instead of how to get a film processed when the cassette does not state C41. Obviously I care about my results and would not continue using any film I found inferior. The fact is this film has not even been developed yet and you are criticizing it! Most of the 'crap' films, as you describe them, are what professionals were using just 5-10 years ago.

    This happens in almost every thread. Someone posts a question, and suddenly the self-appointed 'pros' are all over it in a demented orgy of 'here's how we pro's do it, you unworthy scum' willy-waving. As if real professionals could be bothered...

    Often the original question posed never gets answered, as you noted.
  26. Attn. Alias Du Jour (can't even use a real name?) and David M.,
    First of all, the question WAS answered directly, about 3 times in the first 3 posts.

    Yes, additional information was added. Here's the real deal. You, David, kinda set yourself up here. You choose a cheap, inferior film which you are so completely unfamiliar with that you didn't even know the canister isn't marked for C-41. You have zero idea what's inside the canister. Yet you seem dumbstruck that you encountered problems getting it developed. And you imply that the film and shoot were important by proffering the information that it is for a model's portfolio.

    Later, on the defensive, you claim familiarity with the professional portrait films and could see not difference. The thing is this. There is a HUGE difference. Skin tones are rendered naturally and smoothly. No, the colors don't jump off the paper like some carnival color--but that is not what you want in the vast majority of portrait work--you want a portrait, a pleasing rendition of the individual.

    But, none of that matters. IF, and only IF, you find a cheap film that consistantly gives you a look that you like. Let me define that again, "If you find a (meaning one specific brand/type) film that gives you consistant (roll after roll the results you expect for a given lighting condition) results that are pleasing to you.

    The problem is that you are jumping around from unknown cheap film to unknown cheap film that you have no idea what it is, how it was stored, how old it is, what the color palate is, if it's accurately ISO rated, or even any certainty how it should be processes. If, despite all those things above, you are still happy with all the results you get time in and time out then either you are the luckiest great photographer on earth or you really haven't studied the images or films closely enough to discern the important characteristics that make the difference from snap shot -> good photo -> professional (ie. model portfolio quality) images.

    If you're happy, then great, I won't rain on that parade. But the PN forum is more than just a technical answer place, it's a learning place. Sometimes the way we put forth the suggestions isn't the gentlest or most constructive and it can put folks on the seems that's what happened here.

    But realize that the original wording of this question raises eyebrows quite quickly--I'm sure unintentionally on your part, but the first image created in my mind was what another poster implied--a guy who has a few hundred dollars in gear, suggests to women that if they come to his place and take off their clothes for him to take pictures he can get them into modeling. I'm not saying that's who you are or what you do, but re read your post and read some of the stuff going on in the photography world today and see if you can't imagine how we would draw those parallels.

    I offer my personal apologies if you are a serious quality photographer taking legitimate quality artistic photos and you just happen to not care much about your film--that is a possible scenario and I want to be fair. I'll part with only this. Perhaps you didn't formally test your various films side by side or your unfamiliarity with one of the professional films gave you less than ideal results. I suggest a controlled test of some of your favorite inexpensive films, some higher end consumer film (i.e. Kodak gold 100) and some quality professional films (NC160, NPH). As an artist I'm sure you will find the time uses valuable and you'll gain some interesting insight into the characteristics of the various films.

    Good luck in your endeavors.
  27. David M:

    How do you know that it is c41 film? If it does not say so, well, maybe it isn't.

    I am glad all the pharmaceutical drug stores act responsibly and refuse to process your film. I pity the people whose film will be dunk into the tank along with yours. Have you given a thought that they too may have valuable shots.

    Well, first, I have seen many answers. So don't complain that people are not helping you. But they have left out a practical suggestion.

    The cheapo way to develop cheapo film is to do your own processing. hey, it is difficult, the results may not be consistent, but as you say, you probably would not notice the difference.
  28. n m

    n m

    I thought it odd that you would introduce such an inconsistency to your work with this pot-pourri of cheap films. Most people use the same film for the same task.

    Expecting a lab to compromise themselves with a film of unknown origin is not realistic. Exactly how do you know the film is C41?
  29. You want help? You will need to buy your own C-41 processing
    equipment and chemicals. I doubt any commercial lab will ever
    process your film. It would be unethical for you to load this
    unknown-type film in a C-41 cassette.
  30. I hate to jump on the band wagon w/ everyone else bashing your
    film choices, but hopefully you can appreciate my advice a bit more
    as I'm more like you.. not a pro... highly ranked amateur in my own
    mind maybe.

    I can definately appreciate wanting to keep costs down, but there are
    much better ways to do it than bargain basement film for "Real Shoots"
    (mind you even free "favor" shoots like the model stuff you mentioned).

    For example, I don't have processing stuff at home and I love b+w.
    I tried some rolls of the Kodak b+w C41 400 film, and liked the

    I found a guy selling some on ebay. I originally purchased it
    in a 4 pack, with tax it came down to about $2.14/roll.
    I got 18 rolls on ebay w/ an expiration date of 12/2004, and with
    all costs (shipping, etc) it was about $1.70/roll. That's not
    much more than the buck-a-roll stuff.

    I also tend to use local pharmacy type development places due to
    conveinence and cost. I've found that most "decent reputation"
    sort of joints will develop the film very well.. but the problems
    will be on the prints themselves. I watch for coupons in the paper
    for places I like, then take the rolls in and get one print of each
    on 4x6 or whatever is the cheaper, no index (as that's often extra).
    Then I take it home, use the shots to see what's what, then feed them
    info my HP neg scanner.. which I found a deal on for ~ $85.

    I'll move onto using the scans to get reprints from, which
    I've had great luck with.. they're fast, cheap and do a great job.
    Plus even w/ the low cost of the scanner, the high-res scans sent to
    them result in excellent quality pics.

    Yes, to the pros.. I'm not a pro and I'm sure that alot of the above
    has you guys gagging a bit... but there are ways for the practicing
    amateur to get high quality shots (more importantly, *consistant*
    quality shots) for a very low cost.
  31. a few mentions I forgot, I like the b+w because I'm on a "Crap camera
    kick", latest being my current favorite cam, the ultra cheap fed-5c.
    I prefer slower speed film for shots I'm doing as favors (pics of people, etc)

    And another thing, if you can just give these models digital shots and
    buy a neg scanner, you can chop costs more.. Eckerds does for sure, but
    I'm guessing most places like that will do the same.. they'll just
    process the roll for you, no prints. I asked recently at one in Tampa,
    and they said $2.57.
  32. If you want to be cheap and save money on film, buy a digital camera.
    It should pay for itself in no time.
  33. "I....see no reason to enrich Kodak and Fuji any further."

    Curious how you view the working relationship between goods and capital.

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