digital photo labs - how to help them improve standards


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erwinx

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Jan 18, 2002
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#1
I'm currently using KT as my main lab and am generally satisfied, but I know they can improve. My reference for this are my own inkjet printouts and also old Frontier prints from Konota done by the Konota boss himself (he was very very good).

The main gripe I have with KT (and from previous threads I'm not the only one), is that they blow the white detail. They must learn how to brighten midtones without blowing white and highlight detail.

The alternative of telling them no colour correction is not very tenable (i tried and the pics were quite dark [my monitor is calibrated and even if the histogram is rightward leaning, prints still dark]

Note that KT is an example, and I'm sure many other 'good' photo labs may have their own idiosyncrasies. If you have comments about how other 'popular' photo labs should improve, feel free to list them here.

Hopefully, people from the lab or close to the management will read this and the quality will get even better... :)
 

Apr 22, 2004
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From what I know, the color profile management used in the Fuji Frontier is very different from the ones used in Injet Printers. The color reproduction is hence very different. A photo may look correctly exposed when seeing on a home pc using photoshop but it is actually very different when viewing from the DI on Frontier.

Unlike photoshop where we can use masking when doing post processing, the Frontier only has got 4 controls to correct a photo (C, M, Y and Density). To aviod highlights being washed out, the skin tones may end up being "underexposed".

I also experience whites being washed out when printing using Frontier.

What I did was instead of getting the lab to improve, I calibrate my monitor to match the output of the Frontier. After that, I am able to post-process my own photos using photoshop and then sending it to the lab giving the instructions of "No Colour Correction".

Eh... need to spend a bit initially cos it is by trial and error but once its done, you may get quite satisfying results.

*Just my opinion*

Feel Free to Comment
 

Azure

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Mar 16, 2003
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I'd move on to the next good lab. As Erwinx has put it "...other 'good' photo labs..." - there are. And you just find one who is able, willing, and happy to work with you.

Mine are 2 labs that give me fantastic turn-around time on print jobs and well-calibrated Frontier machines that do not even give me "mistakes" in color (eg 6R white and 8R green from the same file). Most of all, they don't force me to accept their nonsense (you call 'idiosyncracies') or putting up with their own mistakes.

Example : I tell my lab "no resize, no correction" and they do exactly that. They keep on record my preferences of paper type to print content (lustre for A, gloss for B, etc). I get overnight prints, ie, overnight my jobs are ready - this is a huge boon considering my volume (1000-2000pc at a go) and types (5R, 6R, 8RD, A4, S8R). Finally, the price is the best sweetener on the deal. :D
added - BTW, my labs are lucky in that mine are almost wholly out-of-cam output. :)

I believe in long-term partnership with my labs. You do me a great service/price level, I do you lots of business plus help whenever we can. Its a win-win thing for both. However for smaller scale (personal or walk-in) customers, I doubt the lab will really pay you more than lip service. Which was what my previous lab did. So if you want to help them, make sure you have enough leverage to do so. :star:
(I still cannot fathom why any lab will want to let go a certain $25K of prints per annum... their loss)
 

theITguy

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Sep 19, 2003
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Seriously, with so many customers at KT, the quality control will surely suffer in the long run unless you want to talk to the boss personally about this.

My slides and B&W goes to Ruby (or FotoHub at Beach road if I need fast for slides)
My colour negatives goes to Stanley (Joanna did a good job getting my colours right 99% of the time)
 

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