Actually there's a lot that can be done at the consumer end of the industry to lift it's printing standards, however the investments in technology and more importantly training and staff development, higher wages etc aren't worth the additional returns for most Minilab operators.Originally posted by Scriabinesque
On the consumer end I suppose there isn't exactly that much that can be done, but on the industrial end, quite a lot can be done with the prints. Somehow it just looks and feels different from Minilab prints. Not referring to any particular photographic medium here, just the output, digital or negatives.
This is particularly the case for those Minilabs that are operating in the major Minilab promotion and quality assurance schemes such as Kodak Q-Labs ,Fuji's Image Plaza etc, as the major Lab chain contracts don't allow the Lab much freedom of choice in developing and printing equipment, paper, chemistry and so on.
A genuine prolab on the other hand has no restictions placed upon it and normally they can source the best technologies, for their operations such as DRGB based video analyzers and printers rather than the more limited CMYD based systems that Minilabs are saddled with. Then there are paper choices, chemistry and so on. All of these factors plus well trained staff make a massive difference to the output quality.
Of particular interest at present are moves amongst the big players to standardise more aspects of printing technology to allow more consistent results from Minilabs worldwide including updated ISO standards for chemistry, paper and backprinting.