Where NOT to get your film developed

My experience with the bookstore's photo-processing service.

For my photography class, I had to purchase a 35mm camera that allowed manual adjustment of aperture and shutter speed. So, I headed to Rutherford's Camera Shop in Doylestown, PA and asked for some advice. They hooked me up with a used Pentax K1000, and even showed me how to load and operate it. I don't know much about photography, but from what I can tell, it's a good camera. It's all metal, all manual, and feels very durable.

Before I went to my first photo class, I wanted to make sure that I was capable of taking a roll of film on my own, as well as test the camera, so I shot off a roll of film. I went to the photo drop at the campus bookstore and put the film in an envelope. I checked off 35mm, B&W, and also chose the photo CD to save me some scanning time. This was on Monday, August 30th. I checked back every single day that week, and kept hearing, "It should be here tomorrow." One clerk suggested that the photo CD was the cause of the delay.

Finally, on Friday, the clerk realized that this was taking longer than it should, and called the company that processes the film. He said that since it was in black and white, the photo place had to send it out to another service, and that the film should be ready on September 15th. Well, at least I didn't have to wait in line at the bookstore every day now that I had a date. I went to the film drop-off kiosk again and read it. Of course, the estimated times for developing were blank. It didn't say anything about a photo CD or black and white being such a big deal. They were just checkboxes on the envelope. "Check here for Photo CD." "Type: Color Print, Slide, B&W, Panoramic, or Other." My heart goes out to those who check "Other."

Since I still wanted to shoot some film before my first assignment, I shot another roll while home for the weekend. I took it to Larmon Photo in Doylestown. I dropped off another roll for my sister, which she needed on CD. ONE HOUR LATER, (I killed time at The Computer Forum) I had prints from both rolls, as well as a photo CD. To my relief, the pictures looked great. The focus was sharp and the meter accurate.

My first assignment had to be on slide film, which I purchased at Larmon. I went out and used "Quickie the Broom" as my subject, so I wouldn't have to deal with finding an actual human being to shoot. I took the film to the on-campus Homewood Photographics (which I didn't know about when I dropped off the first roll at the bookstore) and had the slides ready the next day. Now why would the bookstore use a slower outside service when we have an on-campus facility that can do it the same day? (Well, I guess Homewood Photo has better things to do than develop disposable camera rolls of a frat party.)

Anyway, I just got that first roll back today, and I'm not impressed. The film has marks and streaks all over it (on the negatives too), and the exposures all seem off. Oh well. I'll end this with a picture of Quickie.

Posted: Wednesday - September 15, 2004 at 12:58 PM