View Full Version : Any pro labs still running analog "package printers"?

Chuck S.
21-Jun-2014, 11:54
Just curious... Sorting through some old negs, finding many portraits that I sent to Meisel back in the dark ages.

For those too young to remember, labs that concentrated on portrait, wedding, and school photography would send you a stack of cardboard aperture cards with different sized fixed crops. You would tape your neg to a card with the desired crop window (up to full frame) and write your print order on the bottom. These went into fully automated enlargers that delivered quantity prints cheap.

Other than a tech's manual check for exposure & color, no other corrections were possible. If you composed, lit, and exposed carefully, results were very good. If a shot needed "help", it was time for a custom print.

These were mostly intended for MF and those heavy long roll monstrosities... I don't recall; could any handle 4x5?

No interest in using them again, since I scan and print MF to 8x10 digitally. Just wondering if there are any of these clunkers still running out there, or is this another example of analog technology that's completely extinct?

Bob Salomon
21-Jun-2014, 12:09
In the USAF back in the early 60s we ran 5" aerial roll film through an automatic printer to make 10 x 10" prints on roll paper.

21-Jun-2014, 15:01
I used a lab like this back in 80s for aerial photography. BTW, asphalt roads are very close to 18% grey; like have a grey card wherever you flew.

Another service they offered was roll proofs. Just a long strip of paper with your contact prints (film was left uncut). I don't remember what they cost but I do remember they were cheap. Great with a 6x7 negative.

The Minneapolis lab was bought by another lab and then closed down in the late 90s I think.