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New Adventures in Retail

Last Tuesday, I dug out a pair of old, undeveloped black and white films and took them to be developed at the branch of Boots on Portswood high street. The results were rather good, so I dug out another pair of old, undeveloped black and white films last weekend and took them in this morning, only to be told by the assistant that they don't do black and white unless they're C41 colour process. Right. Pointed out that I had, in fact, taken two identical films (Kodak TMAX 400) into that very branch some seven days previous, and that they'd been developed without any problems. It took five minutes of me saying "yes, but you developed the same filmstock last week, no these aren't C41 process, but yes, you processed identical films last week" before the lass went off to make a phonecall to go and check. Lo and behold, they do accept them, but she was "only covering her back". The customer is presumed wrong until proven otherwise, it would appear.

The irony is that my last experiment in C41 black and white film, some seven years ago, was comprehensively screwed up by (a different branch of) Boots, who processed the damned things as sepiatone without being asked, and managed to accidentally expose part of the film in processing.

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They don't give you a great deal of training at Boots before throwing you onto the photographic counter. It's actually quite a technical job, and in my opinion (having tempted on such a counter, years ago) it should be filled by someone properly trained.

Boots are sucky for processing B/W film, or film in general, anyway.
To do a proper job with C41 B/W film you need to load B/W paper to avoid slight but noticeable colour shading. This is too much like effort for them, so they (and a lot of other high street photo developers) just say "oh, we do them all as sepiatone" to hide the slight shading.
Boots also dropped and her husband in the shit with the police by dobbing them in as child pornographers when they gave their baby photos to Boots to be developed, which I think still puts Boots in the "arrogantly incompetent" category.

I thought that TMAX *was* for C41 processing - one of the (few) non-colour C41 films. The idea of which being that you don't have to pay for true b&w processing. God help them if you ever showed up with XP2...

On the other older roll, the sepiatone is only from being printed on colour paper. If you still have the negatives, you could get them printed on black&white paper and they'll come out b&w. You can also do good almost-b&w on colour paper, but that takes more fiddling with the machine settings than anyone in Boots would be allowed do, I would think.

It's the other way around - Kodak TMAX is true B&W, Ilford XP2 is C41 B&W.

It's probably worth me trying to get B&W prints made from the XP2 negatives I have; while the negatives are sepiatone, prints on B&W paper should come out okay, as you suggest.

There is a myth going around that private organisations i.e. retail outlets are somehow better than private organisations. I can only imagine this fallacy is perpetrated by people who never use shops.

I am VERY angry about black and white film at the moment, as I have just taken 2 rolls of holiday photos to the fotoview studio upstairs that proudly proclaim they do black and white....MY ARSE... all of our black and white holiday snaps look like they were taken in a snow storm, the clear definition and sharpness I want and have had in the past from b&w is just not there, and it looks like it's on the negatives as well. I don't know whether I should pay them or not, but I really don't want to give them 15 quid for crap work. Also half of one of my films appears to be blank, and I don't know whether I can blaim them for that, as there isn't a problem with my camera...argh ra ra rahhhhhh
One was an ILFORD film, one a kodak TMAX, both appear to be rubbishly processed.

X-Ray baggage scanners?

it doesn't look like x-ray fogging, it just looks like they have processed the film wrong. Although I know that's what they will tell me. He tried to blame it on heat damage, but as the films were in the fridge when they weren't in the camera, it's unlikely.

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