View Full Version : Bad experience with Chrome in San Diego

Rakesh Malik
10-Sep-2010, 12:37
Since Ivey's shut down, I started sending my film to R&R Custom Color in Spokane... and had no trouble with film development beyond the inconvenience of shipping film to the lab for over year.

Unfortunately, they said that my last batch was their last E-6, so I had to find another lab, at least until Panda gets their color film processing gear set up. (They bought the equipment from R&R apparently.)

So I tried Chrome in San Diego. I sent them 3 sheets of film in a bag with a sticky note saying what was inside, shipped it with Attn: Film Processing in the address, and even called ahead to tell them that I was sending them 3 sheets of E-6 film... and the first thing that they did was open up the bag, ruining all three sheets. Apparently it didn't occur to them that a package with Attn: Film Processing on it might have film in it. So these idiots ruined three non-repeatable landscapes and are sending me a free box of chromes to replace it... not a good trade, and they will get no more of my business, plus I'll let the folks at Glazers know what happened also.

10-Sep-2010, 13:36
Probably better to ship things in the actual 4x5 film box it came in. That would make things more clear- they may have just thought it was some roll film in the bag.

10-Sep-2010, 13:39
I gotta ask why you didn't put it in a used 10-sheet box and mail that? I certainly wouldn't expect to find naked trannies in an envelope.

Rakesh Malik
10-Sep-2010, 13:39
The actual box still had fresh film in it, and this is the first lab that's had this problem... I sent film to DR5 and R&R the same way...

Rakesh Malik
10-Sep-2010, 13:41
I gotta ask why you didn't put it in a used 10-sheet box and mail that? I certainly wouldn't expect to find naked trannies in an envelope.

They were wrapped in a black film bag inside the envelope, hardly naked. If I'd had an empty 10-sheet box I'd have used that instead of the cardboard sleeves that I got at the shipper.

Frank Petronio
10-Sep-2010, 14:02
99.99% of professional film goes to the lab in a three-tiered film box. Before I'd condemn a lab publicly like this I'd give them the benefit of the doubt because you were doing something no reasonable lab person would expect.

They are doing you a real good turn by replacing your film. That's worth an endorsement!

Maybe your old lab put up with it (here's that wierdo's film) or maybe you learned to send film this way from one very strange teacher, but I've worked at and know a lot of lab owners that would shudder to have you as a customer. I bet if you sent them the film in a proper box like how the rest of the photo industry has done it for the last 80 years you'd probably get fine results. If you need some spare film boxes, pay for the postage and I'll send you some of mine, or just ask the lab to send you some.

I'm not trying to slam you personally, but you're the one at fault here, whether or not you're "right" what you did was just asking for a problem. So coming down so harshly on the lab is a pretty lousy thing to do.

Be odd and different but not with the FILM - that's where you gotta be conservative, wear your belt and your suspenders!

Sal Santamaura
10-Sep-2010, 14:06
...They are doing you a real good turn by replacing your film...They're doing more than replacing his film. They're replacing his film plus giving him at least an additional 7 sheets of film.

10-Sep-2010, 15:02
I use Chrome all the time, and have so for about 25 years now. Never really had a problem with them. Of course, I walk my stuff in, I bring in my sheets in the film holders, they know me, and when I come in the know what to do.

I too would never expect film to come in an envelope, even if it is in a black plastic bag bag inside. The lab is not expecting film to come in this manner. All of the film (except maybe for your packet) that Chrome gets is either in the holders or comes in the three-tiered boxes.

I consider myself lucky to have Chrome so close: 1) they do very good work, 2) have done it for me for 25+ years (the only lab I ever trusted with processing astrophotos for me), and 3) don't plan on giving up on E6 any time soon. This is a good thing in these days of E6 labs closing down all over the country.

Try them again, this time send the film in a three-tiered box. You should have some around. I myself have so many empty boxes around, I find myself bringing them into the darkroom to check if there's a rogue sheet of film in the box or not.

Enough ranting...


Rakesh Malik
10-Sep-2010, 15:28
I am acquiring additional boxes... but the only thing that I changed this time around was the lab -- and no one at R&R ever said anything about it. The lack of film boxes is a side effect of being new to cut sheets, since before that I used Quickloads.

Still... it's not like I just put the film in the shipping envelope, I DID put it in a film bag, and add extra packaging to protect it, and THAT is what went inside the shipping envelope.

Frank Petronio
10-Sep-2010, 15:32
Well you didn't know, it was an honest mistake. But I wouldn't be so harsh on the lab, a lot of other labs would have opened it by accident too. You were lucky with your older labs.

Wayne Aho
10-Sep-2010, 15:40
I once sent the film, still in the film holders, when I was just starting out (didn't know any better). The lab let me know what is expected, and I wasn't the first to do this. Now I save all the old boxes. There were labs that trusted me, especially when I brought in submini film that I had re-spooled myself.


Rakesh Malik
10-Sep-2010, 15:41
I wish they'd mentioned it.

Nathan Potter
10-Sep-2010, 19:51
Rakesh, I use Praus in Rochester NY. I think Frank does also. First rate operation.

But I always send a PO attached to the triple film box explaining what I want done :

Purchase Order No.
Film type
Normal processing, (or not)
Credit Card No.

But I think if there was any doubt about what Chrome received they should have called you or sent an email.

Nate Potter, Austin TX.

10-Sep-2010, 22:24
They screwed up and made it right, but you were driving backwards down the road. If you are going to do that you have to expect screw ups at some point.

I used Chrome for a decade when I was in San Diego and never had a problem. I never heard of anyone else having a problem either, and I know a lot of people that used them, so take it all with a grain of salt.

douglas gove
10-Sep-2010, 23:50
Try CITZENS PHOTO in portland, oregon...i have received excellent service and no tax! doug

11-Sep-2010, 04:41
I've used Chrome in San Diego for years.

Only top notch results from them, and very timely and reasonable too.

14-Sep-2010, 23:02
I've used Chrome in SD also - great results and friendly service. I send them sheet films in boxes and they will return the box upon request.

16-Sep-2010, 19:19
I've had a couple of mediocre experiences with Chrome, and one plain bad one. Essentially, I had them print an 8x10, using a 4x6 they made themselves as a reference. After I got it home, the whites slowly turned orange-pink. When I brought the print in, they blamed my negative (which does have a color cast: blue!), and I had to almost argue with them to get them to reprint the image properly.

It wasn't that they made a mistake so much as the attitude of the people there. And no, they did not offer to do a free print or development or a discount or anything for the trouble they caused me (I guess because the darkening-pink highlights were magically caused by my negative)...

As for this problem, it does sound reasonable that they didn't understand how you packaged your film, and you were at least lucky enough that they gave you some film to try to keep your business.

I literally drive across San Diego county, to north county, to avoid dealing with Chrome. It's a bit of a hassle, but North Coast Photo does a fine job, and the one time they made a mistake with one of my prints (they used an old file, as opposed to the version I freshly uploaded and noted to use), they were quick and courteous solving the problem.

Eric James
16-Sep-2010, 19:34
I hope Panda comes through - they've been promising for years.

Rakesh Malik
30-Nov-2010, 08:39
I hope Panda comes through - they've been promising for years.

I asked them a couple of weeks ago, they said they were targeting the beginning of the new year.

And my 2nd experience with Chrome was a lot better, the flaw in the developed film in the 2nd set of three that I sent looks like it was from the film not being flat in the film holder. I probably had it either slightly crooked or one edge probably wasn't entirely under the rail :-/