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Thread: Which labs still make traditional optical enlargements from 4x5 color negatives?

  1. #21
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    SF Bay area, CA

    Re: Which labs still make traditional optical enlargements from 4x5 color negatives?

    I had quite a few conversations with the owner of one of the labs I can't remember the name of, because he was my customer even though I was not his. In that case, he developed hypersensitivity to Ciba bleach and had to throw in the towel. In another case, RA4 chem was the long-term culprit. That's why I develop color in drums outdoors in mild weather - one of the advantages of not being on the clock in this respect. People might think that inkjet has solved all those sensitivity issues; but I think it's just a matter of time till glycol sensitivities show up. That's why the EPA is trying to get polyglycols out of architectural paints. But it's darn hard to keep ordinary paint machine pigments from drying out and clogging without them, and unimaginable when tiny inkjet nozzles are involved. So it's probably not a good idea to have a whole bunch of huge inkjet prints laying around drying out without decent ventilation; but I know that happens in certain places. And glycol outgasses rather slowly, over weeks in fact. But one way or another, where there's a will, there's a way, and color printing will go on somehow regardless. Even dye transfer printing is making a firm commercial revival on limited scale for those lucky few who can afford that kind of labor intensive service. I'm having very good results at the moment with Portra internegs from old 8x10 chromes; but it's somewhat labor intensive too due to the masks and similar intermediate steps necessary for optimal results. My recent color shooting is all done directly onto color neg film instead, which needs masking only once in awhile.

  2. #22
    tgtaylor's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    San Francisco Bay Area

    Re: Which labs still make traditional optical enlargements from 4x5 color negatives?

    ...Traditional businesses of all varieties are being forced out - bookstores, shoe repair shops, long-term restaurants, woodshops, picture frame suppliers; techie gentrification is running amuk. Quaint business neighborhoods are now turning into tall dark walled canyons of high priced condos with hyper-expensive ground floor retail space leases...
    And the Mall is now a thing of the past. Last week I found myself at Hilltop Mall ( with a hour to kill so I spent it walking through the mall. I was shocked! All the store fronts were vacant and those that remained were huddled in a common location sharing essentially zero foot traffic.


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